Paul Benoist is a native of Natchez, Missisippi. He is a product of the Natchez-Adams County public school system, and a 1972 graduate of South Natchez-Adams High School. He started working on his grandmother's farm at age 10, harvesting pecans and clipping pastures. Later, Mr. Benoist worked on other farms, operating typical farm machinery, and still later, in the oilfields of southwest Mississippi, Concordia and Catahoula Parishes, LA as a roustabout. He helped work his way through college as a oilfield roustabout, laborer on commercial construction crews, umpired youth baseball games, and lobbied for colleges and universities at the Louisiana legislature. He was active in the youth group of his church, played competitive sports, and learned to hunt and fish in the Miss-Lou area. The foregoing experiences combined to give Mr. Benoist the ability to relate to people from all walks of life, as well as respect for private property rights and stewardship of the environment.
Mr. Benoist is a 1976 graduate of Louisiana State University, and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the A.B. Freeman School of Business of Tulane University in 1980. He earned his law degree from Tulane University Law School in 1990. He is admitted to practice in all Louisiana state and federal courts, and the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, the federal circuit encompassing the states of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Mr. Benoist has been admitted pro hac vice in the federal and bankruptcy courts of Mississippi and Texas on particular cases.
Mr. Benoist has extensive business experience in petroleum and surface land management matters. He has worked in industry for a major oil company as an employee, and has advised major oil and gas companies, large and small landowners and pipeline companies as a private consultant. He has consulted with surface and mineral landowners on issues involving coordination and timing of competing, and oftentimes conflicting, multiple-use land management principles. Since 1980, he has worked on urban, suburban, and rural property issues involving wetlands, agricultural lands, forest lands, and offshore
waters on tracts ranging in size from less than one acre to more than one million acres. Mr. Benoist has extensive experience in handling regional, national and international joint ventures, surface leases, crop and property damage assessment and repair, and oil and gas contracts of all types, including leases, royalty, drilling participation, and working interest agreements. He has taught petroleum land management at the university level, and has appeared as a speaker at various land management groups from time to time. He also has experience in sales forecasting, market trends, market penetration strategies, inventory control and related business issues.
Today, Mr. Benoist is engaged in the full time practice of law. He is a member of the Louisiana State, Baton Rouge and 7th Judicial District Bar Associations, American Association of Professional Landmen, and is a member of the Natchez Historical Society. He has served as an officer and director for the Baton Rouge Association of Petroleum Landmen, chaired the AAPL Operating Agreement forms revision committee for the Lafayette landman association, and has lectured at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. He has served as a State Trustee, Regional and Zone Chairman for Ducks Unlimited, Inc., Director, Vidalia Chamber of Commerce, and Trustee, Historic Natchez Foundation.
Mr. Benoist's trial practice includes general commercial litigation; contract and lease disputes; construction disputes; occupational disease and toxic torts; products and premises liability; motor and truck accidents; oilfield accidents; oil & gas contract and lease disputes; title disputes; natural resource and property damages cases; employment matters; selected collection matters; foreclosures; successions, and workers compensation disputes. His transactional practice includes regulated and unregulated immovable property transactions, mineral title examination; conservation matters; preparation of contracts; drafting employment manuals and agreements, and general corporate work for closely-held, family-run entities, including formation, acquisitions, buy-sell transactions, and business succession planning, including wills and trusts.
Mr. Benoist's clients include individuals, financial institutions, integrated companies, independent oil companies, pipeline companies, non-profit organizations, and family owned businesses. Mr. Benoist strives to maintain relationship-based, traditional hands-on lawyering, utilizing technology as a means to lower legal costs to his clients.