Mr. Austin Brister
Austin Brister represents oil and gas companies and landowners in upstream oil and gas litigation, including mineral and leasehold title disputes, surface trespass and damages, royalty calculation and payment disputes, operator/non-operator disputes, removal of operator, lease termination/perpetuation disputes, retained acreage and proration unit issues, and an array of other issues in the upstream oil and gas sector. Austin has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in courtrooms across Texas. Austin strives to find practical business solutions, but if necessary he works hard to implement aggressive strategies in the courthouse. Austin is licensed in Texas, Wyoming, Colorado, and North Dakota.
Austin is an active member of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, where he serves as Vice-Chair of the Young Professionals Committee. Austin frequently publishes articles and gives presentations on oil and gas issues, including articlces and presentations for the Texas Oil and Gas Law Journal, Law360, Texas State Bar, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Wyoming Bar Association, Houston Bar Association, Dallas Bar Association, Wyoming College of Law, University of Texas, South Texas College of Law, American Association of Petroleum Landmen, Landman Magazine, National Association of Division Order Analysts, National Association of Least and Title Analysts, and numerous local chapters of landman and lawyer associations.
Austin also serves as editor of “Producer’s Edge” and OilandGasLawDigest.com, which seeks to provide the Firm’s clients in the oil and gas industry with information on recent cases and timely articles.
Mr. James Blake Canfield
La Dept Of Natural Resources
J. Blake Canfield is Executive Counsel for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR). In this role Mr. Canfield manages LDNR’s Legal Division, is responsible for certain legislative matters involving LDNR, and advising the Secretary and staff of LDNR on administrative and operational functions of the Department, as well as matters concerning LDNR’s regulation of Louisiana’s abundant natural resources, including but not limited to regulation of activities which impact the state’s Coastal Resources, management of the State’s mineral property, water resources, and promotion of energy conservation. Prior to becoming Executive Counsel of LDNR in 2013, Mr. Canfield was Senior Attorney for the Louisiana Office of Conservation. As Senior Attorney for the Office of Conservation, Blake represented the agency in litigation and administrative matters and provided legal counsel to the Commissioner of Conservation regarding his office’s regulation and conservation of oil, gas, lignite, and other mineral resources in Louisiana. Mr. Canfield is a graduate of LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Blake is currently a member of the Louisiana Mineral Law Institute’s Advisory Council, is a past representative to the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission, has previously served on the Expropriation Committee of the Louisiana State Law Institute, and he recently chaired the legislatively created Public Recreational Access Task Force.
Mr. Hunter A Chauvin
Liskow & Lewis
Hunter Chauvin is a litigator that assists major oil and gas companies in environmental litigation, with a concentration on legacy lawsuits and coastal land loss issues. He has worked with experts across the globe to defend environmental lawsuits, which has allowed him to develop a deep working knowledge of the complex scientific issues underpinning these cases. He has been entrusted to represent clients in major bellwether environmental cases. Hunter’s practice also includes working with regulators at the department of natural resources and other agencies on behalf of oil and gas companies to resolve regulatory disputes.
Hunter teaches Trial Advocacy for LSU’s Paul M. Hebert law school and is a board member for the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel. He is an active member of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA), and the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA).
Mrs. Katherine Guidry Douthitt
Maven Royalty Partners
After practicing for twelve years at Blanchard, Walker, O’Quin & Roberts in energy and business matters, Katherine recently became General Counsel at Maven Royalty Partners. MRP specializes in acquiring mineral and royalty interests in unconventional resource plays throughout the United States.
She is a proud LSU tiger and her education at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana — including a law degree, M.B.A., and an undergraduate degree in accounting with a concentration in internal auditing. She joined Blanchard Walker in 2008, and she became a Director at Blanchard Walker in 2016.
Katherine serves on the board of directors of the Ark-La-Tex Association of Professional Landmen and is a member of the Louisiana Land Title Association and the Louisiana Association of Independent Land Title Agents, as well as the American, Louisiana State, and Shreveport Bar Associations.
She is the immediate past President of the Junior League of Shreveport-Bossier, Inc. She and her husband Jeff are the proud parents of sons Cook and Whit.
