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Phillip Wm. Lear

Partner Emeritus - 801-538-5002

Phillip Wm. Lear is a founding member of Lear & Lear. With over 45 years of experience, Phillip knowledgably advises clients regarding any natural resource legal matter that may arise.

After serving his country as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy, Phil obtained his law degree and embarked on a rich and varied career specializing in natural resources, oil and gas, and energy law.

Phil’s current practice includes natural resources and public lands law with emphasis on acquisition, exploration, permitting and production of oil, gas, and mining properties; oil and gas conservation matters; complex title examinations; administrative hearings and appeals; natural resources litigation and appeals; mergers and acquisitions; mineral financing; water rights; and natural resources law on Indian reservations.

Phillip also serves as an expert witness for natural resource matters.

Phillip Wm. Lear: TeamMember

Practice Areas

Title Work

  • Drilling & Division Order Title Opinions

  • Acquisition Opinions

  • Financing Opinions

  • Supplemental Title Opinions

  • Curative Title Work

  • Lease Negotiations

  • Financing Title Matters

Transactional & Due Diligence

  • Purchase & Sale Agreements

  • Permitting

  • Environmental Due Diligence

Acquisition & Divestiture

  • Due Diligence

  • Title

  • Contract Issues

  • Deal Structuring

    • Transfer of Title

    • Indemnification

    • Confidentiality

    • Lien Priority

  • Third-Party Consents and Waiver

    • Consents to Assign

    • Waiver of Preferential Purchase Rights

  • Transactional Documents

    • Letter of Intent

    • Confidentiality Agreements

    • Purchase & Sale Agreements

    • Title Defects

  • Closing Documents

  • Curative Title Documents

Commission & Regulatory

  • Well Siting and Spacing

  • Pooling, Unitization, and Communitization

  • Surface and Downhole Commingling of Oil and Gas

  • Vertical, Directional, and Horizontal Drilling

  • Gas Flaring

  • Surface Use & Bonding

  • Salt Water Disposal & Other Types of Injection Wells

  • Oilfield Waste Facilities

Dispute Resolution/ Litigation

  • Surface & Title Disputes

  • Operational Disputes

  • Contract/JOS Disputes

  • Vendor & Subcontractor Disputes

  • Regulatory Compliance Issues

  • Rights-of-Way Disputes

  • Lis Pendens

  • Quiet Title Actions

  • Interior Board of Land Appeals Actions

  • Administrative Appeals

Natural Resources

  • American Indian Law

  • Acquisitions of Mineral Interests on Federal, State & Private Lands

  • Compliance & Regulation

  • Permitting

  • Due Diligence

  • Transactions

  • Public Leasing & Permitting

  • Alternative Energy Projects

  • Mineral Development

  • Surface Use & Conservation Easements

Renewable Energy

  • Site Identification

  • Land & Title Issues

  • Due Diligence

  • Rights-of-Way

  • Contractor Agreements

  • Project Development Documents

  • Regulatory Compliance

Phillip Wm. Lear: FAQ


Phil is admitted to practice in the following jurisdictions:

  • Colorado

  • Utah

  • Wyoming

Professional & Civic Organizations

  • Colorado State Bar, member

  • Utah State Bar, member

  • Wyoming State Bar, member

  • Energy & Mineral Law Foundation

  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation

    • President (2002-2003)

    • Program Chair, 35th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1989)

    • Chair, Special Institutes Committee (1990-1996)

  • American Association of Professional Landmen (RPL)

  • Utah Association of Professional Landmen, President (1997-1998)

  • Petroleum Association of Wyoming


  • University of Utah, (J.D., 1975)

  • University of Utah (H.B.A. Magna Cum Laude, 1969)


  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America; Top 100 Legal Elite, Utah Business

  • Distinguished Service Award, Utah State Bar, Energy and Natural Resources Section (2003)

  • Lawyer of the Year Award, Utah State Bar, Energy and Natural Resources Section (1984)


Mineral Title Examinations: The Whos, Whats, Whens, Wheres, and Whys of Mineral Title Assurance, MINERAL TITLE EXAMINATION IV, PAPER 1 (Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn. 2007).

Split Estates and Severed Minerals: Rights Of Access and Surface Use after the Divorce (and Other Leasehold Access-Related Problems, 50 ROCKY MT. MIN. L. INST. 10-1 (2004) [co-authored].

