Sixth Annual Law Review Energy Symposium

March 24, 2014

Energy Symposium Lecture HallPanelists Alan Bush (standing) and Ian Ghrist (seated at right) and moderator Franklin Snyder, Texas A&M School of Law professor (seated at left), present "Practical Lessons in Oil & Gas Leases" to a packed lecture hall at the 2014 Energy Symposium.

Energy Symposium coverFORT WORTH - Texas A&M Law Review is celebrating the resounding success of the Sixth Annual Energy Symposium hosted March 20–21, 2014, at Texas A&M University School of Law.

Texas A&M Law Review, the school’s first student-run legal journal, received support from Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, as the energy symposium’s presenting sponsor. The event drew an estimated 300 attendees from across the globe, a particularly large audience that included legal practitioners, landmen, industry insiders, and students. Organizers attribute the high attendance to the symposium’s focus on the most pressing and cutting-edge developments in the legal sector. “We had a great turnout. The symposium gets bigger every year, and we are now approaching the school's maximum capacity for the event. That is a true testament to the years of building that has gone into the event,” said symposia editor Matthew Fronda.

“The law school was proud, once again, to host this important and timely symposium,” said Aric Short, the school’s interim dean. “Our law review staff did an extraordinary job assembling a top-notch array of leading practitioners and scholars in energy law.  I expect that the energy symposium will continue to thrive in the future, and I hope that it serves as a core for a growing focus on energy law at Texas A&M Law School.”

This year’s speakers tackled issues ranging from international trade perspectives to ethical considerations in energy transactions. Two presentations debated the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing. Joshua Fershee, a law professor and industry expert from West Virginia University College of Law, challenged symposium attendees to begin an open policy dialogue regarding the environmental impacts Panel discussionof fracing. In response, Jeffrey King, a shareholder and litigator at the firm Winstead PC, stressed the overall lack of environmental impacts presented by fracturing opponents during litigation.

Another noteworthy panel discussed the legal ramifications of soon-to-open drilling opportunities in Mexico and South America (pictured at right). The panel consisted of Phillip D. Vasquez, an of-counsel attorney at Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, and Larry B. Pascal of Houston and Ariel Ramos of Mexico City, both Haynes & Boone practicing partners, and Andre Berzins, foreign associate at Haynes & Boone, Brazil.
Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra H. Lehrmann opened the two-day event with a recap of the noteworthy developments in Texas’ energy law. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price opened the second day with a discussion about the industry’s continued economic benefits for the city. Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp was a keynote presenter, participating in a conversation with Texas Tribune founder and editor-in-chief Evan Smith. Fronda commented on the symposium’s special guests, “their efforts, despite their incredibly busy schedules, meant a lot to the Law Review and vindicated the months of work put into the symposium.”

The law review has received high praises from the event’s attendees, many of whom have contacted the publication’s board to note their enjoyment of the event. "Because of the solid foundation we inherited, we knew that it would take a lot of work to further raise the bar,” said Joakim Soederbaum, the Law Review’s editor-in-chief. “All our members did an outstanding job to pull it off, and we are very excited to receive such an overwhelmingly positive response from both the local and the global community."

Now in its first year with Texas A&M University following the fall 2013 acquisition from Texas Wesleyan University, the law school hopes to continue adding to the annual symposium’s momentum under its new, maroon banner.

Law Review Staff with Chancellor SharpTexas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, a symposium keynote speaker, poses with the Texas A&M Law Review student editorial board who made the Energy Symposium a success. L-R: Paul Elkins, managing editor; Matthew Fronda, symposium editor; Chancellor John Sharp; Joakim Soederbaum, editor-in-chief; Ashleigh Renfro, business editor; Larisa Maxwell, executive editor; and Aric Short, Law School interim dean.

- Article and graphic contributed by Ashleigh Renfro, photos by Glen Ellman