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Volume 85
No. 14
May 17, 2 014
• Century Old Letter Provides Judicial Flashback
• OBA Awards
• Small Towns — Big Opportunities
• Sovereignty Symposium
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
pg. 1104
Diversity in the Law
Editor: January Windrix
May 17, 2014 • Vol. 85 • No. 14
Real Property Law
Section Note
From the President
Editorial Calendar
From the Executive Director
Law Practice Tips
Ethics/Professional Responsibility
Oklahoma Bar Foundation News
OBA Board of Governors Actions
Access to Justice
Young Lawyers Division
For Your Information
Bench and Bar Briefs
In Memoriam
What’s Online
The Back Page
pg. 1110
Small Town/
Big Opportuniti
1063 Bishop v. United States and the
Future of Same-Sex Marriage in
By Conor Cleary
1069 Diversity Requires More American
Indian Lawyers and Judges
By Klint A. Cowan
1073 The Melting Pot Outside Your Office
By Ruth J. Addison and Daniel E. Gomez
1081 Sexual Orientation: Acceptance
By Jane Eulberg
By Katie Illingworth
1091 Avoiding Disparate Impacts in
Background Checks of Potential
1097 Raising the Bar: The Case for
Diversity and Inclusion in the
Legal Profession
By Hannibal B. Johnson
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Real Property Law Section:
Marketable Record Title: A Deed
Which Conveys Only the Grantor’s
‘Right, Title and Interest’ Can be a
‘Root of Title’
By Kraettli Q. Epperson
1110 Rural Lawyers Tout Big Possibilities
in Small Towns
1087 Lessons from the Field: My Life
Changing Law Practice as an Air
Force JAG
By Ruth Addison
By Kirby Lee Davis
1112 OBA Awards: Call for Nominations
1114 Session Nears End, Many Bills
Still Active
By Duchess Bartmess
1118 Century-Old Letter Provides
Judicial Flashback
By Jarrod Beckstrom
1120 New Lawyers Take Oath
1122 Sovereignty Symposium
1126 Book Review: One Murder Too Many
Reviewed by Judge Allen Welch
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
A Proud Member of the Oklahoma Bar
By Renée DeMoss
Hicks Epton of Wewoka, Okla. was a proud member of
the Oklahoma Bar Association. Oklahoma lawyers recognize Mr.
Epton as the father of Law Day, a day in which bar associations
across the country honor and celebrate our legal system. Mr. Epton
established this enduring legacy with the support of the Seminole
County Bar Association by annually sponsoring a program initially entitled “Know Your Courts — Know Your Liberties” beginning on May 1, 1946.
With the support of the American Bar Association, President
Dwight D. Eisenhower issued a proclamation in 1958 designating
May 1 as Law Day, with these words, “It is fitting that the American
people should remember with pride, and vigilantly guard, the great
heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law. It is our moral
and civil obligation as free men and as Americans to preserve and
strengthen that great heritage.”
compensation for judges so that those
most qualified would be able to devote
their lives to the work. (See the separate
article in this issue.)
Proud Oklahoma lawyers Mr. Epton
and Justice Hayes sought in their own
ways to ensure that we would always
remember, and vigilantly protect, the
judicial branch that our nation’s founders thoughtfully and purposefully designed to function as an equal branch
with the executive and legislative
They also recognized that lawyers
are the guardians of a fair, impartial
Since Congress enacted legislation in 1962 that permanently desig- and qualified judiciary that enables
judges to act without
nated May 1 as Law Day, it has become a national
concern for the day-today of celebration of our founders’ greatest legacy
…lawyers are the
day whims of politics
— a republic composed of three separate and
and election-focused polequal branches, with the judicial branch entrusted
guardians of a
iticians. Such a judiciary
with ensuring that all Americans receive justice
is essential to protect our
under the law.
qualified judiciary
individual liberties, to
How fitting, then, that on April 3, 2014, just one
that enables judges
uphold our constitutionmonth before our recent Law Day celebration, Oklaal rights and to preto
homa Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Colbert
vent the tyranny of the
concern for the
received a letter regarding Oklahoma’s legal system
written over 100 years ago by another proud memday-to-day whims
Like Hicks Epton and
ber of the Oklahoma bar, pioneer lawyer Samuel W.
of politics and
Justice Sam Hayes, I, too,
Hayes. Sam Hayes was only 32 years old when he
am a proud member of
took his seat as the first justice of the Oklahoma
the Oklahoma bar. Over
Supreme Court on Nov. 16,
the past few weeks I have
1907, following President Theowitnessed OBA members
dore Roosevelt’s proclamation
join together to guard against proadmitting Oklahoma to the Union.
posed state legislation that would
Oklahoma had been a state only a scant six intentionally weaken our judiciary and
years when Justice Hayes submitted a letter our bar.
dated April 22, 1913, for inclusion in the “OklaSince 1967, when the people of Oklahoma Century Chest,” a time capsule buried
under the basement floor of the Oklahoma City homa turned to the OBA to help install
a new judicial selection system to
First Lutheran Church until its recent opening.
replace one riddled with corruption,
In the letter, Justice Hayes, who was at the our system has been praised as one of
time grappling with the monumental task of the best in the nation, free of politics
creating and implementing a new state court and scandal. OBA members’ defense
President DeMoss
system, voiced his dream that our brand new of that system, and of the entire Oklapractices in Tulsa.
state would ultimately enjoy a legal system that homa judiciary, has been nothing short
[email protected]
included both a non-partisan system of selecting of amazing. The Oklahoma Bar Asso918-595-4800
judges for all of our state courts and adequate ciation is a force to be reckoned with
when united in a noble cause.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Renée DeMoss, President, Tulsa
David A. Poarch Jr., President-Elect, Norman
Susan S. Shields, Vice-President, Oklahoma City
James T. Stuart, Immediate Past President, Shawnee
Deirdre O’Neil Dexter, Sand Springs
Robert D. Gifford II, Oklahoma City
Kimberly Hays, Tulsa
Douglas L. Jackson, Enid
John W. Kinslow, Lawton
Rickey J. Knighton, Norman
James R. Marshall, Shawnee
Nancy S. Parrott, Oklahoma City
Kevin T. Sain, Idabel
Bret A. Smith, Muskogee
Richard D. Stevens, Norman
Linda S. Thomas, Bartlesville
Kaleb Hennigh, Enid
Chairperson, OBA/Young Lawyers Division
events Calendar
MAY 2014
OBA Litigation Section meeting; 12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center,
Oklahoma City with teleconference; Contact David VanMeter 405-228-4949
Licensed Legal Intern Swearing-In Ceremony; 12:45 p.m.; Judicial
Center, Oklahoma City; Contact Wanda Reece 405-416-7000
OBA Bench and Bar Committee meeting; 12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar
Center, Oklahoma City with OSU Tulsa, Tulsa; Contact Judge David B. Lewis
OBA Communications Committee meeting; 12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar
Center, Oklahoma City and Doerner Saunders Law Office, 3200 S. Boston Ave.,
Ste. 500, Tulsa; Contact Dick Pryor 405-740-2944
OBA Board of Governors meeting; 10 a.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center,
Oklahoma City; Contact John Morris Williams 405-416-7000
OBA Closed – Memorial Day observed
OBA Women in Law Committee meeting; 12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar
Center, Oklahoma City and University of Tulsa, Tulsa; Contact
Allison Thompson 918-295-3604
OBA Work/Life Balance Committee meeting;
12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City with teleconference; Contact
Sarah Schumacher 405-752-5565
BAR Center Staff
John Morris Williams, Executive Director;
Gina L. Hendryx, General Counsel; Jim Calloway,
Director of Management Assistance Program;
Craig D. Combs, Director of Administration;
Susan Damron Krug, Director of Educational
Programs; Beverly Petry Lewis, Administrator
MCLE Commission; Carol A. Manning, Director
of Communications; Travis Pickens, Ethics Counsel;
Robbin Watson, Director of Information Technology;
Jane McConnell, Coordinator Law-related Education;
Loraine Dillinder Farabow, Tommy Humphries,
Debbie Maddox, Katherine Ogden, Steve Sullins,
Assistant General Counsels; Tommy Butler, Tanner
Condley, Sharon Orth, William Thames and
Krystal Willis, Investigators
Manni Arzola, Jarrod Houston Beckstrom,
Debbie Brink, Emily Buchanan, Susan Carey,
Nickie Day, Dieadra Florence, Johnny Marie
Floyd, Matt Gayle, Brandon Haynie, Suzi
Hendrix, Misty Hill, Debra Jenkins, Durrel
Lattimore, Heidi McComb, Renee Montgomery,
Larry Quinn, Lori Rasmussen, Wanda F. Reece,
Tracy Sanders, Mark Schneidewent, Jan
Thompson, Laura Willis & Roberta Yarbrough
Editor in Chief, John Morris Williams; News &
Layout Editor, Carol A. Manning; Editor,
Melissa DeLacerda, Stillwater; Associate Editors:
Dietmar K. Caudle, Lawton; Emily Duensing,
Tulsa; Erin Means, Moore; Shannon Lee Prescott,
Okmulgee; Mark Ramsey, Claremore; Judge
Megan Simpson, Buffalo; Leslie Taylor, Ada;
Judge Allen J. Welch, Oklahoma City;
January Windrix, Poteau
JUNE 2014
OBA Government and Administrative Law Practice Section
meeting; 4 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City with teleconference;
Contact Scott Boughton 405-717-8957
OBA Lawyers Helping Lawyers discussion group meeting; 6 p.m.;
Office of Tom Cummings, 701 NW 13th St., Oklahoma City; RSVP to
Kim Reber [email protected]
OBA Lawyers Helping Lawyers discussion group meeting;
6 p.m.; University of Tulsa College of Law, John Rogers Hall, 3120 E. 4th Pl.,
Rm. 206, Tulsa; RSVP to Kim Reber [email protected]
OBA Professional Responsibility Commission meeting; 9 a.m.;
Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City; Contact Dieadra Goss 405-416-7063
For more events go to
The Oklahoma Bar Association’s official website:
NOTICE of change of address (which must be
in writing and signed by the OBA member),
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or ads, news stories, articles and all mail items
should be sent to the Oklahoma Bar Association,
P.O. Box 53036, Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3036.
