If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

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If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:39 pm

Hey all. I graduated law school in the employment desert that was 2011 and eventually landed a job as a landman. It pays decent and being an attorney is actually considered a bonus as opposed to being something that employers don't like. If anyone is interested, I'm fine answering questions that won't out me.

micwrecka45
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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby micwrecka45 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:51 pm

What is a landman? What do you typically do day-to-day?

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kwais
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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby kwais » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:59 pm

Do you expect that people know what "landman" is? And if not, why use it without explanation? Know your audience.

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:00 pm

kwais wrote:Do you expect that people know what "landman" is? And if not, why use it without explanation? Know your audience.


You could have just asked what one is instead of being pompous. I guess I should know my audience.

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northwood
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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby northwood » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:01 pm

so I take it you try to get people to sign leases so you can frack on their property? Or do you do something else? How does it work? do you need to be a licensed attorney, or just a law school graduate?

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LeDique
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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby LeDique » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:02 pm

I thought everyone knew what a landman was. I guess that is living out west though.

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:06 pm

micwrecka45 wrote:What is a landman? What do you typically do day-to-day?


A landman works for oil, gas, and mining companies. Companies can't drill on private land in North America without obtaining a lease from everyone who has claim to a mineral interest first. Some landmen will research public records to determine the mineral ownership to allow other landmen to go to each person who claims an interest and negotiate to obtain a lease.

Right now I'm one of the people who checks records. The old school way of doing it is going to the courthouse and pulling the giant 30lb deed books, noting various things about the instruments, and then chaining it out and crunching the ownership percentages. Nowadays, most places will let you run off pictures. They have someone go to the courthouse and shoot images of the deed books and give you a disc and copies of various other documents you need. Then you get to work from home instead of hitting the road all the time.

I definitely prefer that. Other landmen work with title attorneys to reduce title risk (drafting various legal instruments, affidavits, subordination agreements, quitclaim deeds, etc). Still others work for companies and manage the drilling process from start to finish, hiring and firing attorneys/landmen, handling all the permits, etc.

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby mvpforme » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:09 pm

Generally speaking, what is the salary of a regular landman? What about JD landmen?

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:10 pm

northwood wrote:so I take it you try to get people to sign leases so you can frack on their property? Or do you do something else? How does it work? do you need to be a licensed attorney, or just a law school graduate?


That's one thing we do. Leasing requires a lot of travel (but they pay mileage, meals, hotel, etc. over and above the day rate, so you can make a killing) and negotiating with people of different social strata. Some above you, some below you. Some are third/fourth generation oil land owners so they will rip your face off in a negotiation; others aren't particularly savvy at all and will just sign whatever you come up with.

I posted about the other kinds of things you do a few seconds ago so look over that and let me know if you have any followup questions.

You don't need to be an attorney at all, but they are slowly trying to make that an unofficial requirement. A lot of majors (Chevron, Exxon, Shell, etc.) won't even consider you unless you have at least a JD. If you ever want to be a title attorney, experience as a landman gives you a valuable network of contacts and experience/training that will make you better than your competition.

Title attorneys during drilling booms make absurd amounts of money, but the work is very unstable.

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fundamentallybroken
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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby fundamentallybroken » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:14 pm

LeDique wrote:I thought everyone knew what a landman was. I guess that is living out west though.


This. I've known plenty of landmen in my time.

Also, is everyone else's Google broken?

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:16 pm

mvpforme wrote:Generally speaking, what is the salary of a regular landman? What about JD landmen?


Depends on the market and your willingness to travel. There are some places that are easier to live in and more desirable than others, but demand makes it an employer's market and depresses day rates.

A standard day rate for a JD with < 1 yr experience will be anywhere from $250-375. A sub-250 rate is usually a "training rate," which will rise quickly if you maneuver correctly through the politics. $375 a day is around 85k a year.

That rate can go as high as 400, 500, or more with enough experience if you're willing to go to someplace like Midland, TX or Wetzel county WV, but your quality of life won't be the same as working electronically from home. Up to you which is better for you.

Keep in mind that's your base day rate. You get paid at least $0.50 per mile for mileage, a per diem for meals, and reimbursement for hotels if necessary on top of your day rate. That can easily add another 20-30k per year to your base pay if you are traveling heavily.

