THE D or É R eport
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LET ME TELL YOU A STORY … THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING LIEN
Once upon a time, a company filed bankruptcy in San Antonio. The major lender was a bank from California — let’s call it “The Bank.” The Bank claimed it had secured everything under its senior position lien, and all the vendors who’d worked to establish production and benefit the value of the properties were going to have to wait at the end of the line as unsecured creditors. Basically, it told those hardworking men and women to go pound sand. From the vendors’ perspective, things looked bleak indeed until some smart oil and gas lawyers decided to do a little checking around. We looked into the real property records in all the counties where the bankrupt company had assets. Lo and behold, we found that The Bank and its fancy lawyers had forgotten to file their lien in Webb County. That meant that all the trade creditors who had taken steps to file mineral liens against the properties in that county suddenly became the senior lien claimants to those assets, ahead of The Bank. “So, here’s the moral of the story: Don’t always believe The Bank that claims to have all the debtor’s assets locked up with their lien because sometimes they miss something.”
properties, and then move the title into that new LLC where those producing properties could be sold with profits to the former trade creditors. The Bank responded with a lot of lawsuit threats, nasty emails, and other tricks lawyers love to try when they’re losing. The Bank even engaged an engineer to write a report and claim the major asset value of the company was in all the other counties, not Webb County. We’ll call this what it is: a manipulation of the values. After all the skirmishes were done, the trade creditors received full payment of their invoices, plus interest, and recovery of their attorneys’ fees. It was a well-deserved happy ending!
I wish more bankruptcies worked out this way, but alas, it’s not so. Too often, no law team is there to save the day. So, here’s the moral of the story: Don’t always believe The Bank that claims to have all the debtor’s assets locked up with their lien because sometimes they miss something. Instead, engage an experienced oil and gas lawyer who can do the digging for you.
After this discovery, all of the lien claimants threatened to form a new LLC, credit-bid in the bankruptcy for all of the Webb County
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Are You Vibing With Your Business? BOOST YOUR COMPANY’S CULTURE WITH ‘FIVE FREQUENCIES’
If you dive deep into the tactics of successful businesses and startups, a common thread among them is that culture reigns king. More and more value is placed on fostering an uplifting atmosphere for employees, which allows them to generate better business. The general consensus says great culture is built over time and can take many tries in an attempt to get it “just right.” But one book suggests that you might not need to look very far to pinpoint the biggest influence behind company culture. In “Five Frequencies: Leadership Signals That Turn Culture Into Competitive Advantage,” a team of four authors compile their years of extensive experience working with companies to execute cohesive strategies for building effective culture. Jeff Grimshaw, Tanya Mann, Lynne Viscio, and Jennifer Landis have witnessed company cultures of every type be successful and fail. They concluded that culture doesn’t cultivate from the many but, rather, is affected by the few. In this case, the few are the leaders of the business. The authors assert that leaders are, at every moment, transmitting signals to their team, whether intentionally or not. Teams take cues from those who lead them, so if leaders aren’t dialed into the frequencies they’re giving off, they could be transmitting troublesome signals. Instead, leaders should always be dialed into their “vibes” and be particularly aware of five specific frequencies: Thanks to suggestions from our Advisory Group — a group of client representatives who give us advice on ways to improve our service — Doré Rothberg McKay is rolling out a brand-new tool that will help us communicate with you. We’re calling it the Client Portal, and we’re excited for you to see it in action. Starting in the first quarter of 2020, we’ll use the Client Portal as an online site, adding content to it related to various cases. Clients who have multiple cases with us will have their own password-protected accounts on the Client Portal, which they’ll be able to access to check in on the status of those matters. The idea is for clients to be able to view our progress anytime, anywhere, and on any device without having to call or email the lawyer working on their cases. Your lawyers will still continue to call or email updates on anything major, as always, but from now on, you’ll have access to updates and other information when applicable, for example: • The name and contact person(s) assigned to each matter • Documents that need to be shared between client and attorney • A monthly snapshot of progress on each matter The only communication that won’t be recorded there are calls and emails, which will continue to reach you directly and serve as our main means of communication. The Client Portal is simply icing on the cake! We look forward to continuing to improve our service with your feedback and advice. If you have any suggestions for us, feel free to get in touch today.
1. Their decisions and actions 2. What they choose to reward and recognize 3. What they do and do not tolerate 4. The way they show up informally 5. How they compose formal communications
“Five Frequencies” illustrates how correctly tuning into these frequencies can give leaders the tools they need to make bad culture good and good culture great. Full of tried-and-true examples from real companies around the globe, this guide proves that culture is not something tangible you can hold, nor is it a procedural element you can simply implement. It’s something people feel, and it’s built and explained by the behaviors that surround it. This means it can be difficult to manage, measure, and, most importantly, change. But if leaders take the time to look at themselves and the actions they exemplify, they’ll have a solid foundation to start.
