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Seven Texas Attorneys Now Board Certified In Oil, Gas & Mineral Law At Burleson LLP

HOUSTON, Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Burleson LLP, the largest law firm in the country devoted specifically to the oil and gas industry, announced today that three of its attorneys – Don Hueske, Jason Smith, and Josh Van Maele – have recently earned Board Certification in Oil, Gas & Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. 


With the announcement, there are now seven attorneys at the energy law firm who hold the designation.  The other four are:  Ward Adkins, Michael Browning, Gary C. Johnson, and Jenny Nguyen

Those who earn certification must be licensed for at least five years, devote a required percentage of their practice to a specialty area for at least three years, attend continuing education seminars, pass an evaluation by fellow lawyers and judges, and pass a six-hour written examination. 

Managing Partner Rick Burleson said the announcement reinforces the firm's dedication to delivering clients the most seasoned, energy-specific legal services team the industry has to offer.

"We're now one of just a handful of law firms in Texas – and the only law firm in Houston – to have seven Board Certified lawyers in Oil, Gas & Mineral Law," he explained.  "That's an incredible achievement, and I couldn't be more proud of each of these attorneys for challenging themselves to go above and beyond professional standards and meet these rigorous qualifications." 

Ward Adkins is a Partner who heads the firm's Oil and Gas Title practice in Houston.  With more than 40 years of experience in oil and gas law, Adkins focuses primarily on exploration and production for oil and gas properties in Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Dakota.  His expertise also extends to original drilling, supplemental, acquisition, division order, leasehold, and banking title opinions. 

Michael Browning, who has more than a decade of experience in oil and gas law, is a Partner in Burleson's San Antonio office.  He has rendered drilling, division order, leasehold, and acquisition title opinions for oil and gas properties throughout the state of Texas, including South Texas, West Texas, the Texas Gulf Coast, the Permian Basin, and the Haynesville, Barnett, and Eagle Ford shale plays.  His experience also includes advising clients on oil, gas, and mineral title issues, pooling and unitization, community leases, and undivided mineral ownership and leasehold estates. 

Don Hueske is a Partner in the firm's Houston office, where he practices oil and gas law while providing leadership on the firm's Rapid Response Due Diligence® team.  With a career spanning more than 30 years in the energy industry, Hueske has been an attorney for two decades and has extensive experience in all of the producing regions of Texas.   He oversees professional development efforts for the oil and gas title associates in the firm's Houston location and has participated in a number of quick-turnaround due diligence projects.

Gary C. Johnson, a Partner and Corporate Practice Group Leader in Burleson's Houston office, has practiced law for more than 35 years.  He has a comprehensive understanding of oil and gas exploration and production matters, with a background that includes working in private practice and as the general counsel or associate general counsel of three exploration and production companies.  Johnson has drafted and negotiated virtually every instrument that touches on or concerns the acquisition, exploration, development, production, marketing, divestiture, and financing of crude oil and natural gas, and the formation, operation, liquidation, and restructuring of oil and gas companies.

Jenny Nguyen is Senior Counsel in the firm's Houston office, where she focuses her practice on title concerns and associated business risks.  She has rendered original, supplemental, division order, and limited leasehold title opinions, as well as acquisition title reports.  She has also practiced in the areas of commercial and business litigation, representing clients in matters related to contracts, leases, construction, real estate, and deceptive trade practices.  In addition to trial and appellate cases in both state and federal courts, Nguyen has actively participated in alternative dispute resolution, including collaborative law cases, and arbitration and mediation.

Jason Smith is a Senior Associate in Burleson's Houston office who concentrates his practice in oil and gas matters and title concerns.  He is well versed in preparing drilling, division order, and acquisition opinions as well as various types of curative instruments in prospect areas throughout the state of Texas. Smith routinely analyzes and interprets deeds, contracts, agreements, assignments, and other title instruments affecting surface and mineral estates, royalty interests, and developmental interests. 

Josh Van Maele, Senior Associate in the firm's Houston office, focuses primarily on oil and gas matters and title concerns.  His background includes stand-up title examinations and rendering original, division order, and banking title opinions.  Van Maele is also experienced in drafting various legal instruments, including mineral deeds, stipulations of interest, affidavits, and warranty deeds, as well as curative documents, and regulatory and general transaction work. 

Board Certification by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization is offered in 21 specific areas of the law.  Initial certification is valid for five years.  To remain certified, attorneys must reapply for the designation and meet substantial involvement, peer review, and continuing legal education requirements for their specialty area.  To learn more about Board Certification, visit

Burleson has the critical mass and experience required for quick-turnaround due diligence projects.  Its Rapid Response Due Diligence® team has rendered thousands of drilling title opinions and has the background and capabilities to quickly identify defects that impact the value of an acquisition.  The firm is unique in being on the ground in all the major shale and resource plays in the continental United States, enabling it to place experienced attorneys in the data room on short notice. 

About Burleson LLP
With more than 130 attorneys in offices in Houston, San Antonio, Midland, Pittsburgh, and Denver, Burleson LLP is the largest full-service law firm in the country devoted specifically to the oil and gas industry.  We are unique in being on the ground in the key markets serving the unconventional shale plays, and we bring a distinct blend of legal understanding and technical skill to our practice. Our attorneys have worked as petroleum engineers, chemists, landmen, and geologists, and more than a third have served as inside legal counsel for oil and gas companies. These qualifications – combined with Burleson's broad geographic reach and comprehensive scope of services – have earned the firm a reputation for providing clients with the most seasoned, energy-specific legal services team the industry has to offer.   For further information, visit


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