Guillermo Jose Garcia Sanchez

Associate Professor of Law

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“As lawyers we create categories that give legal meaning to most of human activity. Distinctions such as contract/tort, private/public, state/society, national/foreign, right/power, law/policy have a direct impact in the lives of millions, and although we would love for them to be politically or ideologically neutral, they are not.”

Get to Know Guillermo Garcia Sanchez

What drew you to the law?

I have always been interested in having a positive impact in other people’s lives. Hence, when I had to choose a career path I asked my grandfather, the person who I admire the most, how I could achieve that. He told me then that there are three professionals that are essential in helping anyone thrive: a good doctor, an excellent accountant, and a decent lawyer. People literally give their physical, financial and legal life to them. I try to stay away from hospitals; numbers are not my friends; and there was no lawyer in the family. My choice was simple. I love to respectfully argue and disagree.

What do you ​enjoy most about teaching?

Helping students learn a new set of skills and values that will allow them to thrive as individuals in a complex world. In the classroom, we teach them to be respectful of ideas contrary to their own, to separate people from arguments, and to listen carefully to their colleagues before jumping into conclusions. Moreover, we teach them to always be persistent, and reargue their case whenever they find a dead end. Respect, tolerance, the art of listening, and the strength of persistence; the world would be a better place if everyone shared these skills and values.

What do you hope students gain from your courses?

Energy is everywhere: it powers our cars, trains, and airplanes; it is there when we turn our TV, computers, smartphones, refrigerators, and stoves; and it is the primary source of revenue for many nations. Moreover, energy sources can be found in the most diverse geographical space, such as deep-water hydrocarbon reservoirs, gas fields in the Antarctica, or wind turbines in desserts. The way we conceptualize modernity today would be impossible without these energy sources. The same can be said about law and society. Without constitutions, rules, regulation, and court decisions governments would be unable to operate. It is law what powers democracies, global transactions, and civil authority. It is law what allows us as human beings to peacefully interact with each other. Studying the intersection of law and energy is an electrifying experience that can intensify any lawyer’s career.

What did you do prior to entering academia?

Prior to my doctoral studies at Harvard Law School, I was an Associate at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt and Mosle, LLP where I practiced international investment arbitration with a focus on cases related to the hydrocarbons industry in Latin America. I also presented an amicus brief before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and served as a legal advisor on international law and the laws of the sea at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico. For the past three years I have been an Affiliated Scholar at the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law of the University of Houston Law Center where I serve as a Project Co-Director with Dr. Richard McLaughlin (Texas A&M at Corpus Christi) for a binational study on offshore regulation of oil and gas resources in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, as a doctoral candidate at Harvard, I was a Teaching Assistant at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where I assisted Professor Francisco Monaldi with his course on Political Economy of Oil and Mining in Developing Countries.

What are you passionate about outside the law?

Apart from spending time with my wonderful wife and my two sons, I love scuba diving. I once dove in an abandoned oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico – it was one of the most trilling experiences of my life. I even proposed to my wife during a night dive in the Caribbean. I am also a fan of wine tasting, dancing cumbia and tango, and cooking. The most memorable nights of my live involve doing these three activities.

What are your research interests?

My current lines of research include international petroleum transactions, arbitration in the hydrocarbons sector, the impact of human rights in the energy sector, U.S.-Mexico energy relations, and international adjudication of energy disputes.

Publications

Link to my publications.

Expertise

  • International Oil and Gas
  • U.S.-Mexico Energy Relations
  • Comparative Law
  • Public International Law
  • International Business Transactions
  • International Arbitration

Courses

  • Arbitration
  • International Petroleum Transactions

Academic Experience

  • Associate Professor of Law
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2017-present)
  • Affiliate Scholar
    Center for U.S. and Mexican Law, University of Houston Law Center (2014-present)
  • Affiliate Scholar
    Center for Energy and Natural Resources, ITAM University Mexico (2014-present)
  • Law Teaching Colloquium Coordinator
    Harvard Law School (2015)
  • Teaching Assistant
    John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2015)

Education

  • S.J.D., Harvard Law School (2012-2017)
  • Visiting Researcher, Georgetown University Law Center (2015-2016)
  • LL.M., Harvard Law School (2011-2012) (degree waived for S.J.D.)
  • LL.M., in International Law, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (2010-2011)
  • B.A. in Law, ITAM University (Mexico) (2002-2009)
  • B.A. in International Relations, ITAM University (Mexico) (2002-2009)
  • Certificate on International Commercial Arbitration, International Chamber of Commerce & Escuela Libre de Derecho (Fall 2009)
  • Certificate on International Investment Arbitration, ITESM University & Arbitration Centre of Mexico (Spring 2009)
  • Certificate on Private and Public International Law, The Hague Academy of International Law (Summer 2008)
  • Certificate on European Integration Studies, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona and ITAM University (Spring 2006)

Awards / Honors

  • John Gallup Laylin Prize, Harvard Law School Best Public International Law Written Work, Class of 2017
  • Summer Research Fellow, Harvard Law School (2014)
  • National Award on Energy and Development, USAID, University of Texas and ITAM University (2010)
  • Academic Excellency Award, Best Law Thesis of ITAM University 2009-2010 (May 2010)
  • Graduated with Honors, B.A. in Law at ITAM University (2009)
  • Graduated with Special Mention, B.A. in International Relations at ITAM University (2009)
  • CONACYT, FUNED, Harvard Mexico Foundation and MOB Foundation Scholar, (2010-2016)

Other Professional Activities

  • Member, American Society of International Law, (2015-present)
  • Associate, Mexican Counsel of Foreign Affairs, (2009-present)
  • Amicus Curiae on Advisory Opinion OC-20/09, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, San Jose de Costa Rica (Spring 2009)
  • Summer Internship, Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico, Office of Justice José Ramón Cossio (Summer 2013)
  • Managing Editor, Harvard International Law Journal (2014-15)
  • President, Harvard Law School S.J.D. Association (2014)
  • Vice-President, Harvard University Mexican Association of Students (2012)