Professor Richard Hughes
Professor in Residence
Louisiana State University, Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering
Dr. Richard G. Hughes is a Professional-in-Residence and the Campanile Charities Professor of Petroleum Engineering at Louisiana State University. He earned a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and held various production, reservoir and IT positions with Tenneco Oil Company, Dwights EnergyData and Amerada Hess. He then obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering from Stanford University prior to joining the University of Oklahoma as an Assistant Professor and has been at LSU since 2005. His research interests include utilizing CO2 for EOR and carbon sequestration, modeling of multiphase flow in porous media, rock fractures and pipes, reservoir surveillance, production data analysis, and geothermal and unconventional field reservoir engineering.
Professor Christopher S. Kulander
Director and Professor, Oil & Gas Law Institute
South Texas College of Law Houston
Professor Christopher Kulander teaches at the South Texas College of Law Houston and serves as Director of the Harry L. Reed Oil & Gas Law Institute. He has taught Domestic Energy Law, Property, Mining Law, and beginning and advanced Oil & Gas Law courses. In addition, he teaches International Energy Law at Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania, as a permanent visiting professor. He is licensed in Texas and New Mexico. A leading expert in oil & gas and property law, Dr. Kulander has published over twenty law review articles, as well as many other articles with a more practical focus in the industry literature, on diverse topics including energy lending, finance, oil & gas law, land use control, American Indian law, as well as on geology, and petroleum seismology. He is a prolific speaker and expert witness. He received his J.D. with distinction from the University of Oklahoma, where he was managing editor for the Oklahoma Bar Mineral Law Newsletter and note editor and assisting managing editor for the American Indian Law Review. Before teaching, Professor Kulander practiced for four years in the Houston office of Haynes and Boone, LLP, focusing on energy lending, finance, and bankruptcy. Prior to that, he practiced for two years with Cotton & Bledsoe in Midland, Texas, focusing on oil and gas title, leasing, and litigation support. Before law school, he received his B.S. in geology and M.S. in geophysics from Wright State in Dayton, Ohio, and his Ph.D. in geophysics (petroleum seismology) from Texas A&M University, after which he worked for the U.S. Geological Survey as a geophysicist.
Mr. Andrew D. Martin
Davidson Summers, APLC
Andrew focuses largely on oil and gas litigation, with a wide range of trial court and appellate experience in complex mineral law cases. In these lawsuits, he has primarily represented landowners and independent oil companies. Andrew also has extensive practice in drafting and negotiating mineral leases and reviewing title to ascertain the ownership of mineral rights.
He also has significant litigation experience in non-mineral law matters ranging from contract disputes to real estate actions. Further, he has participated in collection efforts for a variety of creditors, facilitated timber and real estate transactions, and assisted in business formation and dissolution.
He has published three articles with LSU's Journal of Energy Law and Resources, most recently a 2020 submission entitled "What is the Appropriate Time Period for a Paying Quantities Analysis." He has also presented at numerous mineral law conferences in the past few years.
He and his wife Heidi Kemple Martin are married with one daughter, Anayansi Martin.
Mr. Ryan P. McAlister
Ottinger Hebert, LLC
Ryan focuses his practice on oil and gas matters and complex litigation.
After graduating from Lafayette High School, Ryan attended the United States Military Academy at West Point where he earned his Bachelor of Science. He then served as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army for over six years, including a year deployment to Iraq.
During law school, Ryan interned with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. He graduated Cum Laude from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University in 2017, receiving his Juris Doctor, Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law, and the Energy Law and Policy Certificate.
He is admitted to practice law in Louisiana and is also an active member of the Lafayette Association of Professional Landmen.
Mr. Michael L. Platner
Senior Tax Counsel
The Law Offices of Van Ness Feldman, LLP
Michael provides strategic counsel on legal, legislative and regulatory issues, including tax, energy, and international trade. Michael has extensive experience developing and implementing successful government relations programs. He has a refined understanding of the political landscape, supported by technical knowledge and a wealth of experience drafting issue papers, advising on legislative and regulatory matters, and building and advocating winning legislative strategies for participants in energy and related markets.
Prior to joining the firm, Michael was a lobbyist and the Tax Director for the American Petroleum Institute from 1992-2009 and the Tax and International Trade Counsel for U.S. Senator John H. Chafee from 1988 to 1992.
