Melvin W. Cockrell, Jr. (born March 17, 1945 in Helena, Arkansas).
He received a BBA in Finance from Texas A&M in 1967. At A&M,
Cockrell was battalion Commander in the Corps, Distinguished Military Graduate,
Distinguished Student, President of the Finance Society, Member of Ross Volunteer
Honor Company and Varsity Rifle Team among other associations and activities. Mr.
Cockrell received a J.D. cum laude from University of Houston Law Center. At UH,
Cockrell was Managing Editor of the Law Review, a member of the Order of the Coif,
the Baron's Scholastic Society and was selected by the faculty to serve as Instructor
of Legal Research and Writing to first year law students. Following graduation and
prior to active duty with the U.S. Army, Cockrell clerked for the honorable Warren L.
Jones of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Cockrell has done post-graduate
work at University of Houston and Dallas Theological Seminary.
Cockrell's legal experience includes corporate service from the very largest
integrated companies: Exxon Corporation and Affiliates (Senior Counsel) to the small
and aggressive independent: Lear Petroleum Exploration Company (Vice President and
General Counsel). Cockrell's private practice also includes the full range from the world's largest
law firm (Baker & McKenzie) to the medium size (Shank, Irwin & Conant) and the small
specialty firm of today (M.W. Cockrell & Associates). Mel is familiar with the business
and operating philosophies of the full range of public corporate firms and private
legal firms. Mel's experience also includes a sabbatical year as Visiting Associate
Professor of Law at Texas Tech School of Law. Mr. Cockrell has also been a member of
the adjunct faculty of Southern Methodist University and currently serves as adjunct
professor of oil and gas law at the University of Houston Law Center.
Mr. Cockrell has practiced oil and gas law since 1971. He was certified as a specialist
in Oil, Gas & Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1986, the first
year the specialty was recognized. Cockrell's practice focuses on arbitration of
energy/oil and gas disputes, domestic and international transactions, titles, litigation
assistance and consulting, expert witness and mediation. This experience extends to the
related drilling and service industries. He is a frequent speaker at industry and
professional programs and has authored an extensive list of papers. Cockrell is a Fellow
of the College of the State Bar of Texas and is recognized with Martindale-Hubbell's
highest rating: A-V. For a more complete description of his experience and qualifications,
view his resumé.
William A. "Gus" Speary (born July 15, 1947, Conroe, Texas)
is the firm's senior litigator and environmental lawyer. Litigation and environmental
law are the two main areas of focus for his practice. In his 30+ years of practice,
Gus has had extensive first chair experience in litigating, oil and gas, natural
resources and commercial matters as well as major environmental claims. Speary's
environmental expertise, besides litigation, extends to transactional, real estate
and commercial applications of environmental law, as well as corporate compliance
and regulatory matters.
In addition to substantial experience with major AV rated private firms, Speary has
senior executive and professional experience with major NYSE corporations and
independents including: Browning Ferris Industries, Exxon Corporation, Brown &
Gus graduated with honors from Rice Institute in 1969 where he was a member of the
varsity football team. (Although Gus is not an Aggie, he wishes he was, and of course,
that counts a lot!). In 1972 he graduated cum laude from the University of Houston's
Bates College of Law. While in law school, Gus was Case Note and Comment Editor of
the Houston Law Review and was selected by the faculty to be Instructor of Legal
Research and Writing to entering freshmen. At University of Houston, Speary was
awarded the American Jurisprudence Awards for posting the highest mark in the fields
of Real Property, Torts and Evidence. Speary has been an adjunct professor both at
the University of Houston's School of Public Administration and its School of Business
Technology. He has been cited by the United States District Court for excellence in
ProBono and Public Interest Service.
Jacqueline S. Cockrell, Paralegal, earned a B.S. in Business
Education from University of Houston. She is a diplomate of Southwestern Paralegal
Institute (accredited by ABA) where she graduated at the top of her class. Jackie
served as real estate paralegal for the Dallas law firm of Jenkens & Gilchrist, and
later as oil and gas paralegal for Cockrell & Weed before moving into private industry.
She has worked as senior real estate paralegal for Traveler's Insurance and Senior
Commercial Paralegal and Escrow Officer for Safeco Land Title. Following her work
with Safeco, she joined U.S. Restaurant Properties as Investment Supervisor where she
was responsible for closing and legal maintenance of numerous commercial properties.
Mrs. Cockrell has served as oil and gas paralegal with the firm since 2000, generally
focusing on title, division order, due diligence and related matters.