THE OKLAHOMA BAR JOURNAL is a publication of the Oklahoma Bar
Association. All rights reserved. Copyright© 2014
2008 Oklahoma Bar Association.
The design of the scales and the “Oklahoma Bar Association” encircling the
scales are trademarks of the Oklahoma Bar Association. Legal articles carried
in THE OKLAHOMA BAR JOURNAL are selected by the Board of Editors.
Oklahoma Bar Association 405-416-7000
Toll Free 800-522-8065 FAX 405-416-7001
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The Oklahoma Bar Journal (ISSN 0030-1655) is published three times
a month in january, February, March, April, May, August, September, October, November and December and bimonthly in June and
July. by
by the
the Oklahoma
Oklahoma Bar Association, 1901 N. Lincoln Boulevard,
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105. Periodicals postage paid at Oklahoma City, OK. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE OKLAHOMA
BAR ASSOCIATION, P.O. Box 53036, Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3036. Subscriptions are $60
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Oklahoma Bar Association, who may subscribe for $25. Active member subscriptions are included as a portion of annual dues. Any
opinion expressed herein is that of the author and not necessarily that of the Oklahoma Bar Association, or the Oklahoma Bar
Journal Board of Editors.
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
in the LAW
Bishop v. United States and the Future
of Same-Sex Marriage in Oklahoma
By Conor Cleary
n Jan. 14, 2014, Judge Terence C. Kern, senior U.S. district
judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma, issued his
much-anticipated opinion in Bishop v. United States ex rel.
Holder, striking down Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment
banning same-sex marriage as a violation of the Equal Protection
Clause of the U.S. Constitution.1 Judge Kern’s opinion is part and
parcel of a rapidly shifting legal landscape on the issue of samesex marriage. Just over 10 years ago no state allowed same-sex
marriage, now 17 states do.2 With a few notable exceptions, these
advances have been confined to states on the west and east
coasts.3 Judge Kern’s decision, along with those from federal
judges in other conservative states,4 means that same-sex marriage could soon be a reality in states not thought of as on the
cutting edge of gay rights. This article explores the evolution of
same-sex marriage in the United States, explains the basis for
Judge Kern’s opinion in Bishop, and discusses what the future
holds for same-sex marriage in Oklahoma and beyond.
In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court,
in Goodridge v. Dep’t of Pub. Health, ruled that
the state of Massachusetts could not prohibit
same-sex couples from marrying.5 The reaction
and response to this ruling was dramatic.
President George W. Bush, facing a tough reelection contest in 2004 against John Kerry, a
U.S. senator from Massachusetts, the same
state that had just become the first to allow
same-sex marriage, endorsed an amendment
to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
the union of one man and one woman.6 Meanwhile, individual states proposed amendments
to their own constitutions. In the lead up to the
2004 elections, Oklahoma politicians warned
that, without a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between one man and
one woman, a similar result could happen in
Oklahoma.7 In addition to Oklahoma, 10 other
states introduced constitutional bans on samesex marriage that year. Each of these states voted
overwhelmingly to approve the amendments,8
with 76 percent of Oklahoma voters approving
the amendment.9
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment provided the following:
A. Marriage in this state shall consist only
of the union of one man and one woman.
Neither this Constitution nor any other
provision of law shall be construed to
require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried
couples or groups.
B. A marriage between persons of the same
gender performed in another state shall not
be recognized as valid and binding in this
state as of the date of the marriage.
C. Any person knowingly issuing a marriage license in violation of this section
shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.10
The day after the election, two same-sex
couples — Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin,
and Susan Barton and Gay Phillips — filed suit
in federal court in Tulsa alleging that the
amendment was unconstitutional. The early
years of the case were spent wrangling over
procedural and jurisdictional questions,11 but
by 2009 the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of Oklahoma began to consider the merits of the case. Yet, before the district court issued
a ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear
two cases concerning same-sex marriage, United
States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry.
Because these two cases would affect, if not dictate, the outcome in Bishop, the district court
delayed its ruling pending their outcome.12
Windsor concerned the constitutionality of
Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA) and whether the federal government
may define marriage for purposes of federal
law as exclusively the union of two individuals
of the opposite sex.13
Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer married in
Canada in 2007. In 2009, Spyer died, leaving
her entire estate to Windsor. When Windsor
attempted to claim the estate tax exemption for
surviving spouses, the federal government
denied her request due to Section 3 of DOMA
which excludes a same-sex partner from the
definition of “spouse” as that term is used in
the Internal Revenue Code and other federal
statutes and regulations.14 Windsor brought
suit in federal district court, which ruled in her
favor and declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional.15 After the 2nd Circuit Court of
Appeals affirmed the district court, the Supreme
Court granted cert to determine the constitutionality of Section 3. On June 26, 2013, the
Supreme Court ruled for Windsor, declaring
Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional. While the
result of the court’s ruling was clear (Ms.
Windsor received her tax refund), its reasoning
and rationale were less so. This lack of clarity
leaves unanswered whether Windsor supports
or undercuts the constitutionality of same-sex
marriage bans.
The confusion concerning Windsor’s impact
stems from the court’s use of two strands of
constitutional jurisprudence — federalism and
equal protection. On the one hand, the court
felt that Section 3 intruded on states’ rights.
Historically, marriage has been an institution
regulated by the states. The court explained
that “[t]he recognition of civil marriages is central to state domestic relations law, . . . [and]
“[t]he definition of marriage is the foundation
of the State’s broader authority to regulate the
subject of domestic relations with respect to the
protection of offspring, property interests, and
the enforcement of marital responsibilities.”16
“Against this background” of state regulation,
the court concluded, “DOMA rejects the longestablished precept that the incidents, benefits,
and obligations of marriage are uniform for all
married couples within each State[.]”17
On the other hand, the court did not confine
its holding to a federalism rationale.18 Instead,
the court explained that “[t]he State’s power in
defining the marital relation is of central relevance in this case quite apart from principles of
federalism.”19 Explaining how “the State’s decision to give this class of persons the right to
marry conferred upon them a dignity and status of immense import,”20 the majority concluded that the “injury and indignity” resulting from Section 3 of DOMA was “a deprivation of an essential part of the liberty protected
by the Fifth Amendment.”21 In the majority’s
eyes, Section 3 violated the Equal Protection
Clause because its “principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and
make them unequal.”22
Recognizing the dueling rationales of the
majority opinion, Chief Justice Roberts wrote a
dissenting opinion emphasizing that federalism
was the basis of the majority’s holding, explaining that the “logic of the [majority’s] opinion
does not decide, the distinct question whether
the States, in the exercise of their historic and
essential authority to define the marital relation
may continue to utilize the traditional defini-
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
…Oklahoma’s marriage
amendment unjustifiably
discriminates against homosexuals
because restricting marriage
to opposite-sex couples is not
rationally related to any legitimate
government purpose.
tion of marriage.”23 As the chief justice read the
majority opinion, it upheld the state’s authority
to define marriage without federal interference, including the decision to define marriage
as the union of one man and one woman.24
Justice Scalia disagreed with the chief justice,
authoring a separate and blistering dissent,
explaining why he believed the majority had
“fool[ed]” people into believing its opinion
was based on federalism principles.25 Characterizing the majority opinion as “rootless and
shifting,”26 Justice Scalia explained that the real
basis of the court’s opinion was a continuation
of the court’s holdings in Romer v. Evans27 and
Lawrence v. Texas28 — that a “bare desire to
harm” an unpopular group cannot be a constitutional basis for upholding a law.29 If this is the
true basis of the majority opinion, according to
Justice Scalia, then it foreshadows “the view
that [the] Court will take of state prohibition of
same-sex marriage.”30 Justice Scalia mockingly
predicted that the court, “which finds it so horrific that Congress irrationally and hatefully
robbed same-sex couples of the ‘personhood
and dignity’ which state legislatures conferred
upon them, will of a certitude be similarly
appalled by state legislatures’ irrational and
hateful failure to acknowledge that ‘personhood and dignity’ in the first place.”31
While Windsor considered whether the federal government may refuse to recognize samesex marriages in states allowing such marriages,
Perry concerned whether a state may refuse to
allow same-sex marriage at all.32 In May 2008,
the California Supreme Court struck down the
state’s legislative ban on same-sex marriage,
allowing approximately 18,000 same-sex couples to marry.33 Less than six months later,
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
California voters approved the ballot initiative
Proposition 8 which amended the California
Constitution to define marriage as the union
between one man and one woman. Two samesex couples who wished to marry in California
filed suit, alleging Proposition 8 violated the
U.S. Constitution. Perry thus had the chance to
be the gay rights movement’s Brown v. Board of
Education,34 squarely presenting the question of
whether it is constitutionally permissible for a
state to prohibit same-sex marriage.
