29th Annual Ethics Symposium: Renewable Energy & Ethics

This Symposium will provide attendees with insights on the ethical considerations in developing areas of renewable energy; provide updates on energy transformation and the top trends in renewable education; and discuss the effects transitioning to renewables has on corporate responsibility. The Symposium will also feature an industry panel consisting of leaders from different energy companies where attendees can learn about environmental considerations and difficulties companies face in light of the push towards renewable energy. The event provided is for 5 hours and 30 minutes of CLE and Ethics hours.

Date of event: Friday, March 3th, 2023
Location: South Texas College of Law Houston campus, Garrett-Townes Hall
Time: 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Lunch: Provided by Treebeards
Cocktail Hour: 3:30 p.m.


· Environmental Effects
· Renewable Energy vs. Traditional Methods of Energy Development
· Factors to Consider When Entering Into a Renewable Energy Deal
· Reducing Carbon Footprint
· The “Energy Trilemma”

*Speakers and topics may be subject to change



General Admission: $125


Downtown Houston Location and Parking Information



Alan Alexander is a Partner in the Energy Transactions and Projects group at Vinson and Elkins LLP. Mr. Alexander’s practice focuses on project development, project financings and joint ventures. He has experience working with petrochemical companies, midstream developers, exploration and production companies, project developers and financial investors on complex projects and transactions in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors. In particular, Mr. Alexander has significant experience in complex downstream projects, as well as experience assisting clients in energy transition matters involving renewable fuels, carbon capture, clean ammonia, low-carbon hydrogen, carbon monetization, and grid resiliency. He also advises clients on energy projects in Latin America.

Mr. Alexander’s work typically involves the negotiation of joint venture arrangements both within and outside the context of a juridical entity, real property and site control agreements, utility supply agreements, feedstock and offtake agreements, technology license agreements, operation and maintenance agreements, and engineering, procurement, and construction contracts. A significant portion of his practice involves advising clients on construction strategies and the negotiation of agreements for the execution of construction of large, complex projects. This includes contractual structures for lump sum turnkey arrangements, guaranteed maximum price structures, EPCM arrangements, and in joint venture contexts, construction management arrangements. Mr. Alexander’s work also spans the contract administration phase following execution and the commencement of construction. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Michigan Law School.

Jim Collura has a nationwide energy and complex construction litigation practice which he has litigated to jury verdict or to arbitration award hundreds of millions of dollars in claims. In 2016, Mr. Collura founded the first Texas office of his current firm Bradley and is the on the firm’s Managing Board.

As a top-tier litigator, Mr. Collura has earned several high-ranking awards including Texas Super Lawyers (Business Litigation), Best Lawyers (Construction and Trade Secrets), Martindale-Hubbell AV rated (Peer and Judicial) and recently served as the Chair of the Oil & Gas Section of the Institute of Energy Law.

Mr. Collura earned his undergraduate degree from University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He is a graduate of University of Nebraska College of Law, where he was member of the Order of the Barristers and took part in the National Moot Court and Mock Trial teams, earning the title of Allen Moot Court Rounds Champion.

Brandy Copley is renewable energy counsel for JERA Americas.  She represents JERA in its investments in the wind, solar, battery, and energy transition space. On the professional front, her accomplishments during two decades of legal practice in Houston include: developing, contracting, and managing renewable energy projects in the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean; leading the $4.75 billion acquisition of a specialty chemicals company operating in 100 countries; successfully negotiating a tax incentive package that saved an energy project almost $1 billion in taxes; and serving as lead counsel for the auction of a multistate natural gas distribution company that sold for $1.9 billion.

Ms. Copley has also served in numerous leadership roles throughout the Houston community. These roles include Leader of the GE Diversity and Inclusion Council, Hub Leader of the GE Women’s Network, Board Member of Houston Women in Law Empowerment Forum, and Board Member for Women’s Energy Network for over a decade, where she was honored by WEN for outstanding service to the organization.

