News

Mark Christiansen joins McAfee & Taft, co-leads energy practice of state’s largest law firm

March 10, 2013

McAfee & Taft, the state’s largest law firm, has announced that Mark Christiansen, one of the region’s preeminent oil and gas lawyers and litigators, has joined the firm and will co-lead the firm’s Energy and Oil & Gas Group.

“Over the course of his 33-year legal career, Mark has distinguished himself as a trusted go-to lawyer and advisor to oil & gas companies of all sizes, including many of the nation’s largest energy companies, in both litigation and transactional matters,” said Richard Nix, managing director for McAfee & Taft. “The firm has always had the utmost respect for the quality of his work, his incredible work ethic, and his involvement in leading industry organizations, and we are very pleased he will be serving in a leadership role in an area of law that is so central to both our firm’s and our state’s future.”

Christiansen’s broad-based transactional and litigation experience includes the litigation of energy industry lawsuits on the state, federal and appellate levels; the defense of statewide, multistate and nationwide class action lawsuits; and counseling clients on a wide variety of transactional, regulatory and operational matters.

“What makes Mark particularly unique is that he is known almost as well in Texas among the oil and gas industry bar as he is known in Oklahoma, and that is a rare accomplishment for an attorney practicing in Oklahoma City or Tulsa,” said Nix.

In addition to his practice, which includes handling substantial litigation matters for a number of Oklahoma and Texas-based Fortune 500 companies, Mark is a frequent author and speaker both regionally and nationally and has served in leadership positions with such leading industry organizations as the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources; Center for American and International Law’s energy law division; Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation; Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association of Oklahoma; and Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.

The addition of Christiansen marks the latest in a series of moves by McAfee & Taft to expand its energy practice in order to better serve the diverse legal needs of its clients, both local and national, all while maintaining its competitiveness in the marketplace. In recent years, the group has expanded to include a national regulatory and environmental practice that encompasses the pipeline, transportation, refinery and renewable and sustainable energy sectors as well as the exploration and production sectors.

“Oklahoma continues to be a dominant player in the energy industry, and there’s no better place than here to have a practice that can compete – in terms of industry knowledge and expertise as well as value – on a statewide, regional or national level,” said Nix. “With the significant investments we’ve made in talent and resources in recent years, combined with our firm’s reputation and rich history in the oil and gas industry, we believe we’re ideally positioned to provide the best combination of value and service for small and medium-sized companies as well as those in the Fortune 500.”

Being part of a comprehensive energy practice that quickly adapts and responds to the ever-changing needs of the client is a goal shared by Christiansen.

“I have observed the dramatic growth of McAfee & Taft in recent years and have noted the way the firm has assembled top lawyers in most all of the practice areas that a client in this region of the U.S. would ever have a need for,” he said. “Without question, McAfee has positioned itself as a regional law firm that offers top legal talent and quality of service in virtually every relevant area of legal practice. Given that McAfee & Taft has been doing as a law firm what I have always aspired to do in my own practice, it is a very natural fit, and I wanted to be part of the future of the firm.”

Christiansen, a 1980 honors graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law, is the recipient of numerous awards for achievements in the field of energy and oil and gas law, including the Eugene Kuntz Award, co-sponsored by the Oklahoma Bar Association and the University Of Oklahoma of Law and presented in recognition of Christiansen’s contributions to natural resources law and policy. Kuntz, a former University of Oklahoma professor and an attorney with McAfee & Taft in its early years, was the noted author of the multi-volume Kuntz: A Treatise on the Law of Oil and Gas and generally considered to be the expert on oil and gas law nationwide.

Christiansen also received the 2009 Distinguished Service Award from the Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association of Oklahoma for assisting the association in the energy litigation and regulatory arenas in promoting Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry, and has also been perennially named to some of the nation’s most prominent legal guides, including The Best Lawyers in America (Natural Resources/Oil & Gas Law), Oklahoma Super Lawyers (Top 50 Lawyers in Oklahoma), and the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (Energy & Natural Resources).

McAfee & Taft is one of the nation’s 250 largest law firms as ranked by the National Law Journal and serves clients locally, regionally and nationally in all aspects of energy and oil & gas law. The firm’s roots in the energy industry date back to the early 1950s when founders Kenneth McAfee and Richard Taft filed to establish the first public drilling fund with the SEC and the first registration statement of a foreign drilling fund, respectively, and both developed many novel approaches to oil and gas tax planning.

The Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business has awarded McAfee & Taft its highest rankings in the area of Energy and Natural Resources Law each year since it began its evaluations, and the firm has the most attorneys singled out for individual honors in Oklahoma.