Standards of Professional Conduct -- Landmen


#1

On February 18th, 2009, Texas State Representative Charlie Geren of Fort Worth filed HB 1405 which would have licensed all landmen under the Texas Real Estate Commission. This bill was filed in response to a number of allegations of unethical behavior by landmen, primarily during negotiations. That bill never came to pass.

The Enron handbook on Ethics was 69 pages long. The Ethical Standard promulgated by the American Association of Professional Landman (AAPL) is a single page. The AAPL Standards of Professional Conduct is set forth below.

In the comparison of Enron Ethical Standards to those of the AAPL, one could infer that less is more.

The only national body which has claimed any responsibility to ethical standards of landmen is the AAPL. There is no requirement for a landman in Texas to be a member of the AAPL. Since land professionals currently are not required to be licensed, therefore, the worst punishment the AAPL can impose to its members is expulsion from membership in the association. Ergo, any expulsion or censure from the AAPL does not prevent the individual brought up on potential ethics violations from practicing his or her profession in the State of Texas.

By not having membership status in the AAPL in no way implies that the individual chooses to not have a moral or ethical binding to the tenants of the AAPL standards of practice.

STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT

1. In justice to those who place their interests in his care, a land professional shall be informed regarding laws, proposed legislation, governmental regulations, public policies and current market conditions in his area of represented expertise, in order to be in a position to advise his employer or client properly (D, E).*

2. It is the duty of the land professional to protect the members of the public with whom he deals against fraud, misrepresentation and unethical practices. He shall eliminate any practices which could be damaging to the public or bring discredit to the petroleum mining or environmental industries.

3. In accepting employment, the land professional pledges himself to protect and promote the interests of his employer or client. This obligation of absolute fidelity to the employer’s or client’s interest is primary but it does not relieve the land professional of his obligation to treat fairly all parties to any transaction, or act in an ethical manner (A, B).

4. The land professional shall not accept compensation from more than one principal for providing the same service, nor accept compensation from one party to a transaction, without the full knowledge of all principals or parties to the transaction (B, C).

5. The land professional shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, creed, sex or country of national origin. The land professional shall not be a party to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, creed, sex or country of national origin.

6. A land professional shall provide a level of competent service in keeping with the standards of practice in those fields in which a land professional customarily engages. The land professional shall not represent himself to be skilled in nor shall he engage in professional areas in which he is not qualified such as the practice of law, geology, engineering or other disciplines (D).

7. The land professional shall not undertake to provide professional services concerning a property or a transaction where he has a present or contemplated interest, unless such interest is specifically disclosed to all affected parties (C).

8. The land professional shall not acquire for himself or others an interest in property which he is called upon to purchase for his principal, employer or client. He shall disclose his interest in the area which might be in conflict with his principal, employer or client. In leasing any property or negotiating for the sale of any block of leases, including lands owned by himself or in which he has any interest, a land professional shall reveal the facts of his ownership or interest to the potential buyer (C).

9. If a land professional is charged with unethical practice or is asked to present evidence in any disciplinary proceeding or investigation, or has direct knowledge of apparent unethical misconduct of another member, he shall place all pertinent facts before the proper authority of the American Association of Professional Landmen (E).

10. The land professional shall not accept any commission, rebate, interest, overriding royalty or other profit on transactions made for an employer or client without the employer’s or client’s knowledge and consent (B).

11. The land professional shall assure that monies coming into his possession in trust for other persons, such as escrows, advances for expenses, fee advances and other like items, are properly accounted for and administered in a manner approved by the employer or client (B).

12. The land professional shall avoid business activity which may conflict with the interest of his employer or client or result in the unauthorized disclosure or misuse of confidential information.

13. The land professional shall at all times present an accurate representation in his advertising and disclosures to the public (A).

14. The land professional shall not aid or abet the unauthorized use of the title “Certified Professional Landman,” “Registered Professional Landman,” “P.Land” and “CPL/ESA.”

15. The land professional shall not participate in conduct which causes him to be convicted, adjudged or otherwise recorded as guilty by any court of competent jurisdiction of any felony, any offense involving fraud as an essential element or any other serious crime.

(*)References are to the foregoing summary of the standards of professional conduct and guiding principals and ideals mandated by the Code of Ethics and AAPL Bylaws.

