Covering corporate law departments and in-house attorneys for Texas Lawyer and other ALM publications, reporter Kristen Rasmussen profiles Amanda Richards, general counsel at Cudd Energy Services.
Based in The Woodlands, Cudd is a domestic and international oil field service company that offers a broad range of specialized oil field services and equipment to energy operators. As the largest subsidiary of RPC Inc., a holding company headquartered in Atlanta, Cudd Energy Services is a leading provider of well completion, intervention and control services.
Cudd includes several divisions—Cudd Pressure Control Inc., Cudd Pumping Services Inc., Cudd Well Control, EPI Consultants, Patterson Tubular Services, Patterson Services Inc. and Bronco Oilfield Services Inc.—the legal functions of which are handled by Cudd’s legal department.
The department consists of five attorneys, one contracts analyst and two paralegals. The attorneys direct litigation, negotiate contracts with customers and vendors, ensure compliance and conduct audits and routine investigations. They also handle leases and real estate transactions.
“This makes for incredibly unpredictable days, which keeps it interesting,” Richards said.
Although the legal department has worked with various firms worldwide, it prefers to use local counsel whenever possible, Richards said. The company has a longtime relationship with Gardere and Newton, Jones & Spaeth for work in Texas.
“When I hire outside counsel, I am not ‘assigning them a file,’” Richards said. “Instead, I am hiring them to, in essence, join our legal department until the conclusion of the matter. Our continued involvement in every matter ensures company policy and philosophy are applied consistently in all litigation and that we receive the best value for our legal spend.”
The department works only with firms that are interested in a “long-term partnership,” Richards said, adding that such a relationship “greatly reduces the time it takes for a firm to get to know Cudd’s operations, gives us the ability to control its outside legal fees and positions us for the most favorable result possible.”
Richards described her No. 1 priority as protecting the company and its employees.
“Whether it is someone working in management or someone working on a well site, it is my responsibility to have their back,” she said.
On any given day, Richards said she may be advising upper management on risk issues, updating a department on a change in law or regulation, or directing litigation in a cost-effective and results-oriented manner.
“Every day is different but rewarding,” she said.
Route to the Top
Richards graduated from Texas A&M University in 2000,and from Baylor Law School in 2003.
She was a civil litigator at Richmond, Texas-based Tate Moerer & King until she joined Cudd’s legal department in 2008. Richards was promoted to general counsel in 2010.
“It has been very rewarding to watch our department expand to keep up with [the company's] success,” she said.
Richards is married and has three children, ages 5, 7 and 11. An avid wine connoisseur, she also enjoys traveling with her family.
“In my free time, I enjoy spending time by the pool, but that rarely happens because I’m too busy attending my children’s activities,” Richards said.
A self-described full-blown addict of HBO’s medieval fantasy series “Game of Thrones” with a busy work schedule, Richards said she has difficulty finding time to read.
“When I do, I either read historical biographies or something I can experience with my children,” she said. “My last book was ‘Harry Potter,’ and I read it with my daughters, Chloe and Scarlett.”