Dick Watt
Partner

Dick Watt is a founding partner of WattBeckworth. He has practiced law in Texas since his admission to the Texas bar in 1972, after completion of both his undergraduate and legal education at The University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Watt’s practice emphasizes general civil litigation, oil and gas law, and oil and gas litigation, including extensive trial and appellate work. In oil and gas matters, he has represented clients in all phases of the upstream and mid-stream exploration, development, and production sector, and besides representing parties in these areas, has also served both as an arbitrator and a mediator in numerous energy-related matters. Prior to being a co-founder of WattBeckworth in 2001, Mr. Watt was a founding partner of the Houston firm of Watt, White & Craig, and maintained a solo practice in Houston from 1991 until the formation of WattBeckworth in 2001. He is also active in ranching and oil and gas activities.

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

  • The University of Texas School of Law, Austin, Texas, 1972 J.D.
  • The University of Texas at Austin, Texas, 1969 B.A.

PROFESSIONAL HONORS & ACTIVITIES

  • Recipient of the 2014 Ernest E. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas and Energy Law of the University of Texas School of Law
  • “Texas Super Lawyer,” Energy & Natural Resources Law and Business Litigation Law, 2004-2013 as recognized by Thomson Reuters and published in Texas Monthly
  • Selected as one of five finalists for the 2012 Texas Lawyer Go-To Guide in Energy Law 
  • Former Co-Chair, Texas Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section Pattern Jury Charge Project, and currently member of State Bar of Texas Oil & Gas Pattern Jury Charge Committee
  • 2011 Chambers USA America's Leading Lawyer for Business, focusing on both general civil litigation and oil & gas litigation
  • The Best Lawyers in America, selected by peers as one of Texas Best Lawyers in Natural Resources Law and Oil & Gas Law, as published by U.S. News and World Report, 2010-2012
  • The Best Lawyers in America, voted "Houston Natural Resources Lawyer of the Year," as published by U.S. News and World Report, 2010
  • Chair of the State Bar of Texas Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Law Section for 2007-2008

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

  • Defense of independent oil company against fraud and theft of trade secret claims.
  • Representation of major oil company with regard to OCSLA lease interpretation.
  • Representation of royalty owners in class action regarding crude oil pricing.
  • Representation of royalty owners in class action regarding royalties on natural gas.
  • Representation of pipeline company in acquisition of easements and condemnation claims.
  • Representation of landowners against pipeline companies in eminent damage proceedings.
  • Defense of independent producer against class action claims asserted by property owners for damages to homes resulting from acquisition of seismic data.
  • Representation of party in arbitration over pipeline construction contract in the Arabian Sea.
  • Representation of producers in take-or-pay litigation against pipeline companies.
  • Disputes over contracts and production sharing agreements in the Gulf of Guinea offshore West Africa.
  • Served as arbitrator in dispute between oil companies concerning exploration agreement.
  • Representation of royalty owners in development claim against lessee operator.
  • Defense of oil and gas company against royalty owner development claims.
  • Defense of oil and gas company against royalty owner drainage claims.
  • Representation of working interest owners in dispute over terms of acquisition agreement.
  • Defense of independent oil company over royalty owner fraud claims.
  • Arbitration in dispute between parties over construction of operating agreement.
  • Defense of oil company against royalty owner concerning lease terms.
  • Representation of bank trust company in dispute with trust beneficiaries over oil and gas royalty claims.
  • Representation of mineral owners under Padre Island National Seashore against National Park Service in multiple matters.
  • Representation of parties in probate proceedings involving duties of trustee and executor.
  • Arbitration of dispute between partners of a large law firm regarding provisions of the Partnership Agreement.
  • Representation of parties in will contest involving significant oil and gas assets.
  • Representation of drilling contractor against manufacturer of weight indicator on drilling rig.

SELECTED SPEECHES & ARTICLES

  • Author/Speaker: Flashpoints in Joint Operating Agreements for the Institute for Energy Law, The Center for American and International Law, 9th Annual Energy Litigation conference, October 12, 2010
  • Co-Author: The Legal Principles Affecting Contractual Liabilities When Oil & Gas Properties Are Assigned. 20th Annual Energy Law Institute, South Texas College of Law, November 8, 2007
  • Author/Speaker: Beyond the Standard Lease Form Selected Oil & Gas Lease Issues for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, November 4-5, 2004
  • Co-Author/Speaker: Royalty Litigation in 2004 An Update and a Look Ahead for the University of Texas School of Law Civil Litigation Conference, October 28-29, 2004
  • Co-Author: A Litigation Perspective: Selected Thoughts on the Express Negligence Doctrine, Exculpatory Clauses, and Indemnity in Joint Operating Agreements.  State Bar of Texas Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Law Section Report. Volume 26, Number 1. September 2001
  • Author/Speaker: Application of Discovery Rule In Oil and Gas Litigation: 1995 Update — The Plaintiffs’ Perspective for State Bar of Texas, Advanced Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Course, September 21, 1995
  • Co-Author/Speaker: Drainage From A to Z for State Bar of Texas, 12th Annual Advanced Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Institute, October 6-7, 1994
  • Author/Speaker: Judicial Process for Evaluating Producing and Non-Producing Oil and Gas Properties for the Austin Geological Society and Travis County Bar Association and endorsed by the State Bar of Texas, Environmental Law Section, October 8, 1994
  • Author/Speaker: Marketing and Implied Covenant Litigation for the State Bar of Texas, 11th Annual Advanced Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Course, October 14, 1993
  • Author/Speaker: Application of Discovery Rule in Oil and Gas Litigation for the South Texas College of Law, 6th Annual Advanced Oil & Gas Institute, July 22, 1993
  • Co-Author/Speaker: To Share or Not To Share - Royalty Obligations Arising Out of Take-or-Pay or Similar Gas Contract Litigation for the Southwestern Legal Foundation 42nd Annual Institute on Oil and Gas Law and Taxation, February 21, 1991
  • Author/Speaker: Sun v. Jackson: An Analysis of a Lessee’s Obligations In Texas Under the Implied Covenant of Reasonable Development in 1990 for Houston Bar Association, Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Section, April 24, 1990

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS & MEMBERSHIPS

  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • American Bar Association
  • Texas Bar Association
  • Houston Bar Association

Dick Watt
dwatt@wattbeckworth.com
D: +1 713.333.9101

1800 Pennzoil Place
South Tower
711 Louisiana Street
Houston, TX 77002
T: +1 713.650.8100
F: +1 713.650.8141

Practice Areas
General civil litigation, arbitration and mediation, including international and domestic disputes in contract and tort relating to oil and gas, eminent domain and real property law