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Law School News

STCL Houston Hosts 6th Annual Energy Law Negotiation Competition

South Texas College of Law Houston (STCL Houston) recently hosted the school’s successful, virtual 6th Annual Energy Law Negotiation Competition, drawing students from 18 law schools across the nation for the respected alternative dispute resolution (ADR) competition.

The University of Texas School of Law took home the championship after besting Cardozo School of Law in the final round. Students from LSU Law Center and the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University earned third and fourth places, respectively.

“This competition provides students the opportunity to hone their negotiation skills using highly realistic negotiation scenarios drafted by practicing oil and gas attorneys,” said Debra Berman, associate professor of Clinical Studies and director of STCL Houston’s Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution, the home of ADR at Houston’s oldest law school. “We also are proud that competitors are guaranteed to be judged by experts in the field.”

Fifty-five attorneys — including STCL Houston alumni — judged this year’s competition. Paul Yale, a certified arbitrator and mediator and partner at Gray Reed; John McFarland, board certified in oil, gas, and mineral Law and a shareholder at Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody; and Craig McKnight ’92, STCL Houston alumnus and retired manager of Decision Analysis at Chevron, contributed their expertise as judges in the final round of competition.

Gray Reed and Haynes & Boone LLP served as official sponsors of the 2021 competition.

Chuck Brownman, general counsel at Easton Energy LLC, and Jasper Mason, head of the U.S. oil and gas transactional practice at Womble Bond Dickinson LLP, drafted the fact patterns for the tournament, which involved a domestic oil and gas lease negotiation and an international negotiation between an exploration and production company and a fictional West African country.

STCL Houston’s ADR teams regularly compete in up to seven events each year — more than any other law school in Texas. The law school’s rigorous selection process, dedicated alumni coaches, and the leadership of Berman led U.S. News & World Report to rank STCL Houston among the top 20 ADR programs in the nation in 2020.

STCL Houston students have won 20 national or international ADR competitions in the past nine years.

The primary mission of STCL Houston’s Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution is to train law students in both the theoretical foundations and practical applications of dispute resolution policies and procedures. Currently, STCL Houston offers eight ADR-related courses, including a Mediation Clinic and a 40-hour basic mediation training, open to both students and professionals. Approximately 100 students obtain the law school’s 40-hour mediation certificate each year.