Houston's South Texas College of Law plans to establish the region’s first Oil & Gas Law Institute, an initiative designed to address the growing legal needs in the energy industry.
Uniquely positioned in downtown Houston, the city’s oldest law school has been educating and preparing graduates to serve the energy industry with distinction for decades. The Institute will build extensively on this legacy through expanded educational and training classes, programs and opportunities, and by promoting oil and gas legal scholarship related to industry practice in Texas and beyond.
“With the United States in the midst of an historic energy transformation and Houston at the heart of it, South Texas College of Law knew it was the right time to establish the Oil & and Gas Law Institute,” said President and Dean Donald J. Guter. “Our goal is to be the national leader in oil and gas law education. The needs are great, and we believe there is no better place to have this Institute than at South Texas College of Law in downtown Houston.”
The Institute will seek to respond to the specific, practical needs of law firms and the energy industry and provide students the education and training they need to make immediate contributions to the oil and gas industry.
South Texas has selected Christopher Kulander, a visiting associate professor, as the initial director of the Institute. Kulander, who taught oil and gas law for three years at Texas Tech University, is Of Counsel at Haynes and Boone, LLP, is a prolific legal writer, works as an expert witness and frequently gives presentations and speeches about the oil and gas industry. He also will represent the Institute at various oil and gas events in Texas and throughout the nation.
“South Texas has a unique opportunity to be the leading law school for educating and training practice-ready graduates in the oil and gas industry – and that is attractive to potential employers,” Kulander said. “The workforce needs of the oil and gas industry continue to grow, particularly in the legal arena. South Texas fully understands this fact and is prepared to address those demands through the Institute’s diverse classes and programs.”
The Institute will concentrate on developing applied petroleum-related transactional, title and regulatory practice skills. Kulander said one of his main goals is to make the third year in law school much more specialty-focused and practice-responsive. In addition, the Institute will seek to place advanced students in the legal departments of oil and gas companies around Houston. Future areas of study will include international petroleum transactions, midstream and downstream oil and gas activities, and other sources of energy.
Additionally, the Institute will produce and promote significant scholarship related to the oil and gas legal business, and it is envisioned it will partner with other educational institutions and policy institutes to help lead public discourse on topics pertaining to the oil and gas industry and the energy sector overall.
With a planned advisory board comprised of representatives from the energy industry, academia and regulatory and legislative agencies, the Institute also will sponsor policy papers and public symposia on specific current issues.
“The Institute is an important endeavor for Houston, the state of Texas and the nation’s oil and gas industry,” Kulander said. “We look forward to significantly enhancing oil and gas law education in this country.”