Buddy Cotten

Mineral Manager


#2

Mr. Cotton,

Great article, most of the landmen I have dealt with have been pretty good. The timing of your post is ironic though, I was contacted last week by a landman from a major company and I swear I had to take a shower after talking to him, just felt dirty.

Now I am going to research what happened with Charlie’s bill. He is a straight up guy in my book, he was my state rep when I lived west of Fort Worth. He also owned the Railhead Smokehouse, coldest beer in that part of the country. Wait staff wore Tshirts with "Life is too Short To Live in Dallas. Very eclectic crowd and always fun!


#3


By having membership status in the AAPL in no way implies that the individual has the capability to have or in turn understand a moral or ethical binding to the tenants of the AAPL standards of practice, nor does such membership imply any particular aptitude or qualifications to perform landwork in a professional manner. It is basically pay $100 dues and you are in. There is no entrance exam or verifiable proof of experience required to join.
Lagunaroy said:

Mr. Cotton,

Great article, most of the landmen I have dealt with have been pretty good. The timing of your post is ironic though, I was contacted last week by a landman from a major company and I swear I had to take a shower after talking to him, just felt dirty.

Now I am going to research what happened with Charlie's bill. He is a straight up guy in my book, he was my state rep when I lived west of Fort Worth. He also owned the Railhead Smokehouse, coldest beer in that part of the country. Wait staff wore Tshirts with "Life is too Short To Live in Dallas. Very eclectic crowd and always fun!

#4

So… As Paul Harvey used to say “the rest of the story”.

Seems the HAPL, Permian Basin PL, AAPL, all opposed any state regulation of landmen and Geren’s bill. Internet is a wonderful thing.

Mr. Cotton, I am not clear from your post, are you for a renewed effort by Geren or are you saying the AAPL can regulate its members and non members?


#5

I was at the White Elephant Saloon in Fort Worth once. There was a biker drinking beer at the bar, and jawing away about how much more he liked Fort Worth than Dallas. He said that the folks in Cowtown were a lot more friendly and welcoming than in Big D.

Dave Quincy said:


By having membership status in the AAPL in no way implies that the individual has the capability to have or in turn understand a moral or ethical binding to the tenants of the AAPL standards of practice, nor does such membership imply any particular aptitude or qualifications to perform landwork in a professional manner. It is basically pay $100 dues and you are in. There is no entrance exam or verifiable proof of experience required to join.
Lagunaroy said:

Mr. Cotton,

Great article, most of the landmen I have dealt with have been pretty good. The timing of your post is ironic though, I was contacted last week by a landman from a major company and I swear I had to take a shower after talking to him, just felt dirty.

Now I am going to research what happened with Charlie's bill. He is a straight up guy in my book, he was my state rep when I lived west of Fort Worth. He also owned the Railhead Smokehouse, coldest beer in that part of the country. Wait staff wore Tshirts with "Life is too Short To Live in Dallas. Very eclectic crowd and always fun!

#6

Dave,

Having lived in Dallas and Ft. Worth in the past(1965, 1966, 1967) I'll have to agree with the biker.

Clint Liles


#7

Luminant's landman, in Robertson County, TX stole (ok... took) my father's Lifetime metal gate to replace it with one of theirs. When I got up to the farm and noticed the gate missing, I called him to ask that he please return it. In a "demeaning" tone, he asked if he should throw it over the fence. I said "no, just politely put it inside the pole barn because, in Texas, when you take something that doesn't belong to you, it's called "stealing." He exploded and hung up on me. A phone call and a couple days later, the gate was brought back and placed inside the pole barn ... with thanks to the Robertson County sheriff.

I have landmen friends, but the attitude of this particular one only serves to make the others look bad. He needs to be state regulated, or a leash put on him.

Thank you.

Pat


#8


Ms. Pat Malone said:

Luminant's landman, in Robertson County, TX stole (ok... took) my father's Lifetime metal gate to replace it with one of theirs. When I got up to the farm and noticed the gate missing, I called him to ask that he please return it. In a "demeaning" tone, he asked if he should throw it over the fence. I said "no, just politely put it inside the pole barn because, in Texas, when you take something that doesn't belong to you, it's called "stealing." He exploded and hung up on me. A phone call and a couple days later, the gate was brought back and placed inside the pole barn ... with thanks to the Robertson County sheriff.

I have landmen friends, but the attitude of this particular one only serves to make the others look bad. He needs to be state regulated, or a leash put on him.

