New Locke Lord Partner John J. Harris Broadens Energy Practice; Adds Strength (Los Angeles)

John J. Harris, who has more than 30 years of extensive experience representing clients in all aspects of oil and gas, environmental and energy law – including the wide range of operational problems faced by producers doing business in California and other states – has joined Locke Lord as a Partner in the Firm’s Los Angeles office.

Harris is a member of the Firm’s nationally recognized Energy Practice Group. Prior to joining Locke Lord, he was a partner at Dentons and a part of its Energy sector team.

Harris has worked with producers, land and mineral owners, financial institutions and public agencies on oil and gas, energy and environmental matters. He also has significant experience representing oil and gas, industrial and local government clients in environmental litigation, transactional and regulatory matters.

“John’s vast knowledge and experience in the energy sector, particularly in dealing with complex energy and environmental legal issues in California, will broaden and enhance the type of counsel we can provide our clients on a daily basis,” said Bill Swanstrom, Co-Chair of the Firmwide Energy Practice. “John is a valuable addition to our strong California-based team and, as a true oil and gas lawyer, is an asset to our team and our clients.”

In California, Locke Lord lawyers serve as lead counsel for the siting of major power projects throughout the state, as well as facility development and operation. The Firm regularly represents clients before numerous California regulatory agencies, including the California Energy Commission, the California Independent System Operator and the California Air Resources Board. The Firm also represents clients before federal agencies affecting or regulating energy and environmental activities in California.

Harris has frequently represented clients in day-to-day legal issues that face energy producers in California, from obtaining permits for oil and gas exploration and production operations and facilities, to resolving issues with environmental regulators. He also advises clients and interacts with legislators and regulators regarding matters affecting the energy industry in California.

His most recent matters include:

  • Successful defense of operator in action by landowners to compel the abandonment of storage tanks and environmental remediation. Obtained preliminary injunction against landowner enjoining interference with operator’s access to wells;
  • Representation of buyers and sellers in transactions for transfer and financing of oil and gas producing properties, coal seam gas properties, pipelines, oil and gas lease negotiations, operating agreements, and production purchase and sales agreements, as well as agreements with governmental agencies;
  • Preparation of title opinions relating to oil and gas property acquisitions and sales, and enforceability opinions for the financing of oil and gas acquisitions; and
  • Representation of mineral owners and major oil companies in negotiations for oil and gas leases and seismic and exploration agreements.

Harris earned his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He is a member of the State Bar of California, as well as a member of both its Environmental Law Section and its Natural Resources Subsection of Real Property Section. He is also a member of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation.