Fulbright Wins 2008 Burton Award for Best Publication
June 13, 2008
Fulbright & Jaworski has won the esteemed 2008 Burton Award for Best Law Firm Publication for its report on Trends in Energy Litigation 2007.
The Burton Awards honor effective legal writing and reward lawyers and law students "who use plain, clear and concise language and avoid archaic, stilted legalese." The annual awards, established in 1999 by the Burton Foundation, are presented in association with the Law Library of Congress and sponsored by the Association of Legal Administrators.
"Our intent with this report was to provide an overview of the emerging energy litigation trends our lawyers were seeing across the globe and to forecast where energy litigation is headed," said Fulbright partner Dan McClure, who co-edited the report with partner David Van Susteren. "We worked hard to make this publication interesting and reader-friendly, and we are very pleased that our efforts were recognized by such a prestigious awards program."
Trends in Energy Litigation 2007 is a compilation of analyses written by Fulbright lawyers who work with the energy industry on matters encompassing litigation, tax, environmental, regulatory, and corporate issues.
The report opens with a detailed section on international energy disputes, exploring how high oil prices, coupled with the swing of the political pendulum in several regions of the world, led to a chain reaction in which host governments in countries including Algeria, Bolivia, China, Ecuador, Russia and Venezuela have sought to increase their take from energy projects.
From there, the reader goes on a journey through U.S. upstream litigation trends, such as litigation over federal royalties, environmental laws, and toxic torts, as well as downstream trends, including governmental probes of market manipulation and energy contracts in bankruptcy.
The publication also takes a look at the nation’s increasing reliance on natural gas and the enormous capital requirements required by the energy industry in order to maintain and expand the interstate natural gas pipeline network and to develop new supply initiatives, including the importation of natural gas.
The breadth and scope of Fulbright’s worldwide energy practice uniquely situates it to provide this report. Indeed, the predictive accuracy of energy trends by the report’s authors is significant. For example, long before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued their market-startling orders in July 2007 directing certain energy market participants to show cause why multi-million dollar fines should not be imposed for market manipulation, Fulbright partner Peggy Heeg accurately forecasted that trend in the report, writing: "More recently, FERC and other agencies are investigating whether companies are taking positions in the physical market to the benefit of a financial position." FERC and CFTC ultimately issued precedent-setting orders based in large part on this issue. This type of accuracy in identifying energy law trends makes the report valuable reading for all energy industry participants.
"We believe this report is a valuable tool that captures the latest trends within the energy industry," said Stephen C. Dillard, head of Fulbright’s worldwide litigation practice. "The factors driving energy litigation and regulatory actions are likely to continue: namely, growing global demand, rising prices, heightened geopolitical tensions, and a variety of regulatory, social and environmental issues. Keeping a close watch on those trends, and responding to them, makes economic sense."
The Burton Awards will be presented on June 16 at the Great Hall of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will be the featured speaker, while television and radio political host and author, Bill Press, will be the Master of Ceremonies. Additionally, the Pan American Symphony Orchestra will perform a Salute to the Music of Andrew Lloyd Weber.