Best Lawyers for Natural Resources Law in America

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Lawyer
Mark K. Adams was awarded  "Lawyer of the Year" in

Mark K. Adams

Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin, & Robb P.A.
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Mining Law Corporate Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law Environmental Law Water Law Native American Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Real Estate Law Land Use and Zoning Law
Lawyer
David F. Asmus was awarded  "Lawyer of the Year" in

David F. Asmus

Sidley Austin LLP
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    International Trade and Finance Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Water Law Railroad Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Miami, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Litigation - Land Use and Zoning Land Use and Zoning Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Antitrust Commercial Litigation Litigation - Environmental Litigation - Intellectual Property Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants Natural Resources Law Bet-the-Company Litigation Litigation - Patent
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law Litigation - Mergers and Acquisitions Litigation - Construction Litigation - Real Estate Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Water Law Energy Law Energy Regulatory Law Oil and Gas Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Product Liability Litigation - Defendants
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Mining Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Banking and Finance Law Real Estate Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Mining Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Addison, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Bet-the-Company Litigation Antitrust Law Energy Law Mining Law Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Portland, Oregon
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Portland, Oregon
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boise, Idaho
  • Practice Areas:
    Water Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lexington, Kentucky
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Mining Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Environmental Law Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Bet-the-Company Litigation Litigation - Municipal Commercial Litigation Workers' Compensation Law - Employers Mining Law Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Sheridan, Wyoming
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Real Estate Law Energy Law Corporate Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Bridgeport, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Real Estate Law Corporate Law Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Real Estate Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Native American Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boise, Idaho
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Portland, Oregon
  • Practice Areas:
    Water Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Mining Law Energy Regulatory Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Water Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Real Estate Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Mining Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Water Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    San Francisco, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lexington, Kentucky
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Mining Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Administrative / Regulatory Law Oil and Gas Law Mergers and Acquisitions Law Natural Resources Law Corporate Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Oil and Gas Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Water Law Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Glenwood Springs, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Water Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Real Estate Law Litigation - Land Use and Zoning Natural Resources Law Land Use and Zoning Law Litigation - Real Estate
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Midland, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Commercial Litigation Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Land Use and Zoning Law Natural Resources Law Real Estate Law Energy Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Okemos, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Municipal Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lexington, Kentucky
  • Practice Areas:
    Corporate Law Mining Law Mergers and Acquisitions Law Energy Law Natural Resources Law International Mergers & Acquisitions
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Energy Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law Environmental Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Water Law Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Mining Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Native American Law Gaming Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Jackson, Mississippi
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Energy Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Mining Law Water Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Regulatory Law Energy Law Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Jackson, Mississippi
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Litigation - Real Estate Natural Resources Law Real Estate Law Mining Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Bridgeport, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Real Estate Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law Energy Law Natural Resources Law Commercial Litigation Litigation - Environmental Litigation - Banking and Finance Litigation - Land Use and Zoning Oil and Gas Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
  • Practice Areas:
    Mining Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Mining Law Water Law Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law Energy Regulatory Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Water Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Land Use and Zoning Law Litigation - Environmental Water Law Energy Law Litigation - Land Use and Zoning Administrative / Regulatory Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Portland, Oregon
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Mining Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boise, Idaho
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Timber Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Bet-the-Company Litigation Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Commercial Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Mediation Administrative / Regulatory Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Commercial Litigation Appellate Practice
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Commercial Litigation Natural Resources Law Bet-the-Company Litigation Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Energy Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Billings, Montana
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boise, Idaho
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Water Law Land Use and Zoning Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Sacramento, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Billings, Montana
  • Practice Areas:
    Employment Law - Management Workers' Compensation Law - Employers Litigation - Insurance Natural Resources Law Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants Product Liability Litigation - Defendants Commercial Litigation Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Sacramento, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Mining Law Oil and Gas Law Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law Energy Law Natural Resources Law Real Estate Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lansing, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Mining Law Water Law
Lawyer
Sunny J. Nixon was awarded  "Lawyer of the Year" in

Sunny J. Nixon

Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin, & Robb P.A.
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Mining Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Portland, Oregon
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Timber Law Oil and Gas Law Mining Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Troy, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Environmental Law Energy Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Ridgeland, Mississippi
  • Practice Areas:
    Banking and Finance Law Real Estate Law Timber Law Litigation - Real Estate Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Mining Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Mining Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Overland Park, Kansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Water Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
  • Practice Areas:
    Mining Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Corporate Law Securities / Capital Markets Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Mining Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy) Litigation - Environmental Commercial Litigation Litigation - Land Use and Zoning Litigation - Municipal
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Bellevue, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Water Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Energy Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lake Oswego, Oregon Lake Oswego, Oregon
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Land Use and Zoning Law Environmental Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Sacramento, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Water Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Real Estate Law Energy Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Energy Law Appellate Practice Insurance Law Administrative / Regulatory Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Commercial Litigation Energy Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Government Relations Practice Administrative / Regulatory Law Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Energy Law Administrative / Regulatory Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Bend, Oregon
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Native American Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Jackson, Mississippi
  • Practice Areas:
    Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants Oil and Gas Law Litigation - Banking and Finance Natural Resources Law Energy Law Bet-the-Company Litigation Commercial Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law Native American Law Mining Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Practice Areas:
    Administrative / Regulatory Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Water Law Energy Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Ridgeland, Mississippi
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Real Estate Professional Malpractice Law - Defendants Bet-the-Company Litigation Litigation - Mergers and Acquisitions Natural Resources Law Commercial Litigation Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Land Use and Zoning Law Litigation - Land Use and Zoning Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    San Francisco, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Land Use and Zoning Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Water Law Natural Resources Law Native American Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Administrative / Regulatory Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law Mining Law