Rights of Access and Permitting for Coalbed Methane, Society of Professional Engineers Applied Technology Workshop, Coal Bed Gas Resources of Utah, SPE Paper No. 87084 (2003).

Coal and Coalbed Methane Development Conflicts Revisited: The Oil and Gas Perspective, PUBLIC LAND LAW, REGULATION, AND MANAGEMENT, Paper 10 (Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn. 2003).

The Ethical Landman: All you Need to Know about Ethics You Learned in Sunday School, ETHICS & PROF. RESPONSIBILITY (Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn. 2000).

Access to Indian Land and Title Records: Freedom of Information, Privacy, and Related Issues, NAT. RESOURCES DVPT. & ENVTL. REG. IN INDIAN COUNTRY, Paper 4-1 (Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn. 1999) [co-authored].

Utah Oil and Gas Conservation Law & Practice, 1998 UTAH L. REV. 89 (1998); ONSHORE POOLING & UNITIZATION Paper 5C (Rocky Mtn. Min. L. Fdn. 1997).

Cooperative Multiple Mineral Development Agreements: A Nuts and Bolts Approach, 43 ROCKY MTN. MIN. L. INST. 3-1 (1997).

Modern Oil & Gas Conservation Practice: And You Thought the Law of Capture was Dead?, 41 ROCKY MTN. MIN. L. INST. 17-1 (1995) [co-authored].

Exhaustion of Tribal Court Remedies and Federal Questions: Rejecting Bright Line Rules and Affirmative Action, 71 N.D. L. REV. 277 (1995) [co-authored].

Division Order Issues in the 1990’s: State Policing of an Unresponsive Industry, OIL & GAS ROYALTIES ON NON FEDERAL LANDS, Paper 6 (Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn. 1993).

Multiple Mineral Development Conflicts in Coalbed Methane Operations, COALBED GAS DEVELOPMENT: EAST AND WEST, Paper 4A (Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn. 1992).

Accretion, Reliction, Erosion, and Avulsion: A Study in Riparian and Littoral Title Problems, 29 PUB. LAND RESOURCES L. DIG. 11 (1992); 11 J. ENERGY, NAT. RESOURCES & ENVTL. L. 265 (1991).

Conflicts in Simultaneous Mineral Operation Revisited: Armageddon One Day Closer, THE LANDMAN [Part: I Jan/Feb]; [Part 2 Mar/Apr]; [Part 3 May/June] (American Assoc. of Petroleum Landmen 1992).

Representations, Warranties, Covenants, Conditions, and Indemnities: Stitching Them Together in the Purchase Agreement, 37 ROCKY MT. MIN. L. INST. 3 1 (1991).

Conservation Principles and Federal Onshore Pooling and Unitization: An Overview, FEDERAL ONSHORE POOLING AND UNITIZATION 11, Paper I (Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn. 1990).

First Purchaser Suspense Accounts, 33 ROCKY MT. MIN. L. INST. 17 1 (1988).

Chapter XXIII Conflicts in the Development of Other Minerals, 2 LAW OF FEDERAL OIL AND GAS LEASES (Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn., Rel. 2008).

Multiple Mineral Development Conflicts: An Armageddon in Simultaneous Mineral Operations?, 28 ROCKY MT. MIN. L. INST. 79 (1983).

Examination of Title to Fee Lands, MINERAL TITLE EXAMINATION 11, Paper 2 (Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn.1982); Chapter 92, Examination of Title to Fee Lands, 3 AMERICAN LAW OF MINING (Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn. Rel. 20-7/85).

Lurking Title Problems: Snares for the Unsuspecting Federal Oil and Gas Lease Title Examiner, 25 ROCKY MT. MIN. L. INST. 18 1 (1980).

Utah’s Short Statutes of Limitations for Tax Titles: The Continuing Specter of Lyman v. National Mortgage Bond Corp. A Need for Remedial Legislation, BYU L. REV. 457 (1976).

Tax Sales and Tax Titles in Utah: Windfalls and Windstorms, 1 J. CONTEMP. L. 299 (1975).

Representative Matters - Oil & Gas

  • Lead counsel in re-spacing of the Greater Altamont-Bluebell-Cedar Rim/Sink Draw oil and gas fields of eastern Utah.

