Lawyers, oil and money: Energy companies need legal experts in tough times

published in The Journal Record | May 18, 2015

In an article titled “Lawyers, oil and money,” reporter D. Ray Tuttle from The Journal Record interviewed Oklahoma oilmen as well as energy lawyers, including McAfee & Taft’s own Mark Christiansen, about the crucial role lawyers play in the oil and gas industry.

Both Steve Antry, CEO and board chairman of Eagle Energy Exploration, and Rob Johnston, CEO of Atalaya Resources, confirmed the vital and ongoing need for lawyers, regardless of whether the economy is thriving or experiencing a downturn.  Christiansen, co-leader of McAfee & Taft’s Energy Group, agreed with their assessment, saying a company’s legal issues and lawsuits don’t go away just because the industry is in a slump.

“Instead, they can actually increase,” said Christiansen.  “Lawyers are by no means immune from negative impacts of the downturn.  In tough economic times, we would expect clients to increase their focus on using lawyers who are the most efficient and who provide the best value to the client for the dollars they are being paid.”

Christiansen went on to explain how economic downturns often give rise to new legal issues and challenges.  “However, it can also lead to a decline in other types of transactions and litigation,” he said.  “So, the decline in some areas of litigation and transactional work will offset certain of the new legal issues presented by a down cycle.”