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Solomon Safaye – Energy and Infrastructure Law Student 

January 25, 2023

Roz Bahrami

The 2021 intake of Part-Time Professional LLM students includes diverse professional backgrounds – from lawyers to senior project managers to corporate directors. Geographically, our students are spread out across Canada (though there are a few from outside of Canada as well!). Today, we’re focusing on the subject of Energy and Infrastrucure law

We’re following our students’ success journey from their time of admission, checking-in with them during their studies, and again after convocation.  

Join us as we dive into their stories. 

Meet: Solomon Safaye

Solomon has more than 17 years of experience in project management and the end-to-end supply chain cycle within the energy sector. Solomon is currently a student of OsgoodePD’s Professional LLM in Energy and Infrastructure Law.

About Solomon

Solomon Safaye has more than 17 years of experience in project management and the end-to-end supply chain cycle within the energy sector. His work involves translating the organization’s vision into workable strategies to be implemented and executed by a team of professionals in engineering, project management, supply chain and finance.   

Solomon has worked across North America, including as an expat in Mexico. He’s built and supported complex pipeline construction projects, from offshore builds in the Gulf of Mexico, to projects across the Rocky Mountains of Western Canada.   

When he began to research professional development opportunities, he was looking for a program that could enhance his core skills to drive change and lead to career advancement.   

The importance of being agile and ready to face change head-on cannot be understated, especially in the shifting landscape of global energy and its environmental impacts. The industry is engaging in critical conversations about addressing climate change through Energy Transition; gaining the right kind of education and insight is an important part of that agility and readiness for change.” he remarks.  

“The Osgoode LLM in Energy and Infrastructure Law was the perfect fit and checked all the boxes for me. This program touches on many aspects of the energy conversation, from policy to strategy to social influences; it offers well-rounded learning opportunities and a chance to develop skills that will augment my contribution to these important conversations.”    

Solomon’s Experience so Far…

How does your experience in the Professional LLM in Energy and Infrastructure Law compare to your expectations at the time of applying?  

The program has exceeded my expectations! Whereas I anticipated in-depth, legal, and policy-based learning – which admittedly can be a bit dry – the courses had very relevant content around issues we’re seeing in the news and social media today.   

Add to that instructors with an extreme passion for their subject and guest speakers that bring light to issues not fully covered in the public place, and you get a fully engaged class of students every week.

As a non-legal professional, how challenging have the legal matters/topics been in your program so far?

While I don’t have a formal legal background, I do have some previous coursework and lots of professional experience working with lawyers and on contracts, so it has not been as challenging as it might be for others with zero previous law/legal exposure.  

With that said, the Introduction to Graduate Legal Studies course did an excellent job of providing the foundational knowledge for non-legal students.  

What was it like networking with your classmates in the program? 

The first year was a bit challenging to connect with other classmates outside of regular class, mostly due to work, travel commitments and distance from other students.   

However, in-class networking and ‘offline’ discussions were made easy with the class delivery method (Moodle, Zoom, etc.), because we’re all working professionals and know the importance and value of staying connected, even with busy lives.   

This year, during my second year, several of us in the program have committed to connecting outside of class more often and getting to know each other better.

What courses have you found to be the most rewarding so far? What makes them so great?  

Public Utility Law and Regulatory Theory have been the most rewarding, both for the wide-ranging, immersive content and because of the passion and delivery of the instructors.   

These two courses cover so much material which connect to several other courses. I would highly recommend others put these on their first-year study plan.  

As for the instructors, both Richard King (Regulatory Theory) and Marry Anne Aldred (Public Utility Law) went out of their way to design learning elements such as asynchronous lectures, weekly assignments and invited special guests to make the learning process much more enjoyable and relevant to what is happening in the world of energy today.   

Has the program helped you in your career in any way so far? If so, how?  

It has! Understanding how the Regulatory Process works and how regulators go about either creating regulations or enforcing them has helped me understand some of the challenges we’re facing in this space on my current project.   

The understanding is now translating into improved communication with our environmental group and adopting new practices for future projects, consistent with what we have learned from ‘how the regulator works’.   

What has been the most challenging part of the program overall? Was this a surprise to you?  

Lots of reading! There’s just no way around it, keeping up with the readings is a challenge. This has meant arranging my work travels with school in mind, along with making personal life changes to fit in the 15-20 hours per week for class, reading, assignments, tests, etc. Having previously completed an MBA, I was not overly surprised and expected as much from a law program, but it is still a lot of reading!  

What advice would you give (based on your experiences in the program so far) to prospective students who are looking to apply to a Professional LLM program?

To steal from the famous Nike motto:  ‘Just Do It’.  

The program is fantastic, the instructors are awesome, and the students are great to learn with. The nerves and nervousness will settle after the first few weeks, and from there it’s really about time management and staying current with the readings. Overall, it’s been a fun and fulfilling program and experience so far.  

What’s Next for Solomon?

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