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What Are the Duties of a Landman?
The duties of a landman are diverse and many. The LLTM explains the most common and constant of these, researching mineral and surface title, as well as the ancillary work that accompanies these critical tasks. Topics covered include researching county tax records, Secretary of State filings, and Railroad Commission records, among others.
Much of a land professional's time is spent organizing and summarizing the research and work he has conducted. Runsheets, ownership reports and lease purchase reports are just a few of the many documents landmen prepare for their clients. These reports are the tools by which a landman's client will make critical decisions including to purchase leases, form units and pay royalties. The LLTM explains the many reports prepared by landmen with examples and templates of each included.
The foundation of land work is the succession of documents underlying the ownership of surface and mineral interests. Many land professionals will be required to draft leases, easements, assignments, deeds and other instruments. Extensive knowledge of these documents, their effect and the key provisions to each is essential to performing quality and error free land work. The LLTM discusses drafting issues, provides examples of common instruments, and identifies issues where a legal professional should be consulted.
As critical as researching ownership, reporting findings, and drafting instruments may be; negotiating leases, easements, surface use agreements, or some other critical item for a client is at the top of the skills needed to be a good landman. All land professionals must be able to parlay their client's directives or buy parameters into the acquisition of the rights needed for the client to conduct their business. The LLTM covers the importance of negotiation and the basics of negotiating key instruments (such as oil and gas leases).
In addition to the items described above, the LLTM discusses other key skills for landmen, such as curative title work and due diligence.
The Tools and Work of a Landman
Maps, County Records and Other Tools
Land professionals carry a toolbox full of a variety of manual and technical instruments, from Allen scales to iPads. In addition to the items needed to complete their daily work, landmen utilize various county records, digital and hard copy maps, and myriad other resources. The LLTM discusses the land professional's use of title plants, county records, tax and appraisal offices, as well as the many other tools employed daily.
Running Title and Buying Leases
Researching the chain of mineral title ("running" title) and acquiring oil and gas leases are two important functions of being a land professional. Regardless of whether you are a field landman performing these tasks, or a company landman managing lease brokers providing these services, intimate knowledge of both is essential to all land work. The LLTM discusses the process of researching title, the various types of instruments encountered by landmen, and introduces the practice of buying leases.
The Job of Being a Landman (outside of the courthouse)
Beyond the daily tasks of researching title, negotiating with landowners, and preparing ownership reports, land professionals must work at the administrative and marketing aspects of their job. The LLTM discusses the broker-landman relationship, client relations, billing and compensation, and other non-task related aspects of land work.
Texas Law and Reference Information
Land Titles, Conveyancing, and Lease Documents
At the core of all land work are the title documents that impart ownership of the mineral/surface rights to their owners. Understanding the content and effect of the various types of instruments, how they are conveyed and the difference in a permanent and temporary transfer of rights (deed vs. lease) is crucial to the competent performance of land work. The LLTM explains the various types of ownership, conveyancing, as well as the common clauses and covenants of an oil and gas lease. Also discussed are royalty and other interests deriving from the lease instrument, pooling and unitization, farmout and joint operating agreements.
The LLTM includes several appendices with information related to lease clauses, intestate distribution, Texas law and regulatory information, common symbols for oil and gas, county clerk offices in Texas and professional association listings.