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR CASES 24/7 WITH OUR NEW CLIENT PORTAL
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WHY SEND A NEWSLETTER? THE LOGIC BEHIND THE PAPER YOU’RE HOLDING
• We help more oilfield services companies get paid for their work than any firm in Texas. • We file more mineral liens than any firm in the U.S., and then we enforce those liens. • We represent the most trade creditors in oil and gas bankruptcies, including defending any preference claims. • We litigate job disputes, blowouts, and all other things related to getting paid for work. • We review more than 20 MSAs every month and advise clients on their risks. Finally, because of the work that we do, we think we have a unique perspective on the industry we serve. Sometimes, like the proverbial “canary in the coal mine,” the lawyers at Doré Rothberg McKay see new trends spreading from client to client. Our monthly newsletter gives us a place to share legal updates on those hot topics with you. After over 30 years in the Houston Energy Corridor, our monthly newsletter is just one way we can remind you that we’re still here when you need us. We appreciate the chance to speak to you for a few minutes each month — even if only through this paper!
With all the emails and advertisements bombarding businesspeople these days, why does Doré Rothberg McKay bother to publish a monthly newsletter? Well, here’s the simple truth: We don’t want you to forget that we know who you are and what you need. Studies show that two-thirds of customers leave or don’t return to businesses they’re working with because they think the business just doesn’t care. Apathy will kill a business relationship. So we send this newsletter out to remind you that we do care and want to stay in touch until you need us — even if only via the paper you’re holding. On a related note, the No. 1 reason people don’t refer friends or associates to the businesses they work with is because they don’t know what distinguishes them from their competitors. We want to close that loop for you, too. We know we’re not like any other law firm, and we want to make sure you know our niche and how we can help you and your associates with your specific needs. Here are just a few of the things that set us apart:
EASY IRISH SODA BREAD Inspired by AllRecipes.com
4 cups all-purpose flour 4 tbsp white sugar 1 tsp baking soda 1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup margarine
• • • •
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, divided
• • • •
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1. Heat oven to 375 F, and lightly grease a large baking sheet. 2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and margarine. 3. Stir in 1 cup buttermilk and egg, and mix until dough comes together. 4. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface. Form dough into a round before placing it on baking sheet. 5. In a small bowl, combine melted butter and remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk. 6. Brush the raw loaf with this mixture and cut an “X” into the top. 7. Bake loaf for 45–50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted into center of loaf. You may need to continue brushing the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.
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The Mystery of the Missing Lien
How Your Vibes Affect Your Business
How to Check the Progress of Your Cases 24/7
The Logic Behind the Paper You’re Holding
Easy Irish Soda Bread
The Science Behind Gut Feelings (When You Love Them First)
HEADS OR TAILS? THE SCIENTIFICALLY SMARTER WAY TO MAKE BUSINESS DECISIONS
When you have to solve a problem, your basal ganglia start working on a solution, even if you aren’t consciously thinking about it. If you make a conscious decision that agrees with the subconscious solution of your basal ganglia, your brain gives off a subtle reward. The decision doesn’t have to be logical to feel right — that’s your gut feeling. However, if the conscious and subconscious parts of your brain don’t agree, your insula detects the discrepancy and registers a threat. It’s the “I have a bad feeling about this” response.
You have two options in front of you. They both sound great, are backed by research, and could transform your business for the better, but you can only choose one. Which do you commit to? When you’re faced with two equally worthwhile options, science says the best way to make a decision is to flip a coin. When you flip a coin, you’re not really leaving the decision up to chance; you’re actually calling on your intuition to guide you. The practice is often regarded as unscientific, but there’s a lot of research to support making intuitive decisions. Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann, authors of “The Leading Brain: Neuroscience Hacks to Work Smarter, Better, Happier,” explain how we develop that “gut feeling.” Intuitive decisions are driven by two structures in your brain: the basal ganglia and the insula. The basal ganglia are connected to movement and building habits. The insula, part of the cerebral cortex, becomes engaged when you experience pain, feel love, listen to music, or even enjoy a piece of chocolate. Neuroscientists believe the insula is responsible for self-awareness, particularly for recognizing changes in your body.
Fabritius and Hagemann note that gut feelings “represent the most efficient use of your accumulated experience.” According to the authors, flipping a coin is the best way to really listen to your basal ganglia and insula. Your subconscious brain has already made a decision; flipping a coin helps you test your intuition about each option. If the coin lands on heads and you feel relieved, then heads is the right choice. However, if the coin lands on tails and you’re uncertain or want to flip again, then that’s your intuition saying the other option is the better choice. So, the next time you’re caught in a pickle, grab the nearest quarter and put your intuition to the test.
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