But Perry ended with a whimper rather than
with a bang. After a California federal court
invalidated Proposition 8 as a violation of the
Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of
the U.S. Constitution, the governor and attorney general of California declined to appeal
the decision. Although the 9th Circuit ruled
that the official proponents of Proposition 8
had standing to defend it, the Supreme Court
disagreed, and dismissed the appeal.35 Because
the court dismissed Perry for lack of standing,
it did not address the constitutionality of
same-sex marriage bans nor explain whether
its ruling in Windsor called into question their
Within months of the Supreme Court’s decisions, several U.S. district courts issued rulings
concerning state same-sex marriage bans in
light of Windsor and Perry.36 Each of these rulings endorsed the broader equal protection
analysis found in Windsor. On Jan. 14, 2014,
Judge Kern released his opinion, concluding
that Oklahoma’s marriage amendment unjustifiably discriminates against homosexuals because restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples is not rationally related to any legitimate
government purpose.37 Examining each of the
justifications for the marriage amendment
offered by its proponents,38 the court found that
the marriage amendment was not rationally
related to any of them. The state argued that
restricting marriage to heterosexual couples
encourages responsible procreation and promotes the ideal environment for child-rearing,
but the court noted that “[c]ivil marriage in
Oklahoma does not have any procreative
prerequisites”39 and “[e]xcluding same-sex couples from marriage has done little to keep Oklahoma families together thus far, as Oklahoma
consistently has one of the highest divorce rates
in the country.”40 The state also abstractly
argued that allowing same-sex marriage would
“negatively impact” the institution of marriage
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
as a whole. Yet, as the court pointed out, “the
‘negative impact’ argument is impermissibly
tied to moral disapproval of same-sex couples
as a class of Oklahoma citizens.”41 The court
forcefully explained that the “negative impact”
argument “is also insulting to same-sex couples, who are human beings capable of forming loving, committed, enduring relationships.”42
Finding no rational connection between the marriage amendment and any of its purported justifications, the court concluded the amendment is
“an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one
class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental
benefit.”43 Judge Kern’s opinion did not result in
same-sex marriage being immediately legal in
Oklahoma, however, as he stayed his decision
pending an appeal to the 10th Circuit.44
Since the Supreme Court’s decisions in Windsor and Perry last June, several federal district
courts have considered the constitutionality of
their states’ bans on same-sex marriage, and
every single court to issue a ruling has found,
as in Bishop, the bans to be unconstitutional.45
The state of Oklahoma immediately appealed
Judge Kern’s decision to the 10th Circuit Court
of Appeals, which will hear it along with an
appeal from a Utah federal court decision
invalidating that state’s same-sex marriage
ban.46 The 10th Circuit heard oral arguments in
April and a decision is expected sometime later
this year. The 10th Circuit could affirm Judge
Kern’s decision, which would require Oklahoma to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples just as it issues licenses to heterosexual
couples. On the other hand, the 10th Circuit
could reverse the district court’s opinion and
uphold the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s
marriage amendment. In either case, however,
the 10th Circuit’s decision almost certainly will
be appealed to the United States Supreme
Court which, with the rapidity with which
lower courts are issuing decisions on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans, will
feel pressure to grant certiorari to it, or a similar
appeal, and settle the issue once and for all.
1. No. 04-CV-848-TCK-TLW, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4374 at *119-121
(N.D. Okla. Jan. 14, 2014).
2. See (last accessed May 2, 2014).
3. See id.
4. See infra note 36. A Texas federal judge recently struck down
Texas’s same-sex marriage ban. Federal judges in Kentucky and Tennessee also issued rulings requiring those two states to recognize
same-sex marriages performed in other states. See id.
5. 798 N.E.2d 941, 968 (Mass. 2003).
6. ABC News, “Bush on Religion and God,” Oct. 26, 2004, available
at (last accessed May 2, 2014).
7. Bishop, supra, at *81. (“On February 6, 2004, three days after the
second ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, Tulsa and Oklahoma City newspapers both reported that State Senator James Williamson, author of the Marriage Protection Amendment, made public
statements regarding the need for a constitutional amendment in order
to prevent a similar ruling in Oklahoma.”) (citing Marie Price, “Republican Legislators Wary of Same-Sex Ruling,” Tulsa World, Feb. 6, 2004).
8. CNN, “Same-Sex Marriage Bans Winning on State Ballots,” Nov.
3, 2004, available at (“Voters in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio,
Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah all approved anti-same-sex marriage
amendments by double-digit margins.”) (last accessed May 2, 2014). In
2006 and 2008, several more states approved their own constitutional
amendments. The amendments passed in every state in which they
were proposed, except Arizona in 2006. That victory was short lived,
as it passed there in 2008. See National Conference of State Legislatures, “Same-Sex Marriage and Domestic Partnerships on the Ballot,”
available at (last accessed May 2, 2014).
9. See Oklahoma General Election Results for State Question 711, (last accessed May 2, 2014).
10. Okla. Const. Art. 2, §35.
11. The plaintiffs originally sued the governor and attorney general, who claimed sovereign immunity. After the district court concluded the governor and attorney general did not have sovereign
immunity, the 10th Circuit reversed on different grounds, instructing
the district court to dismiss the case for lack of standing. Bishop v. Okla.
ex rel. Edmondson, No. 06-5188, 2009 WL 1566802, *2 (10th Cir. June 5,
2009). The 10th Circuit reasoned that that the governor and attorney
general were not proper defendants because they are not in charge of
issuing marriage licenses in Oklahoma. Id. at *3. Instead, the proper
defendants should have been district court clerks who issue marriage
licenses. Id. After being granted leave to amend their complaint, the
plaintiffs sued Sally Howe Smith, the district court clerk for Tulsa
12. Bishop, supra, at *12 (“The Court delayed ruling in this case
pending the Supreme Court’s decisions [in Windsor and Perry].”).
13. U.S. v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675, 2682 (2013)
14. Section 3 of DOMA provides:
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any
ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative
bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’
means only a legal union between one man and one woman as
husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person
of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.
1 U.S.C. §7. In light of this statute, Windsor could not claim the estate
exemption, which applies to “any interest in property which passes or
has passed from the decedent to his surviving spouse.” 26 U.S.C.
§2056(a) (emphasis added).
15. Windsor did not challenge Section 2 of DOMA which provides
that no state shall be required to recognize and give effect to any marriage performed in another state. See Defense of Marriage Act §2, 28
U.S.C. §1738C; Windsor, supra, at 2682-83 (“DOMA contains two operative sections: Section 2, which has not been challenged here, allows States
to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of
other States.”) (emphasis added).
16. See Windsor, supra, at 2691 (internal backets, quotation marks
and citiations omitted).
17. Id. at 2692.
18. Id. (“Despite these [federalism] considerations, it is unnecessary to decide whether this federal intrusion on state power is a violation of the Constitution because it disrupts the federal balance.”).
19. Id.
20. Id.
21. Id.
22. Id. at 2694.
23. See id. at 2696 (Roberts, C.J., dissenting) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted).
24. See id. at 2697 (After explaining that the majority opinion is
based on the federal government’s departure from state regulation of
marriage, suggesting that “there is no such departure when one State
adopts or keeps a definition of marriage that differs from that of its
25. Id. at 2705 (Scalia, J., dissenting).
26. Id.
27. 517 U.S. 620 (1996). Romer struck down Colorado’s Amendment
2, which would have prevented the State of Colorado or any of its
municipalities from recognizing gay and lesbian individuals as a protected class.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
28. 539 U.S. 558 (2003). Lawrence overruled the court’s holding in
Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986), which had allowed states to
criminalize sodomy. The court found that sodomy laws “demean[ed]
the lives of homosexual persons . . . by making their private sexual
conduct a crime.” Id. at 575, 578.
29. Windsor, supra, at 2709 (Scalia, J., dissenting).
30. Id.
31. Id. at 2710.
32. See Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S.Ct. 2652 (2013).
33. See In re Marriage Cases, 183 P. 3d 384 (Cal. 2008).
34. 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
35. Specifically, the Supreme Court found that the proponents of
Proposition 8 had no stake in the outcome of the appeal of the district
court’s decision. The proponents had not suffered any injury. They
were only interested in vindicating the constitutional validity of a law
enacted by the citizenry. This “generalized grievance” could be shared
by any concerned citizen and was insufficiently “concrete and particular” to confer standing to appeal. See Perry, supra, at 2662.
36. Prior to the Oklahoma district court’s decision in Bishop, state
courts in New Jersey and New Mexico, and a federal court in Utah
struck down their states’ same-sex marriage bans. See Garden State
Equal. v. Dow, 82 A.3d 336, 339, (N.J. Super. 2013), aff’d by Garden State
Equal. v. Dow, 79 A.3d 1036, 1038–39, (N.J. 2013); Griego v. Oliver, 316
P.3d 865 (N.M. 2013); Kitchen v. Herbert, No. 2:13-cv-217, 2013 WL
6697874 (D. Utah Dec. 20, 2013). Since Bishop, federal courts in Virginia,
Texas, and Michigan have reached the same result. See Bostic v. Rainey,
No. 2:13CV395, 2014 WL 561978 (E.D. Va. Feb 13, 2014); De Leon v.
Perry, No. SA-13-CA-00982-OLG, 2014 WL 715741 (W.D.Tex. Feb 26,
2014); DeBoer v. Snyder, No. 12–CV–10285, 2014 WL 1100794 (E.D.
Mich. Mar. 21, 2014). Other federal courts have issued more limited
rulings finding that a state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. See, e.g., Obergefell v. Wymyslo, 2013 WL 6726688
(S.D. Ohio Dec. 23, 2013); Bourke v. Beshear, 2014 WL 556729 (W.D.Ky.
Feb. 12, 2014); Tanco v. Haslam, No. 3:13-CV-01159, 2014 WL 997525
(M.D. Tenn. Mar 14, 2014).
37. The court used a traditional equal protection analysis and
employed rational basis review. See Bishop, supra, at *85-86 n.32. The
court declined to find that homosexuals are a suspect class warranting
the application of heightened scrutiny to the marriage amendment. See
id. at *90-94. (“Classifications against homosexuals and/or classifications based on a person’s sexual orientation are not subject to any form
of heightened review in the Tenth Circuit.”) (citation omitted).
