Allen Cummings grew up in the area where the cold winds were rising in the North. No, not Winterfell, but Buffalo, New York. It was a cold time. It was a time before Texas. But Al Cummings is a fighter and he endured, including his time at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in 1964 and was excited about it until he got a little letter from the government. In the letter, the government promised to send him someplace warm, which seemed good. But the warm place was Vietnam, which seemed not so good.
Given that he understood the law from an early age, res ipsa loquitur, Al interrupted the Army’s plans for foxhole digging by enlisting in the US Navy. The Navy subsequently sent him to Navy Officer Candidate School and he was commissioned as a naval officer. And then they sent him to Vietnam anyway. He did three rotations on Navy destroyers and one rotation on an LST (landing ship, tank) in the rivers of southeast Asia. He has been around the world by sea and saw many ports, but never went to that stretch of water from Port Arthur, Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana.
Perhaps it was the allure of the adjacent, forbidden Louisiana coast, or maybe it was the warmth of Texas, but as soon as Al got out of the Navy he decided to go to Texas. Law school at Southern Methodist University to be precise. Allen Cummings will tell you he may be a Yankee by birth, but he got to Texas as soon as he could.
Maybe it was the maverick nature of the oil and gas industry, or maybe it was the draw of an industry where people do not (mostly) shoot at you, but he was drawn to oil and gas. Upon graduation from law school, he entered the industry and never looked back. He has seen and experienced the ups and downs of the industry for over 46 years, and each period gave him different insight.
The beginning of his career was primarily with Texas Oil & Gas Corp. in Dallas and showed him very quickly how the pieces of the oil and gas puzzle fit together. He saw the law in the light of everyday exploration and production, and rose quickly to be the resident attorney for the TXO District Office in Midland, Texas. He learned in this part of his career that the law needs to be approached in a pragmatic way.
Switching gears, the next step in his career was going from inhouse to outhouse private practice with two large firms in Midland and Houston. This part of his career expanded into all areas of oil and gas transactions and litigation for many, many clients. He learned in this part of his career that the law needs to be approached with a big picture approach. As the main page of this website will attest, Allen Cummings has unparalleled experience in all areas of oil and gas. He has also been very involved as a frequent speaker at programs presented by the State Bar of Texas Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Law Section, University of Texas Annual Ernest E. Smith Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Institute, the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, American Association of Petroleum Landmen, Houston and San Antonio Bar Associations.
However, more than anything, Al has always enjoyed and valued the interpersonal interactions with his clients. Larger firms are not always conducive to personalized attention, so in 2006 he left “big law” to become a solo practitioner and has been loving it ever since. He learned that a smaller practice allows him to practice in a way that gives better service to his clients. He has been approached to join other firms in the past but did not want to lose this aspect. Al and Scott Petry have known each other for almost twenty years and had worked together informally multiple times. He learned that the Petry, Rosie & Sinex boutique firm was sympatico with his approach. They are both on the same page in knowing that the practice of law is a service, and helping friends and clients is what the practice of law is about. It was a natural fit, and Al joined the firm officially in July 2021.