The influx of people to Midland prompted the Midland Independent School District to put a $163 million bond issue on the November 6 ballot, says Dale Strauss, a shareholder in Stubbeman, McRae, Sealy, Laughlin & Browder in Midland who is a former MISD school board member. Voters approved the bond issue, which will fund construction of three new elementary schools and renovations to others.
Strauss says that, since he joined Stubbeman McRae in 2009, the firm has added six lawyers but has lost a total of four to in-house positions with energy companies.
Midland lawyers are quick to point out that their city isn't the only market benefiting from the increase in drilling in Texas. Strauss says there's a lot of work throughout West Texas, including lease acquisition work but also including other transactional work related to energy.
Midland lawyers say they are aware of the cyclical nature of the energy business and note that today's boom will eventually lose steam.
"In '78 through '83, it was boom time, '83 through about '90 it was depressed, kind of hit stable time in the '90s, went through bad times again in the late '90s and stable in the early 2000s. And from 2006 to 2008 it was booming again and went down a little bit in 2008 because of the economy, but it's bounced up since then, huge," Leeton says.
Bledsoe says, "We've been through the ups and downs before. We know it will slow down. Those wells will all get drilled, and in time it will all slow down."