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
38. The state offered four justifications for the marriage amendment: 1) encouraging responsible procreation and child-rearing; 2)
steering naturally procreative relationships into stable unions; 3) promoting the ideal that children be raised by both a mother and a father
in a stable family unit; and 4) avoiding a redefinition of marriage that
would necessarily change the institution and could have serious unintended consequences. See id. at *101-02.
39. Id. at *106.
40. Id. at *114.
41. Id. at *117-18. Ironically, Judge Kern cited Justice Scalia in
explaining how the “negative impact” argument was really just a disguise for arbitrary prejudice against homosexuals: “‘Preserving the
traditional institution of marriage is just a kinder way of describing the
State’s moral disapproval of same-sex couples.’” Id. at *118-19 (quoting
Lawrence, 539 U.S. at 602 (Scalia, J., dissenting)).
42. Id. at *118.
43. Id. at *120.
44. Id. at *121-22.
45. See supra note 36.
46. See Kitchen, supra note 36. The 10th Circuit did not consolidate
the Utah and Oklahoma appeals, but the same three-judge panel will
hear both appeals.
About The Author
Conor Cleary is an associate at
Hall Estill in Tulsa where he primarily practices in commercial
litigation, employment and Indian
law. He also volunteers as the legal
clinic director at Oklahomans for
Equality. He graduated from OU
Law School in 2010, where he
served as articles editor of the Oklahoma Law Review.
As an undergrad at OU, he won the college debate
national championship.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
in the LAW
Diversity Requires More American
Indian Lawyers and Judges
By Klint A. Cowan
he practices of federal Indian law and tribal law form a
unique structure on the landscape of American law. The
practices address legal issues arising from the existence and
recognition of American Indian tribal governments, which predate the American revolution. These practice areas, unlike any
other, deal specifically with the legal rights of persons classified
as political minorities. Yet, despite the impact of federal law on
the lives of American Indians, relatively few have become practicing attorneys. The bar should endeavor to address this deficiency by educating, mentoring and developing American Indian
Law schools first recognized the need for
American Indian law students in the 1960s.
The modern effort to bring American Indians
into the profession began in 1967, when professors at the University of New Mexico School of
Law created an intensive summer program for
American Indians planning to attend law
school.1 The program, now known as the American Indian Law Center’s Pre-Law Summer
Institute (PLSI), simulates the first semester of
law school and gives American Indian students
a chance to acclimate to the Socratic method
and other issues faced by first-year law students.2 The institute has helped foster camaraderie among American Indian law students
and has likely contributed to a rise in American
Indian law graduates.3 Recognizing the need to
bring more American Indians into the legal
profession, law schools followed the PLSI
example. The last two decades have seen the
creation of many programs and scholarships
aimed at American Indian students. For examVol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
ple, every law school in Oklahoma has developed comprehensive programs in federal Indian law and tribal law. So have 23 other law
schools throughout the United States.4
Oddly, based on census data through 2000, it
was not at all clear that these efforts were
working. In 1990, the U.S. Census identified
1,502 American Indian attorneys, equal to
approximately 0.2 percent of the total number
of attorneys. In 2000, there were 1,720, an
increase of only 228.5 The situation may have
improved more recently. By 2010, data from the
American Community Survey identified 2,640
American Indian attorneys.6 But that data also
showed that those attorneys composed no
more than 0.3 percent of the profession. When
attorneys identifying as American Indian and
another race are considered, the data suggest
that American Indians have accounted for no
more than 0.6 percent of attorneys at any time
during the past two decades.7 The dearth of
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
American Indian attorneys is especially troubling when one considers that American Indians
represent 1.7 percent of the U.S. population,
nearly 3 times the percentage of American Indian attorneys.8
Moreover, despite the apparent upward trend
between 2000 and 2010, the recent past has also
demonstrated that even when qualified American Indian attorneys exist, there is no guarantee they will attain important posts such as
judicial clerkships or judgeships. While there
are attempts to rectify the first issue, there is
unlikely to be significant progress on the number of American Indian judges (outside of
tribal courts) in the near future. In an attempt
to improve the numbers of American Indian
judicial clerks, PLSI participates in the ABA
Judicial Clerkship Program. That program
began in 2001 as an effort to increase minority
participation in the judicial clerkship application process.9 The goal of PLSI’s participation is
to secure clerkships for its alumni.10 It is probably reasonable to expect clerkship positions
held by American Indians to rise as bar associations and the judiciary implement these and
other minority clerkship programs. Indeed, it
would be difficult for the numbers of American
Indian clerks to dip below the most recent data
available. The last comprehensive study of
judicial clerkship demographics showed an
abysmal rate of clerks who identify as American Indian. That study, released in 2000 and
covering a five-year period ending in 1998,
found that American Indians composed
between 0.1 percent and 0.6 percent of all federal, state, and local clerks.11
The number of American Indians serving as
judges (outside of tribal courts), however, presents an even more significant problem for
those who believe diversity is important in all
areas of the law, including the bench. Further,
given the important role of federal case law in
the daily lives of American Indian people and
their tribal governments, having American
Indians on the federal bench seems especially
vital. Nevertheless, according to the Federal
Judicial Center, only two American Indians
have ever served as federal judges.12 And President Obama’s attempts to raise that number
have been met with criticism. Between 2010
and 2013, the president nominated two American Indians to seats on federal district courts.
On Dec. 17, 2011, the Senate returned the first
nomination without action despite the nominee receiving an ABA Rating of Unanimously
…even when qualified
American Indian attorneys exist,
there is no guarantee they will
attain important posts…
Qualified.13 In response the president nominated a non-Indian candidate for the position.
The second American Indian nomination is
pending.14 Further, when the president considered nominating an American Indian to the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, a
hostile reaction from Oklahoma’s congressional delegation appears to have derailed the
nomination.15 The negative response is troubling because no American Indian has ever
served on a federal appellate court.
The fields of federal Indian law and tribal
law continue to grow. Over the last decade,
many large firms have established Indian law
practices.16 Much of this growth has been driven by the rise of tribal economies through gaming, energy and other resources. It has been
aided by Congress’ termination in 2000 of the
requirement that the Bureau of Indian Affairs
approve tribal attorney contracts.17 But unless
our profession makes more significant strides
in growing the number of American Indian
attorneys, and especially American Indian
judges, we risk leaving behind the very people
who are most affected by the development of
these areas of law.
1. See
2. Id.
3. Id.
4. See Turtle Talk, Law Schools Offering Native Law Programs,
available at
5. Lawrence Baca, American Indians and the “Box Checker” Phenomenon, IILP Review 2011: The State of Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal
Profession 70 (2011) (discussing the discrepancy between Census
Bureau data on the number of American Indian attorneys and law
school data on the number of American Indian graduates).
6. U.S. Census 2010, EEO 1r. Detailed Census Occupation by Sex
and Race/Ethnicity for Residence Geography, EEO Tabulation 20062010 (5-year ACS data) by EEO Occupation Code 2100 (this survey
estimated that individuals identifying as American Indians and
another racial group accounted for an additional 3460 attorneys, or an
additional 0.3% of all attorneys). This data is available at http://fact
7. ABA, Lawyer Demographics 2008 (2009) available at http://
8. Tina Norris, Paula L. Vines, and Elizabeth M. Hoeffel, The
American Indian and Alaska Native Population: 2010, 3, U.S. Census
Bureau No. C2010BR-10 (Jan. 2012).
9. For more information on the ABA Judicial Clerkship Program,
10. See
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
11. National Association for Law Placement, Courting Clerkships:
The NALP Judicial Clerkship Study, Table 2 Racial/Ethnicity Distribution
of Judicial Clerkships by Level of Clerkship: 1994-1998 (2000) available
12. Federal Judicial Center, Diversity on the Bench, American
Indian Judges on the Federal Courts, available at
servlet/nDsearch?race=American+Indian (identifying Frank Seay and
Michael Burrage as the only federal judges to be identified as American Indians). See also The Oklahoman, “Three Confirmed To Be Judges,
U.S. Marshal,” Archive ID 577837 (June 10, 1994) available at http://
13. See
112thCongress.cfm (Arvo Mikkanen, Kiowa).
14. See
113thCongress.cfm (Diane Humetewa, Hopi).
15. Jim Meyers, Tulsa World, “Court Vacancy Causes Stir: The
White House has not sought input from some key Oklahoma Decision
Makers,” 2010 WLNR 10653891 (May 23, 2010) (recounting the negative response to the potential nomination of Keith Harper, Cherokee, to
the 10th Circuit).
16. For instance, at least two members of the top 10 law firms by
size have developed Indian law practices. Those are: K&L Gates,;
and Greenberg Traurig,
17. Indian Tribal Economic Development and Contract Encouragement Act of 2000, P.L. 106-79, §§2, 3, 114 Stat. 46.
About The Author
Klint Cowan is a director and
shareholder in the Oklahoma City
office of Fellers, Snider, Blankenship, Bailey & Tippens PC. His
practice focuses on litigation including matters related to gaming
and federal Indian law. He has
represented several Indian tribes
in litigation in federal, state and tribal court. He holds
a J.D. with highest honors from TU and a master of law
degree, with a distinction for his dissertation, from the
University of Oxford.
2014 Issues
2015 Issues
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Editor: Judge Megan Simpson
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Deadline: May 1, 2014
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Editor: Erin L. Means
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Health Care
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If you would like
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The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
in the LAW
The Melting Pot Outside
Your Office
By Ruth J. Addison and Daniel Gomez
braham Lincoln said, “[y]ou can have anything you want
— if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you
want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you
hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.”1 It remains true
that the American dream is open to all people, but barriers still
exist and unfortunately, not everyone grows up hearing or believing this ideal. For some, doubt is rooted in a perceived lack of
diversity and inclusion among professionals.
