OU Law and the American Energy Revolution

September 12, 2013 | By John Paul Albert, JD/MBA Candidate, May 2014, and Editor-in-Chief, Energy and Natural Resources Newsletter

It is no secret that OU Law has long been recognized as one of the premier law schools in the world for the study of oil and gas law.  From Maurice Merrill to Eugene Kuntz to our current oil and gas law chair, Professor Owen Anderson, OU Law has been home to some of the most recognized and accomplished oil and gas legal scholars in the world.  OU Law’s curriculum remains unrivaled when it comes to course offerings in energy-related fields of study, boasting an impressive nine courses specifically tailored to legal topics in the oil and gas industry.  As the United States has experienced an energy revolution over the last several years, OU Law has continued to stay on the cutting edge of oil and gas legal education to train the next generation of energy lawyers.  Whether landmen, litigators, title attorneys, business professionals, or other career paths that OU lawyers pursue in the energy industry, OU Law produces the best and most well-prepared lawyers to enter the revolutionized American energy industry. 

The newest course offering exemplifies everything that OU Law has become recognized for in oil and gas legal education.  Born from student-generated curriculum ideas, “How to Drill a Well” is a one-of-a-kind course offering that allows law students the opportunity to work side-by-side with industry practitioners to put theory into practice by drafting industry contracts, dealing directly with actual mineral owners and surface owners, and even negotiate with each other over possible joint operations and acquisitions and divestitures.  More than just an average seminar, the course leads students from prospect to pipeline, examining every step along the way from Confidentiality Agreements related to data rooms to running title on a real quarter-section of land in Oklahoma and negotiating oil and gas leases with real mineral owners to negotiating sales of production at the wellhead and through the pipeline.  With the help of Stable Energy’s Keith Needham (OU Law ’12) and Sandridge Energy’s Steve Cargill (OU Law '80), this unique course gives students the practical application that is so desperately needed in this incredibly vital industry.  Practitioners share their experience and insight with students and allow students to get their feet wet by actually participating in the activities that could only be spoken of in theoretical terms previously. 

By implementing this unique course offering, OU Law gives students priceless experience before they enter the energy industry, providing an incredible advantage in the marketplace both in Oklahoma and around the country.  As this course offering is expanded, more students will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience which will make them more attractive to potential employers.  At a time when so many speak of the diminishing returns of legal education in the 21st century and how young lawyers struggle to find employment, OU Law has once again proven that great vision bears great successes if the vision is acted upon.  The oil and gas legal education at the OU College of Law has again proven its prowess among all law schools both public and private, and in the end, both students and employers will benefit from yet another great accomplishment in energy-related legal education at the OU College of Law.

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