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Title: General Counsel Location: Midland Age: 51 Hands-Off Approach What Bob Snyder likes best about Gary D. Douglas is that he doesn’t try to frustrate a deal. “There’s a difference between pointing out the pitfalls and frustrating the project. Gary points out the pitfalls,” says Snyder, president of Wagner & Brown subsidiary Intercon Gas Inc. Snyder has worked with Douglas for most of the 18 years that Douglas has served as Wagner & Brown’s in-house lawyer. He says the company, a privately held oil-and-gas producer, is too entrepreneurial to have a “no man” representing legal at the business table. Paul L. Morris, Wagner & Brown’s president and CEO, says it’s easy to forget Douglas is a lawyer, because he’s such a great dealmaker. “I’m kind of spoiled. We outline what we want to do, and Gary molds everything around that,” Morris says. The pace is a little slower in West Texas, but Douglas is a patient man. Over the years, he has gradually persuaded the dealmakers in the company to bring him in earlier, instead of when a transaction is nearing completion. “It’s the typical lawyer’s lament,” Douglas says. But he has made inroads, which he calls a true success. And he’s not complaining about access. The door to top management, including the owners, has always been open. The owners are active in the company, which changes the dynamic for managers. “When they’re making a financial decision, it is money out of their pocket,” Douglas says. He has served alone for most of his tenure, managing 25 to 30 lawyers at a handful of outside firms that did much of the company’s legal work. He takes an active management role in transactions and litigation, particularly with discovery. What he doesn’t insist on is stringent fee arrangements, even though he has long-term relationships with his regular firms. Douglas says he doesn’t think he sends out enough work to achieve price leverage, and he also doesn’t want cheap service. “If you start squeezing that dime too hard, you may get that dime, but you may not get the work you want,” he says. In recent years, Douglas says, he has begun taking himself out of the loop when he believes an outside lawyer and a business client can get along without him. That kind of decentralization is anathema to many in-house lawyers, but it works with long-term relationships, he says. “It frees up time for me, and it expedites the project,” he says. And it goes to his philosophy of in-house practice, which is not to be the keeper of all things legal, but to impart his knowledge to his clients. “I think the best thing that you bring to this kind of business as a lawyer is that we hopefully make businesspeople smarter over the time that they work for us,” he says.

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