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Insights


13th Biennial Parker C. Fielder Oil and Gas Tax Conference 11-19-2015

The 13th Biennial Parker C. Fielder Oil and Gas Tax Conference is a collaboration between The University of Texas School of Law and the Chief Counsel’s Office of the IRS and  provides an exchange of views and perspectives between private sector and the Service.

2015 MLP User Conference 11-09-2015

V&E partner Ryan Carney will be speaking with other industry professionals.

Corporate Counsel Forum Middle East 2015 11-02-2015

With the onslaught of regulations and a heavy risk environment, in-house legal counsels are at the forefront of their business as never before.

Basra Oil, Gas & Infrastructure Conference 2015 11-02-2015

The strategic forum for Basra’s oil, gas & infrastructure industries returns to Istanbul, Turkey during 2- 3 November 2015. 

3rd Annual Women, Influence & Power in Law 10-28-2015

This unique event is the only national forum facilitating women-to-women exchange on current legal issues. 

Advanced Civil Trial Course 2015 - Houston 10-28-2015

Energy litigation partners Guy Lipe and Mark Rodriguez will give an “Energy, Oil and Gas Update” at the 38th Annual Advanced Civil Trial Courses cosponsored by the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas. 

Harvard Roundtable on Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance 10-21-2015

The Harvard Roundtable on Corporate Governance will bring together prominent participants with a wide range of perspectives on corporate governance, including issuers, institutional investors, directors, advisers, public officials, and academics, for an off-the-record discussion. 

11th Annual Mergers & Acquisitions Institute Hosted by The University of Texas 10-15-2015

V&E partner Marc Rose will participate in the panel discussion.

CAIL’s 5th Oilfield Services Law Conference 10-08-2015

V&E partner Matt Strock will speak on the panel “M&A and Valuations Update: The Impact of Declining Commodity Prices on M&A Activity, and How to Leverage Distressed Opportunities” at 8:30 a.m.

IBA Annual Conference Vienna 2015 10-04-2015

On October 6, V&E partner Tom Wilson will speak on a panel discussing “The Impact of Tourism on Local Communities.”

Gulf Coast Power Association 2015 Fall Conference 09-30-2015

V&E partner Barry Smitherman will speak on a panel of Former PUCT commissioners at the Gulf Coast Power Association (GCPA) 2015 Fall Conference.

The International Arbitration Summit 09-17-2015

V&E London partner George Burn will be a panelist on the “Investor state arbitration – into the spotlight” session.

SIAC Jakarta Conference 09-17-2015

This Panel will discuss how to handle international disputes from a corporate perspective.

ABA Business Law Section Annual Meeting 09-17-2015

The American Bar Association's Business Law Section Annual Meeting offers comprehensive business law programming, including more than 70 CLE programs and hundreds of committee and subcommittee meetings addressing developments in all areas of business law. 

Investing in MLPs 09-16-2015

V&E partner Ryan Carney will be speaking on a panel titled “Looking Under the Hood: Understanding the Anatomy of an MLP” with a MLP Partner from PwC.

The Clean Power Plan 09-16-2015

Energy Series Logo - Thumbnail - 125x120Join us for a discussion of the recently published Clean Power Plan and its potential impacts on the power and clean energy sectors.

The Right to Photograph & Record in Public 09-16-2015

Hosted by the Houston Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists, the "Right to Photograph & Record in Public" program will address First and Fourth Amendment rights, search and seizure, exigent circumstances, federal civil rights lawsuits against police agencies as well as an analysis and update on the most recent cases and court rulings dealing with these issues.

Trends in Class Action Royalty Disputes 09-15-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThe use of class actions by royalty owners alleging that their royalties have been underpaid has dramatically increased in recent years.

Recent Developments in Inter Partes Review 09-14-2015

IP Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px Wide This presentation will cover developments in inter partes review proceedings, including common pitfalls and recent decisions and rule changes involving parallel litigation, filings, joinder, estoppel, and discovery.

EUCI’s Financial Restructuring & Turn-around for Oil & Gas Companies 09-14-2015

This forum for industry executives, investors, legal professionals, and restructuring experts will cover current options and trends within the energy industry regarding corporate restructuring & turn-around cases and opportunities.

