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Energy attorney and geologist Michael P. Joy has joined the Denver office of BakerHostetler as a partner in the Litigation Group and Energy and Shale team. Joy comes to BakerHostetler from the Pittsburgh office of Reed Smith, LLP. He is regarded as one of the nation’s top authorities on the Marcellus and Utica shales, having written his Ph.D. dissertation in Geology on the Trenton and Black River group carbonate to Utica Shale transition throughout New York and Pennsylvania. Joy has also worked as a soil gas analyst, field mapping geologist, and adjunct professor teaching in paleontology, stratigraphy, and sedimentology. He has developed energy policy, managed public relations, and lobbied local and state government for land service companies, oil and natural gas operators, and the oil and natural gas industry trade association in New York State. Joy has also authored or co-authored a multitude of scientific and legal articles on geology and natural resource development and is a sought-after presenter at trade conferences and lectures.

Highly specialized in the technical and regulatory complexities of operating in the Appalachian Region, Joy guides clients through all aspects of energy transactions, including mergers and acquisitions (including the antitrust, tax, petroleum accounting, and foreign investment aspects of complex petroleum industry transactions); producing property transactions such as land leasing and development acreage transactions; regulatory issues associated with well drilling and development; and policy litigation issues surrounding oil and gas development. He draws from his ground level experience as a geologist to counsel exploration and production companies, oilfield service providers, and land service companies through conventional and unconventional oil and natural gas development, especially in the Northeastern United States. Joy is a leading national authority on the administrative and regulatory processes of well-spacing and compulsory integration.

His understanding of arcane statutes that govern oil and gas development helps clients acquire and maintain rights to bring oil and gas reserves to the marketplace. Joy is also experienced in bringing offshore clients into the U.S. energy market by utilizing his deep knowledge of federal and state laws that regulate development. Drawing on this experience, he advised a joint venture operating group on the acquisition by lease of a 100,000+ acre landowner coalition group, advised a Hong Kong-listed company on its entry into the domestic U.S. oil and natural gas industry, and advised an early midmarket operating company and its secured lender on a $100M+ credit facility in support of shale-gas drilling programs in the Appalachian Basin.

Michael Joy
Michael Joy

“Our bench strength in the energy sector continues to grow with the addition of Michael Joy. The depth of his experience as a working geologist, along with our team’s onshore and offshore drilling background, our command of the markets and their issues, and our environmental infrastructure knowledge, continues to bolster our national energy capabilities to help clients expand their business opportunities during the shale revolution,” said Steven Kestner, Chairman of BakerHostetler.

Joy joins a number of recent key additions to the firm’s Energy and Shale team, including co-leader of the firm’s Energy and Shale practice team,L. Poe Leggette and his team in Denver, as well as energy and transactional partner Laura McMahon in Houston. Both joined the firm from Norton Rose Fulbright. International energy litigator SasheDimitroff joined the Houston office in October from Haynes and Boone.

“Michael brings an enhanced skill set that will be invaluable to the energy team. Not only does he have a deep understanding of the laws that govern our energy clients, he combines this knowledge with his geological training and passion for the industry to help round out BakerHostetler’s team,” said Leggette.

“Appalachia is an important region for our oil and gas clients. Michael’s scientific experience, combined with his regulatory know-how in the region is an immense benefit to our clients as they work to develop and complete projects in that area of the country,” said Martin T. Booher, co-leader of the firm’s Energy and Shale team.

“BakerHostetler is a firm committed to expanding the geographic footprint of its energy team. Few other firms have this level of coverage at the key bottleneck points for their energy clients. BakerHostetler has assembled the top tier of oil and gas attorneys in the country and that’s something I wanted to be a part of––I’m excited to join during this expansion,” said Joy.

In 2002, Joy earned his Ph.D. in Geology in addition to his J.D. from the State University of New York, graduating cum laude, with a focus on real estate development and environmental law. During law school he received the Charles Dautch Award, Harry A. Rachlin Prize in Property & Real Estate Law, and the Moot Court Evidence Award. He earned his M.A. in Geology in 1998 and a B.A. in Geology in 1995, both from the State University of New York. Joy served as an adjunct professor of Oil and Gas Law at the University at Buffalo Law School from 2003 to 2011 and was an adjunct professor for the State University at Buffalo Geology Department lecturing on Stratigraphy and Paleontology.