Diversity is a term that has been around for
generations and is generally defined as “[t]he
condition of having or being composed of differing elements: variety; especially: the inclusion
of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.”2
Traditionally, diversity is a statistic concerning
certain identifiers including, but not limited to,
gender, race, nationality, religion or belief, sexual
orientation, physical or mental disabilities and/
or genetic background.3
In recent years, the concept of diversity has
evolved beyond statistics and now involves a
broader ideal of “inclusion.” Inclusion is “[t]he
act of including; a relation between two classes
that exists when all members of the first are also
members of the second.”4 As author and diversity consultant Vernā A. Myers aptly analogizes
in her book Moving Diversity Forward: How to
Go From Well-Meaning to Well-Doing, published
by the American Bar Association Center for
Racial & Ethnic Diversity: “Diversity is being
invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
It is no secret that the legal profession — law
firms in particular — has done poorly in both
the areas of diversity and inclusion, and Oklahoma is no exception.6 It is undeniable that
lawyers, as a group, do not resemble the general populace from a demographic standpoint.7
Even within our own ranks, representation at
the partnership level of large law firms does
not comport with the demographics of persons
holding law degrees.8 The legal profession has
also fallen behind other industries and economic sectors, which have seen significant
progress in the areas of diversity and inclusion.
Fortunately, the profession has not ignored the
trends and, in recent years, efforts to improve
have gained traction. This article addresses
important aspects of this very issue, including
the changing landscape of the people we represent, the demand by businesses that their law
firms do better in diversity and inclusion initiatives, and steps that law firms in Oklahoma can
take to better recruit and retain diverse attorneys. Additionally, it explores issues faced by
diverse attorneys in what can be an unfamiliar
and challenging law firm culture and difficul-
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
ties faced by firms attempting to retain diverse
American history is one of diversity, and it
should come as no surprise that we remain a
country of diverse persons. Our populace represents almost every country on Earth.9 As
former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
once said, “America is a nation of nations,
made up of people from every land, of every
race and practicing every faith. Our diversity is
not a source of weakness; it is a source of
strength, it is a source of our success.”10 The
world is a diverse place, full of diverse people,
thoughts and actions. It consists of approximately 7.1 billion people.11 Of those, approximately 315 million reside in the U.S.12 Of the
approximately 3.8 million people residing in
Oklahoma, more than 1 million are minorities
that contribute to the state’s diversity.13
The trend of diversity in this country has
accelerated. In 2012, the U.S. government published statistics documenting that Caucasians
are a new minority in babies.14 Projections state
that in five years minorities will make up more
than half of children under the age of 18.15 This
rings true as minorities make up 49.9 percent of
the population under the age of five.16 Within a
generation, diverse groups will become the
majority.17 Increasingly, these minorities are
retaining their cultural identities while also
partaking in the American dream. The majority
can no longer assume that diverse persons will
eventually assimilate entirely into one homogenous “American” culture; but now more than
ever, cultural understanding is a necessity, not
merely an aspiration.18
As the “minorities” become the majority,
they will run our businesses, economy government and will have a strong presence in every
other aspect of commerce. From a lawyer’s
perspective, this means the demographics of
our clients and other consumers are changing.
For these reasons alone, law firms should make
a cognizant and quantifiable effort to implement strategies to cultivate diversity. In order
to serve the workplace, we need to resemble it.
It is no longer enough to conduct training
seminars, ask employees to watch PowerPoint
presentations about diversity or even hire
diverse people for statistical reasons.19 Law
firms need to do more to create an environment of inclusion and growth. Understanding
different cultures and the nuances in their languages is an asset to businesses and thereby to
the law firms that seek to represent them. It
will help law firms communicate with their
diverse clients and thus increase their effectiveness in serving them. Being on the same page
with a client will result in a satisfied client.
Thus, if firms are to benefit from the services of
diverse groups, it will be in their best interests
to cultivate attorneys from diverse groups.
This will require hiring and training attorneys from diverse groups to handle their businesses. In this way, firms will be able to keep
up with competition and not fall behind emerging business trends. After all, the primary
objective of most businesses is to generate
income and increase profit. Law firms are businesses. This begs the question, “[w]hy are businesses in corporate America succeeding, but
law firms are not?” Corporate America is
ahead of the game because it is competing in a
global market. The global market consists of
diverse consumers, and businesses are doing
whatever it takes to maintain security, including hiring and retaining diverse people.20 The
next logical step will be for those that serve
these increasingly diverse businesses — such
as law firms — to keep up.
Not surprisingly, diversity initiatives in the
legal profession appeal to the bottom line. In
1999, the chief legal officers of roughly 500
major corporations signed a document titled
Diversity in the Workplace — A State of Principal
encouraging their outside counsel to do better
in diversifying their workplaces.21 In 2004, seeing little action, Rick Palmore, then general
counsel for Sara Lee and now an executive for
General Mills, drafted a more specific “Call to
Action” addressed to corporate legal departments calling for more direct action requesting
that, as a group, corporate clients commit
themselves to “end or limit our relationships
with firms whose performance consistently
evidences a lack of meaningful interest in being
diverse.”22 About 100 companies, including
American Airlines, Boeing and General Motors,
signed on to the Call to Action and its effects
are felt today.23
The most prominent repercussion was felt by
outside counsel for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., branded as Wal-Mart, which dropped law firms and
refused to provide more business to certain
counsels that were not meeting diversity stan-
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
dards.24 DuPont is also cited as having “parted
ways” with one firm that did not adequately
support its diversity efforts.25 It was in response
to this call to action that many of the larger law
firms and those representing large corporate
clients began forming diversity committees
within their firms to assure that that they
would not fall behind their peers in obtaining,
or retaining, business from these large companies. Those among us who have pursued this
type of work have undoubtedly encountered
diversity surveys and detailed requests for
information about diversity as part of their
proposals. This is clear evidence that businesses are continuing to pursue diversity.
Many corporate general counsel and executives who are in charge of retaining legal counsel
have not been shy in discussing their adherence
to the call to action, which underscores what is
often referred to as the “business case” for diversity.26 A study by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) states, “law firms that
only pay lip service to diversity may pay a stiff
economic price. Law firms that do not take
diversity seriously are already losing money.”27
Competency is obviously the main criterion
when a business seeks to retain outside counsel, but all else being equal, and in light of the
ongoing call to action, diversity within the law
firm is increasingly becoming the determining
factor when businesses retain counsel.28 As
expressed by general counsel for Merck Sharp
& Dohme Corp. (Merck), a worldwide leader
in medicine and research, “[w]e are in the fortunate position of having many highly capable
law firms lining up to work with us. And it was
hard in some ways to differentiate among these
firms. But we found that diversity was something that would allow us to make that
differentiation.”29 There further appears to be a
growing network of diverse in-house counsel
that routinely recommends law firms with
good diversity records to one another and law
firms that fail to improve in this area risk losing
out on lucrative opportunities altogether.30
Lawyers are innovators who thrive on favorable outcomes and creative arguments. This is
how we obtain and maintain business, because
clients are our consumers. Consumers want
the best product for the best price. They also
want the benefit of hiring law firms without
going through the hassle of shopping around
and playing the odds. It makes sense that law
firms with diverse groups of attorneys, as
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
opposed to a homogeneous one, provide a better think tank. Simply put, diversity brings
different life experiences and thinking styles to
the table — something that requires the workplace to adapt in order to remain efficient. It is
the one-stop shop ideology. Retail companies
like Wal-Mart and The Target Corporation,
branded as Target, have capitalized and
advanced on this idea for years. Retail consumers are able to purchase a majority of their
household goods, clothing, groceries, etc., in
the same location. The idea behind this approach is that there is something for everyone.
Law firms should employ the same tactic. If
law firms are not proactive in seeking diverse
attorneys, they will soon find whole generations of potential clients taking their business
and wallets elsewhere. In discussing the benefits of diversity regarding outside counsel,
general counsel for Shell Oil summarizes that
“[w]hen you use people of diverse backgrounds
and different ways of looking at things, you get
a better solution.”31
…law firms that fail
to improve in this area risk losing
out on lucrative opportunities
Diversity is thus a material element to a successful business nationally and internationally.32 At the most basic level, many, if not all, law
firms understand the importance of diversity.
It is the reason they form practice and industry
groups. If a firm diversifies practice areas and
expands the skill set offered by its attorneys, it
can service a larger population and in turn,
increase revenue and enhance its reputation.
Why not employ the same idea using racial,
sexual preference, gender, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds? The answer comes
back to an understated truth — employers hire
individuals that they are comfortable with
and/or are like them. The same principle applies
to clients. It is our experience that potential clients and diverse attorneys in and outside of
Oklahoma call seeking racially diverse counsel
or referrals. The majority are looking for someone with law firm experience outside our prac-
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
tice areas. Unfortunately, the options locally are
limited, and we are forced to rely on a small,
though developing, network of diverse attorneys. Law firms that fail to improve in this area
risk falling behind the increasingly diverse bars
of larger competitors in larger surrounding markets such as Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and
Saint Louis.
Many articles and reports are available that
describe the various reasons some young
diverse attorneys struggle, especially in the
law firm environment.33 Although there are
exceptions, some report that they are wholly
unfamiliar with the unwritten rules for success
in a law firm. They feel that they will not succeed because law firm culture is foreign to
them.34 They have no knowledge of the dos and
don’ts, or what skills to polish in order to
thrive.35 Moreover, they do not have the benefit
of a mentor or family member who has been
there before.36 No one has ever explained that
law firm culture requires the ability to carefully
navigate and negotiate through organization
politics.37 This causes further isolation and a
feeling that the attorney is not meeting expectations or working hard enough.38 Reports also
show that mentorship within a firm is a key to
success and many young diverse attorneys
struggle to connect in an environment where
they share little or no cultural identity with any
of the decision-makers in the firm.39 Unintentionally, individuals tend to favor people who
are most like themselves; and young diverse
attorneys report feeling that they fall behind
their white male colleagues in the area of mentorship and relationships with the partners at
their firms.40 Despite this, several diverse attorneys are trying to bridge the gap within law
firms by choosing to act as trailblazers for
future generations. Diversity begets diversity,
and as these trailblazers move further in their
careers, there is hope that some of the reported
barriers will erode over time.
