Aug. 19, 2019 — Colt Schmidtke, a 2019 alumnus of the University of Houston Law Center, will begin his legal career in September with the Office of the Solicitor at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C.
“The Solicitor's Office essentially acts as the general counsel to the policymakers of the Department of the Interior,” Schmidtke said. “My portfolio will deal with oil and gas and coal leasing that takes place on federal lands. That involves a lot of administrative law, environmental enforcement and regulatory actions.”
Schmidtke will start as a law clerk in his new role, and will be elevated to an attorney advisor when he gains his bar license. He was raised in Beaumont with a family business that involves refineries, and always valued the importance of the energy industry.
"I love the subject matter," Schmidtke said. "I grew up around oil and gas and have always been interested in it. A lot of the courses I took at the Law Center were either energy centric or focused on government regulations. I did campaigns and political work prior to law school, and this career path seemed like a happy medium between the two worlds.”
Schmidtke previously worked with the Department of the Interior as an extern during his 2L year in 2018. He said he is looking forward to relocating to the nation’s capital again.
"The environment in Washington, D.C. has this own level of excitement,” Schmidtke said. “If you're into policy and regulations, it's at the heart of everything. One thing that led me to go to law school in the first place was to learn about business, government and politics. Washington is the perfect nexus where these areas meet. That's what I'm most excited to be up there for."
Schmidtke credited professors in the Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Center for expanding his knowledge of the oil and gas industry.
“All of the classes out of the EENR Center could not be more applicable to what my day-to-day work will be,” he said. “They were some of my favorite professors. Professor Gina Warren was fantastic. Professor Denney Wright has been a great mentor for me. Professor Victor Flatt, and Professor Bret Wells -- I took classes from most of them and they were all terrific by far.”