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Subject:FW: Membership Report---Friday Meeting
Cc:christim@crowedunlevy.com, phmarti@lsu.edu, jdavidellwanger@swlegal.org
Bcc:christim@crowedunlevy.com, phmarti@lsu.edu, jdavidellwanger@swlegal.org
Date:Tue, 16 Oct 2001 08:35:49 -0700 (PDT)

For your consideration in preparation for Friday's meeting.


-----Original Message-----
From: MARK D. CHRISTIANSEN [mailto:CHRISTIM@crowedunlevy.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 10:02 AM
To: hartrick@alumni.rice.edu; tim.west@dvn.com; jlarmour@earthlink.net;
Cc: phmarti@lsu.edu; David Winn
Subject: Re: Membership Report---Friday Meeting

In preparation for our meeting this Friday, I wanted to describe my
concerns with regard to one particular aspect of the Membership
Committee report.

The issue that I am the most concerned about is the idea of forced
rotation and limited terms on the Advisory Board. To state up front the
conclusion I try to explain below (in what is admittedly too long of an
explanation that probably tries to anticipate too many of the likely
counter-concerns), I would favor keeping in place the part of our
current Advisory Board structure that enables key industry leaders, as
well as the same representative from a dues-paying organization, to
remain in place on the Board for as long as both (1) they wish to
serve, and (2) they are providing sufficient personal time or financial
support, or both, to provide value to the Center. I do not oppose the
removal of Advisory Board members who are providing neither service to
the Center nor financial support-----unless the staff of the Center
advise that the appearance on our Advisory Board list of the names of
certain key industry leaders has been of material value to the Center in
recruiting involvement of others without regard for whether the former
actually work on or financially support projects of the Center.

The underlying bias and beliefs from which my concerns arise are as
follows. While others may have reached the opposite conclusion, I think
the "longtime" participation in the SWLF's leadership by some of the top
leaders in the oil and gas industry, without forced rotation, has been
a key asset and has greatly benefitted the Center. While the list of
key leaders runs much longer than this, I would note just by way of
example that Sheila Hollis, Jim Hardwick and Stuart Hollimon from the
private practice sector, Pat Martin and John Lowe from the academic
sector, and Ted Frois, Ken Dickerson and Jim Derrick from the General
Counsel sector, are some of the individuals who have occupied leadership
roles in the Foundation for about as long as I have followed its
activities closely. One of the attributes which caused me to want to
become actively involved in this group was the observation that the SWLF
had a group of key leaders in the industry who seemed to have embraced
this organization as one in which they would make a longer term
commitment and investment.

If we had a large group of new and effective leaders who were out there
wanting to be involved in the leadership of the Center, and if the
continued participation by those who have been active for a number of
years was somehow blocking these newer people out of leadership roles,
we might have a situation that needs to be addressed. However, the
staff of the Foundation/Center have taken the lead in making sure that
we have the opposite situation. During the past 5 or so years, I have
seen David Ellwanger, David Winn and Mark Smith provide as much
encouragement and as much of an open door as anyone could provide, and
they have indeed made a point to aggressively recruit active
participation by those who show any inkling at all of maybe being
slightly inclined to become active in this group. Any new players who
have wanted to become active are both encouraged to do so and are given
leadership opportunities very quickly----and much more quickly than any
other organization in which I have been involved.

Our current system is one which eagerly welcomes new participant
leaders, and the staff of the Center and a number of the Center's
leaders have been making efforts for years to encourage participation
by new leaders. If we have a shortage of new leaders in the Center,
it is not due to a system or organization that discourages such
participation, because there are too many of us who have joined the
leadership in the past 5 years who can attest that this group welcomed
early leadership participation as quickly as any group in which we have
ever been involved. Rather, any shortage of new leader participants is
due to other factors such as the declining number of oil and gas
attorneys and the need to develop program content and a broader range of
activities that will attract broader participation among other sectors
of the energy industry that are growing instead of shrinking.

I have been involved in organizations that have had a forced rotation
and "up and out" system, and it has not worked well where there is not a
continuing supply of new people who want to work hard----not just take
on the name of the office and do nothing, but actually work hard-----in
carrying forward the initiatives of the organization. While in theory
the former hard-working and talented leaders are still welcome to remain
active in a non-leadership capacity after they complete their cycle, the
general experience is that these leaders move on and choose to spend
their energy with other organizations that still offer them leadership

The ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources has an up and out
system. John Lowe used to be the head of that Section. John has not
been active in that group since he completed his tenure as Section
Chair, and I think the Section is worse off for it. I expect that
Sheila Hollis, the current Chair, will be likely to greatly reduce the
portion of her energies that the ABA receives when she completes her
tenure as Chair, and the ABA will be worse off for that as well. And
the ABA, with this system, has often had great difficulty finding energy
lawyers who are willing to take on leadership roles and really work for
the organization. I think the ABA would be better off, at least in the
energy area, if whenever they find an energy law leader who will work
hard, they hold on to that person as long as she or he will serve, while
still finding room for service in other leadership capacities for any
new energy leaders who come along from time to time.

The "up and out" system may work in a satisfactory way for the State Bar
of Texas because the Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Section Council is
relatively small in size, and the State of Texas, uniquely, will always
have enough new oil and gas attorneys who want to have those positions
on their resume that there will always be a supply of new, hard-working
people to fill the positions of the outgoing officers of that Council.

However, I am concerned that the Center has a much more limited supply
of ongoing new, hard-working leaders to take over under an up and out
system. I am betting that we would continue to do better with the
current system that keeps the type of individuals named above around in
leadership roles as long as they are willing to actively serve, while
quickly making room on the Board (and other committees) for new
attorneys who show an interest in becoming leaders in the Center. That
is the approach that has been followed in recent years, and it sure
looks to me to be the better approach for this organization than any of
the alternatives that have been discussed.