Among law firms that have made strides in
diversity hiring, retention is a problem that has
drawn considerable attention. Some young
diverse attorneys report difficulty in believing
they can succeed or achieve shareholder or
partner status when that group bears little
resemblance to themselves.41 This sometimes
results in these young diverse attorneys looking elsewhere. They may seek opportunities in
corporate America or the public sector where
they see other successful diverse attorneys.
There are also reports of social stigmas,
struggles or presumptions of incompetence.42
For example, many diverse professionals recall
situations in which a Caucasian colleague
described them as polite or articulate.43 Normally, such statements are compliments, but in
this context, they are not because these attributes are presumed about their Caucasian counterparts.44 This encourages feelings of isolation.
These unintentional slights are referred to as
“micro-inequities” or “micro-insults,” and can
be particularly harsh to their recipient while the
perpetrator remains oblivious to the implication
of the seemingly benign statement.45 It is material that once a young diverse attorney is hired,
all efforts be made to retain that attorney and to
avoid the pitfalls that can result in diverse attorneys seeking other opportunities.46
So how do law firms deal with this? Myers’
book, Moving Diversity Forward, provides a
complete outline on how to accomplish diversity in your legal office and an essential reading for those who take the matter seriously.
Among the most important factors to consider
is to shed your colorblind glasses, recognize
each person’s differences, and embrace the
same. If law firms are serious about this, they
can implement the following 10 steps:47
1)Take steps to ensure that diverse candidates see people that look or have similar
backgrounds on all levels-from the shareholders to the support staff;
2)Educate employees and members on
3)Set out hiring guidelines and employ
strategies to meet, and get to know
diverse individuals;
4)Include diverse attorneys on marketing
and networking opportunities;
5)Include diversity in the mission statement;
6)Create internal committees that incorporate diverse candidates on a variety of
different situations;
7)Assess employees’ learning and communication styles and strengths;
8)Promote each employee’s strengths;
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
9)Participate in pipeline programs with
area high school children and allow them
to shadow attorneys; and
10)Take action against all negative and/or
prejudicial behavior against diverse individuals.
Law firms must recognize diversity and
inclusion and learn to understand these critical
concepts. Diverse attorneys have different
backgrounds. Different backgrounds mean different thought processes and levels of understanding. Open and honest discussions surrounding diversity is necessary among law
firm decision-makers. Decision-makers will
now begin to understand what they do not
know. When diverse attorneys are hired, the job
has just begun. They need familiarization and
direction within the job environment. A majority
of diverse candidates have never had anyone
explain how a law firm works and what it takes
to succeed. In this regard, mentorship is key.
Decision-makers must also appreciate the unstated pressures that diverse attorneys are under to
assimilate. A law firm should prefer inclusion to
assimilation. Inclusion is embracing the attorney
rather than the firm leaving it to the attorney to
find his or her own way.
Managing partners want the firm to succeed
after their watch is completed. They want a
legacy. This ensures staying power, branding
and growth. In our changing world, this will
not work if no one takes diversity and inclusion seriously. Management should stress this
objective. Most firms have some form of a
diversity committee, and commitment to the
same is essential. Firms without diversity committees are behind and should promptly take
action to form a committee. An effort to nurture each person’s skills must commence, along
with a thorough assessment of what that person brings to the table. In order to develop
business and client relations, a law firm must
work together.
1. Lee E. Miller and Jessica Miller, A Woman’s Guide to Successful
Negotiating, Second Edition, at 1 (2010),
2. “Diversity” definition, Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, (last visited Jan. 2,
2014). In this article, the words “diverse” and “diversity” also refer to
and include terms such as “minority” and “minorities.”
3. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Administrative Enforcement and Litigation Statement,
enforcement_litigation.cfm (last visited Jan. 2, 2014).
4. “Inclusion” definition, Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, (last visited Jan. 2,
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
5. Vernā A. Myers, Moving Diversity Forward; How To Go From WellMeaning to Well-Doing, at 8-13 (American Bar Association 2011).
6. See U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Diversity
In Law Firms (2003)
7. American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Legal Education &
Admissions to the Bar: Lawyer Demographics (2013) (The ABA reports
that in 2010, 88.1 percent of licensed lawyers were white while 4.8
percent were black, 3.7 percent were Hispanic, and 3.4 percent Asian
Pacific and had no identifiable report for other races or ethnicities. The
same report shows that as of 2005, 70 percent of licensed attorneys
were male and 30 percent female.),
8. National Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP)
(2013) (NALP reports that as of the end of 2013, women and minorities
in partnership positions are increasing, but still lag behind the numbers of licensed attorneys overall. As of 2013, women represented
approximately 20.22 percent of partners while minorities represented
7.10 percent.),
9. Emma Britz, Jeanne Batalova, Migration Policy Institute, U.S. In
Focus, Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the U.S.,
cfm?ID=931 (last visited on Jan. 2, 2014); see also Press Release, U.S.
Census Bureau Projections Show a Slower Growing, Older, More
Diverse Nation a Half Century from Now (Dec. 12, 2012), www.census.
10. Beth Douglass Silcox, A Star Arrives in Texas, National Diversity
Council (2007),
11. U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, http:// (last visited on Jan. 2, 2014).
12. Id.
13. U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, http://
xhtml?pid=DEC_10_DP_DPDP1 (last visited on Jan. 2, 2014).
14. Hope Yen, Minorities In America: Whites Losing Majority In
Under-5 Age Group, Associated Press (June 13, 2013, 2:25 p.m.), www.
15. Id.
16. Id.
17. Id.
18. See John T. Hewitt, Diversity at its Best: From Melting Pot to Salad
Bowl, Racing Toward Diversity Magazine (March 21, 2011, 7:10 p.m.)
(Some even challenge the idea of the country as a “melting pot” where
all different elements merge together into one homogeneous group
and instead prefer the analogy to a “salad bowl” where “each ingredient retains its flavor, color and texture, each complementing one
another and enhancing its overall nutritional value.”), http://racing
19. Glenn Llopis, Diversity Management is Outdated and Demands a
New Approach, Forbes (Jan. 7, 2013, 10:35 a.m.),
20. Sherry Fox, Workforce Diversity: Meeting the Challenges Head
On, Witi Business,
21. Karen Donovan, Pushed by Clients, Law Firms Step Up Diversity Efforts, The New York Times (July 21, 2006).
22. Id.
23. Id.
24. Id.
25. Id.
26. Roy Ginsburg, Diversity Makes Cents: The Business Case for Diversity, Bench & Bar of Minn., Vol. 62, No. 2 (Feb. 2005), www2.mnbar.
27. Id.
28. Id.
29. Id.
30. Id.
31. Id.
32. Id.
33. Mona Mehta Stone, Memo To Law Firms: How to Better Recruit
and Retain South Asian American Lawyers, Institute for Inclusion in the
Legal Profession Review 2012: The State of Diversity and Inclusion in
the Legal Profession (2012), 124,
34. Id. at 136.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
35. Id. at 139- 140.
36. Id. at 127.
37. Id. at 138.
38. Id. at 139.
39. Neil Hamilton and Sarah Gillaspey, Diversity Changes: Corporate
Clients and Law Firms, Minnesota Lawyer (June 10, 2010), www.
40. Id.
41. Stone, at 135-136, 138.
42. Id.
43. See E. Macey Russell, Resisting Challenges to the Diversity Value
Proposition, Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession Review 2012:
The State of Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession (2012), 73,
44. Id.
45. Myers, at 53-54.
46. As described by Ginsburg, retention is also important to the
bottom line because losing associates early in their careers often leads
to a loss to the firm for their investment in training the new associate;
see also Stone, at 138-139.
47. See also Stone, at 142.
About The AuthorS
Ruth Addison is a trial lawyer
with McAfee & Taft. Her practice
focuses on labor and employment
and litigation. She is chair of the
OBA Diversity Committee. In
2012, the Tulsa County Bar Association honored her with a President’s Award for her leadership as
chair of its Diversity Development
Committee, which was recognized for its efforts in
developing a program to educate high school students
about legal careers that are often under-represented by
minority groups.
Daniel Gomez works for Conner & Winters in Tulsa where he
practices Native American law
and commercial litigation. Since
2012, he has served as chair for
the Tulsa County Bar Association’s Diversity Development
Committee and is a member of the
Hispanic National Bar Association and the National
Native American Bar Association.
County Attorney
Lea County Government
Lea County seeks a Chief Legal Officer
with 5-10 years of experience in the public/
corporate sector. Lea County is a progressive
oil and gas producing county and the fastest
growing county in New Mexico. Lea County
has a population of approximately 65,000
with 321 budgeted employees and a total
budget of $114 million. The Chief Legal Officer must analyze and review complex legal
issues and provide counsel and advice to
County Manager, Board of Commission,
Department Heads and elected officials.
Counsel will assist with litigation pertaining
but not limited to contracts, employment,
real estate, compliance and regulatory issues,
zoning and subdivisions and industrial revenue bonds.
Please forward resume and salary requirements to:
Lea County Human Resources
100 N Main, Suite 4
Lovington, NM 88260
To get your
free listing on
the OBA’s lawyer
listing service!
Just go to and log into
your myokbar account.
