Barrett Schitka has a pipeline to study in two North American energy capitals and to earn two law degrees. He is the first law student in the new International Energy Lawyers Program (IELP), a dual program sponsored by the University of Houston Law Center and the University of Calgary Faculty of Law. IELP allows graduates to earn American and Canadian law degrees and to sit for bar exams in both countries.
"As soon as I heard about the program, I jumped at the opportunity to study at UH Law Center, a Tier 1 law school," Schitka said. "IELP is really unique because students get to experience the contrast between the two legal systems first-hand. Both countries have the same English common law backgrounds, but it's seeing things from a slightly different perspective."
A second-year student, Schitka came to the University of Houston Law Center this fall. He will complete an academic year in Houston and then return to Calgary with plans to come back to the Law Center for the final year of the four-year program. He hopes to obtain dual J.D.s by 2015.
"The experience is not for the faint of heart," Schitka said. "It's more competitive, more intense, and it requires an extra year and more money. It's not easy. No one hands you a degree, but in the end I think it will be worth it."
After he graduates from law school, Schitka has his sights set on developing an energy practice.
"I'm interested in a transactional-based practice or a litigation-based practice," he said. "I definitely want to have some sort of international aspect to it, whether it be domestic clients with international interests, or international clients."
Schitka is a student editor with the Alberta Law Review and the Houston Journal of Health Law and Policy. He is a member of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators Student Club and a member of the Law Center's moot court team. He has been selected to participate in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, one of the most prestigious moot court competitions in the world.
Prior to attending law school, Barrett received a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical
Engineering with Management Sciences Option and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, both from the University of Waterloo.