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Professor Alex Ritchie

Alex Ritchie

Associate Professor of Law
Karelitz Chair in Oil and Gas Law

B.S. B.A. 1993, Georgetown University
J.D. 1999, University of Virginia School of Law
Member of the Colorado and Texas Bars


Contact Information

 Ph.: 505-277-1772
 Office: 3216


Alex Ritchie joined the University of New Mexico School of Law faculty in the fall of 2012. Previously, he practiced as a partner in the natural resources and corporate departments at an international law firm based in Denver. In private practice, Ritchie focused on mergers and acquisitions and other large transactions involving oil and gas, mining and other natural resources companies, as well as corporate law, securities, financing and commercial law transactions.

Most recently, Ritchie was a senior corporate counsel at one of the largest fully integrated oil and gas companies in North America, managing upstream and downstream oil and gas litigation and transactional matters.

He has represented clients in transactions aggregating in the billions of dollars, and hopes to apply his practical experience to enrich the legal education of his students. In addition, Ritchie has published several papers and model form legal documents and has given numerous talks focused on natural resources related topics.

At the UNM School of Law, Ritchie teaches oil and gas law and other natural resources courses, as well as property and business associations. His research focuses on oil and gas law, with particular emphasis on conflicts between private interest owners and between public and private interests in oil and gas development.

Ritchie is a trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and recently co-chaired the Foundation’s Special Institute on Oil and Gas Agreements: Contracting for Goods, Services and People, held on May 2-3, 2013 in Santa Fe. Ritchie has spoken at a number of Foundation programs on oil and gas, mining, environmental and coorporate legal issues.

In addition to his legal interests, he has been actively involved in the Denver community, including service on the board of directors, the executive committee and as pro bono general counsel of Urban Peak, an organization that operates shelters and transitional housing for homeless youth, and The Spot, an organization that operated a drop-in youth center for youth at-risk of gang involvement. He also volunteered with Denver’s Road Home, an organization formed with a mission to end homelessness in Denver.

Ritchie has also been an active singer, directing an a capella singing group and performing for a number of years in bands.

Business Associations I

When engaging in business, the rights, powers, duties, and obligations of the business itself, and of the owners, directors, officers, managers, and other agents of the business, depend on the form of the business association.  Students in this course will study the law governing the attributes of corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies, and how these business associations are organized, operated, merged, dissolved, and acquired.  Further, as business associations exist only as intangible legal creations, they must act through their agents.  As such, this course also introduces students to agency law and the attendant legal duties of individuals who assume responsibility for the management of business associations.  As part of this course, students will be faced with problems involving claims against and the defense of business associations and their agents, and tasked with drafting incorporation and board documents based on factual situations.

Energy Law

This course examines energy law both doctrinally and in broader social, economic, and political contexts. Topics include the history, economics, and environmental considerations applicable to energy regulation; and regulation of public utilities, including state and federal price and other controls on the production, transmission, and sale of natural gas and electricity. The course will also examine laws designed to promote and regulate various forms of energy, such as natural gas, coal, hydro, wind, solar, and other renewables, and the nexus between energy regulation and climate change.

Natural Resources Law

This course surveys statutory and case law concerning federal lands, including undesignated Bureau of Land Management rangelands, National Forests, National Parks, and Monument Designations, while introducing students to environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act, conservation transactions, wildlife, the Endangered Species Act, oil and gas and coal leasing, and hard rock mining on federal lands. Students also are introduced to legal issues involving the management and protection of state lands, with particular emphasis on examples from New Mexico that supplement the text. We have presentations from natural resource practitioners and from those involved in legislative change.

Oil and Gas Law

As a top ten producing state in both oil and gas, New Mexico needs lawyers who understand the complex contract and property law issues that intertwine to determine the rights and obligations of parties with competing interests in oil and gas.  Students in this course will study and engage in legal problems relating to oil and gas ownership rights, the leasing and transfer of those rights, and the development and marketing of oil and gas.  This course also will introduce students to how and why conservation laws have developed in New Mexico and other states to assure the safe, fair, and efficient development of oil and gas.  This course will provide students, including those who may not be particularly interested in oil and gas law, the opportunity to further develop contract and property law skills by applying legal principles to factual problems in a specialized context.

