Many national law firms are flocking to the Midwest and Eastern states to set up shop near the shale plays. Dinsmore is already here. With 12 offices throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky, Dinsmore offers attorneys already well-versed in the respective states’ laws and regulations, and with the established relationships that come with decades of professional practice and community involvement. Indeed, Dinsmore even boasts attorneys with roots (and thus ties) in the less populated counties whose courthouses are now being overrun with title search teams. In addition, through the professionals in our Washington, D.C. office, Dinsmore has the capabilities to participate influentially in ongoing federal initiatives that may affect our shale clients in significant ways.
Dinsmore has extensive experience resolving disputes and litigating cases in all of the jurisdictions – both state and federal level – where the shale plays are located. Dinsmore attorneys have similar experience and knowledge regarding transactional matters in the relevant geographical areas as well. Moreover, Dinsmore has professionals with key knowledge and contacts from the regulatory standpoint, with attorneys on our Shale Resources Team having served in both state and federal government legal positions. All of this makes Dinsmore the go-to firm able to handle your shale resources needs – where those needs are arising – today.
With more than 450 attorneys, we regularly assist clients facing challenges and opportunities across more than 55 areas of law. If you have an employment matter or intellectual property issue and antitrust concerns arise, we’re your firm. We’re your firm when it comes to project finance, insurance, joint ventures, securities, complex litigation, zoning; essentially, for just about any business need that could arise. And what’s more, with the help of our professionals at Dinsmore Public Sector Advisors LLC, we’re your firm when it comes to navigating the often unpredictable realms of policy-making and new legislation. But most importantly, we are active in the shale arena, representing players all across the board and putting to use our know-how in natural resources; environmental permitting, compliance and litigation; and real estate.
Natural Resources Law
Dinsmore attorneys routinely represent clients engaged in every facet of the ownership, development, leasing, extraction, transportation, purchase and sale of mineral reserves and other natural resources, including shale resources.
Mineral development has long been one of the most heavily regulated and scrutinized industries in our economy. Our attorneys have substantial experience in helping clients sort through this maze of regulatory requirements, including providing counsel on all aspects of resource development, entailing representation before various state and federal administrative agencies, courts, and legislative bodies. This includes experience obtaining necessary permits from state natural resource and environmental departments and essential knowledge regarding pooling and/or unitization requirements, agency exclusivity and the like; with the shale work in particular, our attorneys are accustomed to working hand-in-hand with the regulators as they themselves sort through how best to address the unique issues raised by horizontal drilling. As a part of our regional practice, we regularly provide assistance in interpreting and applying the environmental and safety regulatory programs which govern the extraction of oil and gas, minerals and coal, and have represented private companies and trade associations in several landmark court cases. Our attorneys are also involved in defending clients against civil actions involving alleged extraction-related damages, and citizens’ suits claiming violations of federal and state statutes.
Our attorneys also handle negotiation and drafting, as well as the interpretation and – when necessary – arbitration or litigation of every type of contractual arrangement common to the industry. These typically include long-term supply contracts, mineral and surface deeds and leases, merger or acquisition agreements, contract mining agreements and all manner of distribution and transportation arrangements (including helping with the development of new transmission infrastructure). We also routinely represent both borrowers and lenders in all types of financing arrangements utilized in connection with the industry.
Our attorneys, several of whom are nationally recognized in the area of natural resources law, have handled every aspect of the transfer of property and mineral interests from simple lease assignments for individuals in Appalachia to complex stock purchase agreements between South African and British interests. We can assist in each phase of any of these transactions, from planning and organizing data rooms, conducting large-scale due diligence reviews, obtaining all necessary approvals and consents, to arranging and negotiating necessary financing.
Environmental Permitting, Compliance & Litigation
Dinsmore’s environmental attorneys provide clients with a broad range of services, from obtaining necessary permits, to helping achieve and maintain compliance with environmental laws and regulation, to – when necessary – successfully litigating environmental and toxic tort cases. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in federal and state administrative, civil, and criminal environmental and related litigation matters throughout the United States. Through our comprehensive capabilities to provide preventive environmental counseling, business transactions advice, and dispute resolution and litigation services, our attorneys enable our clients to effectively manage the risks associated with environmental regulations, toxic tort claims, and related matters throughout their operations.
