Originally published in UToday, September 4, 2013.
Cecilia Low, LLM’11, LLB’90, is a perfect fit for the role of hearing commissioner for the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER). With training as an engineer, work experience as an exploration geophysicist and as a lawyer practicing in energy, regulatory, environmental and aboriginal law, as well as time as a graduate student at the University of Calgary, Cecilia can approach her new role with a good understanding of many of the wide variety of issues that arise over the course of energy resource development applications.
“I worked as an exploration geophysicist for four years before attending law school,” says Low. “I had the opportunity to supervise seismic crews in the field and work with landowners and stakeholders to address their concerns about having seismic conducted and wells drilled on their lands. As a result, I have a good understanding of the process and many of the concerns and questions that occur.”
As a lawyer, Low participated in hearings before regulators in British Columbia, Alberta, the Northwest Territories, the National Energy Board in Canada and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the U.S. With all of her experience, Low is a great choice by the AER to serve the public and fulfill her responsibilities as a hearing commissioner.
As one of six part-time and five full-time hearing commissioners with the AER, Low is responsible for conducting hearings and acting as a decisionmaker on those applications that go to hearing under the Responsible Energy Development Act.
“Each commissioner brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in different areas relevant to energy resource development,” says Low. “It’s a highly qualified team and I know it will be an interesting, stimulating and challenging work environment.”
Low completed her Master of Laws degree at the Faculty of Law, where she focused on international aspects of natural resource, energy and environmental law, taking such courses as international development law, international environment law, and international oil and gas transactions. A post-graduate fellowship with the Canadian Institute of Resources Law (CIRL), which is housed in the faculty, allowed Low to continue her research in her areas of interest, including marine environmental protection and “the public interest” element in Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Act.
As she continues on her career trajectory, Low recognizes the great things the Faculty of Law and the University of Calgary gave her while she was a student here.
“Take advantage of the opportunities to learn about other areas of law you might not be studying by attending lunch talks, workshops and other faculty events,” says Low. “After you graduate, be the best lawyer you can be and make (and maintain) connections in industries or sectors that interest you. This is one of the best ways to create amazing opportunities for yourself.”