Legal Issues in Oil and Gas Development Seminar

This writing seminar examines unique contractual arrangements, environmental concerns, Federal and Indian land development problems, and other common and emerging issues that affect the oil and gas industry, including lease assignments, farmout arrangements, joint operations, drilling contracts, and gas purchase contracts; leasing, royalty valuation, and communitization on Federal and Indian lands; horizontal drilling issues; hydraulic fracturing issues; and the complex system of environmental laws that apply to oil and gas development, including species protection, CERCLA liability, and the application of the Clean Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act, the Clean Air Act, and other environmental statutes and regulations. For this seminar, the instructor may also involve one or more guest speakers. Oil and Gas Law is not a prerequisite. This course will satisfy the Law School writing requirement and the writing requirement towards the Natural Resources Law Certificate.

Property I

This first year course is an introduction to the basic concepts of property law, focusing on the role of possession in allocating the various rights and responsibilities connected with personal and real property. The course covers acquisition of initial property rights, adverse possession, donative transfers, the evolution and nomenclature of interests in estates in land and future interest, concurrent property rights, and marital property.


Handbook of Due Diligence Checklists (Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn. 2010) (co-author).


Creatures of Circumstance: Conflicts Over Local Government Regulation of Oil and Gas, 60 Rocky Mt. Min. L. Inst. 11-1 (2015).

On Local Fracking Bans: Policy and Preemption in New Mexico, 54 Nat. Res. J. 255 (2014).

How Boilerplate Can Bite, 50 Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn. J. 243 (2014).

Scattered and Dissonant: The Clean Air Act, Greenhouse Gases, and Implications for the Oil and Gas Industry, 43 ENTL. L. 461(2013).

The Due Diligence Process and Its Impact on the Deal: A Primer on Bayoneting the Wounded, Due Diligence in Mining and Oil and Gas Transactions, Paper No. 1, Page No. 1-1 (Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn. 2010) (co-author).

Form 5 LLC:  A Modest Proposal for a Limited Liability Company Agreement Based on Form 5, 53 Rocky Mtn. Min L. Inst. 13-1 (2007) (co-author).

Note: Intermediate Sanctions:  Controlling the Tax Exempt Organization Manager, 18 Va. Tax. Rev. 1875.


Fracking surrounded by misinformation,ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL (Jan. 28, 2013), available at


Trends in Local Regulation of Oil and Gas, Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, New Mexico (August 2014).

(moderator and co-presenter) Local Regulation of Oil and Gas: A Panel Discussion, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Annual Institute, Vail, Colorado (July 2014).

Issues involving Local Regulation of Oil and Gas, New Mexico Association of Professional Landmen, Roswell, New Mexico (May 2014).

Issues involving Local Regulation of Oil and Gas, Albuquerque Petroleum Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico (May 2014).

Oil and Gas Regulatory Issues, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico (April 2014).

"Basics of the Clean Air Act," New Mexico Bar Association, Natural Resources and Environmental Law Section Continuing Legal Education, Albuquerque, New Mexico (December, 2013).

"Environmental Regulation of Oil and Gas," Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Institute for Energy Law, and American Association of Petroleum Landmen Short Course, Denver, Colorado (October, 2013).

"How Contract Boilerplate Can Bite," Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Special Institute on Oil and Gas Agreements: Goods, Services, and People, Santa Fe, New Mexico (May, 2013).

"Greenhouse Gas Regulation and the Oil and Gas Industry," Albuquerque Petroleum Association Meeting, Albuquerque, New Mexico (March, 2013).

"Greenhouse Gas Regulation of the Oil and Gas and Mining Industries," Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Special Institute on Air Quality Issues Affecting Oil and Gas and Mining Development in the West, Denver, Colorado (February, 2013).

“New Federal Air Quality Developments Affecting Upstream Oil and Gas Operations,” New Mexico Independent Petroleum Association Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, New Mexico (August 10, 2012)

“The Due Diligence Process,” Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Special Institute on Due Diligence in Oil and Gas Transactions, Houston, Texas (May, 2011).

“The New Draft Form 5 LLC Mining Joint Venture Operating Agreement and Related Agreements,” 56th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Annual Institute, Banff, Alberta, Canada (July, 2010).

“The Due Diligence Process and Its Impact on the Deal,” Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Special Institute on Due Diligence in Oil and Gas and Mining Transactions, Westminster, Colorado (April, 2010).