13th Biennial Parker C. Fielder Oil and Gas Tax Conference 11-19-2015

The 13th Biennial Parker C. Fielder Oil and Gas Tax Conference is a collaboration between The University of Texas School of Law and the Chief Counsel’s Office of the IRS and  provides an exchange of views and perspectives between private sector and the Service.

2015 MLP User Conference 11-09-2015

V&E partner Ryan Carney will be speaking with other industry professionals.

Corporate Counsel Forum Middle East 2015 11-02-2015

With the onslaught of regulations and a heavy risk environment, in-house legal counsels are at the forefront of their business as never before.

Basra Oil, Gas & Infrastructure Conference 2015 11-02-2015

The strategic forum for Basra’s oil, gas & infrastructure industries returns to Istanbul, Turkey during 2- 3 November 2015. 

3rd Annual Women, Influence & Power in Law 10-28-2015

This unique event is the only national forum facilitating women-to-women exchange on current legal issues. 

Advanced Civil Trial Course 2015 - Houston 10-28-2015

Energy litigation partners Guy Lipe and Mark Rodriguez will give an “Energy, Oil and Gas Update” at the 38th Annual Advanced Civil Trial Courses cosponsored by the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas. 

Harvard Roundtable on Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance 10-21-2015

The Harvard Roundtable on Corporate Governance will bring together prominent participants with a wide range of perspectives on corporate governance, including issuers, institutional investors, directors, advisers, public officials, and academics, for an off-the-record discussion. 

11th Annual Mergers & Acquisitions Institute Hosted by The University of Texas 10-15-2015

V&E partner Marc Rose will participate in the panel discussion.

CAIL’s 5th Oilfield Services Law Conference 10-08-2015

V&E partner Matt Strock will speak on the panel “M&A and Valuations Update: The Impact of Declining Commodity Prices on M&A Activity, and How to Leverage Distressed Opportunities” at 8:30 a.m.

IBA Annual Conference Vienna 2015 10-04-2015

On October 6, V&E partner Tom Wilson will speak on a panel discussing “The Impact of Tourism on Local Communities.”

Gulf Coast Power Association 2015 Fall Conference 09-30-2015

V&E partner Barry Smitherman will speak on a panel of Former PUCT commissioners at the Gulf Coast Power Association (GCPA) 2015 Fall Conference.

The International Arbitration Summit 09-17-2015

V&E London partner George Burn will be a panelist on the “Investor state arbitration – into the spotlight” session.

SIAC Jakarta Conference 09-17-2015

This Panel will discuss how to handle international disputes from a corporate perspective.

ABA Business Law Section Annual Meeting 09-17-2015

The American Bar Association's Business Law Section Annual Meeting offers comprehensive business law programming, including more than 70 CLE programs and hundreds of committee and subcommittee meetings addressing developments in all areas of business law. 

Investing in MLPs 09-16-2015

V&E partner Ryan Carney will be speaking on a panel titled “Looking Under the Hood: Understanding the Anatomy of an MLP” with a MLP Partner from PwC.

The Clean Power Plan 09-16-2015

Energy Series Logo - Thumbnail - 125x120Join us for a discussion of the recently published Clean Power Plan and its potential impacts on the power and clean energy sectors.

The Right to Photograph & Record in Public 09-16-2015

Hosted by the Houston Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists, the "Right to Photograph & Record in Public" program will address First and Fourth Amendment rights, search and seizure, exigent circumstances, federal civil rights lawsuits against police agencies as well as an analysis and update on the most recent cases and court rulings dealing with these issues.

Trends in Class Action Royalty Disputes 09-15-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThe use of class actions by royalty owners alleging that their royalties have been underpaid has dramatically increased in recent years.

Recent Developments in Inter Partes Review 09-14-2015

IP Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px Wide This presentation will cover developments in inter partes review proceedings, including common pitfalls and recent decisions and rule changes involving parallel litigation, filings, joinder, estoppel, and discovery.

EUCI’s Financial Restructuring & Turn-around for Oil & Gas Companies 09-14-2015

This forum for industry executives, investors, legal professionals, and restructuring experts will cover current options and trends within the energy industry regarding corporate restructuring & turn-around cases and opportunities.

Legal Issues Businesses Face in the Event of a Data Breach 08-14-2015

In this video, V&E Partner Jeff Johnston shares his insights on the legal issues surrounding a cybersecurity event. 