Thank you.

Pat

Sorry you had to deal with that. It is funny that a majority of answers on this forum are “seek legal advice”’ “consult your CPA”, “talk to your financial advisor” , great advice by the way. Now those folks are regulated by the state and in some cases the federal gov’t.

However the landman professional organizations want us to believe they can regulate their members. Texas has a great website that serves as access to the county CAD database. If you search by name and select minerals as property type you can see royalty interest RI and overriding royalty interest.

Standard number 10 in Mr. Cotton’s post talks to that. Put the names of landmen you know in those counties you know they work in and I think you might be surprised at what you find. I know I was. If I knew how to post the link I would, just google “Texas CAD”.

Good luck all!


#9

Real landmen are able to discern detail better than that, whether regulated or not. Sometimes advising someone here to seek legal advice is the best advice possible, depending on the question. Advice to consult a CPA or a Bernard Madoff wannabe are few and far between.

I could never find any postings by a Mr. Cotton, but finding a landman's name under "Texas CAD" would not mean that there were any ethical issues per se. The last few words, however, might be key, "without the employer's knowledge and consent." That is not to say that there have not been violations of the AAPL Code of Ethics in that regard. However, a mere posting of names in the CAD data base who also happen to be AAPL members, would not necessarily mean anything, without being privy to what the terms of employment or what the specific contractual provisions were in each individual case. It is also possible that the "landman" was working independent of any employer or client at the time. If that was the case, it would be hard to see how No. 10 would apply at all.


#10

Actually the words are employer Or Clients knowledge and consent. If I hired a landman to represent me and he has an ORRI in the same well that I have an RI in would you think that was ethical? I found that via the CAD.

I am not saying all landmen are unethical, and I would not believe anyone who said they were all ethical. And yes you are correct I did misspell Mr. Cotten’s name, I apologize for that.

I think the point of this discussion was whether or not the state should regulate landmen like we regulate, doctors, nurses, lawyers, real estate folks, law enforcement, and many I’m sure I missed.

What say you?


#11

Dear Laguanaroy,

I used the reference to Green to underscore the problems that were happening in the Barnett Shale at that time, to his constituents. There are always (it seems), some rumblings at the State House about tying to regulate the landman craft.

The AAPL wants to self-regulate and have opposed such bills in the past. However, there is no requirement for anybody in the State that prohibits them from hanging out a shingle saying that they are now a landman, or mineral manager for that matter. AAPL membership is no requirement for someone to practice their craft. But the AAPL wants everybody to join so that they could then have voluntary compliance without the State getting involved.

As to Charlie's bill, to place regulation in the hands of the Real Estate commission is ludicrous. Some of the most belligerently misinformed people that I have come across in buying leases is a real estate agent. A little knowledge is a real dangerous thing,

I have not been an AAPL member for a number of years. I resigned to protest what I considered ethical violations of the leadership of the AAPL itself. I was not the only one by a long shot. Many landmen have now forgotten the whole incident by now.

As to the Mineral Manager side, the National Association of Royalty Owners has a CMM designation (Certified Mineral Manager).

One of the CMM program instructors was talking to me several years ago about sitting for the exam. He said that I could pass it easily. I said give me an example question. He asked how many acres are in a Section of land. I told him that was a bogus question where you could give no correct answer. He looked at me in stunned disbelief and said it was 640 acres. I then asked about match sections and the arpent sections of Louisiana. Why would I want to be a CMM if the promoter of the certification program (Ian attorney by training and former Oklahoma judge) did not have a clue? And there is no ethical violation standard in that organization. I found it to be silly.

Right of Way agents in Texas are supposed to be licensed. It is easier to obtain a driver's license and costs more. No regulation, no continuing education. Nothing. No requirements at all.

If it were not for the broker system of landwork, the market could regulate itself to some degree. We had not these problems at this level until the explosion of shale plays.

To directly answer your question, am I in favor of licensing, my general response has always to run when someone says "I am from the government and I am here to help you."

Further, government regulators remind me of someone who shows up after the battle and bayonets the few survivors.

So, I do not like government interference in my life.

Buddy

Lagunaroy said:


Mr. Cotton, I am not clear from your post, are you for a renewed effort by Geren or are you saying the AAPL can regulate its members and non members?


#12

For your own info., it is not really a fresh issue. It may be fresh to you if this is the first time you have heard of it. Several years ago a state rep. or senator from South TX, maybe Laredo, introduced it and it failed to pass as well then.