Then click on the
“Find a Lawyer” Link.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
in the LAW
Sexual Orientation: Acceptance
1982 – 2014
By Jane Eulberg
orrowing from Barbara Mandrell and George Jones, “I was
a gay lawyer in Oklahoma, when being a gay lawyer in
Oklahoma wasn’t cool.”
I moved from Wichita to Oklahoma City in
1982 to attend Oklahoma City University
School of Law. I didn’t know any lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in
Oklahoma City except my long-term partner.
Because we had gone from having two goodpaying jobs to one, we felt quite poor. We lived
in a mobile home in Midwest City and to save
gas we rode together to her work and my
school, meaning that I was on campus from
7:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. nearly every day. As a
result, I spent more time than most in the law
library. Rummaging around in the stacks one
day, I happened upon a pile of law-related
newspapers. The issue on top caught my eye.
The headline mentioned, “Gay Attorney Bill
Rogers from OKC.” I was so glad to learn there
was at least one gay attorney in Oklahoma
City. I wanted to meet him. However, at that
time it was not acceptable to be a gay attorney
in Oklahoma, so I kept that thought to myself
and didn’t meet him until years later.
During my 1L year in law school, someone
posted a notice on the bulletin board about the
National Women’s Law Conference in Los
Angeles in the spring. With advice from a kind
professor, I requested and received a small stipend from the law school student board and
attended the conference. What an eye opener it
was! One of the sessions was about starting an
LGBT group in our home states. I decided that
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
I would try to do it in Oklahoma some day and
kept the materials.
Fast forward to 1995. I was working in the
Federal Courthouse in Oklahoma City on April
19, 1995. THE BOMBING. It gave me a whole
new perspective on things. I decided that
“someday” was “now.” Even with the bombing pushing me forward, I was still quite afraid
to do it. By then I had been practicing for 10
years and had made many friends in the legal
community. Long story short, I talked one-onone with probably 20 or more attorneys and
judges about my desire to start an LGBT group.
Some responses were positive, a few were negative, but most ran along the line of “Are you
crazy? Do you realize what you are doing?”
Five other brave LGBT attorneys, myself,
and one LGBT-friendly attorney became the
board of the Oklahoma Lesbian and Gay Law
Association. They elected me president (surprise!). The purpose was to educate the legal
community about LGBT issues. Our first big
project was to sponsor a CLE that we hoped
would become an annual event. We each talked
to our own friends and wound up with approximately 40 paying lawyers/judges as members
of the group. You all know who you are. We
held our Oklahoma City grand opening at the
Waterford Hotel, attended by some 60 lawyers/judges. We also held a grand opening in
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Our keynote speaker in Oklahoma City was
Jay Novick, former chief assistant to Janet Reno
in Florida and co-chair of the National Lesbian
and Gay Law Association. He was very excited
about a LGBT group being formed in a state
like Oklahoma. Leigh Jones, legal beat reporter
for the Journal Record, wanted to interview me
about the formation of the group. However, I
was too apprehensive to do it, so she interviewed Mr. Novick instead. I sat next to him
and listened so I could learn how to be interviewed. Ms. Jones wrote a nice article about us
for the Journal Record. The Oklahoma Bar Journal
printed a four-paragraph announcement of
our formation and upcoming grand opening.
The Tulsa Family News published an article
announcing the formation of our group. The
Gayly Oklahoman (not to be confused with the
Daily Oklahoman) published a nice article about
Author’s Note: In the summer of 1998,
Crowe & Dunlevy partner Jimmy Goodman interviewed me about the formation of the Oklahoma Lesbian and Gay
Lawyers Association for publication in
the Oklahoma County Bar Association
legal newspaper, The Briefcase. I refer
to it as “The Interview That Wasn’t”
because before it could be submitted
for publication, the Judicial Conference
of the United States Committee on
Codes of Conduct issued its private
opinion that publicizing the interview
would violate the federal judicial codes
of conduct. I am thrilled that now, 16
years later, long after I resigned from
my federal job, the Oklahoma Bar Journal is publishing it. As my article states,
the Oklahoma association no longer
exists, but the interview provides additional insight into this area of diversity.
New Organization Formed
to Address
Lesbian/Gay Issues
Several Oklahoma attorneys have
formed a professional organization
to address lesbian and gay legal
and social issues. The Oklahoma
Lesbian and Gay Law Association
(OLGLA) joins the 31 other professional associations already chartered throughout the United States
with similar goals. OLGLA is affiliated with the National Lesbian and
Gay Law Association, an entity
our grand opening and put a picture of the
board on the front page.
We heard from local LGBT lawyers who were
so closeted that none of us on the board were
aware of them. We published three quarterly
newsletters, and we received congratulatory
letters from folks in other states. We were on
top of the world. We were doing a good thing
and had been much more widely accepted than
we ever dreamed.
The fun didn’t last very long though, and we
never got to put on that first CLE.
I was a federal employee at the time. My
employer requested an ethics opinion from the
Judicial Conference of the United States Committee on Codes of Conduct about my association with the group and an interview of me by
represented in the ABA House of
OLGLA is a statewide professional
organization created by and for
attorneys who are interested in
obtaining a greater knowledge of
the unique issues affecting gays
and lesbians, and in supporting
efforts to dispel negative stereotypes, developing acceptance,
understanding and respect in their
The following interview with Jane
Eulberg, president of OLGLA, was
conducted by Jimmy Goodman.
Where did the idea come from to
start OLGLA?
It was a long, and slow, progression. It started in 1984. I was in law
school and was the president of the
women law students’ organization.
Someone had posted a brochure
on the bulletin board at school
about the National Women in Law
Conference being held in Los Angeles that year. One of the faculty
members and I attended the conference. It was so exciting. There
were hundreds of women lawyers,
judges and law professors — a wide
variety of panel discussions and lectures. One of the sessions was about
lesbian and gay law associations,
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
and I picked up the packet of materials on “how to start a chapter in
your state.” I probably still have it
somewhere. I read it when I got
back home and just wondered if
anything like that would ever be possible in Oklahoma.
Then, through the years, from
time to time the idea would pop
back up in my head. When I saw
announcements and pictures in the
bar journal about the Oklahoma
City Association of Black Lawyers, I
dreamed that someday there would
be an announcement about a lesbian and gay law association in the
bar journal. The same thing happened when I saw announcements
and pictures in the bar journal about
the Oklahoma Indian Bar Association and about the women lawyers’
groups. I kept thinking, if they can do
it, so can we — maybe sometime.
In 1994 a friend on the law faculty at the University of New Mexico,
Gloria Valencia Weber, sent me a
brochure about a CLE being offered
in Albuquerque on issues affecting
lesbians and gay men and their
families. It was cosponsored by the
New Mexico Bar Association Family
Law and the National Lesbian and
Gay Law Association. I attended it
and came back tremendously
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Jimmy Goodman that was to be published in
the Oklahoma County Briefcase.
The opinion was negative and, in short, stated that I could not allow the interview to be
published and that I had to resign from the
group or lose my job.
I tearfully resigned from the group, and it
sort of faded away. None of the other board
members had the exaggerated passion that I
had about the group and its mission.
One of my greatest regrets is that in 1998 I
did not stand my ground and resign from my
federal job instead of resigning from the
Back to Bill Rogers. He became one of my
finest mentors. He died a few years ago, but
what a legend he was. He founded the Cimarimpressed. Their speakers included
nationally known litigators as well as
local practitioners. When I came
back home, I dreamed about the
possibility of doing something like
that in Oklahoma.
I was in the federal courthouse on
April 19, 1995, when the Murrah
Building was bombed. That had a
profound effect on me, as it did on
everyone in Oklahoma City and
beyond. But one day, about a year
and a half later, I was thinking about
the bombing and about how uncertain life is, and I was feeling down
because I felt I hadn’t really done
anything with my life, and my mind
was just wandering — and it just
popped up again — the idea of
having a lesbian and gay law association in Oklahoma. That is when I
decided that, if others would help
me, it was time to do it.
I am delighted to report that
many others, practitioners in public
as well as private law, most of
whom need to remain unnamed,
were ready, willing and able to
help. We, the steering committee,
worked long and hard to get the
group organized. We held our opening kickoff/membership drive at the
Waterford Hotel in Oklahoma City in
June 1997 and at the Doubletree
Downtown in Tulsa in November
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
My hope is that it keeps
getting easier and that soon being
an LGBT judge or attorney or
staff member in Oklahoma is
a non-issue.
ron Alliance Foundation, and I served with
him on the board of that organization for several years. He probably did more to educate
others about LGBT issues than our group
would have ever been able to do. When I
finally got to meet him, he told me his story
about being a gay lawyer in Oklahoma in the
1997. Board member Kerry Lewis
was instrumental in organizing the
Tulsa event. We developed a quarterly newsletter (now edited by Ken
Upton). We will be creating a webpage. We chose Scott Braden as
our liaison to the law schools. We
have started many projects that are
successful because our members
do great work.
What are the goals of OLGLA?
Our mission statement is “to promote equality in and through the
legal profession and society.
Through change in our legal and
social structure we can eliminate
discrimination against members of
the lesbian and gay community.”
The goals listed in our brochure/
membership application are to provide “a resource base to address
issues that affect the lesbian and
gay community, a referral source
for legal representation, continuing
legal education programs for the
legal community, legal expertise
through briefs, memoranda and
reference guides on issues that
affect the lesbian and gay community, and a resource base for
lesbian and gay law students.” My
overarching goal for OLGLA is simply to make us visible to the entire
legal community, so as to dispel
stereotypes about who we are.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
There is an article in the May 1998
issue of Ladies’ Home Journal by a
mother whose gay teenage son
committed suicide. The article is
titled “My Son Didn’t Have to Die.”