Addressing Cybersecurity Concerns 08-14-2015

In this video, V&E Partner Jeff Johnston outlines a proactive approach to addressing cybersecurity concerns.

Changing Landscape of Qualifying Income 08-12-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideProposed regulations made public May 5, 2015 by the Treasury Department propose new guidance with regard to mineral and natural resource activities that generate “qualifying income.”

Best Practices for MLP Dropdowns: Lessons from Delaware Court of Chancery’s Recent El Paso Decision 07-23-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThe panel will discuss the implications of El Paso to MLPs, sponsors, conflicts committee members, and financial advisors on current best practices in MLP dropdowns.

Responding to Accidents and Emergencies: What Every General Counsel in the Energy Industry Should Know 05-21-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideWorkplace accidents and emergencies can result in intrusive government inspections and significant legal liabilities. A company’s response in the immediate aftermath of such an event is key to protecting the company’s (and its employees’) interests. This program will address the issues on which every general counsel needs to be prepared when responding to workplace accidents and emergencies.

YieldCos and Renewable MLPs: Yield-Oriented Offerings in the Power Industry 05-13-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThe program will cover recent renewable power YieldCos and renewable master limited partnerships (MLPs), including the various structural alternatives that have been utilized, and analogies and comparisons between renewable power YieldCos and other yield-oriented structures.

CERAWeek 2015 Spotlight Interview with Vinson & Elkins Partner Barry Smitherman 04-22-2015

Vinson & Elkins partner Barry Smitherman sat down during CERAWeek 2015 with IHS Senior Director Raoul Leblanc to discuss the impact of declining oil prices on Texas upstream development.

CERAWeek 2015 Spotlight Interview with Vinson & Elkins Partner Jay Cuclis 04-21-2015

Vinson & Elkins partner Jay Cuclis sat down during CERAWeek 2015 with IHS Research Director James Wildash to discuss issues surrounding foreign investment in the North American energy sector.

Energy Restructuring and Reorganization 04-16-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideRecent price declines in the oil and gas markets have created challenges in the energy sector.

Alternative Financing Opportunities for Upstream and Midstream Companies: Joint Ventures, Private Placements and Public Offerings of Equity Securities 04-15-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WidePlease join us for a discussion on alternative funding opportunities for upstream and midstream companies.

Credit Facility and High Yield Bond Covenant Issues for Upstream Borrowers in a Lower Commodity Price Environment 03-25-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThis presentation will cover select covenant issues under credit facilities and high yield bonds for upstream borrowers in a lower price commodity environment.

Getting Oil and Gas to Market: Regulatory and Contractual Considerations 03-12-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThe proliferation of shale production in the United States has created logistical bottlenecks as producers seek ways to get their oil and gas to market.

Managing People, Performance and the Price of Oil 02-19-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideEmployers in the energy industry are facing particular challenges managing their workforces in an unstable market. Economic pressures (such as the fluctuating price of oil) are creating significant uncertainty with respect to businesses’ workforce requirements.

Shareholder Activism in a Lower Commodity Price Environment 02-18-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideForbes is calling it “The Golden Age of Activist Investing.” Activist hedge funds, which acquire small stakes in public companies and push aggressively for change using the threat of a proxy fight, have been remarkably successful in recent years.

Corporate and MLP Securities Litigation 01-21-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideLitigation challenging the fairness of M&A transactions involving MLPs (and LLCs) has remained strong. The presentation will review recent case law regarding investment banking fairness opinions, conflicts of interest, and adequacy of disclosures in proxy or registration statements.

Joint Ventures: Managing the Antitrust and Commercial Risks 11-20-2014

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThis program will cover antitrust and other litigation risks faced by energy companies as they enter into joint venture relationships and operate those ventures with their partners.

MLP 201 11-18-2014

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThe course will cover advanced MLP topics, including a discussion of qualifying income considerations and international MLP assets, with a brief update on the recent IRS private letter ruling pause.

Barko 101: Establishing and Protecting Privilege Over Internal Investigations in the Energy Industry and Beyond 10-16-2014

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideV&E lawyers from the Barko case will discuss the D.C. Circuit's recent landmark decision, which confirmed that materials created during a company's internal investigation conducted by investigators working under the direction and supervision of its law department are protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege.

MLP 101 - Market Update and Basics of MLPs 10-08-2014

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThe course will cover the typical organizational and capital structure of MLPs, governance and accounting issues, and a primer on tax considerations and qualifying income.