  • Lead litigation counsel for Emerald Trail, Inc. in federal declaratory judgment title action for access and use of surface estate in and on San Luis Wildlife Refuge in Merced County, California.

  • Lead title counsel for $525 million Utah gas producing properties in the Uinta Basin for Westport Resources Corporation.

  • Lead counsel for Dominion Exploration & Production, Inc. in acquisition of the NOSR 2 Exploration & Development Agreement.

  • Lead counsel in concurrent development of minerals controversy between oil and gas operators and trona operators in Green River Basin of southwestern Wyoming.

  • Lead title counsel for acquisition of the Drunkard Wash (Coalbed Methane) Unit for Phillips Petroleum Company.

  • Lead counsel for Coastal Oil & Gas Corporation in $300 million acquisition of Conoco Inc. producing properties on Indian lands in eastern Utah, including Indian title, access to Indian title records, re-spacing, and potential lease termination issues.

  • Expert witness and legal consultant for Exxon Corporation in unitization hearing before the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission regarding ownership under the Prudhoe Bay (Alaska) oil and gas unit agreement.

  • Expert witness and legal consultant to Pogo Oil & Gas and Yates Petroleum Corporation in litigation involving potash and oil and gas concurrent development in Designated Potash Area in New Mexico.

  • Lead litigation counsel in numerous oil and gas road and drill site condemnation actions under the Utah eminent domain statutes and Onshore Order No. 1 proceedings for surface access in split estate ownership situations involving federal or Indian minerals and private surface or federal and minerals and Indian surface.

  • Lead title counsel examining OXY USA Inc.’s patented oil shale claims in Garfield County, Colorado.

  • Lead litigation counsel in exhaustion of tribal court remedies case challenging the mandatory exhaustion of tribal court remedies doctrine in federal and Navajo Tribal Court involving oil and gas access road and drill-site on split estate lands for Boyd & McWilliams Energy Group, Inc.

  • Lead title counsel in preparing unit wide division order title opinions in multiple rollover acquisitions of the then-40-year-old Roosevelt (oil and gas development) Unit in eastern Utah

  • Lead conservation commission and title counsel for The Oil Shale Corporation (TOSCO) in development of its oil shale acquisition and in situ operation in the Sand Wash Area of Uintah County, Utah. Proposed and wrote multiple mineral development regulations for the Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining to protect oil and gas, tar sands, coal, and other mineral deposit during oil shale mining operations.

Representative Matters - Mining

  • Lead title and local counsel for the acquisition of the American Gilsonite Company (and all assets) by Prince Minerals Holdings Corporation.

  • Lead title and litigation counsel for James Hardie Gypsum, Inc. in acquisition of gypsum placer mining claims in Arizona and Utah.

  • Lead title and litigation counsel in major federal-private land exchange involving conflicting mineral patent applications and contests in Nevada for Del Webb Communities, Inc.

  • Lead title counsel in $45 million mine operations financing of Sanchez Copper Mine near Safford, Arizona, for The Barclays Bank of Canada and The Prudential Insurance Company of America, overseeing, coordinating, and conducting massive, complex title (due diligence) examinations for 647 unpatented lode and mill-site claims.

  • Local counsel for Chevron Chemical Company’s sale of Vernal Phosphate Operation and Rock Springs Fertilizer Plant to FI Industries, Inc. (Simplot).

  • Lead title counsel in $3 billion asset acquisition of Kennecott Copper Company by RTZ, Inc., overseeing, coordinating, and conducting massive and complex title (due diligence) examinations for all Kennecott properties associated with the Bingham Canyon and Barneys Canyon Mines and ancillary concentrators, smelters, and refineries and for all exploration properties in the Western United States.

Representative Matters - Other

  • Lead counsel in Wyoming United States District Court defending exploration and production company against federal avian protection violation claims.

  • Lead counsel in Utah federal district court challenge in Utah of Department of the Interior (Secretary Babbitt) national grazing regulations.

  • Lead counsel for State of Utah challenging Utah Power & Light Company’s request to reallocate water and power from the Boulder Canyon Project.

  • Lead counsel in the Utah’s first inter-basin export of water case for phosphate slurry line from Chevron Resources Corporation’s Vernal Phosphate Mine to Chevron Chemical Company’s Rock Springs, Wyoming, fertilizer plant.

Phillip Wm. Lear: List
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