Now, more than ever, the oil and gas industry is a major topic of conversation, especially in Wyoming. Some might say Wyoming was built on oil and gas. It’s certainly the state’s biggest money-maker–as well as its biggest employer.
Which is why, sometimes, the oil and gas industry needs good attorneys.
Tom Reese, of Williams, Porter, Day & Neville, is a good attorney.
Reese received a J.D. degree from the University of Wyoming College of Law. Shortly thereafter, he began working as an associate attorney with Sherman and Howard in Denver. That lasted from 1981-1982 and then, in 1983, he began working with the firm Brown and Drew in Casper.
“Sherman and Howard gave me a lot of good experience,” Reese said of his time at the firm. “I got to work with some really good lawyers and it helped me get a job with a real good firm in Wyoming which, back then, was called Brown and Drew.”
Reese worked with Brown and Drew from 1983 until 2010 and it was during that time that he really began to find his footing as a mineral law attorney.
“I started doing Mineral Law work at Sherman & Howard, and Brown and Drew hired me to be an oil and gas lawyer,” Reese said. “I got to work with, at that time, the Dean of the Oil and Gas Lawyers in Wyoming, Bill Drew. I learned a lot from him. He got me involved in a lot of different oil and gas law matters and it’s because of Brown and Drew that I was able to develop an oil and gas practice with a lot of different oil and gas companies.”
When one thinks of a ‘typical lawyer’ (if there ever is such a thing – there’s not), they usually picture somebody from a television show, fighting for justice in a high-pressure murder case. In actuality, it’s not nearly as dramatic. But it is equally important. This is especially true in the world of oil and gas law, which is why that area is so important to Reese.
“I lived through the 1973 oil embargo, so I know how important it is for the United States to develop its oil and gas reserves so we never have to go through that kind of situation again, where there just wasn’t enough gasoline,” he stated. “It was a really difficult situation for a while there. We’d become completely dependent on foreign oil, so one of the things I really wanted to do was help us become energy independent.”
Reese learned a lot while working for Brown and Drew. He plied his craft and learned a lot about the oil and gas industry. He worked alongside the future Governor of Wyoming, Mike Sullivan, and really built a name for himself in his field. In 2009, he began working for a firm called Beatty, Wozniak & Reese. It was a Denver firm that wanted a Casper office, and Reese was the named Wyoming attorney.
That is where his son began working with him.
For some people, that could have been a disaster. But Tom and his son Will actually have made a pretty formidable team.
“It’s really good to have somebody I could rely on,” Reese stated. “Will has that same kind of attitude that I do in that, as lawyers, we’re really in the service industry and we need to serve the needs of the client the best we can, and keep that in mind all the time. That’s really what has been my guiding thought throughout my career; that we need to make sure our clients are taken care of and we need to serve their interests the best that we can.”
It was that attitude that eventually led both Tom and his son to Williams, Porter, Day & Neville. WPDN shares that same attitude in regards to their clients, so it was a natural fit. Reese and son joined WPDN in February of 2015 and have remained there ever since.
“[Their attitude about clients] is one of the reasons I really looked forward to joining them,” Reese said. “I think they have a very well-rounded practice and they support us in the ways that we need support. We’re able to bring in a whole new area for them, so they get more work. I think it’s been very beneficial for both of us, individually, and for the firm.”
Reese said that another reason he and Will wanted to join WPDN was because of the teamwork that is evident in every case WPDN attorneys handle.
“I think they have a lot of hardworking and intelligent lawyers who want to serve their clients to the best of their ability, and they’re willing to share and to assist one another in representing clients,” he said.
The clients, Reese said, are the highlight of the job.
“Working closely with the clients and getting to know them, to make sure that we’re doing what they want and how they want it done is my favorite part of being an attorney,” Reese stated. “It’s been the real pleasure of my career working with these very intelligent, sophisticated clients; it’s just been a real joy.”
Of course, another joy regarding his career has been working with his son, who is also an oil and gas attorney.
“It’s meant an awful lot to me,” Reese stated. “It’s been really important to me that he’s wanted to do this and has been very successful at it. I’m glad he’s had the same kind of experience that I’ve had in representing these very good clients. It’s just been a real joy for me to be able to watch him grow from being a very young and inexperienced attorney to being somebody that is fully capable of doing anything and everything he needs to do to assist the clients.”
The elder Reese is fully capable, as well. In addition to his work with WPDN, Reese has also served in numerous leadership positions with the Natrona County United Way, including as Campaign Chair and President. He was also on the original board of the Natrona County D.A.R.E program and has worked with other nonprofits throughout the community as well.
“I was born and raised in Casper,” he beamed. “It’s a great community and I wanted to participate in the community, doing what I could, when I could, to assist and make the community a better place.”
He’s done that, in more ways than one. He has also made Williams, Porter, Day & Neville a better place. The oil and gas industry is a tumultuous, ever-changing, industry. But with men like Tom Reese (and his son), fighting for the rights of those within the oil and gas world, help is only a phone call away.