Shareholder Activism in the Energy Industry and Beyond 09-10-2014

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideShareholder activism has become a significant threat to the boards of directors of public companies. In recent years, activist hedge funds have been successful in using the threat of a proxy fight as a means to push for a sale, board representation or structural changes at target companies.

New Methane Regulations Proposed for the Oil and Gas Sector: What You Need to Know 08-26-2015

V&E Shale Insights — Tracking Fracking E-communication, August 26, 2015

On August 18, 2015, EPA proposed a slate of rulemakings under the Clean Air Act (the “Act”) directed at the oil and gas industry.

Stop! In the Name of Congressional Intent: District Court Cuts Off Conspiracy Liability and Rejects DOJ Attempt to Extend FCPA’s Reach 08-20-2015

V&E Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Update E-communication, August 20, 2015

The U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, on August 13, 2015, rejected an attempt by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to extend the already expansive reach of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to a non-U.S. resident foreign national who is not otherwise subject to the FCPA.

Opportunity Lost: The Importance of Not Ignoring Multi-Employer Pension Withdrawal Liability in a Transaction 08-05-2015

V&E Employment, Labor and OSHA Update E-communication, August 5, 2015

A party to a transaction, whether it be an asset or a stock deal, cannot simply ignore potential multi-employer pension withdrawal liability in the hopes that it will go away. 

Assessing Vicarious Liability Exposure After Akamai 07-27-2015

First published in Law360, July 27, 2015

In the most recent decision in Akamai Technologies Inc. v. Limelight Networks Inc., the long-running case that has now seen three opinions from the Federal Circuit and one from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit reaffirmed its commitment to the single-entity rule — the rule that infringement of a method claim requires that a single actor perform every step of the claim.

DOT Finalizes Rule for State Pipeline Damage Prevention Programs 07-23-2015

V&E Environmental Law Update E-communication, July 23, 2015

In the wake of several high-profile pipeline incidents and combative congressional hearings, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is facing mounting pressure to promulgate safety regulations required by federal pipeline safety legislation.

The Federal Circuit Holds BPCIA’s 180-Day Notice of Intention to Commercially Market Can Only be Provided After Product is Approved 07-22-2015

V&E IP Insights E-communication, July 22, 2015

On July 21, 2015, in a case of first impression on the interpretation of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCIA), the Federal Circuit held that the 180-day commercial marketing notice provision under 42 U.S.C. § 262(l)(8)(A) can only be given after the FDA has approved the biosimilar product. 

Expansion of Obligations on International Corporations to Protect Human Rights 07-21-2015

V&E Employment, Labor and OSHA Update E-communication, July 21, 2015

Corporations that operate internationally need to know that the growing international guidance on the protection of human rights, although not legally binding, has importance to the continued success of those corporations’ international operations.

Post-Event Report – The Current State of Energy Investing 07-20-2015

Privcap’s CEO David Snow interviewed James Hackett of Riverstone Holdings and Karl Kurz of Canyon Oak Energy on the current state of energy investing, and produced a post-event report summary that also included a Q&A session with V&E Mergers & Acquisitions and Private Equity partner Creighton Smith.

De Novo Review of District Court’s Claim Construction Not Required After Denial of Attorneys’ Fee Award 07-13-2015

V&E IP Insights E-communication, July 13, 2015

In SFA Systems, LLC v. Newegg Inc., No. 2014-1712 (Fed. Cir. July 8, 2015), the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court’s denial of a defendant’s request for “exceptional case” attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285.

Divided Federal Circuit Upholds "Broadest Reasonable Interpretation" Standard for Inter Partes Reviews 07-09-2015

V&E IP Insights E-communication, July 9, 2015

On July 8, 2015, in In re: Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC, No. 2014-1301, the Federal Circuit denied Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC’s (Cuozzo) petition for rehearing en banc of a February panel decision, affirming the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) practice of using the “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard in construing patent claims during inter partes reviews (IPRs).

UK Summer Budget Briefing 07-08-2015

V&E Tax Update E-communication, July 8, 2015

On Wednesday 8 July 2015 the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, delivered a “Summer Budget,” which is the first Budget of the new Parliament following the recent UK general election.

