The legal issues and challenges faced by oilfield General Counsel during the current recovery was the central theme at the 8th Oilfield Services Law Conference held on October 23 at the Hilton Houston Post Oak Hotel. Presented by the Institute for Energy Law, the all-day event gathered professionals in the oilfield services industry and featured a keynote address by Morae Global General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer J. Kent Friedman.

Friedman’s keynote address “The Legal Industry Continues to Change Rapidly—How to Survive (and Thrive)” explored systemic changes in the legal industry and how technology continues to impact the evolution the legal profession. His presentation aligned well with the central theme of issues and challenges faced by in-house lawyers and other professionals in the industry with the rebound of commodity prices.

“The legal industry is changing,” says Friedman. “And Morae Global’s mission is to assist in-house counsel in transforming the legal and compliance functions.”

Friedman presented an overview of his career path before joining President and CEO Shahzad Bashir in his game-changing legal consulting business. “Morae Global is not your grandfather’s startup. Our first client was the general counsel of one of the biggest auto manufacturers in the world.”

His keynote also addressed obtaining clients, hiring lawyers, the city of Houston’s economic engines and the importance of community activities. “Three of my passions have been politics, sports and kids,” said Friedman, who has been active in all three areas, including acting as Chairman of the Board of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority. “Lawyers have a unique opportunity to make positive changes in our communities with pro bono work, protecting the rule of law, community service or impacting the political arena – and we shouldn’t miss these opportunities to make a difference.”

In the highlight panel discussion for “Oilfield GCs: What Keeps Them Up at Night,” moderated by Paige Bickley Navarro, Chief Counsel of Western Hemisphere in Houston, panelists discussed the legal questions they and their companies face during recoveries versus downturns. Panelists included Daniel J. Churay, Executive Vice President Corporate Affairs, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, MRC Global Inc., Houston; Adam Law, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Select Energy Services, Houston; and William S. Moss III, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Talos Energy LLC, Houston.

Other topical highlights from the conference included practical advice for oilfield professionals during crisis management, issues and opportunities in international markets and contract negotiation issues in the oilfield sector.

As the rebound in commodity prices continues to create new opportunities for oilfield service providers, it also produces challenges for in-house counsel and other legal professionals in the industry. “Don’t stop networking,” advises Friedman. “And don’t stop changing and adapting as the legal profession changes.”

Since 2010, the annual Oilfield Services Law Conference has been hosted by the Institute for Energy Law – a division of the Center for American and International Law – focusing on areas of interest to lawyers working in the oilfield services sector including interactions with governments, energy companies, policies and employment.

For more information about the 8th Oilfield Services Law Conference, please visit http://www.cailaw.org/institute-for-energy-law/programs/oilfield-services-law-conference.html.

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