Hartrick Symposium seeks to draw lawyers to oil, gas industry jobs
BY ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Saturday, March 02, 2013
3/02/13 at 5:20 AM
The Hartrick Symposium is trying to fill the gap in energy law.
These days, the gap is in finding enough lawyers to fill staffs at oil and gas companies. The symposium, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday on the University of Tulsa campus, will focus on potential legal careers in areas ranging from land to the regulatory and compliance sectors.
"It's a pretty hot market," said symposium co-chairman Curtis Frasier, general counsel for Shell Oil Co. in Houston and a TU law school graduate. "We just made an offer to a person with energy law practice experience, and he already had two other offers from other energy companies."
The domestic energy boom, sparked by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in shale rock formations, has revived the industry and its parallel legal components. Shell Oil, for instance, has about 120 lawyers on staff and is looking for more.
Like almost every part of the oil and gas business, the bust cycle for years had put a freeze on the hiring of lawyers. Now, many companies have staffs with recent graduates and attorneys with lots of experience, but little in between.
"We've got a big gap to fill," Frasier said.
On Friday evening, the symposium honored one of the most accomplished members of that senior law generation. Joseph Morris, a Tulsa attorney who hired Frasier 31 years ago when he was general counsel at Shell, was celebrated during a reception at the Gilcrease Museum.
Morris has achieved notable career goals in four legal categories: He spent 20 years teaching law and was dean of the TU College of Law, headed up corporate legal teams at Shell and Amerada, was a federal judge based in Tulsa, and now is a leading figure at the GableGotwals firm.
"Take all four of those career achievements and it's almost unbelievable - inconceivable - that someone could do all that," Frasier said. "He's a tireless guy."
The best careers in energy law are not all with corporate oil and gas companies, Frasier said. Although he opposes what he considers unnecessary regulations, Frasier said there's a great need for energy law graduates to enter the regulatory field.
"We want the best regulators we can get," he said.
Gary Allison, a TU law professor and director of the Sustainable Energy & Resources Law Program, is co-chairman of the symposium. Other Saturday panelists or moderators will include legal representatives from Exxon Mobil Corp., Van Dyke Energy, Chesapeake Energy, Chevron Corp., Crutchmer and Barnes, as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Registration is closed.
Original Print Headline: Event seeks to draw lawyers to oil, gas industry
Rod Walton 918-581-8457
Curtis Frasier (left) and Joseph Morris: The symposium honored Morris, who hired Frasier, co-chairman of this weekend's event, 31 years ago when Morris was general counsel at Shell Oil Co.