Leading authorities in Texas, and specifically in Houston, have widely recognized Ms. Copley’s professional work with a multitude of honors. These honors include: The Association of Women Attorneys Premier Women in the Law award, Houston 2023; The National Diversity Counsel’s 2017 Top 50 Houston Women Lawyers; Texas Lawyer’s 2016 Top Women in Energy Award; Houston Business Journal’s Best Corporate Counsel Awards (2013 winner and 2016 finalist); Texas Super Lawyer Rising Star (2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009); and Member of the Pro Bono College of State Bar of Texas for 15 years.

Ms. Copley has also volunteered her time to Child Advocates protecting abused and neglected children for the past 15 years.

Taylor Duncan serves as the Northeast Business Leader for energy advisory firm, 5. In this role she led the integration and management of Luthin Associates, a top-tier energy consulting firm acquired by 5 in 2019. Today she remains focused on expanding 5’s service to clients in New York while also developing the team throughout the greater Northeast region. Ms. Duncan first joined 5 in 2012 as an Energy Advisor, using her business development background to provide a thorough understanding of what it takes to deliver high-value advice and ongoing support to clients. She continues to leverage her expertise today in an expanded role as the executive leader.

Before joining 5, Ms. Duncan served as an Energy Advisor for Tradition Energy, a large, international energy management firm.

Ms. Duncan received her bachelor’s degree in Marketing from The University of Texas at Austin. Since college, Ms. Duncan has devoted her spare time to volunteering in her community. She currently serves on the PTA board of her children’s school, and is active in public education advocacy. She is the mother of four young children, a geriatric dog, and partner to a talented musician.

Veronica Foley has over twenty years of experience in the energy business. She currently serves as Chief Legal & Compliance Officer of Precision Drilling. Ms. Foley manages Precision’s legal department, including developing and directing the corporate legal function, selecting and supervising outside counsel, and offering strategic legal and business planning. She ensures high-quality legal support is provided for mergers and acquisition transactions, financing, litigation, and all other aspects of the energy business.

Before joining Precision, Ms. Foley spent over seven years working at Norton Rose Fulbright, LLP, where she represented several international companies in internal investigations and handling litigation and international arbitration matters, including class action suits, oil and gas disputes, toxic tort cases, environmental, and breach of contract cases.

Ms. Foley earned numerous awards recognizing her extensive expertise and experience: she was named “General Counsel of the Year—Mid-sized Legal Department” by the Texas General Counsel Forum’s Magna Stella Awards, received the U.S. Power 50 Award from the National Diversity Council, and was recognized as one of the top 50 General Counsels in Houston by the National Diversity Council and by the Association of Woman Attorneys Foundation as Houston Premiere Women in Law.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and French from Baylor University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from South Texas College of Law. She serves on the Board of Spindletop Charities, Inc. and the Institute of Hispanic Culture of Houston. She has served on other non-profit boards of various educational and professional institutions, including the Houston Bar Foundation—the charitable arm of the Houston Bar and Girls Inc. of Greater Houston.

Joel Goldberg is currently a partner at Porter Hedges where he leads their Property and Finance Practice Group. Additionally, he serves as a Co-Chair of the Energy & Environmental Practice Group for TerraLex, a global network of more than 150 law firms and 19,000 lawyers.

Mr. Goldberg has over twenty years of experience serving as both general counsel to a renewable energy company and in private practice advising clients on energy and infrastructure projects and real estate transactions. His energy and infrastructure-related experience include engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) contracts, land rights agreements, offtake agreements, Renewable Identification Numbers, Low Carbon Fuel Standard and other environmental credit transactions, fuel supply agreements, operations and maintenance contracts, energy-related joint ventures, sales and acquisitions, project financing of power plants, renewable natural gas projects, gas-to-liquids, and Liquified Natural Gas facilities.