Professor Christina M. Sautter
LSU Law Center
Christina M. Sautter is the Cynthia Felder Fayard Professor of Law, the Byron R. Kantrow Professor of Law, and the Vinson & Elkins Professor of Law at Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center. She teaches Securities Regulation, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Business Associations I & II. Professor Sautter’s research interests lie in mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. She is the co-author, along with Franklin A. Gevurtz, of MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS LAW, which is part of West Academic Publishing’s legal hornbook series. Her research has appeared in the RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS, Brooklyn Law Review, Case Western Reserve Law Review, Florida State University Law Review, Journal of Corporation Law, and Delaware Journal of Corporate Law. Prior to joining the LSU Faculty, Professor Sautter served as a Westerfield Fellow at Loyola New Orleans College of Law. She also worked in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group of Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York City and clerked for the late Honorable H. Emory Widener, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She received her J.D., summa cum laude, from Villanova University School of Law and her B.S., summa cum laude, from Florida State University.
Mr. Patrick "Rick" M. Shelby
Phelps Dunbar, LLP
Rick has over 20 years of professional experience. He practices at Phelps Dunbar LLP in New Orleans, primarily in the areas of bankruptcy law, commercial litigation and corporate governance . During that time he has acted as counsel in various capacities on several Chapter 11 proceedings including Castex Energy Partners, LP; Falcon V, LLC; Whistler Energy II, LLC; ATP Oil & Gas; Shoreline Energy; Energy XXI; Harvest Oil & Gas; Port Aggregates, Inc.; A&B Valve and Piping Systems; Pel-Tex Oil Company, LLC; FEC Lafayette, LLC; Advocate Financial, LLC; Bourbon Saloon, Inc.; New Orleans Paddlewheels; Legends Gaming of Louisiana; Mirant and Virgin Offshore USA, Inc. Rick is also an experienced litigator with an emphasis on contractual disputes and oil, gas and energy litigation. Rick is licensed to practice law in Louisiana and Florida. Prior to practicing law, Rick worked as a transportation engineer and technical sales representative for the largest producer of crushed aggregates in the United States, Vulcan Materials Company. Rick also has a bachelor and masters degree in engineering. Rick is a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of business and for over 10 years, he has used this knowledge to counsel corporate clients in all aspects of restructuring and bankruptcy.
Rick was named as the 2013 and 2019 "New Orleans Magazine" Top Lawyer, Louisiana Super Lawyer for 2014-2020, and Best Lawyers (2018-2020). Rick also supports the New Orleans Pro Bono Project and received the 2014 Honor Roll and 2011 Century Award for donating over 100 hours of pro bono service. Rick has been asked to speak at several seminars including seminars for the New Orleans Bar Association, Mineral Law Institute and Professional Landman Association of New Orleans.
Mr. Thomas G Smart
Onebane Law Firm
Thomas G. Smart received his Bachelor’s of Science from Louisiana State University in 1979. He went on to Louisiana State University Law Center where he earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1982. Tommy is licensed to practice in Louisiana and Texas. He is Vice President of the Mineral Law Section of the Louisiana State Bar Association, and a member of the Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Law Section of the Texas Bar Association. He is a frequent speaker at various legal, land and industry seminars, including the Louisiana Mineral Law Institute, and is a guest lecturer for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette PLRM Program.
Tommy is a shareholder at the Onebane Law Firm, where he has practiced in its oil and gas section since 1982. He has a general oil and gas transactional practice serving producers and others engaged in onshore and offshore operations, including title examination, the structuring, drafting and negotiation of complex agreements, the acquisition, sale and/or financing of oil and gas properties, due diligence for property acquisition, serving as local counsel for purchase and financing transactions, 3-D seismic permit and license agreement advice, and general advice.
Tommy began practicing Oil and Gas Law because his dad, Holmes Smart, has enjoyed a long career as a consulting and unitization geologist in Lafayette. Tommy enjoys LSU sports of all kinds and is a season ticket holder to five sports. In fact, Tommy is featured prominently at most LSU home baseball games as his season tickets are directly in line with the batter television cameras. He also enjoys a view of Tiger Stadium from the balcony of his “camp” in Baton Rouge, located adjacent to the LSU campus. Tommy also enjoys reading and travel.