Scales of Justice M. W. Cockrell & Associates
Attorneys & Counselors

Legal Services to the
Oil, Gas and Energy Client:
U.S. and International
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WILLIAM A. "Gus" SPEARY, Jr.
Attorney

AREAS OF PRACTICE
Complex commercial litigation; natural resources, oil and gas and energy litigation; construction claims litigation; environmental/toxic tort litigation; multi-state and federal class action litigation; creditor's/debtor's rights and bankruptcy litigation; insurance coverage litigation; employment and labor relations litigation (Title VII and NLRB); regulatory compliance auditing and consulting (including environmental protection legislation, workplace safety legislation, employment and labor relations legislation, foreign anti-boycott and corrupt practices legislation, anti-trust legislation and securities legislation); business organization advice (including corporations, joint ventures and partnerships) commercial and business contract drafting/negotiation; and real estate/mergers/acquisitions.
PRIOR PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS
  • Drucker Rutledge, The Woodlands, Texas, Of Counsel (2002-2003)
    Of counsel to commercial litigation firm. Firm's practice involved several commercial lawsuits/mediations/arbitrations, involving millions of dollars. Clients included individuals and small and large companies, including energy companies; lending institutions; national theater chain and national fast food chain.
  • Much Shelist, Chicago, Illinois, Partner (1990-2002)
    • Partner in one of Chicago's largest law firms (100+ lawyers). Partner-in-charge of firm's international environmental law/toxic tort practice. Supervised three attorneys and one paralegal. Successfully represented several companies who were major targets in environmental enforcement actions, superfund cleanup and toxic tort litigation, saving millions of dollars. Successfully prosecuted insurance claims seeking pollution coverage, collecting several millions of dollars.
    • Practicing member of the firm's nation-wide litigation/arbitration practice, working on cases involving fair employment/labor relations; unfair trade practices; consumer fraud; product liability; lender liability; creditor's/debtor's rights including bankruptcy; securities fraud; class actions; breach-of-contract; insurance coverage; construction claims; and UCC matters under Articles 2, 3. & 9.
    • Also practicing member of firm's widely varied transactional and business law practice, including business organizations; mergers/acquisitions, and real estate practice.
  • Tenney & Bentley, Chicago, Illinois, Partner (1987-1990)
    Partner in one of Chicago's oldest law firms. (Founded in 1847.) Practiced in firm's litigation and transactional/general business groups.
  • Pioneer Processing, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel (1984-1987)
    Chief legal officer for leading regional solid waste management company (privately held). Responsible directly to ownership for all legal matters, including insurance; litigation; regulatory compliance; lobbying; employment law; securities laws; business organizations; and contract drafting/negotiation.
  • Browning-Ferris Industries, Inc., Houston, Texas, Assistant General Counsel (1978-1984)
    Chief regulatory compliance and litigation attorney for one of the country's largest publicly held solid waste management companies. Wrote and enforced company's policy for regulatory compliance and litigation. Member of corporate merger and acquisition negotiating team. Drafted, reviewed and approved all company service contracts. Answered directly to CEO and Board Chairman.
  • Exxon Company USA, Houston, Texas, Senior Counsel (1974-1978)
    Senior attorney for environmental law and employment/labor law matters for all North American upstream and downstream operations at the world's largest energy company. Also handled all general business law matters for all refinery/chemical plant operations in North America.
  • Brown & Root, Inc., Houston, Texas, Staff Attorney (1971-1974)
    Part of the law department for one of the world's largest engineering/civil construction/oil field service companies. Handled construction contract proposal/negotiations; construction claims litigation; handled company-wide audits for compliance with Anti-Boycott Legislation and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
LEGAL EDUCATION
  • Law School
    Doctor of Jurisprudence, Cum Laude, 1972, University of Houston;
  • Law Review
    • Case Note/Comment Editor, Vol. 8, Houston Law Review
  • Other
    • Legal Research/Writing Instructor
    • AMJUR Award for highest grade in Torts, Property and Evidence
    • Order of the Coif
UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION
  • Rice University, 1969; Degree: BA; Major: Political Science/Economics
  • Undergraduate Awards and Activities:
    • President's Honor Roll (1968-9)
    • Varsity Football (1965-8)
    • Baker College Glee Club
    • Rice Cinema Club
PROFESSIONAL AND HONORARY ASSOCIATIONS
  • State Bar of Texas (admitted 1972)
  • State Bar of New Jersey (admitted 1976)
  • State Bar of Illinois (admitted 1985)
  • Trial Bar, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Trial Bar, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • Member, U.S. District Court for New Jersey
  • Member, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Member, American Bar Association
ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
  • Adjunct Professor. University of Houston Clear Lake City. School of Business and Public Administration. Taught graduate courses in environmental law. 1983-1984.
  • Adjunct Professor. University of Houston. Main Campus. School of Business Technology. Taught business law. 1976-1980.
  • Speaker at numerous professional seminars and workshops throughout the United States. Sponsoring organizations include the Illinois Society of Safety Engineers; the Illinois Manufacturer's Association; the Texas Environmental Coalition; the Minnesota Council for Business and Commerce; the Texas Bar Association; the American Bar Association; the Chicago Bar Association; the East West Corporate Corridor Association; the National Solid Waste Management Association and the American Petroleum Institute.
  • Committee Chair. Section On Natural Resources Energy & Environmental Law. 1983-1984.
  • Council Member. Natural Resources Section. Texas Bar Association 1981-1985.
  • Board Member. Institute for Municipal Studies. Center for American and International Law, f/k/a the Southwest Legal Foundation. 1995-present.
AWARDS RECEIVED
  • Selected as one of the Outstanding Young Men of America. U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce. 1980.
  • One of three recipients of the prestigious Pro Bono and Public Service Award given annually by the United States District Court for the Northern District Court of Illinois (Chicago) to the members of its trial bar who have shown an exceptional commitment to volunteer and public service. 2003.
LANGUAGES
  • Spanish
MILITARY STATUS
  • Captain, U.S. Army Reserve, Signal Corps (Ret.)
COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
  • Member. R Association of Rice University. (Civic Association open to past letter winners in varsity sports at the university.)
  • Member. Houston Touchdown Club. (Civic association dedicated to promoting the sport of football at inner-city schools in the Houston area.)
  • Member. South Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.
  • Member. Vestry for St. Charles Episcopal Church. St. Charles, Illinois. 1985?1989.
PUBLIC SERVICE
  • Co-Chair. Citizen's Advisory Panel. Illinois Department of Commerce & Community Affairs. 1998-2002. (Appointed by the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.)
  • Special Invitee. National Round Table Discussion on the U.S. EPA's Enforcement Policy for Federal Environmental Laws. Sponsored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. San Francisco, California. 2000.
  • Special Invitee. National Round Table Discussion on the U.S. EPA's Solid Waste Policy. Sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Fairfax, Virginia. 1980.
REFERENCES
  • Available upon request
 
 
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