Mr. Goldberg’s power project work includes fossil-fuel, renewable, and waste-derived fuel projects. Within the renewables sector, he has significant experience advising clients on renewable natural gas projects, and is recognized as a leading authority in all aspects of the development, financing, operation, sale, and acquisition of these facilities.

Mr. Goldberg also has significant experience, and has represented many clients, in complex real estate transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions, commercial leases, real-estate-based financings, joint ventures, and development work. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with honors. He further went on to receive his Juris Doctorate from the University of San Francisco School of Law, where he graduated cum laude.

Dr. Detlef Hallermann is a Clinical Professor and Director of the Reliant Energy Trade Center at Texas A&M University. Dr. Hallermann has created and directs the Trading, Risk & Investments Program (TRIP) and the Petroleum Ventures Program (PVP) for Texas A&M University. As part of his responsibilities, Dr. Hallermann manages a thirty-plus company advisory board in addition to a twenty-plus individual advisory board.

Additionally, Dr. Hallermann has held professor positions at Rice University, the University of Denver, and the Colorado School of Mines. Dr. Hallermann has created courses and programs related to almost all aspects of front-front and mid-office responsibilities for energy trading, energy economics and the physical transportation of energy and energy products for numerous private entities regarding energy trading including DCP, P66, Nord Bank (Germany) and the Algerian government. Dr. Hallermann authored the first draft of the GARP Energy Risk Management (ERM) Certificate coursework.

Dr. Hallermann has over a decade of practical experience in the energy industry. He is well versed in oil and gas acquisitions as a petroleum engineer and MBA. He has focused the majority of his career on derivatives, contingent claims analysis, trading and risk management and market behavior in the commodities sector. As part of his doctoral work, Dr. Hallermann created the only truly quantitative approach to valuing political/expropriation risk in the mining sector.

Prior to joining Texas A&M University, Dr. Hallermann performed product development for an ETRM software program and has managed quantitative and risk groups for energy trade floors. Dr. Hallermann developed models for pricing credit risk, full-requirements, and long-term electricity and natural gas contracts. He also advises risk management groups regarding value-at-risk (VaR) and strategic VaR allocation. Dr. Hallermann received an Master of Science and a Doctorate of Philosophy from the Colorado School of Mines, an Master of Business Administration from the University of Denver, and a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University (whoop!).

Professor Hester teaches environmental law at the University of Houston Law Center, where he co-directs the Law Center’s Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Law Center and the University of Houston’s Center for Carbon Management in Energy. He is a recognized expert on the innovative application of environmental laws to emerging technologies and unanticipated risks, including climate engineering, deep decarbonization (particularly in energy production), nanoscale materials and microplastics, and climate liability.

In Fall 2019, Prof. Hester taught the first U.S. law school course on Climate Intervention Law, which focused on emerging climate engineering technologies and legal challenges. He also originated and teaches an innovative Environmental Practicum that matches students with multiple leading environmental attorneys to work on practical projects and to develop creative legal initiatives. Professor Hester currently serves on the American Bar Association’s Climate Change Task Force, and he acted as one of the ABA’s delegates to the UN climate conferences in 2021 and 2022. During the summer of 2014, Prof. Hester served as the interim Director of the North America Commission on Environmental Cooperation’s Submission on Environmental Matters Unit in Montreal, Canada. The Environmental Law Institute also named him as its Environmental Scholar in Residence for 2015.

Prof. Hester was inducted into the American College of Environmental Lawyers in 2015 (and named a Regent in 2018), elected as a member of the American Law Institute in 2004, and named the Top Environmental Lawyer in Houston in 2011 by Best Lawyers of America. He was also elected to the Council of the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER) in 2011 through 2014. Prof. Hester is the past chair of SEER’s Special Committee on Congressional Relations, its Climate Change and Sustainable Development Committee, and its Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee.

