Graduates Practicing in Oil, Gas, and Energy Law Share Experiences

Photograph: GraduatesFour graduates returned to Washburn Law to discuss their career paths and offer guidance on how to seek employment in the energy industries. The Oil and Gas Law Center, in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, hosted the program and reception on October 24, 2014. The program helped law students identify valuable options and opportunities as part of their job search strategy.

Jennifer Horchem, ’10, began her career in WaKeeney, Kan., as an oil and gas attorney and general practitioner with the Deines & Deines law firm. Horchem moved to Wichita to join the Martin Pringle firm, where she practiced oil and gas law with a special emphasis on title examination. She recently joined Slawson Exploration Company, Inc., Wichita, as associate general counsel where she assists the vice president of Land and Division Order Analysts in resolving curative requirements for both operated and non-operated wells. She also monitors suspense accounts, provides advice on compliance with unclaimed property laws, works with landmen and brokers during lease acquisitions and sales, and provides general advice on compliance with state law. Horchem earned a certificate in Natural Resources Law.

“Without the oil and gas program at Washburn Law (including Professor David Pierce and the new Oil and Gas Law Center), I quite simply would not be where I am today,” said Horchem. “The oil and gas program at Washburn Law not only provides students with academic discussions about the law, but also provides practical experience that enables the students to be more prepared as they begin their practice of law. This includes not only classes, but trips to attend advanced CLEs and opportunities to meet and discuss careers with practitioners in their field. As a graduate, I am still the recipient of ongoing education and support due to the CLEs that are presented in my practice area.”

Taylor Leftwich, ’14, joined the oil and gas industry after law school as a land representative at Chevron in Houston. Leftwich provides support to Chevron’s operations in the San Juan Basin in New Mexico and Colorado, the Panhandle of Texas, and the Hugoton Field in Kansas. The primary responsibilities of a land representative involve extensive title research, negotiating and drafting agreements, and coordinating company activities with federal, state, and local government agencies. She graduated with certificates in Oil and Gas Law and Natural Resources Law.

Angela Madathil, ’09, joined Withers, Gough, Pike, Pfaff & Peterson, LLC, Wichita, immediately after law school, where she represented BP in Kansas on oil and gas and wind farm development. Madathil relocated to Nebraska, where she is associate counsel at Green Plains under Michelle Mapes, general counsel. Green Plains is a vertically integrated ethanol producer based in Omaha that owns 12 ethanol plants in 6 states; a cattle feedlot in Kismet, Kan.; and an algae company. Madathil provides guidance on compliance with federal law and regulations issued by the EPA, DOE, OSHA, DOT, and others. She supports the human resources department, traders collecting on delinquent contracts, managers with DOT drivers, and business units with employees that need immigration cases to be filed.  Madathil graduated with a certificate in Business and Transactional Law.

Leslie Rountree, ’10, entered the oil and gas industry out of law school with ConocoPhillips in its Property Tax, Real Estate, Right-of-Way and Claims (PTRRC) Department in Bartlesville, Okla.; then moved to the company’s operations in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas as Right-of-Way lead, and eventually Right-of-Way supervisor. Rountree is now a surface landman handling surface property acquisitions and securing rights for off-lease drilling in the Permian Basin in West Texas with Laredo Petroleum, a publicly-traded company headquartered in Tulsa, Okla. She graduated with a certificate in Natural Resources Law.

The young professionals discussed how they conducted their various job searches, the decisions they made in the process, and how their career paths have unfolded. This program also highlighted the many job opportunities that exist for lawyers in the corporate setting. Each speaker provided insight into his or her work and the various roles a lawyer can play in a corporate setting and in the energy industries.

Photograph: Angela Madathil, Taylor Leftwich, Leslie Rountree, and Jennifer Horchem