Joseph B.C. Fitzsimons is a natural resources, oil and gas and water law attorney and third-generation South Texas rancher. Mr. Fitzsimons is a graduate of Deerfield Academy, Lewis & Clark College, and the University of Texas School of Law. He has served as Vice-President of the Texas Wildlife Association and is a Director of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. He is a former Chairman of the Parks and Wildlife Department’s Private Lands Advisory Board and, in 1999, was named by then Governor George W. Bush to serve on the Governor’s Task Force on Conservation.
In May of 2001, Governor Rick Perry appointed Mr. Fitzsimons to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for a six year term, and Mr. Fitzsimons is now a Past Chairman of that agency. In January of 2002, he was named to represent the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on the Texas Water Advisory Council, which has the statutory responsibility to advise the Office of the Governor, Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor on issues affecting Texas water policy. In October 2003, Governor Perry appointed him as Chairman.
Governor Perry appointed Mr. Fitzsimons to represent the interest of fish and wildlife on the Environmental Flows Advisory Committee. Chairman Fitzsimons identified environmental flow as a priority for his term on the Committee, and continues to work to ensure water for wildlife.
In January 2016, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick appointed Mr. Fitzsimons to the Water Advisory Committee to serve as an advisory board member.
Mr. Fitzsimons also has earned the rating of AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5, which is the highest Peer Review Rating awarded by Martindale-Hubbell. An explanation of the rating process can be found at www.martindale.com/ratings.
- Admitted: State Bar of Texas, 1985.
- Education: Deerfield Academy; Lewis and Clark College (B.A., History 1979);
- University of Texas School of Law (J.D. 1985).
Representative Oil, Gas and Mineral Experience
- Representation of mineral trust in the negotiation of Geophysical Survey Agreement, Option and Right of First Refusal Agreement, Surface Use Agreements, and Oil and Gas Lease on over 53,000 mineral acres in Dimmit and Maverick Counties.
- Representation of mineral owners in matters pertaining to Oil and Gas Lease in Robertson County, Texas, considered to be one of the most productive natural gas leases in the continental United States during the past decade.
- Representation of numerous royalty owners and landowners in complex oil and gas litigation and oil and gas lease negotiations and audits.
- Representation of landowners in negotiation of Surface Use Agreements and Oil and Gas Leases on over 44,000 acres in Zavala County.
- Representation of landowners in litigation involving the termination of a Pipeline Easement covering 35,000 acres in LaSalle and Webb Counties, resulting in settlement favorable to client.
- Representation of non-profit landowner in the negotiation of Geophysical Survey Agreements, Surface Use Agreements, and Oil and Gas Leases on over 10,000 acres in Val Verde and Crockett Counties.
- Representation of numerous landowners in Oil and Gas Lease negotiations, as well as litigation involving the termination of easements, in the “Lobo” gas trend of Zapata County.
- Representation of landowners in negotiation of in-situ Uranium Mining Leases in Bee and Duval Counties.
- Representation of owners of water rights in matters before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and various water districts, as well as in the purchase and sale of water rights.
Professional Affiliation and Publications
- Member San Antonio Bar Association (Natural Resources Section)
- State Bar of Texas
- Member, Texas Land & Mineral Owners Association
- Member of the Advisory Council, Texas A&M University Press
- Surface Use Negotiations from the Landowner's Perspective," Co-Author with F. Parks Brown , Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Seminar, Denver, Colorado, 2017
- "Why Texas Needs a Surface Damages Act," Co-Author with F. Parks Brown, 11th Annual John Huffaker Agricultural Law Course, Lubbock, Texas, 2017
- “Managing Mineral Development from the Landowner’s Perspective”, presented for the 9th Annual John Huffaker Agricultural Law Course (May 27-28, 2015, Lubbock, Texas)
- “Leasing in the Eagle Ford Shale from the Land and Mineral Owner’s Perspective”, presented for the 8th Annual John Huffaker Agricultural Law Course (May 29-30, 2014, Lubbock, Texas)
- “Oil and Gas Exploration can Work with Conservation Easements – Sometimes”, presented with Cathy Howell for the 2013 Texas Land Conservation Conference (February 27-March 1, 2013, Austin, Texas)
- “Leasing in the Eagle Ford Shale from the Land and Mineral Owner’s Perspective”, presented for the 7th Annual John Huffaker Agricultural Law Course (March 23-24, 2013, Lubbock, Texas)
- “Leasing in the Eagle Ford Shale from the Land and Mineral Owner’s Perspective”, presented at the 2012 State of the Prairie Conference (December 6-8, 2012, Kingsville, Texas)
- “Oil and Gas Exploration can Work with Conservation Easements – Sometimes”, presented with Stephen J. Small for the Land Trust Alliance Rally 2012 (October 2, 2012, Salt Lake City, Utah)
- “Water Use and Conservation: A Landowner’s Perspective”, presented at the State Bar of Texas Changing Face of Water Rights 2012 (February 23-24, 2012, San Antonio, Texas)
- “Reconciling Mineral Rights and Conservation Easements”, contributing author, along with Blair Fitzsimons and J. Byron “Trace” Burton, III, published in Volume 11, Number 1, of the Texas Land and Mineral Owners Official Newsletter, 1st Quarter 2011
- “The Eagle Ford Shale From A Land And Mineral Owner’s Perspective”, presented at the Wealth Management & Trust Advanced Trust Forum (October 21, 2011, Dallas, Texas)
- “Leasing in the Eagle Ford Shall from the Land and Mineral Owner’s Perspective”, presented with J. Byron “Trace” Burton, III, at the Bi-Annual Meeting of the Texas Land and Mineral Owners Association (October 21, 2010, San Antonio, Texas)
- “Drafting the Lease to Reduce Conflicts Over Surface Rights”, published in The Texas Oil and Gas Primer, Texas A&M University Press, March 2007
Awards, Honors and Leadership Positions
- Texas Wildlife Association (Vice-President).
- Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (Director).
- Parks and Wildlife Department’s Private Lands Advisory Board (Chairman).
- Governor’s Task Force on Conservation.
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Past Chairman).
- Texas Water Advisory Council (Past Chairman).
- Environmental Flows Advisory Committee.
- Texas Water Advisory Board (Member).
- Fort Worth Star Telegram, 1997 Farm and Ranch Awards for Resource Management.
- 1994 Environmental Stewardship Award for Innovative Management of Natural Resources.
- 1989 Wildlife Conservation Award, Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Texas.
- 1988 Conservation Rancher of the Year.
- 2005 Rangeland Stewardship Award, Society for Range Management.
- 2006 Environmental Stewardship Awards, National Cattleman Beef Association.
- 2006 Evelyn R. Edens River Protection Award (Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club)
- 2015 Harvey Weil Conservationists of the Year Award (with his wife, Blair C. Fitzsimons.)