Student Spotlight

UH Law Center 3L Ortegón gaining international legal experience at World Bank

University of Houston Law Center student Patrick Gant.

Maria Cristina Ortegón will graduate from the University of Houston Law Center in May.

Jan. 28, 2019 —Growing up in the sister cities of Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, Maria Cristina Ortegón became aware of the interconnectedness between nations at an early age.

The third-year University of Houston Law Center student will build upon that lifelong knowledge this semester during an internship with the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement and Investment Disputes in Washington D.C.

"I am looking forward to furthering my knowledge and putting into practice what I have learned throughout my legal education," Ortegón said. "As someone who is interested in international investment arbitration, it will be an honor to gain experience in this field at ICSID, the leading institution in investment dispute settlement."

Prior to attending the Law Center, Ortegon studied at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, where she learned about business and culture in Mexico. She attended Trinity University for her undergraduate education, majoring in political science.

Ortegón has previously worked as a legal intern for PEMEX and TransCanada, which led her to understand the intersection of international law with energy law.

"While working at both of these international companies I was able to learn what is common practice in the oil and gas industry," she said. "Understanding this practice is crucial to me and my career as it has become in itself a recognized applicable standard in international disputes, particularly in international arbitrations."

When selecting a law school, Ortegón wanted a school where she could study the law of the U.S. and Mexico. She said the Law Center's Center for U.S. and Mexican Law and Houston's status in the energy industry were her deciding factors.

Participating in the International Investment Arbitration in Spanish at American University and instruction from Research Assistant Professor Julián Cárdenas García have been among the most memorable moments for her at the Law Center.

"Competing as a 2L and advancing to the final round was one of the most enriching experiences that I have had while in law school," Ortegón said. "Through this experience I was able to expand my knowledge in investment arbitration and confirm my interest in practicing in this field.

"Professor Cárdenas introduced me to the world of international arbitration and encouraged me to attend a summer course at The Hague Academy of International Law and to apply to the ICSID internship, and for that I will always be grateful. His courses in Transnational Investment Law and Arbitration and Transnational Petroleum Law were some of the most interesting courses that I have taken while at the Law Center."