Note: This was an article I wrote for Ranch House Designs and featured on their blog. Thank you to all the staff.
Andrew Abrameit, owner and lawyer at Abrameit Law, talks about “my triangle” of Goliad, Cuero and Victoria, Texas. His triangle represents his family with his wife working in Victoria, law practice with a large caseload in Cuero and the family livestock business in Goliad. The Abrameit family has a history of giving back to the community participating in FFA and 4H by providing show cattle, being mentors in the community working at the local schools, and his law practice. Abrameit’s firm is a specialized business practicing matters with oil and gas leases, property purchases and eminent domain. It is a family with deep roots in Texas and an intriguing story that is continuing to grow within the triangle.
A Deep-rooted Texas Background
Abrameit is a sixth-generation native of Goliad County, Texas whose family goes back to the 1870s. For undergraduate studies, he attended Texas A & M from 1997 to 2001 and participated in meat and livestock judging. While studying law at the University of Texas at Austin, Abrameit was Editor-in-Chief of the Texas Environmental Law Journal, a publication co-produced by law students from the University of Texas School of Law and members of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section of the State Bar of Texas since 1990. In addition to working for the Journal, he also worked for Senator Armbrister who was chair of the Texas Senate Committee on Natural Resources for two years.
“It’s kind of covering your basis of undergraduate education with all the Aggies and then law school with all the Longhorns,” joked Abrameit. “It was a busy time going to law school and being at the Capitol full-time. I didn’t sleep for a couple of years.”
While working for Senator Armbrister, Abrameit saw the introduction of Senate Bill 3 in 2005 which Joseph Fitzsimons, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission chairman called, “the need for market-based solutions to the environmental challenge of providing water for fish and wildlife during a drought.” The Committee had jurisdiction over the groundwater, air quality, surface water, rivers, lakes, and the oil and gas industry.
“This was at the time where exporting groundwater, buying and selling groundwater from Amarillo to Lubbock was going on,” said Abrameit. “It was a very cutting edge when long-range water planning was getting off the ground, and that is a lot of what we worked on.”
Prior to starting his own practice, Abrameit worked for the law firm Gordon, Arata, Montgomery, Barnett where “I really learned a lot.” While working at the firm, he learned about the oil and gas industry. In 2010 and 2011, when the Eagle Ford shale was going to occur, that’s when the firm started “setting up shop” in DeWitt County, and Abrameit worked from there.
Setting up his own shop
Abrameit started his private practice in September of last year and has been busy ever since. The practice does transactional and litigation in oil and gas leases and pipelines.
“I like to think it makes us better at doing it because if you do [just] transactions, but you never go to the courthouse, you’re not always in tune with what arguments that the other side is going to make,” said Abrameit. “We are always constantly improving our transactional work because we get to see what happens when things break-down.”
In addition, Abrameit does property purchases and some probate work. Through comprehensive documents that were developed over the years for pipeline agreements and service use agreements, his firm can govern activities that would go on your property, and not all of it is rural. As Abrameit points out some is in Sugarland, Texas.
“What we are doing is like the cradle to grave, we help people buy it and then we are negotiating with the companies should there be oil and gas development or pipelines,” said Abrameit. “We get involved sometimes after the grave with probate litigation long after somebody died. It’s like a zombie; it never dies.”
Eminent domain is also one of their specialties. They represent the landlords to make sure they receive the maximum value that he can and be entitled to get full compensation. When it comes to paying for representation, Abrameit disliked early in his career hearing that people could not afford it or that they will be outspent. He tries to take away that barrier and takes on a lot of cases on a contingency fee.
“it is very gratifying when people come to you, and either had another lawyer or had a situation where they are getting stomped on. We mount a counter-offensive, and the tables have turned,” said Abrameit.” It’s like leveling the playing field.”
Right now, a lot of his business is built-in referrals, friends and family in Goliad County, but also a lot of it goes back to being involved in FFA and 4H.
Family and the Livestock Operation
Abrameit and his family have been in Goliad County since the 1870s and historically have been a commercial operation with Herefords and cross-breeds. Now what the family does are almost all Charolais and Charolais bulls. Andrew’s father is a retired ag teacher and still maintains a connection to FFA, while the family provides some show calves, but mostly seed stock cattle. They currently manage about 80 cows, but the amount varies based on if it is a drought or not.
“We have other members of the family; my dad is the youngest of eight, all of what surrounds us is our kinfolks’ operations. Everybody has stockers, cow-calf, or feed yards,” said Abrameit
Andrew has been married for 12 years and his wife, Natalie, is an assistant principal at East Victoria High School. The two, along with their two-year-old daughter, genuinely enjoy working in the cattle industry and working to help the community they live in through Abrameit Law.