2009 Ernest E. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Robert C. Bledsoe, ’55 (center) with Billie Ann Maxwell, ’09, (left) managing editor, and Becky Diffen, ’09, (right) editor in chief, at the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law’s annual banquet.
On January 22, 2009, the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law awarded the 2009 Ernest E. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award to Robert C. Bledsoe, a 1955 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. This prestigious award is given to an energy attorney who has made a major contribution to the oil, gas, and energy industry.
Bledsoe is a founding partner of Cotton Bledsoe Tighe & Dawson, PC, in Midland, Texas. He has practiced law for over fifty years and is well known for his work in oil and gas transactions and litigation. Bledsoe was among the first group of Texas attorneys to be certified as a specialist in oil, gas, and mineral law, and he has served on the board for the Oil and Gas Specialization Exam.
Bledsoe is a frequent writer and speaker on oil and gas topics and throughout his career has been recognized by his peers as one of the premier practitioners of oil and gas law. In recognition of his expertise, he was called upon to serve as one of the draftsmen of the Prudhoe Bay Unit Agreement and Unit Operating Agreement, the governing documents for the largest oilfield in North America.
He has also served his community and his country. A Korean War veteran, he has served in leadership positions with several charitable organizations in Midland. Bledsoe and his firm are also generous supporters of the University of Texas School of Law.
The Ernest E. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award honors practitioners who have participated in the advancement of natural resources law, policy, or scholarship. The award is named after Professor Ernest E. Smith, the Rex G. Baker Centennial Chair in Natural Resources Law at the University of Texas School of Law. Considered the preeminent specialist in oil, gas, and energy law, Smith co-authored the leading casebook on oil and gas law. He also created the first wind power law class to be taught at an American law school.
Smith recently received the Massey Teaching Excellence Award, which is awarded to a law professor who “epitomizes the Law School’s priority of providing the highest quality of teaching to its students.” Smith also serves as a faculty advisor to the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law and presented the award to Bledsoe at the Journal’s annual banquet at the University of Texas Club on January 22, 2009.
Mike Godfrey, a member of the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law’s board of advisors, reflected on Bledsoe’s career, explaining, “I have often been asked whether I had run some matter by Cotton Bledsoe. Bob Bledsoe and his firm epitomize excellence in the practice of oil and gas law.”
The fourth recipient of this prestigious award, Bledsoe joins former Devon Energy General Counsel Duke Ligon, Exxon General Counsel C. Kenneth Roberts, and the late Frank Douglass, founding partner of Scott, Douglass and McConnico, in receiving this honor at the Journal’s annual banquet.
The Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law is the only entirely student-run energy publication in the country, as well as one of the largest publications at the University of Texas School of Law. In addition to publishing articles on oil, gas, and energy topics twice a year, the Journal hosts a two-day continuing legal education symposium in conjunction with its banquet. This year’s symposium took place on January 22–23, 2009, and featured talks on current issues in the energy industry ranging from recent case law to SEC rules changes, urban drilling to carbon sequestration, and electric markets to wind power issues.
Becky H. Diffen, Editor-in-Chief, Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law, 512-632-2267, EIC@tjogel.org