Prior to joining the University of Houston Law Center, Prof. Hester practiced for 25 years and served as a partner in Bracewell LLP for sixteen years. He led that firm’s Houston environmental group.

Regina Bynote Jones has over 25 years of experience and currently serves as Chief Legal Officer for Baker Hughes Corporation. In this capacity, she oversees a global legal team of professionals supporting Baker Hughes global operations in over 70 countries. Prior to joining Baker Hughes, Ms. Jones was Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary with Delek U.S. Holdings, Inc. and Delek Logistics Partners LP, headquartered in Brentwood, TN. Throughout her career, Ms. Jones has held domestic and international legal roles with responsibility for complex legal environments across the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Prior to joining Delek, Ms. Jones was with Schlumberger for 13 years, where she was based in Paris, France (5 yrs) and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2 yrs). Ms. Jones has also worked with Shell Oil Company, Dynegy Marketing & Trade and El Paso Energy in varied legal and technology roles in the energy industry.

Ms. Jones has a demonstrated commitment to global and local stewardship and has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Houston March of Dimes, the Board for the Girl Scouts, San Jacinto Council (Houston) and Child Advocates. Professionally, she is a Texas Bar Foundation Fellow, an organization whose membership consists of the top 1/3 of 1% of Texas attorneys. She has previously served on the Board of Directors for the State Bar of Texas, where she also served on the Disciplinary Rules and Professional Conduct Committee. She has also served on the Europe Committee of the American Bar Association, the Houston Bar Association (Strategic Planning Committee) and is a current member of the Executive Leadership Council.

Ms. Jones has received numerous recognitions for her accomplishments by the Houston Business Journal in their annual “Women Who Mean Business” Awards. In 2016, she was recognized by the Houston Business Journal as a Woman of Influence in the Energy Industry. She was a recipient of the Catalyst award from Uptown Professional Magazine and has been recognized as an Outstanding Woman in Business by Leadera Group. Recently, Ms. Jones graduated from Direct Women’s Board Institute, whose primary mission is to increase women executive representation on boards of directors.

Ms. Jones received her BBA, General Business from Sam Houston State University and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law (with an emphasis in technology law).

She has been married for more than 25 years to her best friend, Kevin Jones. Regina and Kevin are the proud parents of two sons, Kevin and Dylan who are both Eagle Scouts.

Jake Lederle is a partner with Wetsel, Carmichael, Allen, & Lederle, LLP with offices in Sweetwater and Lubbock, Texas. Jake specializes in renewable energy development representing clients throughout Texas in all aspects of renewable energy project development, including, without limitation, wind, solar, green hydrogen, carbon capture, battery storage, lease drafting and negotiation, land acquisition, and litigation. Due to his vast experience Jake is also frequently called upon to advise and consult on matters of renewable energy project development across the U.S. In addition to his renewable energy practice, Jake also maintains a robust eminent domain and condemnation practice, as well as assisting clients in matters related to tax abatements, environmental matters, oil & gas matters, and general real estate.

Jake is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law where he was a research assistant to preeminent oil and gas scholar Ernest E. Smith. He frequently writes and speaks on a variety of topics in the energy business, including, the accommodation doctrine, executive rights, competing surface uses, severance of wind rights, environmental concerns in siting renewable energy, condemnation proceedings, and negotiating leases and easements. In fact, his paper “Everything Under the Sun: A Guide to Siting Solar in the Lone Star State” was one of the first published articles on solar energy in Texas.

Gabe Lerner is the Managing Director at Allied Orion Group, where he is responsible for the acquisition, development, and alternative investment opportunities focusing on multifamily properties across the United States.  Mr. Lerner has been in the real estate business for over a decade and has extensive experience in the areas of multifamily, office, retail, and large-scale land acquisitions.

