Michael, who joined the firm in 2012, is a partner in the Energy & Natural Resources Group. He focuses on providing legal services primarily to natural gas exploration and production companies, service providers, and land services companies from around the country. With a Ph.D. in geology, Michael combines his unique experience as a lawyer and a geologist into a practice focused on natural gas development, specifically in the areas of administrative and regulatory; public relations, energy policy and lobbying; mergers, acquisitions and producing property transactions; land leasing and development acreage transactions; and litigation issues associated primarily with natural gas development in the Northeastern United States.
Michael has practical experience in conventional resource development (such as the Trenton/Black River Group carbonate play, and the Medina Group and Herkimer sandstone plays), and unconventional resource development (i.e., shale gas plays such as the Marcellus and Utica Shales) throughout the Appalachian Basin. A nationally recognized authority on the administrative and regulatory processes of well-spacing and compulsory integration, Michael played a key role in the negotiation, drafting and development of the 2005 amendments to the Oil Gas and Solution Mining Law of New York. He also represented a founding member of the Marcellus Shale Coalition in its attempt to formulate a well-spacing and compulsory-integration statute in Pennsylvania for specific application to the Marcellus Shale play.
Among his considerable experience, Michael has represented clients in coalition lease negotiations for unproved exploration acreage in New York and Pennsylvania; has done public relations and lobbying work for a variety of land service companies, natural gas operations, and the oil and natural gas industry trade association; has testified before the New York State Assembly's Environmental Conservation Law Committee on several occasions relating to various aspects of natural gas development in New York; and has represented numerous clients in the administrative and regulatory process of well-permitting, site selection and approval, variance applications, and compliance with myriad regulatory approvals. In addition, Michael has assisted a startup natural gas production company in the process of raising venture capital and performing operational audit work in support of private placement funding and an initial public offering.
He has authored or co-authored dozens of scientific works and presented numerous lectures and conferences in his areas of concentration. As far back as the mid-1990s Michael was working on the development of shale gas basin modeling, and his work is now widely used in the exploration process for unconventional shale gas in New York and Pennsylvania. Michael is still an active geologist and consults with clients on technical matters associated with the development of their unconventional shale gas programs.
In addition, Michael is an adjunct professor at State University at Buffalo Geology Department, teaching classes on Stratigraphy & Paleontology. He previously served as an adjunct professor at State University at Buffalo School of Law, 2003-11, teaching Oil and Gas Law – the only course of its kind in the Eastern United States.