Wyoming Law Students Take Second Place in Energy Law Negotiation Competition


The University of Wyoming College of Law participated in the Fourth Annual Energy Law Negotiation Competition March 24-25, 2018 at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, Tex.

The Wyoming team of Nick Dillinger of Gillette, Wyo., and Jason Matzen of Sheridan, Wyo. earned the highest finish to date by the UW College of Law, taking second place honors.

The national competition, which is rapidly becoming one of the highest profile energy events for law colleges in the region, boasts representation from leading energy companies and law firms across the nation. Students are guaranteed to be judged by experts in the oil and gas field and benefit from the tremendous networking opportunities surrounding the competition. 

Dillinger and Matzen are both second-year law students. They earned their spot by winning the local Energy Negotiation Competition in February. The duo also competed, and won, the local ABA Negotiation Competition in early March.

Since then, they spent countless hours preparing with their faculty advisory, Professor Tara Righetti and last year’s local Energy Negotiation Competition winners.

It was exciting to compete and finish as well as we did,” say Dillinger. “It jut goes to show that if you put in the time and have really knowledgeable advisors like Professor Righetti and Professor Cover, you can come into a negotiation prepared to represent your clients interest.”

While in Houston, Dillinger and Matzen were also able to tap into the UW alumni network for guidance and mentorship.

“It was a really great opportunity to talk through our strategies with our Wyoming alums and delve into areas that they might be experts in,” says Matzen. “It offered a really unique perspective and helped us to fully appreciate the practical application of the law.”

Professor Righetti credits Dillinger and Matzen’s success to their ability to utilize the strong combination of legal fundamentals and substantive knowledge in a specific area of the law that the College of Law promotes.

“We went up against bigger schools with very established competition programs,” says Righetti. “Our success was related to their strategy, negotiation approach, and their understanding of the underlying energy issues. I am particularly proud of their hard work and dedication.”

With some experience under their belts, they are hoping that next year they can compete again come away with the win.


A native of Gillette, Wyo., Nick Dillinger earned his undergraduate degree at the University of California-Berkeley. With a deep interest in energy and natural resources, he returned to Wyoming for his law degree. He is currently pursuing a joint degree M.A. with the Haub School for Environment and Natural Resources and plans to practice in the energy field after graduation.

Born and raised in the Sheridan, Wyo., Jason Matzen earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming. During law school he has worked at the Public Defender’s Office in Cheyenne through the College of Law externship program. He is broadly interested in civil law and has enjoyed expanding his legal knowledge across the scope of different areas. He is excited at the prospect of becoming a Wyoming attorney and giving back to the state.


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