Prior to joining Allied Orion Group, Mr. Lerner worked as Managing Director for one of the largest private Chinese real estate developers based in Beijing, China, where he played a leading role in the investment, oversight, and management of projects outside mainland China, with projects in North America, Europe, Japan and other locales around the world. Previous to being Managing Director, he was legal counsel and manager of a Texas-based Land Acquisition and Due Diligence company dealing in the energy and real estate sectors, where he oversaw and consulted on projects throughout Texas and various other states in the US. In addition, he worked as legal counsel for a top tier energy and real estate law firm, where he was responsible for the development, review, and advice of projects ranging from $25 to $500 million in transaction size across Texas, focusing on debt placement review, transactional work and asset acquisition and/or divestment consultation.

Mr. Lerner is a founding member of the South Texas College of Law Energy Alumni Association, where he holds a Board seat at the law school. He received his M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Tulane, his undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University, and his J.D. from South Texas College of Law Houston.

Martin Lockman joined the Columbia Sabin Center for Climate Change Law in 2022 as the 2022–2024 Climate Law Fellow. Prior to joining the Sabin Center, Mr. Lockman clerked for the Honorable Cynthia M. Rufe on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Following his clerkship, Mr. Lockman specialized in renewable energy and infrastructure finance at Milbank LLP’s New York office.

Mr. Lockman graduated from Columbia Law School in 2019 where he was a James Kent Scholar and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He also served as Articles Editor for the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, worked as a Research Assistant at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, and spent a semester in the Law and Finance MLS program at Oxford University through Columbia’s Global Alliance Program. Before law school, Mr. Lockman worked as a community organizer in the coalfields of southern West Virginia. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis in 2014.

Chad V. Seely is Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary for ERCOT and has been serving as General Counsel since January 1, 2016.

Mr. Seely oversees state and federal policy and manages the overall litigation strategy of ERCOT. In addition, Mr. Seely is responsible for the leadership of the Compliance, Cyber Security, Physical Security, Facilities and Information Governance departments. The Chief Audit Executive who manages the Internal Audit department administratively reports to Mr. Seely. Mr. Seely also oversees the ERCOT Reliability Monitor function which assesses ERCOT and ERCOT Market Participant compliance with Texas electric reliability laws under the direction of the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Mr. Seely has been with ERCOT since May 2005.

Prior to joining ERCOT, Mr. Seely was an attorney at the Texas Department of Insurance, working on enforcement matters against insurance agents and companies before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) and the Commissioner of Insurance.

Mr. Seely grew up in Irving, Texas, and received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French from Texas Tech University in 1999. He graduated from South Texas College of Law in 2002 and earned awards in South Texas’ esteemed advocacy program.

He has lived in Austin since 2002 and is happily married with two daughters.

Matt Skalka currently serves as Vice President and Head of Stewart Title’s National Commercial Services office in Houston, Texas where he also leads Stewart Title’s Energy Group. Prior to rejoining Stewart, Matt started Thomas Title and Escrow’s Energy Services group and the National Commercial Services office in Houston, Texas (Thomas Title was ultimately purchased by Stewart).

Prior to joining Thomas Title, he served as Associate Senior Underwriting Counsel in Stewart Title’s Houston National Commercial Services office where he specialized in commercial, energy, industrial and international projects and routinely acted as lead underwriting counsel providing guidance on affirmative coverages, endorsements and curative matters concerning complex, high-liability commercial transactions. Mr. Skalka spends considerable time, and has developed a deep skill set, underwriting industrial, retail, multi-family, office, cell tower, utility scale renewable energy projects (solar/wind), mining operations, natural gas plants and other energy related infrastructure facilities throughout the United States. Before returning to Houston, he spent 18 months in London underwriting commercial transactions throughout Europe. Mr. Skalka also has experience as claims counsel and spent time in Stewart’s corporate legal department.

Having grown up in the title insurance business in Houston, Mr. Skalka is uniquely positioned to lead Stewart’s growth in the energy capital of the world. Mr. Skalka earned his undergraduate degree from University of Texas at Austin, his Master of Business Administration from Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law Houston.