CPL/RPL Sponsor Verification: A Personal Recommendation Given Under Oath

Featured in Landman, May/June 2018

When someone asks you to serve as sponsor for their Certified Professional Landman or Registered Professional Landman application, it’s more than an honor — it’s a significant responsibility that requires meaningful consideration.

AAPL’s CPL and RPL designations signify to the oil and gas community as well as the public at large that the holder adheres to the very highest ethical conduct and standards of practice. The Certification Committee relies on sponsors — the people who personally know the individual’s work ethic and landwork history — to ensure an applicant has the proven track record to earn the designation as well as the experience and professionalism to represent all it implies.

Applicants are responsible for supplying all relevant work experience to the Certification Committee for consideration. As a sponsor, you are only responsible for sharing your personal knowledge. In fact, when you sign the Sponsor Verification Form, you are giving an oath that you are only providing information for which you can personally vouch.

According to the AAPL Bylaws:

• CPL certification applications must be endorsed by at least three CPLs — “who fully verify the applicant’s qualifications.”

• RPL certification applicants must be endorsed by two CPLs or at least one CPL and one RPL — “who fully verify the applicant’s qualifications.”

• Family members cannot be sponsors.

As a sponsor, “verification” doesn’t mean rubberstamping your signature on a work history the applicant provided you.

According to the AAPL Bylaws, verification means the sponsor is attesting “to personal, professional, and ethical standards befitting certification.” Under oath.

Did you catch that part? Under oath. Your signature is your bond, and the Certification Committee treats it as such.

AAPL Bylaws are clear: “All verification forms must be completed by the sponsor in their own words.” That means the Certification Committee is relying on sponsors to describe the applicant’s work history that is personally known to the sponsor. The Certification Committee wants the sponsor to provide details about an applicant’s landwork experience that the sponsor has personally observed or supervised — and can personally confirm. In. Your. Own. Words. 

• Verifications must provide detailed descriptions of the type, quantity and quality of the applicant’s work.

• Verifications must affirm that the applicant meets all the qualifications for certification — both stated and implied.

• Verifications must describe only the portion of the applicant’s work history that is known to the sponsor. While an applicant might have pages of applicable work history, the sponsor can only verify the work he or she has observed or supervised. In other words, how can you corroborate what you have not personally witnessed?

If any part of the application is prepared by the applicant, it will be denied and the applicant won’t be considered again for one full year. In such cases, both the applicant and the signatory sponsor could also be referred to the Ethics Committee.

In addition, AAPL Bylaws require:

• With each sponsor verifying only the work history he or she has observed, the “sum” of the verifications must cover all the applicant’s required “credit years.”

• A sponsor must personally know an applicant for more than six months prior to sponsoring (with the exception of AAPL board members, but only one of the applicant’s sponsor can be a board member).

• At least one sponsor must verify through personal knowledge a CPL applicant’s immediate past four years and an RPL applicant’s immediate past two years of landwork experience.

CPLs and RPLs represent the very finest in the land profession. As a sponsor, you help the Ethics Committee ensure applicants are fully vetted — and that newly designated CPLs and RPLs have the experience and integrity to perform with the highest ethical standards.