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courtneylove
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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby courtneylove » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:24 pm

what kind of company hires landmen? do all oil and gas companies have their own, or do firms exist of people that just do this kind of title work? also, how's the market for this kind of work in California?

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby jaydizzle » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:25 pm

I have an interest in environmental/energy law. Any alternative JD jobs out there for these companies such as a landman? Any tips on securing employment as a landman or these various kinds of jobs?

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:35 pm

courtneylove wrote:what kind of company hires landmen? do all oil and gas companies have their own, or do firms exist of people that just do this kind of title work? also, how's the market for this kind of work in California?


There are two types of landmen: independent landman, and company landmen (also called exploration landmen, exploration counsel, land representatives, in-house landmen, and a million other things).

Independent landmen often handle a few different tasks: leasing, running title, title curative, surveying, right of way acquisition, etc. Generally anything that has a component requiring them to travel into the field.

They are almost always independent contractors. This is something they fight to keep because it lowers the tax burden and lets them keep a substantial amount of autonomy. Independents occasionally work directly for an attorney or a client E&P company, but the vast majority of the time they work for a "land services company." We refer to them informally as brokerages.

The brokerage structure is as follows: say I make $300 a day plus costs. I bill for 10 business days work plus $300 in incidental expenses. That's $3300 bucks. The brokerage will pay me that, then turn around and bill the client company $400 or more per day plus the $300 costs. They drum up the clients in droves, and in turn make a tidy margin off my work. The client company has no idea who I am and I often have no idea who they are. The land services company handles all that.

Company landmen handle an incredible amount of different tasks, but a general rule of thumb is they operate as project managers. They have to put out fires all the time. They hire/fire brokerages and law firms. They testify before administrative hearings and file administrative petitions. They make sure everything is going according to the drill schedule put out by the engineers and geologists. "Landman" is actually a shortened form of "Land Management," and the company landman fits that bill exactly. They manage the prospect until the well is completed.

All oil companies have a land department. They couldn't get anything done without one.

I'm unsure about California. Chevron began as Standard Oil California and it is the biggest player out there. California has massive mature fields, but given that landmen handle the exploration side, I'm not sure if there's a lot of exploration in California's fields. I could be wrong, though. Chevron also likes to recruit JDs to be company landmen, but you have to network your ass off to nab one of those jobs.

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:42 pm

jaydizzle wrote:I have an interest in environmental/energy law. Any alternative JD jobs out there for these companies such as a landman? Any tips on securing employment as a landman or these various kinds of jobs?


I actually focused on that when I was in law school. If you want to do environmental law, you're going to want to go the traditional law firm-in house path with a focus on regulatory work. Bigger E&P companies have dedicated regulatory attorney groups that handle that kind of thing. Landmen handle property acquisition and permitting, which is completely unrelated to environmental law.

If you want to be a landman, you have to network. I get into arguments with people about this a lot, but I've never gotten a land job without knowing someone first. The voluntary licensure process through the AAPL actually requires affidavits from other licensed landmen to show you have a network built.

There are land associations that have socials you can start attending if you join. They usually have unlimited booze and really good food and offer opportunities to get to know people if you're outgoing. Some are better than others, but they're usually a good time. It will take a while to build relationships but you won't be able to compete to get in the front door. I have a lot of experience and knowledge now and I can't even get a job in the front door anymore.

Also check out Paul Nielsen's LANDNEWS. You can submit your resume on there and it will go out to most landmen in the country. If you need a list of potential places to apply, you can be fancy and submit a polite open records request to the courthouse in a county with active drilling to determine who has open copy accounts. This will net you a list of brokerages that have landmen working in the county. I've never tried that (yet), but it seems like a solid way to start.

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby jaydizzle » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
jaydizzle wrote:I have an interest in environmental/energy law. Any alternative JD jobs out there for these companies such as a landman? Any tips on securing employment as a landman or these various kinds of jobs?


I actually focused on that when I was in law school. If you want to do environmental law, you're going to want to go the traditional law firm-in house path with a focus on regulatory work. Bigger E&P companies have dedicated regulatory attorney groups that handle that kind of thing. Landmen handle property acquisition and permitting, which is completely unrelated to environmental law.

If you want to be a landman, you have to network. I get into arguments with people about this a lot, but I've never gotten a land job without knowing someone first. The voluntary licensure process through the AAPL actually requires affidavits from other licensed landmen to show you have a network built.