It could be one of those things where the devil is in the details like Prohibition. When Prohibition was first made law, there were religious exceptions, i.e. wine could be used for religious services. All of a sudden, and not surprising, there were applications for wine by people named Rabbi O'Malley for use at Temple, or a Father Shapiro to use in a Roman Catholic Mass.

The function of a landman is not limited to negotiating oil leases. They often use public records to search ownership. You need a license to do that? Well, fine, then all of a sudden I am only searching personal family history. What's a landman?

I am assigned to go pick up a lease from Farmer Brown. Many landmen also hold the office of Notary Public. Guess what? I am not going to notarize that lease as a landman, but only in my capacity as a Notary.

Negotiating a lease? That may be harder to get around if a license is required to do that specifically. Maybe it can be said that it is some type of spiritual experience, and that the person is only exercising his freedom of religion instead of effectuating land work.

Am I in favor of it? NO, simply because I would prefer to keep the annual license fee that the state would want from me in my own pocket. I'm guessing it would be in the neighborhood of $350.00 per year if you look at the Texas Occupations Code and other license fees.

Lagunaroy said:

Actually the words are employer Or Clients knowledge and consent. If I hired a landman to represent me and he has an ORRI in the same well that I have an RI in would you think that was ethical? I found that via the CAD.

I am not saying all landmen are unethical, and I would not believe anyone who said they were all ethical. And yes you are correct I did misspell Mr. Cotten's name, I apologize for that.

I think the point of this discussion was whether or not the state should regulate landmen like we regulate, doctors, nurses, lawyers, real estate folks, law enforcement, and many I'm sure I missed.

What say you?

#13


Buddy Cotten said:

Dear Laguanaroy,

I used the reference to Green to underscore the problems that were happening in the Barnett Shale at that time, to his constituents. There are always (it seems), some rumblings at the State House about tying to regulate the landman craft.

The AAPL wants to self-regulate and have opposed such bills in the past. However, there is no requirement for anybody in the State that prohibits them from hanging out a shingle saying that they are now a landman, or mineral manager for that matter. AAPL membership is no requirement for someone to practice their craft. But the AAPL wants everybody to join so that they could then have voluntary compliance without the State getting involved.

As to Charlie's bill, to place regulation in the hands of the Real Estate commission is ludicrous. Some of the most belligerently misinformed people that I have come across in buying leases is a real estate agent. A little knowledge is a real dangerous thing,

I have not been an AAPL member for a number of years. I resigned to protest what I considered ethical violations of the leadership of the AAPL itself. I was not the only one by a long shot. Many landmen have now forgotten the whole incident by now.

As to the Mineral Manager side, the National Association of Royalty Owners has a CMM designation (Certified Mineral Manager).

One of the CMM program instructors was talking to me several years ago about sitting for the exam. He said that I could pass it easily. I said give me an example question. He asked how many acres are in a Section of land. I told him that was a bogus question where you could give no correct answer. He looked at me in stunned disbelief and said it was 640 acres. I then asked about match sections and the arpent sections of Louisiana. Why would I want to be a CMM if the promoter of the certification program (Ian attorney by training and former Oklahoma judge) did not have a clue? And there is no ethical violation standard in that organization. I found it to be silly.

Right of Way agents in Texas are supposed to be licensed. It is easier to obtain a driver's license and costs more. No regulation, no continuing education. Nothing. No requirements at all.

If it were not for the broker system of landwork, the market could regulate itself to some degree. We had not these problems at this level until the explosion of shale plays.

To directly answer your question, am I in favor of licensing, my general response has always to run when someone says "I am from the government and I am here to help you."

Further, government regulators remind me of someone who shows up after the battle and bayonets the few survivors.

So, I do not like government interference in my life.

Buddy

Lagunaroy said:


Mr. Cotton, I am not clear from your post, are you for a renewed effort by Geren or are you saying the AAPL can regulate its members and non members?

Mr. Cotten,

Good morning Sir and Happy Texas Independence Day!

Thanks for your reply and to be clear I really don’t like the government involved in my business either. For the sake of discussion, let’s not even try and talk taxes please. By the way only 35 more days until that deadline.

