Serving Energy Industries Nationwide
Attorney Karen L. Spaulding

Karen L. Spaulding

  • Of Counsel

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Karen Spaulding focuses her civil litigation and trial practice on commercial business disputes in the oil and gas, energy, and natural resources sectors. These cases involve exploration and development, midstream, and royalty issues in federal and state courts in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West. She has over 30 years of federal and state court litigation experience and has tried over 22 jury and bench trials. She has also represented clients in oil and gas regulatory and related tax administrative hearings in Colorado. More recently, Karen won a large plaintiffs verdict in U.S. District Court for a Colorado-based oil and gas company on the issue of contract formation involving executed participation offer letters and Authorizations for Expenditure (AFEs), and the defendants breach of these contracts. She also successfully defended an E&P company against several shareholders demands for excessive corporate records in their attempt to force a sale of the company in Delaware Chancery Court.

Karen also regularly counsels the firm's corporate clients concerning employment law matters. Her employment law counseling includes employment agreements, employment releases, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, discrimination claims, investigation of discrimination complaints, independent contractor versus employee issues, drafting and revisions to employment handbooks, and issues regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and other federal and state employment statutes.


  • Lewis and Clark College Northwestern School of Law, Portland, Oregon
    • J.D. - 1986
  • University of Colorado, Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
    • B.A. - 1979
    • Major: Political Science

Bar Admissions

  • Colorado, 1987
  • U.S. District Court District of Colorado, 1987
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit, 1988


  • Top Women in Energy, Denver Business Journal, 2014
  • Volunteer of the Year, Denver Bar Association, 2013

Professional Associations

  • The Foundation for Natural Resources & Energy Law (formerly known as RMMLF), Member, 2006 to Present
  • Colorado Oil & Gas Association, 2006 to Present
  • Western Energy Alliance, 2006 to Present
  • Denver Association of Petroleum Landmen, 2006 to Present
  • Colorado Defense Lawyers Association, 1994 to Present
  • Women in Oil & Gas, 2019 to Present

Published Works

  • Co-Author with Kevin Wonstolen, Water Issues Flow in the Mountain West, The American Oil & Gas Reporter, 2011

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Denver Bar Association / Access Justice Committee, 2019 to Present
  • Colorado Lawyers Committee / Legal Clinic Nights, 2019 to Present
  • Denver Bar Association / Community Action Network, 1994 to 2019
  • Denver Bar Association / LawLine 9, 1992 to 2019

Past Positions

  • TQ3 Navigant, Corporate Counsel, 2004 to 2006
  • Clanahan, Tanner, Downing & Knowlton, P.C., Special Counsel, 1998 to 2004
  • Pinnacol Assurance, Counsel, 1996 to 1998
  • Anderson, Campbell & Laugesen P.C., Associate, 1993 to 1996
  • Lavinder, Joliffe, Chambers & Harris, PC, Associate, 1990 to 1992
  • Attorney General's Office, Colorado, Assistant Attorney General, 1987 to 1990

Representative Cases

  • Bill Barrett Corp. v. YMC Royalty Co., LP, 918 F.3d 760, 10th Cir.
  • Grant Bros. Ranch, LLC v. Anrtero Res.Picenace Corp., 2016 COA 178
  • Savoy Energy, LLC v. Aston Energy, LLC, 2018 U.S. Dist LEXIS 60938, US District Cour- Central Utah
  • City of Longmont v. Colo.Oil & Gas Assn., 2016 CO 29, CO Supreme Cour
  • Gerrity Bakken, LLC v. Oasis Petro.N.Am., LLC, 2018 ND 180, ND Supreme Court
  • Pioneer Natural Res. U.S., Inc. v. Colo.Dep’t Revenue, 2014 COA 101, COA
  • own of Milliken v. Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Onshore LP, 2013 COA 72, COA
  • Pawnee Well Users, Inc. v. Wolfe, 2013 CO 67, CO Supreme Cour

Representative Clients

  • Exploration and Development Companies
  • Mid-Stream Operating Companies


  • Kenneth A. Wonstolen
  • Jennifer Stoldt
  • Waldo J. Ackerman
  • James Walker