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The student is now the teacher: GEM alumnus to teach for program in July

May 13, 2015

The Global Energy Management Program is excited to announce that a Cohort VII graduate with three decades of experience practicing law will teach for GEM this summer.

Ralph Cantafio

Ralph Cantafio, Esq., a Partner at Cantafio Eddington, PC., will teach GEMM 6200: Environmental, Regulatory, Legal, and Political Environment in the Energy Industry in July.

Cantafio, who is the first GEM graduate to be offered a teaching position for the program, said the opportunity is “humbling.”“

“It is very difficult to articulate the immense respect I have for the GEM administration, the staff, and the professors,” he said. “I look forward to working very hard to make sure that I deliver to my students a quality of education consistent with the same very high standards that I benefited from as a student.”

Cantafio’s law firm has six attorneys and seven staff members with offices located in Steamboat Springs and downtown Denver. His practice emphasizes Oil and Gas Law as well as Commercial Litigation. Cantafio is also the managing partner of the firm.

Cantafio wants the students who take his course to become cognizant consumers of law.

“I would like my students to be able to analyze a fact pattern and be cognizant enough of the circumstance at hand to answer a simple, but hugely important question: ‘do I need to discuss this with an attorney?’” Cantafio said. “That applies to their professional and personal lives. I also want students to be able to read about or listen to a matter pertaining to law and be able to have a sense as to whether the legal issue is being presented in an accurate fashion as opposed to one that is biased, tainted, or just plain wrong.”

As a student of the GEM Program, Cantafio learned to analyze the oil & gas industry from the perspective of a landman, petroleum engineer, banker, accountant, and investor.

Cantafio has several takeaways for students of his course:

“I explain to clients and younger lawyers that when it comes to law, there is the legality and the reality,” he said. “Law is a process as much as a subject matter. The way the legal system works in practice is just not the way it is taught in law school or elsewhere. My background allows me to discuss law from the point of view of not only a lawyer, but a client, a judge, a mediator, and an arbiter.”

Having experienced GEM as a student, Cantafio is able to relate to students who take his course.

“I think those who have graduated from GEM appreciate that the program is all consuming,” he said. “There is not only school and work, but family to balance. Not only that, there is a point during the program where every student comes to a crossroad where they just cannot get everything completed that needs to be done – at that juncture you have to trust your team members, your co-workers, your friends, and your family to make it through those difficult times. If you have not been through the GEM experience, you just do not truly know what I am talking about. I suspect GEM graduates know exactly what I am talking about.”

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