My view is that landmen are the only unregulated entity involved in oil and gas. Surface owners have all kinds of compliance requirements to obtain an ag exemption, hunt or fish on their property, building codes and permits. The list goes on… Royalty interest owners are also regulated as to when they are paid and that list goes on also, TNR sec 92, IIRC. Drillers, operators, and producers all have compliance departments that deal with those regulations and issues.

Almost done, sorry for the long post, as an example, the process starts with a contact from a landman operating without any regulation placed on them by the gov’t. From there we go to a notary, then the surveyor, then the pad builders… All with some state regulations or licensing requirements.

The only unregulated occupation in the oil business is the landman, my opinion. So what is the solution, I am not sure, going to take some deep pockets to change this but I think it needs to be done.

Once again thanks for your response, I do appreciate your point of view.


#14

It has been tried and it has failed, more than once. Hopefully that will continue. It's a false assumption that because something is regulated, that means everyone under that regulation will automatically be cleansed.

Alan Stanford and Madoff were regulated. That didn't do their investors much good.

Ms. Pat Malone got her fence back. She did the right thing by calling the help she needed.

Regulation of the rude landman in her case wouldn't have made any difference.



Lagunaroy said:



Buddy Cotten said:

Dear Laguanaroy,

I used the reference to Green to underscore the problems that were happening in the Barnett Shale at that time, to his constituents. There are always (it seems), some rumblings at the State House about tying to regulate the landman craft.

The AAPL wants to self-regulate and have opposed such bills in the past. However, there is no requirement for anybody in the State that prohibits them from hanging out a shingle saying that they are now a landman, or mineral manager for that matter. AAPL membership is no requirement for someone to practice their craft. But the AAPL wants everybody to join so that they could then have voluntary compliance without the State getting involved.

As to Charlie's bill, to place regulation in the hands of the Real Estate commission is ludicrous. Some of the most belligerently misinformed people that I have come across in buying leases is a real estate agent. A little knowledge is a real dangerous thing,

I have not been an AAPL member for a number of years. I resigned to protest what I considered ethical violations of the leadership of the AAPL itself. I was not the only one by a long shot. Many landmen have now forgotten the whole incident by now.

As to the Mineral Manager side, the National Association of Royalty Owners has a CMM designation (Certified Mineral Manager).

One of the CMM program instructors was talking to me several years ago about sitting for the exam. He said that I could pass it easily. I said give me an example question. He asked how many acres are in a Section of land. I told him that was a bogus question where you could give no correct answer. He looked at me in stunned disbelief and said it was 640 acres. I then asked about match sections and the arpent sections of Louisiana. Why would I want to be a CMM if the promoter of the certification program (Ian attorney by training and former Oklahoma judge) did not have a clue? And there is no ethical violation standard in that organization. I found it to be silly.

Right of Way agents in Texas are supposed to be licensed. It is easier to obtain a driver's license and costs more. No regulation, no continuing education. Nothing. No requirements at all.

If it were not for the broker system of landwork, the market could regulate itself to some degree. We had not these problems at this level until the explosion of shale plays.

To directly answer your question, am I in favor of licensing, my general response has always to run when someone says "I am from the government and I am here to help you."

Further, government regulators remind me of someone who shows up after the battle and bayonets the few survivors.

So, I do not like government interference in my life.

Buddy

Lagunaroy said:


Mr. Cotton, I am not clear from your post, are you for a renewed effort by Geren or are you saying the AAPL can regulate its members and non members?


Mr. Cotten,

Good morning Sir and Happy Texas Independence Day!

Thanks for your reply and to be clear I really don't like the government involved in my business either. For the sake of discussion, let's not even try and talk taxes please. By the way only 35 more days until that deadline.

My view is that landmen are the only unregulated entity involved in oil and gas. Surface owners have all kinds of compliance requirements to obtain an ag exemption, hunt or fish on their property, building codes and permits. The list goes on... Royalty interest owners are also regulated as to when they are paid and that list goes on also, TNR sec 92, IIRC. Drillers, operators, and producers all have compliance departments that deal with those regulations and issues.

Almost done, sorry for the long post, as an example, the process starts with a contact from a landman operating without any regulation placed on them by the gov't. From there we go to a notary, then the surveyor, then the pad builders... All with some state regulations or licensing requirements.

The only unregulated occupation in the oil business is the landman, my opinion. So what is the solution, I am not sure, going to take some deep pockets to change this but I think it needs to be done.

Once again thanks for your response, I do appreciate your point of view.