  • Location:
  • Practice Areas:

Practice Area Definition

Natural Resources Law Definition

“Natural resources” is an extraordinarily broad concept. The United States Geological Survey defines natural resources as “minerals, energy, land, water, and biota.” This definition includes the timber, metal, or stone that your house is built from, the fuel that produced the electricity that heats and cools it, the water in its pipes, and even the scenery that increases its value.

Natural resources law is occasionally confused with environmental law, but the fields are distinct. Environmental law is what you may not do; natural resources law is what you may do and how to do it. It is the body of law that organizes the discovery, development, allocation, ownership, management, and ultimately use of all the raw materials that our civilization is built from, and of the energy sources that make it run. In a practical sense, this term has come to mean the constellation of statutory, regulatory, and judicial law that customarily applies to the major natural resource industries such as mining, oil and gas, water, and forestry.

This body of law draws heavily from contract, property, and corporate law, but also has substantial overlap with environmental, tax, land use, administrative, and even tort law. The set of legal issues that confront, for example, a client wishing to organize a company to develop a particular offshore or onshore mineral deposit, is unique. Therefore, the diversity and specificity of these issues led to the emergence of specialized natural resource lawyers.

Natural resource lawyers also must be familiar with the business realities that affect their clients. They are experienced with the operational details and points of negotiation in the contracts and physical operations that are common and also unique to a particular resource. They must alert clients to potential traps for the unwary in the case law of their jurisdiction, navigate government regulations to accomplish their clients’ goals, and assemble transactions from the myriad property and operational issues that exist for each particular resource. For example, the mechanics and economics of the development of oil and gas versus hard minerals such as coal has led to dramatically different business structures and contracts to develop these distinct resources.

Some natural resource lawyers specialize in unwinding the often Gordian ownership of mineral resources, others are skilled in litigating the unique disputes that arise in the context of development joint ventures, and still others can structure natural resource projects from exploration, to development and sale. In recent years, the natural resource industries have acquired a significant international dimension; in this context natural resource lawyers can provide invaluable orientation and counsel to foreign companies investing in mineral projects in the United States, or domestic companies seeking to expand their presence globally.

Arthur J. Wright, Oil and Gas Practice Group Leader
Thompson & Knight LLP

Thompson & Knight LLP logo

“Natural resources” is an extraordinarily broad concept. The United States Geological Survey defines natural resources as “minerals, energy, land, water, and biota.” This definition includes the timber, metal, or stone that your house is built from, the fuel that produced the electricity that heats and cools it, the water in its pipes, and even the scenery that increases its value.

Natural resources law is occasionally confused with environmental law, but the fields are distinct. Environmental law is what you may not do; natural resources law is what you may do and how to do it. It is the body of law that organizes the discovery, development, allocation, ownership, management, and ultimately use of all the raw materials that our civilization is built from, and of the energy sources that make it run. In a practical sense, this term has come to mean the constellation of statutory, regulatory, and judicial law that customarily applies to the major natural resource industries such as mining, oil and gas, water, and forestry.

This body of law draws heavily from contract, property, and corporate law, but also has substantial overlap with environmental, tax, land use, administrative, and even tort law. The set of legal issues that confront, for example, a client wishing to organize a company to develop a particular offshore or onshore mineral deposit, is unique. Therefore, the diversity and specificity of these issues led to the emergence of specialized natural resource lawyers.

Natural resource lawyers also must be familiar with the business realities that affect their clients. They are experienced with the operational details and points of negotiation in the contracts and physical operations that are common and also unique to a particular resource. They must alert clients to potential traps for the unwary in the case law of their jurisdiction, navigate government regulations to accomplish their clients’ goals, and assemble transactions from the myriad property and operational issues that exist for each particular resource. For example, the mechanics and economics of the development of oil and gas versus hard minerals such as coal has led to dramatically different business structures and contracts to develop these distinct resources.

Some natural resource lawyers specialize in unwinding the often Gordian ownership of mineral resources, others are skilled in litigating the unique disputes that arise in the context of development joint ventures, and still others can structure natural resource projects from exploration, to development and sale. In recent years, the natural resource industries have acquired a significant international dimension; in this context natural resource lawyers can provide invaluable orientation and counsel to foreign companies investing in mineral projects in the United States, or domestic companies seeking to expand their presence globally.