Shanisha Y. Smith focuses her litigation practice in the energy and natural resources industry. She represents clients in oil and gas litigation and environmental disputes governed by the Mineral Leasing Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the False Claims Act, the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act, and numerous other environmental statutes and related regulations.
Shanisha holds an LL.M. in Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Law from the University of Houston Law Center. While earning her LL.M., she worked at the Texas Railroad Commission, as well as at the Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos during the Mexico Energy Reform.
Shanisha also has a wealth of experience working in courts. She had the opportunity to work with a Texas state civil court judge, a federal magistrate judge, two federal district court judges and a federal appellate circuit judge.
Prior to joining BakerHostetler’s Energy Team, Shanisha clerked for the Honorable Judge George C. Hanks, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Drawing on her knowledge of the energy industry and her well-honed skills developed during her clerkship, Shanisha is a dedicated advocate who confidently adapts to unique situations.
While working toward her postgraduate degree, Shanisha won a $10,000 award for the Texas Energy Innovation Challenge – Power Across Texas. Focusing on law and regulatory opportunities and barriers that enabled the commercialization of GeoThermH2O, Shanisha was part of a team that obtained a provisional United States patent.
- Member of the defense team representing independent natural gas and oil producers in various federal royalty audits and appeals.
- Member of a defense team for an independent oil and gas company in ongoing Department of Justice civil investigation pursuant to the False Claims Act for allegedly underpaid royalties on natural gas.
- Represents energy companies in class action and individual suits alleging improper deduction of downstream costs from royalties owed under private leases.
- Advised an American multinational energy corporation on a master development plan challenge.
- Worked on groundwater conservation and financial assurance issues, providing research and memoranda on issues related to administrative law, oil and gas, and Railroad Commission rules in Texas.
- Houston Young Lawyers Association
- Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
- The Downtown Group
- Western Energy Alliance
- Women’s Energy Network
- Special Olympics
- Denver Petroleum Club
- Colorado CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children): Board Member
- LL.M., International Law & Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Law, University of Houston Law Center, 2014, with honors, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) Scholarship Recipient (2013)
- J.D., Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, 2013; cum laude; Associate Editor, Thurgood Marshall Law Review; International Moot Court, Board of Advocates; CALI Awards for Federal Jurisdiction, Commercial Law and Appellate Litigation
- B.S., Sociology, Lincoln University, 2010, cum laude, Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
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