June 16, 2016 - A University of Houston Law Center student is heading north of the border in August to enhance his legal education.
Richard Gardner, who just completed his 2L year at the Law Center, will be attending the University of Calgary's law school as part of the International Energy Lawyers Program.
The initiative, which began in 2012, allows students to earn both American and Canadian law degrees in four years. Students spend two years at each school and take courses that will enable them to apply for admission to bars in the United States and Canada.
Gardner said the IELP program initially attracted him to the Law Center. After being accepted, he spoke with Associate Dean for Student Affairs Sondra Tennessee and previous IELP participants, leading him to his decision to relocate to Calgary, Alberta.
"Richard expressed his interest in the IELP very early in his law school career," Tennessee said. "Since then he has selected legal positions that demonstrate his keen interest in the area of energy law."
At the 2016 Dean's Awards Ceremony, Gardner was the recipient of one of the Gulf Coast Power Association Scholarships, a scholarship that is presented to students who have demonstrated an interest in energy law. Gardner was also the recipient of the 2016 Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation scholarship, and named a 2016 Law Student Scholar by the Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources of the American Bar Association.
Before coming to the Law Center, Gardner attended the University of Texas and majored in government. He said those courses piqued his fascination in oil and gas law.
"There were a lot of classes that I took that focused on international and foreign diplomacy," Gardner said. "A lot of that touched on oil and gas, and how a country can raise oil issues to the diplomatic level and use it as a tool to better position itself in the geopolitical arena."
Despite changing time zones and getting adjusted to a new city and country, Gardner expressed enthusiasm about spending the next two years in Canada.
"I haven't stepped foot in Canada before," he said. "It'll be a pretty big move. I'm excited, nervous, all the above. But I'm really eager to get up there because this is such a special experience. It's such a unique perspective that will allow me to learn two different jurisdictions of law, and live in two of the largest oil and gas hubs in the world."
Tennessee encouraged other Law Center students who enjoy studying energy law to explore the joint degree program.
"The partnership with University of Calgary creates a unique opportunity for students who have identified an interest in energy law," Tennessee said. "Houston and Calgary are leaders in the industry. Students benefit from studying with industry experts and can take advantage competitive employment opportunities."