September 16, 2015 – Reed Smith LLP today announced the addition of Clyde W. Lea as senior counsel in its Energy & Natural Resources Industry Group in Houston. Lea recently retired as ConocoPhillips company’s deputy general counsel after more than four decades of service to the Fortune 500 multinational energy corporation.
“Clyde is one of the most experienced energy attorneys in the world, and we are privileged he will continue his illustrious career at Reed Smith,” said Kyri Evagora, chair of the firm’s Energy & Natural Resources Industry Group. “He has played key roles in many of the most challenging disputes encountered by the energy industry, and thus brings us a wealth of litigation knowledge and skills that will be extremely useful to our clients and attorneys.”
A 1974 graduate of New York University School of Law, Lea joined Phillips Petroleum Company as a senior attorney the same year. Over his career, he was responsible for successful management of a wide variety of litigation and claims, including claims arising from catastrophic accidents, international oil spills, and alleged environmental contamination and toxic exposure, as well as major contractual disputes with other energy companies, including landmark litigation with Enron.
“I’m looking forward to launching the next phase of my legal career at Reed Smith,” Lea said. “This firm has a strong vision, an exemplary management team, and a perspective on the energy and natural resources sector and the sector’s legal needs that are well-aligned with my own. I’m pleased to be joining this very impressive global team.”
Lea’s first role at Phillips was in counseling, contract and joint venture negotiations, and acquisitions and dispositions, as well as environmental counseling and litigation, primarily in the company’s chemical business in Bartlesville, Okla. He transferred to London as senior counsel from 1985 to 1989, primarily handling the company’s oil and gas production, transportation, and sales legal issues in Nigeria, Egypt and the British North Sea.
Lea’s first exposure to Houston was as special project counsel responsible for all claims and legal issues arising from the 1989 fire and explosion that killed 23 people at Phillips’ Chemical Complex – a high-density polyethylene plant in Pasadena, Texas. Returning to Bartlesville in 1995, he served as associate general counsel for Claims, Disputes and Litigation before being named associate general counsel for Finance, Human Resources and Governance in 1999, a position he held until the ConocoPhillips merger in August 2002. At that time, he was named deputy general counsel responsible for litigation and both domestic and international arbitration, including expropriation claims against Venezuela and Ecuador.
In 2013, Lea received the Institute for Energy Law’s prestigious “Lifetime Achievement in Energy Litigation Award” in recognition of his stellar accomplishments at ConocoPhillips. He has been a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, the Board of the Texas General Counsel Forum, the Advisory Boards of The Center for American and International Law and Litigation Risk Analysis, Inc., and was formerly a Trustee/Director of the Houston Symphony Society.
“Clyde is an exceptional energy lawyer with substantial litigation and arbitration experience whose international reputation is bolstered by deep roots in and connections to the Houston community,” said Kenneth Broughton, Reed Smith’s Houston Managing Partner. “There is no question his in-house litigation experience and his risk management perspectives and crisis counseling capabilities will be of great value to our clients.”
With some 120 attorneys worldwide, Reed Smith’s Energy & Natural Resources Industry Group is multidisciplinary, combining regulatory, transactional and litigation disciplines in all of Reed Smith's offices in the UK, the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, focused on the production, distribution or financing of energy and natural resources projects, products and services. The group serves clients who are developers, producers, manufacturers, traders, financiers and investors, insurers, and transporters in the energy and natural resources sectors, whether they are involved in the more traditional resources, such as oil, gas, nuclear, metals and minerals, or in renewable and clean energy.
Lea is the fourth attorney to join this group in the past month. Peter Y. Malyshev, former leader of the Commodities Future Training Commission practice at Latham & Watkins, joined as a partner in Washington, D.C. in late August; and Calvin Chan, from Skadden, and Kohe Hasan, from Oon & Bazul, joined the group as partners in Singapore the first week of September.
About Reed Smith
Reed Smith is a global relationship law firm with more than 1,800 lawyers in 26 offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Founded in 1877, the firm represents leading international businesses, from Fortune 100 corporations to mid-market and emerging enterprises. Its lawyers provide litigation and other dispute resolution services in multi-jurisdictional and other high-stakes matters; deliver regulatory counsel; and execute the full range of strategic domestic and cross-border transactions. Reed Smith is a preeminent advisor to industries including financial services, life sciences, health care, advertising, entertainment and media, shipping and transport, energy and natural resources, real estate, manufacturing and technology, and education. For more information, visit reedsmith.com.
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