Paul Yale

As a former landman and natural gas commercial negotiator for a major oil company, I have a unique insider understanding of the industry. I speak my clients’ language and know first-hand the business challenges they face every day, which makes me an incredibly effective dealmaker and problem-solver.

Paul Yale is Board Certified in Oil, Gas & Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has decades of experience in both the domestic and international oil and gas industry, including 27 years working in various capacities with ExxonMobil Corporation and its predecessors. Before retiring from ExxonMobil in 2007, Paul served as Manager of Land for the company’s U.S. Production Organization responsible for overseeing all land activities in the U.S. lower 48. Upon retiring from ExxonMobil, Paul immediately re-entered private law practice focusing exclusively on oil and gas title, transactional and dispute resolution matters. He is a licensed attorney in eight states and has worked in virtually every major U.S. oil and gas basin, both onshore and offshore.

During the course of Paul’s career he has negotiated and documented countless numbers of upstream oil and gas transactions, including purchase and sale agreements, oil and gas leases, joint operating agreements, exploration agreements, unit agreements, gas sales contracts, master services agreements, drilling contracts, and many more. He regularly prepares oil and gas drilling, division order and acquisition title opinions in Texas, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and in other states in which he is licensed.

A certified arbitrator and mediator, Paul is experienced in guiding parties to amicable dispute resolutions in cases involving upstream oil and gas contracts and complex title issues. He is frequently called on to provide expert witness testimony in litigation involving many types of complex oil and gas issues.

Paul is a regular author and speaker on a variety of oil and gas legal topics including title opinions, operating agreements, and hydraulic fracturing. He is a co-author and editor of LexisNexis’s Hydraulic Fracturing Law and Practice (2017 and 2019 editions).   

Representative Experience
  • Represents independent oil and gas producers in acquisition, divestiture, and joint venture negotiations.
  • Supports independent oil and gas producers in drilling programs in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and other states through rendering title opinions and giving associated legal advice on operational and regulatory matters.     
  • Conducts title due diligence for oil and gas lenders including both banks and private equity investors.
  • Represents an ivy league university in oil and gas negotiations involving Texas and Oklahoma mineral interests.  
  • Represents both oil and gas producers and private landowners in oil and gas lease negotiations. 
  • Served as an expert witness in approximately a dozen oil and gas cases since entering private law practice in 2007.
  • Served as a company representative for a major oil company in dozens of take or pay and other oil and gas disputes 1980-2007.
  • Mediates and arbitrates cases involving oil and gas title issues, joint operating agreements, purchase and sale agreements, and other types of contracts.  
  • Served on American Association of Professional Landmen drafting committees including the committee that drafted the 1989 Joint Operating Agreement and a committee currently drafting a model form exploration agreement.
  • Served as an international agreements coordinator for a major oil company. Worked on the committee that drafted the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators model form operating agreement. 
Thought Leadership / News
July 22, 2021 
 Speeches and Presentations
Let’s Make a Deal – Negotiating and Drafting Leases from Lessee and Lessor Perspectives – An Ethical Mock Negotiation

Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute

July 22, 2021 
 Thought Leadership
Let’s Make a Deal: Selected Issues When Negotiating a Modern Oil and Gas Lease

67 Rocky Mt. Min. L. Inst. 21-1 (2021)

June 2021 
 Thought Leadership

State Bar of Texas Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section Report, Volume 45, Number 2

August 2020 
 Thought Leadership

Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Natural Resources Law Network

  • Named a "Super Lawyer" by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters company) as published in Texas Monthly (2013 - 2022)
  • Named a Houstonia Magazine Top Lawyer in Houston (2021 - 2023)
  • AV Preeminent® rated 5.0 in Natural Resources Law, by Martindale-Hubbell (the highest possible peer review rating Martindale-Hubbell offers in a specialty area), and AV Preeminent® 4.9 overall (out of a possible 5.0)
Organizational Involvement

Professional Activities, Memberships & Affiliations

  • Trustee-at-Large, Foundation for Energy Law and Natural Resources (formerly the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation)
  • Houston Bar Association, Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Section, Past Chair
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Texas Bar College, Fellow
  • American Association of Professional Landmen (CPL)
  • American Bar Association - Section on Environment, Energy and Resources
  • J.D., Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law (1977)
  • B.A., cum laude, Vanderbilt University (1974)
Bar Admissions
  • Wyoming (2022)
  • New Mexico (2017)
  • North Carolina (2015)
  • Utah (2014)
  • Ohio (2014)
  • Oklahoma (2013)
  • North Dakota (2009)
  • Colorado (1983)
  • Texas (1977)
When I Feel Most At Home
  • Reading - my most recent favorite books include: Saudi America ( Bethany McLean); Question of Power (Robert Bryce); Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Yuval Noah Harari); and A Guide to the Good Life (the Ancient Art of Stoic Joy) (William B. Irvine).
  • Listening to music, especially classical and bluegrass, and occasionally picking a banjo. Favorite musicians? Hard to say, but Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck are up there.
  • Being walked, almost every morning at dawn, by our two dogs.