Tuesday, September 17, 2013
I (Josh Fershee) will follow up with a post of some (I hope) substance shortly, but I thought I’d take a moment to briefly re-introduce myself. When I last wrote for BLPB, I was teaching at the University of North Dakota School of Law. Last fall, we made the move to West Virginia University College of Law. (I say “we” because my wife (Kendra Huard Fershee) not only moved with me, but because she is also on the law faculty.) I joined WVU as part of a university-wide energy-law expansion and work with the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development.
I teach business law courses and energy law courses, with most of my research relating somehow to energy business and regulation. I teach Business Organizations, Energy Law Survey, Energy Business: Law & Strategy, and Energy Law and Practice. I plan to add a Hydraulic Fracturing Seminar, too, in the near future.
Of perhaps some interest to our readers, I have taught my Energy Business: Law & Strategy course once, and I plan to do so again in the spring. I think it is a unique class, especially in the law school environment, with its focus on how law comes to be and how businesses are strategic in their use of law and regulation. (Note: I am of the mind that this reality is important to understand whether you want to work for businesses and employ such strategies or if you want to work to limit businesses in the ability to do so.) I have the students work in groups, and they draft a written final project, which they also present to the class.
Below the jump, I provide the books, course description, goals, and assessment items for the course. I welcome any comments or suggestions for additional teaching materials or concepts.
The Energy Business: Law & Strategy
I. Course Description
This course examines the systematic use of law and regulation for strategic purposes in the energy industry. This course studies the use of law as a business strategy across markets and reviews the evolution of energy law from a business perspective. The course also considers how energy law has and can be used to pursue (and oppose) the goals of those doing business in the energy sector.
The course includes a basic overview of the energy business, begin with a discussion of basic business concepts and provide an overview of the current structure of energy markets. The course will also include a review of the evolution of the electricity industry.
This course is likely to be of interest to those interested in any of the following: the energy industry, business and market operations, and the development of law and regulation. The course is likely to be of particular interest to those with a background in business and/or energy and environmental policy, but the class is designed to be accessible for anyone interested in these topics, regardless of their respective backgrounds.
II. Course Goals
The course is designed to assist students in their development as legal professionals through the understanding of:
- The key legal and regulatory issues related to how energy is produced, distributed, and consumed;
- The impact the energy business can have on economic, environmental, social, and political policies;
- The process of working in a collaborative environment with people seeking the same goals;
- The process and concepts behind legislative and regulatory development;
- How businesses, environmental groups, and other interested parties (i.e., potential clients) approach problems and how competing goals can lead to difficult compromises;
- The various methods used to promote client interest, including research, group work, and the creation of oral and written products.
- What it means to provide clients good and helpful counsel, not simply accurate, legal advice.
III. Course Grading
This course will be based on grades from a group project, in-class presentations, assignments, and assigned blog posts.
- Class Participation (including In-Class Assignments): 15%
- Take Home Mid-Term Analysis Quiz: 25%
- Final Group Project: 30%
- In-Class Presentations: 20%
- Blog posts: 10%
Grading is not anonymous because of the nature of assessment in this class.