One word I don’t really love as it relates to the work of independent landmen is “middleman”. While it is technically the correct term to describe the job of a landman when it comes to lease or surface negotiations with landowners, I don’t particularly like it because it carries the connotation of someone who is unnecessary and adds little value. I prefer to think of an independent landman as a highly specialized consultant that is contracted to provide his or her expertise in-house or in the field. Subscribing to that viewpoint requires a landman to be more than just a “warm body” on a project; it requires him/her to truly bring something to the table. That latter outlook becomes especially necessary as shale plays mature and land work becomes more sophisticated. Are you cognizant of what exactly you bring to your client/company? If not, take some time some time to really look at what you do and how you can better maximize your value.