University of Houston Law Center Logo

Alumni Spotlight

Energy law paper by UH Law Center graduate Kluding '19 recognized in national legal writing competition

Kristin Kluding '19

Kristin Kluding '19

June 29, 2020 - Validation was the first word that came to mind when Kristin Kluding learned she had placed as a Finalist for the prestigious Brown Award for Excellence in Legal Writing.

Kluding’s paper, “Oil-Rich and Out of Options: Venezuela’s International Arbitration Saga of Expropriation, Enforcement and Settlement,” was sponsored by Professor of Practice Denney Wright.

“My designation as a finalist reinforced the hard work I spent researching and writing the article,” said Kluding, who is currently an Associate at BakerHostetler. “It reinforced my decision to take advantage of the Law Center’s international and transnational law and energy courses.”

“Also, based on the topics of finalist submissions in past years, I was so pleased to see that the issues addressed in my article were recognized by the judging panel as relevant and noteworthy.”

When developing the scope and focus of her paper, Kluding drew from personal experiences in and out of law school. In Fall 2018, Kluding wrote the paper, which was initially inspired by a memorandum she prepared as a Summer Associate for an oil and gas client of BakerHostetler in the wake of U.S. sanctions imposed against Venezuela.

After receiving encouragement from Wright, Kluding submitted the paper as an entry to the 2018-2019 Association of International Petroleum Negotiators Student Writing Competition, for which she ultimately was selected as a winner. Her paper was later published in the June 2019 edition of the Journal of World Energy Law and Business.

Kluding was able to apply knowledge she amassed from her courses at the Law Center to develop her paper.

“Professor Julian Cardenas’ Transnational Investment Law and Arbitration course and Professor Dimitroff’s International Commercial Arbitration course were opportunities to develop my understanding of and passion for transnational and international commercial arbitration,” she said. “Professor Mason’s Oil and Gas course provided a foundational knowledge of oil and gas law, which was augmented further by the curriculum of Professor Wright’s International Petroleum Transactions course.

“I learned valuable lessons from my experiences at the Law Center, particularly as a Candidate and later as Editor-in-Chief of the Houston Journal of International Law. Moreover, I was enabled and encouraged by my professors to develop my interests in various topics addressed in the paper. ”

Kluding’s interest in the subject matter is also attributable to her father, an energy industry professional, who spent time traveling to Venezuela in the early 1990s for negotiations with national oil companies regarding NGL import-export opportunities to the Gulf of Mexico. She thought back to family friends who were forced to flee the country in the 2000s as a result of the actions taken by then-president Hugo Chávez.

“These points, coupled with the ever-evolving relevance and criticality of the topic, came together as the impetus for me writing this article,” she said.

At BakerHostetler, Kluding capitalizes on her familiarity with the energy sector to assist the firm with a variety of transactions and other projects. Her practice area currently covers transactional, securities, corporate governance, oil and gas and environmental matters.

“I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be practicing at BakerHostetler,” Kluding said. “I am lucky to have attorney mentors that challenge me to think critically and make themselves available as valuable resources as I develop my legal career.”