Oasis Petroleum General Counsel Nickolas “Niko” Lorentzatos sat down for a Q&A with The Texas Lawbook. But The Lawbook also caught Lorentzatos on YouTube performing with his college band, Lost in the Supermarket. In May 2020, as the Covid pandemic was taking hold, the band came out of retirement to a cover of “Mr. Blue Sky.” Lorentzatos said it was an effort to cheer up their old friends and fans. As a Premium subscriber bonus, here is Niko Lorentzatos and Lost in the Supermarket: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB8zO282VZg.
For Mark Curriden’s full profile of the Niko Lorentzatos Click Here.
Texas Lawbook: Any life or career mentors?
Niko Lorentzatos: I have been blessed to have several. I have had so many people counsel me in life and show me grace that I don’t think I can provide a complete list. Some of the people on that list are Reagan Kott, my boss at Burlington. He taught me oil and gas, but more importantly he taught me how to be an in-house lawyer and really understand how to help people solve business problems. Paul Chung at Targa taught me how to expand my skill set from being a trial lawyer/litigation manager to being a business lawyer. Tommy Nusz and Taylor Reid (Oasis founders) showed how to help build a company based on values, culture and empowering people.
Lawbook: What do you look for in hiring outside counsel?
Lorentzatos: Accountability and communication. Technical expertise is a given. We have always subscribed to the “hire lawyers not law firms” approach, so in each area where we use outside counsel, there is always one person we look to as the main business partner. Dave Oelman is a great example of this. That person is accountable for making sure our outside team has the right expertise and also the right personality fit for us. We do our best to provide context for our deals, and there is a lot of discussion and communication so our outside lawyers understand why we want to do something. In my experience, that helps us get to the best result.
Lawbook: What does outside counsel need to know about you?
Lorentzatos: For new relationships, we have a discussion very early about the things I mentioned above I think it works best when you define the expectations early. Working with outside counsel is a partnership, and it is in everyone’s best interests for that work to be extremely successful. We have great relationships with our outside lawyers, and they are very much a part of the team. We celebrate our successes together.
Lawbook: How important is pro bono and diversity in your hiring of outside counsel?
Lorentzatos: It is important. We have not made it a formal component in hiring (we have had a pretty stable group of outside lawyers for a while, so we are not in the market as often as a larger company might be) but, reflecting on this, our outside firms are committed to these ideals, and our outside teams have been quite diverse.