The Big Deal With Big Data: New Security Tools Are Needed 07-06-2015

First published in Law360, July 06, 2015

“What’s the big deal with big data?” In the rapidly expanding landscape of Internet-based data analytic services, the majority of companies with a significant online presence have either already asked this question or will be asking it in very near future.

Renewable Energy Case Law Update 07-02-2015

First published by the Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, Spring 2015

Due to the rapid and recent rise of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, renewable energy law is still in the early stages of development.

High Court Overturns EPA Air Toxic Rule for Coal-Fired Power Plants 06-30-2015

V&E Environmental Law Update E-communication, June 30, 2015

Yesterday, the Supreme Court rejected as “unreasonable” an interpretation by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Section 112(n)(1)(A) of the Clean Air Act (the Act) and thereby invalidated the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). 

Consequential Damages Waivers: How to Consequentially and Incidentally (Including Indirectly) Waive Your Remedy 06-26-2015

First published by Houston Law Review: Off the Record, June 2015

Consequential damages waivers are often quickly absorbed as boilerplate. There is, however, increasing literature on the recognition of the potential misuse of such waivers, especially with regard to the overlap between direct and consequential damages.

International Labor and Employment Law Update: Summer 2015 06-26-2015

V&E Employment, Labor and OSHA Update E-communication, June 26, 2015

It appears likely that U.S. companies will soon face heightened obligations to safeguard the privacy of European employees’ personal information. 

Cybersecurity Concerns for Private Equity Firms 06-24-2015

First published in Inside Counsel, June 24, 2015 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has made clear that it is important for investment advisers, including private equity (PE) firms, to effectively manage cybersecurity risks. 

V&E Submits Comments on MLP Qualifying Income Proposed Regulations 06-19-2015

V&E MLP Tax Update E-communication, June 19, 2015

Today, Vinson & Elkins LLP provided comments in response to the proposed regulations (Proposed Regulations) from the Department of Treasury (Treasury) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) relating to qualifying income from the exploration, development, mining or production, processing, refining, transportation and marketing of minerals or natural resources.

En Banc Federal Circuit Weakens Presumption against Finding Means-Plus-Function Claims when “Means” is Not Used 06-17-2015

V&E IP Insights E-communication, June 17, 2015

On June 16, 2015, in Williamson v. Citrix Online, LLC, No. 13-1130 (Fed. Cir. June 16, 2015), an en banc Federal Circuit overturned the decade-long, heightened burden of “strong” presumption that a claim is not subject to 35 U.S.C. § 112, para. 6 when the word “means” is not employed in the claim language along with the “strict requirement of ‘a showing that the limitation essentially is devoid of anything that can be construed as structure.’”

Energy Restructuring and Reorganization Part II – Dealing in Distressed Energy Assets 06-16-2015

V&E Energy Restructuring and Reorganization Updates E-communication, June 16, 2015

Financially challenged energy companies may seek to sell assets in order to manage liquidity requirements and to reduce company leverage. 

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V&E Blogs

Administration Revises Figures and Responds to Comments on Social Cost of Carbon Estimates July 14, 2015

In response to public comments, the Interagency Working Group (IWG) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have slightly reduced the estimate for the social cost of carbon (SCC) used by federal agencies for the years 2010-2050.


New Study Reports that Europe is Increasing Coal Use as Nations Prepare for Climate Change Talks July 8, 2015

In a sensationally-titled briefing paper (“Let Them Eat Coal”), Oxfam reports that five of the G7 nations have increased their coal consumption over the past five years, and are burning more coal now than they did in 2009—the year of the Copenhagen climate summit.


Washington State Judge Issues Order Directing State Agency to Reconsider Recommending Revised GHG Emissions Limits July 7, 2015

On June 23, 2015, a Washington State judge issued an order directing the State’s Department of Ecology to reconsider its decision to deny the petition of a group of young people who wanted the state agency to recommend that the legislature limit Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) emissions.


What does EPA’s Aircraft Engine Endangerment Finding Mean for the Clean Power Plan? July 1, 2015

On July 1, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published a proposed finding that greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions from certain classes of aircraft engines contribute to the air pollution that endangers the public health and welfare, within the meaning of § 231(a) of the Clean Air Act (“CAA”).


More Coal-Fired Power Plants Predicted to Retire under the Clean Power Plan June 30, 2015

According to a new estimate by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”), the Clean Power Plan will more than double the number of coal-fired generation retirements between 2014 and 2040.