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Title: Counsel Location: Fort Worth Age: 36 Faith in Pope Nick Dungey worked with XTO Energy Inc. general counsel Frank McDonald on litigation matters for eight years. Dungey, senior vice president of natural gas operations, was comfortable with the relationship. Then, McDonald separated the litigation work, and in 2003 hired Taylor L. Pope to handle it. The change could have been tough � but Pope, his colleagues say, is just so darn pleasant. “To bring someone in new and establish that relationship new, and reach that comfort level, it could be difficult. With Taylor it was easy,” Dungey says. Pleasant at work doesn’t mean timid in court. McDonald says Pope has established a more aggressive stance on litigation than the company had taken before. “We’ve taken some cases to trial that needed to be taken to trial. It’s told people that we’re willing to take cases to trial,” McDonald says. Pope manages about 50 cases at any given time. This would be difficult if he weren’t so unflappable, says Lee Barrett, an associate with XTO outside counsel Forshey & Prostock. “If attorney licensing depended on the ability to juggle chain saws while blindfolded, Taylor would be at the top of his class,” Barrett says. “[Taylor] works well with other people. He is very determined. He doesn’t take no for an answer. He’s very thorough. He does an excellent job,” McDonald says. Pope’s people skills have built bridges between departments, as well, says Jennifer Spaulding, revenue-accounting manager. “A lot of times it’s hard for lawyers and accountants to talk because they speak different languages. He can talk both,” she says. Pope’s gentle nature also goes a long way with the company’s royalty owners, Spaulding says. “If royalty owners get upset, he talks to them, figures out what their problem is and he talks to me. We kind of work together to figure out how to make this owner happy so they don’t want to take legal action,” she says. Pope says he’s sure that those efforts have saved the company money. But prevention is hard to quantify in dollars, he says, as is his work with the company’s vendor master-service agreements. Pope says McDonald asked him to take over negotiation of those agreements, with an eye toward limiting the risk of future litigation. He can’t tell if his changes prevented any actions, but that’s the hope. “The issues that are covered can definitely lead to litigation,” he says. Dungey says Pope brings many intangible benefits to XTO. “What Taylor adds to us is a lot of dedication, tenacity,” Dungey says, noting that Pope’s trial experience shows in how he prepares his clients for deposition, and how he approaches settlement. “I have no discomfort knowing that Taylor is there representing us in a settlement discussion without me being there. I have a lot of faith in him,” Dungey says.

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