#15

Robert Allen Stanford is serving a 110 year prison sentence for defrauding his investors. Not "Alan". Thank you for allowing this correction.

Dave Quincy said:

It has been tried and it has failed, more than once. Hopefully that will continue. It's a false assumption that because something is regulated, that means everyone under that regulation will automatically be cleansed.

Alan Stanford and Madoff were regulated. That didn't do their investors much good.

Ms. Pat Malone got her fence back. She did the right thing by calling the help she needed.

Regulation of the rude landman in her case wouldn't have made any difference.



Lagunaroy said:



Buddy Cotten said:

Dear Laguanaroy,

I used the reference to Green to underscore the problems that were happening in the Barnett Shale at that time, to his constituents. There are always (it seems), some rumblings at the State House about tying to regulate the landman craft.

The AAPL wants to self-regulate and have opposed such bills in the past. However, there is no requirement for anybody in the State that prohibits them from hanging out a shingle saying that they are now a landman, or mineral manager for that matter. AAPL membership is no requirement for someone to practice their craft. But the AAPL wants everybody to join so that they could then have voluntary compliance without the State getting involved.

As to Charlie's bill, to place regulation in the hands of the Real Estate commission is ludicrous. Some of the most belligerently misinformed people that I have come across in buying leases is a real estate agent. A little knowledge is a real dangerous thing,

I have not been an AAPL member for a number of years. I resigned to protest what I considered ethical violations of the leadership of the AAPL itself. I was not the only one by a long shot. Many landmen have now forgotten the whole incident by now.

As to the Mineral Manager side, the National Association of Royalty Owners has a CMM designation (Certified Mineral Manager).

One of the CMM program instructors was talking to me several years ago about sitting for the exam. He said that I could pass it easily. I said give me an example question. He asked how many acres are in a Section of land. I told him that was a bogus question where you could give no correct answer. He looked at me in stunned disbelief and said it was 640 acres. I then asked about match sections and the arpent sections of Louisiana. Why would I want to be a CMM if the promoter of the certification program (Ian attorney by training and former Oklahoma judge) did not have a clue? And there is no ethical violation standard in that organization. I found it to be silly.

Right of Way agents in Texas are supposed to be licensed. It is easier to obtain a driver's license and costs more. No regulation, no continuing education. Nothing. No requirements at all.

If it were not for the broker system of landwork, the market could regulate itself to some degree. We had not these problems at this level until the explosion of shale plays.

To directly answer your question, am I in favor of licensing, my general response has always to run when someone says "I am from the government and I am here to help you."

Further, government regulators remind me of someone who shows up after the battle and bayonets the few survivors.

So, I do not like government interference in my life.

Buddy

Lagunaroy said:


Mr. Cotton, I am not clear from your post, are you for a renewed effort by Geren or are you saying the AAPL can regulate its members and non members?


Mr. Cotten,

Good morning Sir and Happy Texas Independence Day!

Thanks for your reply and to be clear I really don't like the government involved in my business either. For the sake of discussion, let's not even try and talk taxes please. By the way only 35 more days until that deadline.

My view is that landmen are the only unregulated entity involved in oil and gas. Surface owners have all kinds of compliance requirements to obtain an ag exemption, hunt or fish on their property, building codes and permits. The list goes on... Royalty interest owners are also regulated as to when they are paid and that list goes on also, TNR sec 92, IIRC. Drillers, operators, and producers all have compliance departments that deal with those regulations and issues.

Almost done, sorry for the long post, as an example, the process starts with a contact from a landman operating without any regulation placed on them by the gov't. From there we go to a notary, then the surveyor, then the pad builders... All with some state regulations or licensing requirements.

The only unregulated occupation in the oil business is the landman, my opinion. So what is the solution, I am not sure, going to take some deep pockets to change this but I think it needs to be done.

Once again thanks for your response, I do appreciate your point of view.

