Shanisha Y. Smith

Associate

Denver
T +1.303.764.4058
F +1.303.861.7805

Overview

Shanisha Smith focuses her developing litigation practice in the energy industry. She has a depth of experience in energy, including oil and gas title examination, international petroleum transactions, regulation, Mexico’s Energy Reform, and groundwater conservation. Shanisha also has a wealth of experience working in courts, assisting on novel matters and developing strong writing and analysis skills. She has had the opportunity to work with a state civil court judge, a federal magistrate judge, a federal district court judge and a federal appellate circuit judge. 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 earning her LL.M., 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.

Select Experience

  • Worked with Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos during Mexico’s Energy Reform, providing advice to the attorneys and commissioners within the organization on shale gas, international model contracts, the 1944 U.S.-Mexico Water Treaty, the hiring of talent, foreign investors, administrative reforms to improve the competitiveness of Mexico, and the regulation and bidding processes.
  • Member of the defense team representing independent natural gas and oil producers in various federal royalty audits and appeals.
  • 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.
More »

Experience

  • Worked with Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos during Mexico’s Energy Reform, providing advice to the attorneys and commissioners within the organization on shale gas, international model contracts, the 1944 U.S.-Mexico Water Treaty, the hiring of talent, foreign investors, administrative reforms to improve the competitiveness of Mexico, and the regulation and bidding processes.
  • Member of the defense team representing independent natural gas and oil producers in various federal royalty audits and appeals.
  • 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.
  • Assisted in the representation of an oil and gas producer in a suit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding drilling application processing time. The client maintains that it had met all requirements necessary for the applications despite BLM’s approval delay. Received mandamus from the federal court forcing BLM to issue oil and gas drilling permits as required under the Mineral Leasing Act.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • State Bar of Texas, Environmental & Natural Resources Law Section Award (2014)

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
    • Section of Litigation, Judicial Intern Opportunity Program (JIOP)
  • Houston Bar Association
    • John J. Eikenburg Law Week Fun Run Committee
    • Houston Volunteer Lawyers Committee
    • Special Olympics Committee
    • Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession Committee
  • Houston Young Lawyers Association
  • Association of International Petroleum Negotiators
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
  • State Bar of Texas
  • The Downtown Group
  • Sam Cary Bar Association
  • Western Energy Alliance
  • Women's Energy Network

Community

  • Special Olympics
  • Denver Petroleum Club

Services

Industries

Prior Positions

  • Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Judge George C. Hanks Jr., United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas (2015 to 2016)
  • Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos: Energy Fellow (2014)
  • Railroad Commission of Texas: Fellow (2014)
  • Judicial Intern for the Honorable Judge Harold R. DeMoss Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (2014)
  • Center for U.S. and Mexican Law: Research Assistant (2013 to 2014)
  • Legal Assistance Centre of Namibia: Intern (2010)

Admissions

  • Texas
  • [Not admitted in Colorado]

Education

  • 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
  • Joint Programme in International Law, University College London (London, England), Southern University Law Center, 2011
  • Corporate Law, Polytechnic of Namibia (Windhoek, Namibia), 2010