Local lawyers say there's more need than they can fill
All the big money pouring into small Eagle Ford Shale communities means big business for lawyers. Moulton Dowler, Jr. with San Antonio-based Langley & Banack says recently acquired the Karnes City firm Butler Attorneys at Law P.C. and that they expect to stay busy. "I think there's going to be a good bit of work in oil and gas leasing," he says. "There will be title work and there will be litigation that relates, probably , to the oil and gas industry."
Small firms in the region have been overrun by demands for legal services. "They have an overload of work," says Dowler, "work they're concerned about as far as being able to staff." Not all of that work is coming from the oil companies themselves.
"When there's additional funds and wealth coming into the county, that generates issues involving wills and estates, real estate acquisitions and other things," says Dowler. Those other things will most certainly include civil lawsuits, either involving oil companies and contractors in the Eagle Ford or the residents already there and suddenly dealing with curious burden of overnight fortunes.
Either way, it's a booming business for lawyers in the Eagle Ford Shale. They're faced, however, with the same questions as any other industry making big investments in infrastructure and services there. How long will it last and how deeply should they get involved?
There's still no solid answer, but Dowler believes one thing is clear. "This will be a significantly long term play. Whether that's five years, ten years, 20 years, no one can say for sure," admits Dowler. The one thing that can be said with some confidence is that the economic outlook for places like Karnes City have entirely changed.