As the University of Oklahoma College of Law transitions into its second century, its students, faculty, and administration have joined forces in a collaborative effort to train the most well-equipped lawyers to enter the ever-changing American workforce, especially the legal field. The legal industry and private enterprise have begun demanding lawyers and employees who are well-rounded, but also specialized in the specific area in which they will work. While opportunities still exist for general practitioners, the market has swiftly moved toward specialization and firms have begun focusing in very limited areas of practice. As one of the most recognizable names in oil and gas legal education in the world, OU Law has responded to these industry requests by developing yet another tool to equip its students with expertise that gives them that prized advantage in the marketplace. What has resulted is an innovative curriculum which incorporates not only traditional survey courses, but a growing number of courses designed to give students a recognizable expertise in certain areas of the law.
On May 10, 2014, The OU College of Law will grant three of its most dedicated students in energy studies the newly-established Certificate in Energy Law in addition to their Juris Doctorate degrees. John Paul Albert, Jacob Masters, and Katie O’Brien will be the first recipients of the certificate, a product of student and employer requests for a curriculum more focused in areas of the law so vital to Oklahoma’s and the nation’s legal and economic landscapes. Separate and apart from OU Law’s Certificate in Natural Resources Law, the Certificate in Energy Law focuses not on legal issues involved in environmental challenges, but rather on the unique and dynamic legal issues involved in the daily transactions of the domestic and international energy business.
The requirements to obtain the Certificate in Energy Law are extensive, requiring students to not only complete energy-related legal courses, but also to complete other legal courses which are indirectly related to the energy business, such as Administrative Law or International Business Transactions. The most remarkable aspect of the Certificate and what makes it so valuable is the requirement for six hours of energy-related courses outside of the OU College of Law. Students are given an array of course options ranging from Petroleum Geology to Advanced Energy Finance to Engineering in Oilfield Development that may be taken on the University’s main campus. Exposing students to other disciplines within the energy business gives them the knowledge to counsel clients with the practical perspective that is so necessary. As a final requirement, students must write a paper focused on some practical aspect of the energy business under the direction of a faculty member focused in this area. These requirements and the innovative nature of the curriculum makes this certificate an incredibly unique and valuable addition to the Juris Doctorate degree, providing students with an additional opportunity to become the most knowledgeable and marketable energy law graduates in the United States and across the world. The Certificate in Energy Law is just the latest advance in OU Law’s long and storied history of training the best and most well-equipped energy attorneys in the country and the world.
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Gehrig Thurston, Department of Communications and Events