Solo lawyers who draft or review oil, gas or natural resources leases face a tough road. For starters, these types of leases are often much trickier than standard leases for office space or wedding halls – there are distinctions between surface and sub-surface rights, leases for easements and rights of way versus, full fee versus use rights and of course, the array of choices for payments – by square foot or royalty percentages and if the latter, how to calculate them. In short, natural resource, gas and oil leases pose enough traps for the unwary that it’s often advisable for a solo or small firm unschooled in these issues to call in an expert.
But now thanks to an unlikely source — the New York Times — solos who lack this expertise can start to develop it on their own. As part of a running series on oil and gas lease and Marcellas Shale , the formation that’s spawned a million new practice sub-groups (google the term along with lawyer and you’ll see what I mean), the New York Times collected more than 111,000 oil and gas leases and related documents from New York, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and has posted them online here. You can search the leases by topic or term and read about some common red flags here. This is probably one of the best research tools I’ve come across in a long, long time – so enjoy!
Editor’s Note: What’s your secret research tool? Share it with MyShingle and we publish it, you’ll win a $25.00 gift card.