November Field Landman Question of the Month

November 2015Articles The Rocky Mountain Landman

DAPL Member Justin Cage asked:

"I’ve recently read that if a state regulatory office considers a person’s work to be the 'unauthorized practice of law,' that person could be subject to criminal liability, court sanctions, and/or disciplinary action. What is considered the 'unauthorized practice of law' in Colorado and Wyoming? Where does work historically performed by landmen stop and 'practicing law' begin?"

Unlike the legal profession, the landman profession is not subject to governmental ethical regulations. However, organizations like the American Association of Professional Landmen (“AAPL”) and affiliated local landmen associations impose their own voluntary regulation on the ethical duties of practicing landmen. AAPL Code of Ethics, Section 2 states that a Landman shall represent himself or herself to others “only in his areas of expertise and shall not represent himself to be skilled in professional areas in which he is not qualified.” A land professional “shall exercise the utmost good faith and loyalty to his employer (or client) and shall not act adversely or engage in any enterprise in conflict with (their) interest.”