Thomas Weir Named a National Law Journal Energy & Environment Trailblazer

(Houston) – Akin Gump tax partner W. Thomas Weir, who focuses his practice on oil and gas industry matters, among others, has been named to The National Law Journal’s second annual list of Energy & Environmental Trailblazers.

Weir’s profile notes that he has been practicing since the 1970s—“before changes in the tax law eliminated oil and gas drilling fund tax shelters.” He said that was a big reason for his focus on the oil and gas industry. “Energy has evolved,” he said, “but at the beginning I was helping people involved in the energy business, especially through the oil and gas tax.”

Weir is described as having a practice that deals with “highly complicated tax issues,” including one matter in 1980 in which he created “a Netherland-Antilles-based corporation that was a drilling fund for foreigners on the Luxembourg exchange.” Weir said it was the first of its kind. He also “developed a mechanism for interpreting windfall profits to avoid taxes on charities,” which was designed to allow more money to go to a school for deaf children. He said it was “the best thing” he’s done in the law.

Looking ahead, Weir said he would like to see the United States become more competitive with its tax rates so fewer companies would move overseas. He foresees more restructurings among oil and gas companies as prices fall and companies declare bankruptcy, which will raise taxes. “We’ll see a merger of tax consequences of financial bankruptcy and other restructurings of oil and gas,” he predicted.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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