I am thoroughly familiar with the internet, but this is my first blog so hang in there as I learn the routine.
I have spent the last two weeks bouncing back and forth from DeSoto Parish, Red River, Caddo, and Bossier. Along with meeting people, I have also tried to gain a little first hand knowledge of the court houses. As I said before, I am not pushy enough to be a salesman, and I have learned this characteristic would come in handy venturing into the Clerk's Office. I had to ask around to learn the 'etiquette' and proper behavior regarding Court House visits.
Landmen, attorneys, title researchers visit the Clerk of Court office to discover or verify the owner(s) of a particular piece of property. As soon as a company files a permit to drill, the race is on the determine what properties fall in the unit (typically 640 acres) at that Section, Township, and Range. The Tax Assessor has a list of properties and names in the Section, and the Clerk's Office has all of the deeds and conveyances for the Parish.
The popularity of the Haynesville Shale has led to increasingly crazy clerk's offices. DeSoto's was absolutely packed with people of all types researching, copying, and making notes on their yellow legal pads.
Rule 1: Don't get in their way.
Being new, and not having a particular goal in mind, I decided to pull a few of my family's deeds and conveyances from the last 50 years to get an idea of how things work. 20 pound books on shelves everywhere, and nearly every available flat surface was being used by someone reading or writing. I'm not an anxious person by nature, but the crowded frenzy will fray the nerves of the calmest.
Rule 2: Don't let anyone even suspect you are looking at their notes.
It's more serious than the SAT. They are all trying to get the one up on each other, and it is every man for him/her self. The idea you would be trying to gain the upper hand by stealing any information they may have is unthinkable.
Rule 3: Don't take it personally if your 'hello, how are you?'s aren't returned cheerfully. I talk to everyone, so it took a little while to understand where they were coming from. It's their job, and more than likely it isn't their favorite part. The courthouse supplies the ammunition they need to be out in the field knocking on landowners doors. Everyone becomes antsy the closer it gets to 4:30, and the mood shifts completely when they step outside of the courthouse... even making plans for dinner/drinks with people they didn't even look at, much less speak to only minutes before.
I have also met with attorneys, service company workers, engineers, and landowners, so I will be updating more regularly. If you have any comments, suggestions, or input please let me know! It's been interesting, and as I learn I am becoming more into the processes involved. Have a great Mother's Day weekend!