#16

Great discussion here. Buddy, thank you for the info about the proposal. I think it would be very difficult to establish a state-wide occupational license for landman. The AAPL is doing what several professional organizations in Appraisal did when the government wanted to crack down on bad appraisers. "Join us and we'll work with the state to create guidelines and standards that everyone will follow", with the expectation that full government regulation would be bad for the industry. Because of the Savings and Loan scandals in the 1980s, the government has adopted ethical standards and now regulates and licenses all appraisers in Texas, and I'm sure in most other states as well. Does that stop bad appraisals? No way. As Buddy previously mentioned, some of the least informed people involving land deals were real estate brokers. They are also regulated and licensed (I believe Texas brokers are required to have MORE training hours than ANY other state). Does that mean the regulation and licensing is sufficient to protect consumers? Not necessarily. The sad fact of the world we live in is that people do not make informed decisions, and no matter what professional or other advice you seek, there will always be people who know just enough to have a license or the occupation and give you bad or erroneous advice.


#17

Essentially ethical problems can be overcome. However, they can not be overcome by external methods such as legal systems or rules to address every ethical dilemma, but only by inner discipline and ethical restraint.

That is also why when a politician stands in front of a mirror, there is no reflection. They think that the Dalai Lama is a South American camilid with a theme park in Branson, MO. (Sorry. I think that I just had a Dennis Miller moment.)

There is another line to cross. Most field landmen that I have run across are woefully under represented in initial indoctrination into our field and continuing education,including the practice of ethics. They will never understand of the dilema of obeying one moral imperative would deny another. Not today so much, but in 2005, hands with 2 whole years of experience were team leaders.

Buddy Cotten

Mineral Manager



Kitchen said:

Great discussion here. Buddy, thank you for the info about the proposal. I think it would be very difficult to establish a state-wide occupational license for landman. The AAPL is doing what several professional organizations in Appraisal did when the government wanted to crack down on bad appraisers. "Join us and we'll work with the state to create guidelines and standards that everyone will follow", with the expectation that full government regulation would be bad for the industry. Because of the Savings and Loan scandals in the 1980s, the government has adopted ethical standards and now regulates and licenses all appraisers in Texas, and I'm sure in most other states as well. Does that stop bad appraisals? No way. As Buddy previously mentioned, some of the least informed people involving land deals were real estate brokers. They are also regulated and licensed (I believe Texas brokers are required to have MORE training hours than ANY other state). Does that mean the regulation and licensing is sufficient to protect consumers? Not necessarily. The sad fact of the world we live in is that people do not make informed decisions, and no matter what professional or other advice you seek, there will always be people who know just enough to have a license or the occupation and give you bad or erroneous advice.


#18

Buddy is the best in the business. Google Buddy Cotton, hiring him is not an option but a necessity to every home owner inquiring about mineral rights.


#19

I agree with that statement also after living in both.

Clint Liles said:

Dave,

Having lived in Dallas and Ft. Worth in the past(1965, 1966, 1967) I'll have to agree with the biker.

Clint Liles


#20

I’m one of the rare landmen who would actually like to see professional licensing at the state level, though I know will never actually happen. I don’t think most people realize that professional licensure is usually designed to protect the members of a given profession (I.e. real estate appraisers, optometrists, barbers, etc) more than the consumer. Competence requirements, like an entrance exam or mandatory apprenticeship period, serve as barriers to entry for new members of the profession, which ensure that there is enough work available for those who do get licensed to make a living. It also gives the profession the means to protect its public perception by not allowing those who cause harm to consumers/clients or give the profession itself a bad name to continue working as a member of that profession.



Of course, all of the above contemplates a system where the members of the particular profession have full autonomy to self-govern and administer their own licensure system. Obviously, it wouldn’t do anyone any good for some bureaucrat at city hall to decree which hoops he thinks a landman should have to jump through in order to work (I suppose that would do the bureaucrat some good, because that’s how bureaucracy operates). But, without a law requiring that one be licensed by the state professional/trade group in order to lawfully practice a profession, all you have is the current state of affairs in the landman profession.

Currently the only real consequences for professional misconduct or incompetence by a landman is disciplinary action or expulsion from the AAPL, which the landman didn’t have to join in the first place. In fact, if an unscrupulous character wanted to avoid any consequences whatsoever for his unethical behavior he could just never join AAPL and he’d never have to be bothered with the standards of conduct of the profession. As a member of that profession, that seems like the last thing the rest of us should want to happen.



Now that I’ve worn in that soapbox, I’ll readily admit once again that my grandkids won’t even live to see this happen. Ever. The mobile nature of field land work alone would make it nearly impossible, since it often requires work to be done out of state by very definition. And, if state licensing for landmen were a reality, it would probably be done more like it currently is for state realtors (or god forbid, by the realtors themselves). Nevertheless, it’s an interesting concept.