July 30, 2019

Member Spotlight: Ashley Hallene

Tell us a little bit about your career.

I work in the oil and gas industry as a landman, a term that tends to make people who are unfamiliar with it uncomfortable. It is an industry term for land asset manager, and not gender-specific. In essence, I manage the company’s land assets, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, farm-outs and farm-ins, negotiations and settlements.

Is it what I had planned when I started law school?

I did not discover this career path until my final year of law school, but when I did, I knew it was the right place for me. Land is the intersection of property law, contracts and history. Understanding it requires not only knowing the current law, but what the law was at the time the contract was written or the historical event took place. Nearly every day presents a multi-dimensional puzzle to solve.

What has been the highlight of your career?

There are many things I love about my career, but the stories that people share are by far the best part. Sometimes I play a role in that story.

Some of the highlights in my career have been reuniting families. Often my “research projects” consist of tracing the heirs of people who passed away without notice or any real record. I have connected long lost cousins, siblings, and more. Sometimes the reunions are not welcome, especially when one child learns they have to share with another child they never heard of. But often it leads to exciting occasions.

If you could go back to the beginning of your legal career, would you have done anything differently?

I can’t think of a different path I could have taken or a different turn I could have made that would lead me to where I am today.  Some of the roads were hard, but always worth it.

What advice would you give to someone considering law school today?

After law school, I worked solo as a field attorney-landman, and came to my first ABA meeting as an attorney within the first year after graduation. I have been active ever since.  The best part of the ABA are the people I meet wherever I go. Every meeting I attend, I come back having learned new ideas, refreshed and focused, ready for the next turn my practice takes.

What were the biggest changes you saw in the legal profession over the course of your career?

At this point, my career is 9 years old. I haven’t seen a lot change, I think change is in the works, but it hasn’t become noticeable yet. 

When did you first become a member of the ABA and why did you decide to join?

During law school, I interned with a solo practitioner in Houston, Texas, Melanie Bragg. She was involved in the community a great deal, and with the American Bar Association. I was in the ABA Law Student Division and served as a regional Lt. Governor for newsletter communications. While I was still in law school, she brought me, along with other staff, to the ABA Annual Meeting in New York. It was my first ABA meeting and it was overwhelming.

What has been the highlight of your work with the ABA?

Involvement with so many terrific people from all over the country. It's always about the people.

If you had not become a lawyer, what do you think you would have done?

Perhaps a genealogist or technology consultant; as diverse as those two are, I seem to have a knack for them. 

Author

Ashley Hallene is a petroleum landman at Macpherson Energy Company, and practices Oil and Gas law, Title Examination, Due Diligence, Acquisitions and Oil and Gas Leasing in Bakersfield, California. She frequently speaks in technology CLEs and is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Technology and Reviews Department of the GPSolo eReport.