Maritime and Other Legal Experience

Maritime and Other Legal Experience

As an attorney, Richard Lionberger has served as both in-house counsel and an attorney in private practice, representing a broad spectrum of businesses in the United States and abroad. His legal experience includes maritime matters as well as other corporate and business matters.

Education

Richard graduated from the The University of Texas Law School in 1979 with a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree.

Maritime Legal Experience in Private Practice

Richard Lionberger has over 35 years of legal experience, including decades in private practice. Much of his practice centered on the negotiation and resolution of maritime issues, both domestic and international. In that time, Richard represented clients in the following maritime matters:

As maritime counsel for the lender that needed to quickly close a loan for a borrower coming out of bankruptcy, within ten days Richard placed first preferred ship mortgages and related security on 234 vessels registered under the flag of five different jurisdictions to secure a US$225,000,000 credit facility.

As counsel for the buyer, he handled the purchase of the DB60, a 34000 ton pipelay barge.

As maritime counsel to the lender, he handled placing first preferred ship mortgages and related security on 57 offshore drilling vessels to secure a US$200,000,000 credit facility.

As counsel for the operator of a vessel, he negotiated a transaction under which the client operated a deepwater drillship with limited exposure to liability and subsequently assisted the client in successfully navigating the bankruptcy of the owner of the vessel, avoiding the client’s exposure to losses.

As counsel for the operator of the vessel, he negotiated a transaction under which the client operated an offshore flotel off the coast of Brazil.

As counsel for the charterer of offshore supply vessels, he was instrumental in putting in place the vessel’s operational charters in connection with the client’s business of providing oil and gas well cementing, acidizing, and other downhole services.

As counsel for the drilling contractor, he negotiated and finalized an offshore drilling contract for a jackup in Nigeria.

As counsel for the drilling contractor he negotiated and finalized offshore drilling contracts in the U.S., Venezuela, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, U.K., Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Australia, China, and other jurisdictions.

As counsel to the seller he handled the negotiation and sale of jackup drilling rigs.

As counsel for the oil and gas company operating offshore leases in New Zealand he advised the client in connection with negotiation and finalization of offshore drilling contracts.

As counsel for the buyer, he handled the purchase of the CHEYENNE, a 7700 ton pipelay/derrick barge and support vessels.

As counsel for the buyer, he advised in connection with the purchase of the BARUNA V, an Indonesian flag offshore jackup drilling vessel.

As counsel for an offshore drilling contractor in Mexico he advised in connection with the bareboat charter of jackup drilling vessels to a U.S. drilling contractor.

Other Legal Experience in Private Practice

Richard’s legal experience in private practice was not restricted to maritime issues. His book of business also includes assisting companies resolve many types of matters that come up in running both domestic and multinational businesses, including the following:

As counsel for one of two joint venturers, he provided advice in the negotiation of a joint venture for the ownership and operation of large cranes and heavy lifting equipment.

As counsel for a closely held engineering consulting company, he provided advice in successfully negotiating a settlement with the client’s oil and gas company customer to avoid an indemnity claim as a result of an offshore fatality that could have bankrupted the client.

As counsel for the buyer, he advised in connection with the client’s acquisition of a business entity that provided cranes and other heavy lifting services.

As counsel for the organizer of a joint venture, he formed a U.S. entity to own and operate a deepwater drillship in Brazil and advised the client concerning the contribution of the drillship to the entity and the financing of the project.

As counsel for an oilfield service company, he provided advice in negotiating cementing and other downhole service contracts in India using offshore supply vessels chartered from the client to an oil and gas company.

As counsel for the seller, he advised in connection with the sale of a subsidiary to the managers of that subsidiary.

As counsel for the buyer, he handled the acquisition of assets, equipment, real estate leases and related contracts, including cranes and other heavy lift equipment.

As counsel for a European borrower with assets and operations in the U.S., he provided advice in connection with the U.S. aspects of a $217,000,000 Euro credit facility.

As counsel for the lessee, he advised the client in connection with lease financing of equipment.

Richard also routinely handles corporate maintenance activities for corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities formed in Texas, Delaware, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas and other jurisdictions.

In-House Legal Experience (Including Maritime)

In addition to his work in private practice, Richard Lionberger also served as in-house counsel in a number of private publicly traded corporations. In his role as general counsel he provided a wide variety of business, employment, and corporate law services to his various employers.

He served as Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. in Houston, Texas from 1992 to 1998. At the time the company was the world’s largest owner and operator of offshore drilling vessels, with operations worldwide. During his tenure there, the company had its initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange, as well as other public debt and equity offerings, in which Richard represented the company as counsel. His services and experience at the company included the following:

Richard was responsible for the company’s personal injury and property damage claims department, including settlement of claims and supervision of litigation.

He successfully negotiated with underwriters so that a quadriplegic received a multi-million dollar settlement without the need to resort to litigation.

He successfully managed claims with insurance underwriters independent of underwriter supervision.

Richard had legal responsibility for negotiating:

    • contracts for offshore and inland barge drilling vessels, offshore supply vessels, tugs, and services of all types in connection with offshore operations;
    • construction contracts for drilling vessels;
    • purchase and sale contracts for offshore drilling vessels; and
    • loan agreements and other financing transactions secured by the company’s offshore drilling vessels.

As attorney for the company, he negotiated the purchase of an offshore drilling vessel that was owned jointly with British Petroleum and another semi-submersible drilling vessel from the same company, negotiating those transactions in a way that avoided his company’s tax exposure when the joint venture dissolved.

As general counsel of the company, he represented the company in its initial public offering and other public debt and equity issues.

During the time the company was publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, he handled or supervised all necessary public filings and requirements.

In the early eighties Richard served as Vice President – Legal of Diamond M Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kaneb Services, Inc. Diamond M Company was the owner and operator of inland barge rigs, jackups, semi-submersibles, platform rigs, and a drillship. The company had operations worldwide, including in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, inland waterways of Louisiana, offshore California and Alaska, Chile, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Zaire, Brazil, Argentina, and Australia. During his tenure, his services and experience at the company included the following:

He had legal responsibility for negotiating:

    • contracts for offshore and inland barge drilling vessels, offshore supply vessels, tugs, services in connection with offshore operations;
    • contracts with labor unions in Nigeria and Australia;
    • construction contracts for inland barges, semisubmersibles and jackups;
    • purchase and sale contracts for offshore drilling vessels; and
    • loan agreements and other financing transactions secured by the company’s offshore drilling vessels.

Richard established business structures in Nigeria (including establishing a joint venture company with Nigerian citizens), Ivory Coast, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Zaire.

Other General Counsel Legal Experience

As in-house counsel for Kaneb Services, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Richard had the following additional experience as :

Richard advised the company in negotiating contracts with the United States government to manage the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Richard advised an engineering subsidiary regarding contracts with the Thailand government-owned oil company for engineering services in connection with oil and gas operations off the shore of Thailand;

As attorney for Diamond M Onshore, Inc. Richard had legal responsibility for negotiating the purchase of land drilling rigs from a land drilling contractor in South Texas, U.S.A.

For a more full description of Richard Lionberger’s experience and professional associations, download his Curriculum Vitae.

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