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Energy spotlight: Nicolle Snyder Bagnell

Nicolle Snyder Bagnell was on the oil and gas beat before drillers flocked to the shale in Western Pennsylvania.

The Reed Smith attorney started working on oil and gas issues as an intern in 2000 and she now oversees the firm’s strategy across several states as vice chair of its 25-person global energy and natural resources industry group in Pittsburgh.

Bagnell, 38, got her start by helping out a senior lawyer at Reed Smith with some environmental work, and was trained by him. She’s spent her entire career with the firm.

“It was a lot of good luck for me in my career,” she said. “I was an oil and gas lawyer before anyone was really interested or knew anything about unconventional oil and gas development in this region.”

Bagnell’s work has covered a wide spectrum of the industry — from drilling and development to midstream processing and distribution.

The job is fun and interesting in part because of the array of clients she works with, she said. Everyone she has worked with is conscientious always trying to do the right thing when it comes to the environment.

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“I think the biggest misconception is that by some people is that the oil and gas industry isn’t trying to do the right thing in fully developing environmental resources in Pennsylvania,” she said.

Bagnell works with people across all levels and sectors of the industry, including major exploration and production companies, and says most people don’t realize the due diligence done by companies to ensure they’re developing responsibly.

“I’ve never had any instance where the people aren’t trying to do the right thing for the state and for basically the good of developing all these natural resources,” she said.

Bagnell decides how the firm’s group will grow, what its focus within the industry will be, along with hiring. She handles legal work for oil and gas companies and also does environmental counseling and consulting. With a master’s degree in environmental science and her law school training focused on policy, she says she was happy to find a career that married both law and the environment.

“Part of my personal strategy is to grow that connectedness to help people outside the firm understand what great capabilities we have in that way,” she said.

The Florida native moved to Pittsburgh with her husband for his job in robotics. She has a daughter and a son and enjoys reading and exploring Frick Park with her family on the weekends.


(c)2014 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)