There are land associations that have socials you can start attending if you join. They usually have unlimited booze and really good food and offer opportunities to get to know people if you're outgoing. Some are better than others, but they're usually a good time. It will take a while to build relationships but you won't be able to compete to get in the front door. I have a lot of experience and knowledge now and I can't even get a job in the front door anymore.

Also check out Paul Nielsen's LANDNEWS. You can submit your resume on there and it will go out to most landmen in the country. If you need a list of potential places to apply, you can be fancy and submit a polite open records request to the courthouse in a county with active drilling to determine who has open copy accounts. This will net you a list of brokerages that have landmen working in the county. I've never tried that (yet), but it seems like a solid way to start.


Thanks for the advice! I go to a pretty good school, so I wonder if with a little bit of networking I could get an in-house gig for a company as a landman.

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:52 pm

jaydizzle wrote:Thanks for the advice! I go to a pretty good school, so I wonder if with a little bit of networking I could get an in-house gig for a company as a landman.


Word of warning about that: school rankings are weird for landmen. If you go some ivy league school, a lot of landmen are going to automatically assume you're a douchebag so it could work against you. It won't be a dealbreaker, but it will require you to work a little harder to prove you're easy to work with. If you ask one what US News is, they won't be able to answer the question.

There are dedicated petroleum land management programs at schools that are otherwise pretty rancid TTTs (University of Oklahoma, Texas Tech, University of Wyoming, etc) that enjoy infinitely better in-house land placement than all higher tier schools.

Your school rank matters less than if you're a good personality fit, willing to learn, and unpretentious.

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby jaydizzle » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
jaydizzle wrote:Thanks for the advice! I go to a pretty good school, so I wonder if with a little bit of networking I could get an in-house gig for a company as a landman.


Word of warning about that: school rankings are weird for landmen. If you go some ivy league school, a lot of landmen are going to automatically assume you're a douchebag so it could work against you. It won't be a dealbreaker, but it will require you to work a little harder to prove you're easy to work with. If you ask one what US News is, they won't be able to answer the question.

There are dedicated petroleum land management programs at schools that are otherwise pretty rancid TTTs (University of Oklahoma, Texas Tech, University of Wyoming, etc) that enjoy infinitely better in-house land placement than all higher tier schools.

Your school rank matters less than if you're a good personality fit, willing to learn, and unpretentious.


Ah, yeah I don't go to a T-14 or anything like that.

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby Gorki » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:50 pm

Info re: Bakken at all?

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:36 pm

Gorki wrote:Info re: Bakken at all?


I haven't worked that area yet. I know Continental is huge up there right now and it's one of the biggest oil finds in american history. There's probably a ton of land work up there, and if you're willing to go there, I also bet you could get one of the higher 400+ day rates if you have some experience. ND can be a pretty bleak place.

I recently met a guy who is doing midstream work out in that area and he's making an absolute killing (like 130k+ a year), but he's been doing the land thing a long time too. I haven't done any midstream yet so I'm pretty clueless except for the agreements and things I have run across so far, but there's a bigger need for it than for upstream exploration. We don't have enough pipelines in place to support all the wells we've drilled during the shale boom, so we're having to shut in wells we've drilled until the pipeline capacity increases. That will in turn lead to more upstream work for guys like me.

YNWA504
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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby YNWA504 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:34 pm

I was wondering if you know if there are any landman firms that are based out of New Orleans, or anywhere in south Louisiana? If so, would it be best to just send them an email asking if they are hiring interns? Really interested in being a landman but just became aware of this type of job recently. 2L at lsu and just trying to figure out the best ways to go about being one. Interviewed with Chevron already but that didn't go through.

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:45 am

Similarly to previous OP, is there any way to get involved in this during your LS summer?

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kalvano
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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby kalvano » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:39 pm

What exactly is involved in researching title? I do a lot of title work review and I always have t go back and ask for more documents. Do these things just not come up as related to each other, like Deeds of Trust and then any related releases?

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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:31 pm

I have a lot of connections in texas and could be potentially interested in this. I'm in finals now but will return when I have more time. thanks for this info

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wbrother
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Re: If anyone is curious about the land business, I'm a landman

Postby wbrother » Mon Dec 16, 2013 4:48 pm

How accurate is the movie Promised Land?




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