Practice Areas

Business Planning

As a provider of outside legal services, Drake Hill has served as general counsel or company counsel to small and medium sized businesses for many years. This is a role he particularly enjoys as it gives you the opportunity to have a more meaningful relationship with the client, to be a part of the business planning, and to provide continuity in legal services. At no cost to the client, Mr. Hill provides an annual legal review to identify emerging legal issues and to engage in preventative planning that avoids legal issues in the future. To make his services convenient to the client, at no cost, Mr. Hill travels within Wyoming to meet with clients in their offices, rather than asking the client to interrupt their busy schedules to travel to him.

Business Litigation

Drake Hill has nearly three decades of experience in handling the wide range of litigation that businesses face. Mr. Hill is one of the few lawyers in Wyoming who has substantial experience in counseling on and litigating shareholder and partner disputes. A “Practice Primer” relating to this topic can be found under the Primers link of this website. Such disputes are often emotionally charged and demand a strong advocate and sensitivity to the goals of the company and the owners of the business. From contract litigation, to intellectual property disputes, to employment disputes, to protecting the companies competitive position, we have handled the wide variety of litigation that companies face.

Oil & Gas Law

There is very little that Drake Hill has not been involved in relating to oil and gas exploration, production, transactional and negotiations, transportation, and refining. Mr. Hill frequently handles surface owner disputes and title disputes. Mr. Hill taught oil and gas at the University of Wyoming Law School along with some of his longtime colleagues in the industry and teaches for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Oil and Gas Short Course. Mr. Hill has worked with the Wyoming Legislature on legislation affecting the industry, including the Wyoming Split Estate Act, and is an active participant in industry trade organizations. The Hill Law Firm hosts and moderates “The Wyoming  Advisory,”  a quarterly conference call updating the industry on emerging issues. The purpose of this call is to enable participants, at no cost, to keep abreast of issues in the industry and anticipate what may be coming in today’s challenging environment. Mr. Hill has published several articles in the area of oil and gas law in the Wyoming Law Review including “Wyoming’s Powder River Basin: A Study In Federal Royalty Valuation,”  4 Wyo. L. Rev. 629 (2004) and “The Split Estates: Communication and Education Versus Legislation,” 4 Wyo. L Rev. 585 (2004).

Oil & Gas Litigation

Mr. Hill has defended class action royalty suits, title disputes, joint operating disputes, surface use disputes, breach of lease disputes, mineral taxation, a taking and breach of contract action against the BLM, and many other disputes. Some of Mr. Hill’s litigation experience is shown as follows:

  • Mr. Hill represented five of the Western states before the United States Supreme Court in Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Production Co. establishing private ownership of coalbed natural gas under the 1909 and 1910 Coal Lands Acts.
  • He successfully represented an oil and gas producer in a dispute over the development of heavy oil reserves in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming.
  • He represented a producer at trial and on appeal before the Wyoming Supreme Court in a breakthrough ruling in favor of producers on the Wyoming Royalty Payment.
  • He represented a producer in a test case on the interpretation of the newly enacted Wyoming Split Estate Act.
  • He currently represents a producer in a taking and breach of contract action against the BLM.

Midstream & Downstream

Drake Hill has successfully helped clients build pipelines in Wyoming, including intrastate and interstate pipelines. The approach of his team is simple: get the pipeline built as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Keenly aware of the approaches that work and do not work, Mr. Hill has helped clients avoid condemnation and regulatory entanglements that are costly and that would otherwise lead to delays in getting projects built. In the rare event that condemnation is required, Mr. Hill is a leading Wyoming practitioner in this area and is well versed in condemnation rights arising under the Wyoming Constitution and Wyoming statutes as well as condemnation rights found in the Natural Gas Act. For a better understanding of this area, please see the Practice Primer entitled “What Does It Take To Get A Pipeline Built In Wyoming?”-Found under  Practice Primers 

Environmental Law

Mr. Hill has substantial experience at the state level in environmental law.  He served as counsel to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and this experience serves clients well in working with the DEQ. Mr. Hill has handled a wide variety of air, land, and water quality issues for large and small companies alike and has litigated environmental  matters before the Environmental Quality Council and in the courts. Mr. Hill keeps himself and his client abreast of the development in Wyoming environmental law and brings that focus to “The Wyoming Advisory,” a quarterly conference call hosted and moderated by the Hill Law Firm.

Taxation Law

While with the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office, Mr. Hill served as chief tax counsel to the State of Wyoming. Over the years, he has handled the full spectrum of tax issues, including mineral taxation, property taxation, and sales and use tax issues. He has extensive litigation experience before the Wyoming Board of Equalization and before the Wyoming Supreme Court on tax issues.

Real Estate Law

Mr. Hill credits his real estate experience to his ownership interest in a title insurance company (Summit Title of Wyoming) and his dealing with real estate issues over the years.

Trial Practice

Drake Hill is one of the most experienced civil trial lawyers in Wyoming. He has tried oil and gas related matters, contract cases, defense of personal injury actions, business breakups, intellectual-property issues, constitutional issues, to name a few. With nearly 30 years of trial experience, Mr. Hill utilizes best practices in each phase of the litigation and the skill in trial advocacy in direct and cross-examination (and all other phases of trial work) that only extensive trial experience can build. Mr. Hill is recognized as a formidable opponent, but also important, one who treats all those in the litigation process with respect.

Appellate Law

Drake Hill is one of the most experienced civil trial lawyers in Wyoming. He has tried oil and gas related matters, contract cases, defense of personal injury actions, business breakups, intellectual-property issues, constitutional issues, to name a few. With nearly 30 years of trial experience, Mr. Hill utilizes best practices in each phase of the litigation and the skill in trial advocacy in direct and cross-examination (and all other phases of trial work) that only extensive trial experience can build. Mr. Hill is recognized as a formidable opponent, but also important, one who treats all those in the litigation process with respect.