On the regulatory front, our attorneys counsel clients on permitting (and key decisions in the permitting process, such as – in the air permitting arena – source determination/aggregation), licensing, negotiating compliance plans and responding to citizen group challenges, with a keen eye continually focused on changes in the regulatory landscape and how these changes do or could affect client interests. This includes new state efforts to address impacts and emissions from shale drilling. We represent energy companies in addressing a wide variety of compliance requirements under local, state, and federal environmental statutes and regulations. As the national and state focus on environmental issues continues to grow, we help clients meet their business goals while navigating the increasingly complex regulatory environment, and regularly provide counsel on U.S. EPA and state auditing policies and the full range of reporting requirements. This includes participating in administrative rulemakings (and where appropriate – with the help of Dinsmore Public Sector Advisors – the legislative process) to help ensure that the full panoply of relevant interests is considered in the rulemaking or policy-making process.
From appearing before local administrative tribunals to handling nationwide litigation, Dinsmore offers our clients premiere litigation and regulatory enforcement defense capabilities regardless of the scope or complexity of the matter. We regularly represent clients at enforcement proceedings (as well as permitting and other administrative proceedings), and our litigation experience includes claims arising under the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, Superfund, and the full gambit of other environmental statutes. Our team of attorneys also has extensive experience handling criminal enforcement matters; property and natural resource damage actions; as well as eminent domain, zoning and nuisance matters. And our experience includes litigating complex insurance coverage issues when claims and liabilities relating to environmental contamination do arise.
Our attorneys’ environmental law capabilities are not limited to permitting, compliance and litigation. We also routinely handle the due diligence needed to identify potential environmental liabilities in the course of complex business transactions, and we can often offer creative solutions for risk or liability allocation as an integrated part of the overall deal strategy. We have significant experience heading multi-disciplinary teams that conduct audits as a part of corporate environmental management systems (and, when needed, working with qualified technical consultants to assist our clients in negotiating and developing plans to bring their operations into compliance, settle past violations, and minimize the risk of future issues). Our attorneys also advise clients on acquiring and structuring insurance coverage for potential environmental liabilities to help minimize risks.
Dinsmore attorneys regularly counsel clients with respect to the challenges that characterize the improvement, construction, financing, use, acquisition and disposition of real estate. Whether it is obtaining leases or otherwise assembling parcels for mineral development, negotiating loan documents, obtaining governmental approvals and incentives, performing zoning due diligence, closing on a project or representing a client in an adversarial proceeding, our attorneys possess the necessary skills and experience to assist clients in achieving their investment objectives.
Our team of attorneys has experience handling real estate issues in the context of administrative hearings and appeals; easements and rights-of-way; Brownfield sites and covenants not to sue; title insurance; condemnation negotiations and proceedings; infrastructure improvements; public utility rights; takings; zoning/land use decisions; and trespass/damage claims. Our clients include developers, investors, lessors, tenants, corporate managers, non-profit entities and other owners who seek to protect and enhance the value of their real estate assets. To that end, we are committed to responding promptly in a cost-efficient but competent manner that best serves our clients.
Of particular relevance to shale resources, we have a team of several real estate paralegals spread amongst our nearby offices, well-positioned to lend a hand on projects in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. These professionals have years of experience conducting title searches related to mineral interests, including oil and gas title exams. We also maintain an extensive library of state-specific requirements which enables us to provide efficient, cost-effective services regardless of the location of the collateral. And through our wholly-owned corporation, Mercantile Title Agency, Inc., we are affiliated with national and regional title insurers and are able to offer a full range of real estate closing services, including title examinations and issuance of title commitments and policies.
More broadly, our commercial finance attorneys counsel clients in all types of financing transactions, including those secured by business assets and/or real estate, secured transactions under the U.C.C. and title insurance, as well as loan restructuring and work-outs. We routinely advise clients throughout the loan process, including drafting and negotiating loan documents, due diligence review, obtaining and evaluating all third party reports and facilitating the closing. Our familiarity with the issues affecting our clients and our ongoing involvement with complex commercial and financial transactions enable us to anticipate potential problems and formulate strategies that minimize risk for our clients when asset values decline and alternative approaches become necessary. Our experience includes handling deeds in lieu of foreclosure, short sales, foreclosures (contested and negotiated), receiverships, related management/investor/tenant litigation and bankruptcy proceedings and enforcement of guaranties and assignments of rents. We are also frequently retained by major law firms across the country to act as local counsel on multi-state loan transactions to provide prompt and accurate review of documents for local law compliance and issuance of opinion letters.
Dinsmore’s Shale Resources Team attorneys are located exactly where your interests are, and we are in the shale business. We stand ready to assist in all matters related to your involvement in this rapidly expanding industry. Let us put our wealth of knowledge and experience to work for you.