This semester, eight upper level students are participating in the school’s first International Oil and Gas Negotiations course, led by Professor Guillermo J. Garcia Sanchez. The course features an experiential component where students participate in mock negotiations with a parallel class being taught at Southern Methodist University by Executive Professor Harry Sullivan, who teaches at both law schools. In the class, students will learn the basics of international petroleum transactions, as well as how international oil companies draft contractual provisions, negotiate deals with governments, and adopt best practices in their operations. Also, this course provides hands-on, practical negotiation experience through a series of simulated exercises where students role-play as lawyers representing clients on different sides of an acquisition of oil and gas exploration rights in a foreign country.
Professor Garcia Sanchez says the international oil and gas negotiations course has two objectives. “The first goal is to introduce students, in a practical-oriented way, to the basics of the global oil and gas industry. Secondly, it develops negotiation skills that can apply to any transactional work. By the end of class, students will master negotiation styles, understand the impact of personal biases, build communication skills, and learn how to distinguish interests, parties, objectives, and positions in a negotiation.” He adds that “what makes this course unique is that students are able to partner with another law school to do a real negotiation simulations with them. The class participants have to prepare as a team and then engage in negotiations with an outside party just as they will when they graduate and become associates at a law firm.”