The mother says she will never know
why he did it, but she does know he
felt depressed, ashamed, tormented by his peers and unable to
accept himself — “all because he
was gay.” At the end of her article,
she says, “I wish more homosexual
adults would come out publicly,
because gay kids need positive role
I regret that Robbie never heard
Ellen DeGeneres’s speech after she
won an Emmy award last fall for the
coming-out episode of her sitcom,
Ellen. She specifically addressed
gay teens, saying “Don’t ever let
anybody make you feel ashamed
of who you are.”
People have inquired if you will
be trying to promote some
“homosexual agenda” within the
You’ll have to define what you
mean by “homosexual agenda”
before I can answer this one. If you
mean providing positive, professional role models within and outside the legal community, the
answer is yes. If you mean sensitiz-
years before I went to law school. It was easier
for me than it was for him.
My hope is that it keeps getting easier and
that soon being an LGBT judge or attorney or
staff member in Oklahoma is a non-issue.
When I told retired Professor Nancy Kenderdine I was writing this article, her comment
was, “The atmosphere here re gays reminds me
of when I graduated from OU and a job notice
on the bulletin board said, ‘Only people who
can grow beards need apply’ and you can
quote me on that!”
But things have improved a lot. You cannot
imagine how pleased I am at the pace of acceptance in the Oklahoma legal community. Back
in the 1980s, Bill Rogers lost his job after he
marched in the first Gay Pride Parade in Okla-
ing the legal community to issues
affecting lesbian and gay clients,
the answer is yes. If you mean helping to overcome ignorance, prejudice, misunderstandings and attitudes harmful to people in our profession, the answer is yes. If you
mean working for justice, compassion, respect and understanding for
gay people who suffer as victims
who deserve representation, the
answer is yes.
Why did gay and lesbian lawyers
decide to form their own organization? Some lawyers have said to
me, “Can’t they do what they
want to by just being good lawyers who are gay?”
It is important to honor diversity
and celebrate the gifts that people
who are different bring to the norm
— by having different groups of
lawyers such as black lawyers,
Native Americans, women lawyers,
the Federalist Society, trial lawyers,
the criminal defense group, title
lawyers group, the judges group,
etc. We recognize the unique contributions each lawyer makes to the
wholeness of the legal world. Groups
like OLGLA address particular legal
issues that affect its constituencies.
homa City. I watched that parade while hiding
behind a large tree. Now the Oklahoma Bar
Association and many law firms have their
own diversity committees that include sexual
Recently I had the opportunity to meet several LGBT and straight law students from OU
and OCU. Their attitudes about LGBT issues
are so refreshing – total acceptance without
giving it a second thought. A few months ago I
talked with the Diversity Committee chair at
Phillips Murrah. That firm’s pride in having
out-LGBT attorneys is well deserved. Undoubtedly the same is true at other firms. I predict
there will soon be an LGBT bar association in
Oklahoma, affiliated with the Oklahoma Bar
Association. I think a judge or two will soon
OLGLA permits its members to
remain anonymous. Why do you
still need that?
As one of our members said,
“You’re darned if you do, and you’re
darned if you don’t.” If you speak
out, you get blasted for promoting
the “homosexual agenda.” If you
stay in the closet, you get blasted
for “being ashamed of something.”
In fact, many lesbian and gay attorneys feel they need to remain
anonymous so they are not discriminated against within their own
firms or by others in the legal community. Hopefully, through the efforts
of organizations like OLGLA, the next
generation of lawyers won’t have to
have that fear. One of the biggest
problems of being gay is not gayness but the reaction of heterosexuals to it.
Who are the members of OLGLA?
We are Republicans, Democrats
and Independents; black and white;
lesbians, gays and heterosexuals;
litigators, transactional lawyers,
judges, partners at large firms,
medium size firms, small firms; associates, solo practitioners and government lawyers. We live in the
Oklahoma City area, the Tulsa area
and in rural Oklahoma. We don’t
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
agree on all issues, but we all have
similar goals for the organization.
Why is the business of OLGLA
important to other members of
the bar?
The legal profession improves
when all its members live life as fully
as possible and contribute their full
potential to the pursuit of justice. As
OLGLA works to diminish prejudice
and promote understanding, other
attorneys are better sensitized to
serve the gay and lesbian entrepreneurs and their families and friends
who need legal help, such as CPAs,
business owners, physicians, nurses,
teachers and real estate developers. Lesbians and gays and their
families and friends need corporate
lawyers, tax lawyers, real estate lawyers, estate planning lawyers and
How do you see OLGLA making
things better for gay and lesbian
people in Oklahoma?
The answer to this is essentially
found in the answers to the questions you have already asked — visibility, promoting understanding
through education, addressing legal
issues that affect the lesbian and gay
community, trying to make the state
a little kinder and more tolerant.
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
come out. If they have not already, I think all
the LGBT law professors will come out. And,
finally, if the Judicial Conference of the United
States Committee on Codes of Conduct was
asked the same questions today that it was
asked in 1998, I think its answers would be different. The future is as bright as the Oklahoma
sun in August.
4)Help start an LGBT bar association in
Oklahoma and get it affiliated with the
OBA and with the ABA.
5)If you are an LGBT judge, attorney or staff
member and if you can, come out. I think
you will be pleasantly surprised at the
acceptance of your peers.
Here are a few ideas for those interested in
furthering the acceptance of LGBT issues in the
legal community:
1)Invite a local LGBT lawyer/judge to present a session for all your attorneys and staff
members – a training/awakening session
of sorts. Make attendance mandatory.
2)Support your alma mater’s LGBT student
law association.
3)As a firm or an individual, join one of the
national associations. One umbrella organization is the National LGBT Bar Association, an affiliate of the ABA. Its website
About The Author
Jane Eulberg received her
undergraduate degree magna cum
laude in mathematics and computer science at UCO in Edmond
in 1971 and J.D. with highest
honors from OCU School of Law
in 1985. From 1971-1982 she
worked in IT for Pizza Hut Inc. in
Wichita, Kan. In additon to private practice for John
W. Norman Inc.; Edwards, Sonders & Propester; and
Phillips Murrah, she clerked for two federal district
judges, and for Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice
Daniel Boudreau. She retired in 2004.
Being a Member
Has Its Perks
q —
main site or front door for the OBA with links to all other
OBA Web presences and much information for members
as well as a great deal of information for the public.
q Online CLE —
quality OBA/CLE online programming, plus online
seminar programs from other state bar associations.
It’s a convenient way to get up to six hours MCLE credit.
q Practice management/ technology
hotline service —
free telephone calls to the Management
Assistance Program (MAP) staff and the OBA Director
of Information Systems for brief answers about practical management and technology issues, such as law office software, understanding computer jargon,
staff and personnel problems, software training opportunities, time management and trust
account management. Call (405) 416-7008.
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
in the LAW
Lessons from the Field: My
Life-Changing Law Practice as an
Air Force JAG
By Katie Illingworth
hen I walked off the C-130, exhausted, loaded with flak
vest and helmet, blinked into the bright mountain sun
and looked out over the stark beauty of the Hindu Kush
mountains, I marveled at the turns my life had taken that had
landed me literally in the middle of the war in Afghanistan.
The “diversity” theme of this month’s Oklahoma Bar Journal intrigued me. There are countless different contexts around and meanings to
the word “diversity.” There is diversity of culture, race, gender, viewpoints and experience,
just to name a few. For attorneys, diversity can
mean diversity of practice, which perfectly
sums up the beginning of my legal career as an
Air Force judge advocate (JAG).
Like many of us, the events of Sept. 11, 2001,
deeply affected me. I remember standing in my
college apartment that morning at OU, watching the live images on my television screen of
planes slamming into the twin towers as deep
grey smoke billowed forth from the points of
impact. I was shaken to my core, and the world
as I knew it felt darker and more disordered
than I had ever known before. The events of
that day changed me, and began a long period
of reflection as I tried to decide how I was
going to contribute to the world after having
this experience as part of my history.
Two years later, I moved to Washington, D.C.
for law school. I was drawn to the national
political scene, and knew a legal career would
fit well with my interest in problem-solving
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
and my love of debate. It turns out I was correct, as I loved law school (as much as one can
love law school). In my second year, I began to
consider what path in the law I would choose
to practice in. During that same year, a question started popping up in all my conversations at school—“What are you going to specialize
in?” I felt as if I barely knew enough about the
law at that point to really specialize in anything, and was often perplexed by the question. For me, because there were so many areas
of the law I enjoyed, including contracts, labor
law, criminal law and procedure, constitutional
law, trusts and estates and others, it felt like I
shouldn’t have to just pick one or two areas of
I knew there was really one choice for me out
of law school, as I contemplated my desire to
serve and my love for so many areas of the law
— I decided to be a JAG. When I told my family, to say they were shocked is putting it
mildly, as I don’t think anyone would peg me
the “outdoorsy” type. When I told my father I
was joining the military, it was like a scene
from a movie as I watched the humor, then
concern, pass across his face as he realized I
was not joking. I think the entire family was
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
afraid I wouldn’t even survive officer training
school, and if I look back now, I was a little
afraid myself.
So I applied, interviewed with a full bird
colonel at Andrews Air Force Base, and was
accepted (contingent upon bar passage), following a military tradition in my family that includes
a Lady Marine grandmother, a Marine grandfather who served in World War II, and another
grandfather who flew as a bomber pilot for the
Army Air Corps in WWII. So I set to work that
summer, following a highly regimented schedule of intense running and other physical training in preparation for officer training school
alternating with my bar studies.
A few months later, during the week of
Thanksgiving, I had passed the bar, had passed
Officer Training School with flying colors and
received the phone call that I was on my way
to my first assignment — in Hawaii! When I
drove through the front gates for the first time
of the 15th Airlift Wing at Hickam Air Force
Base, Hawaii, a base whose old buildings still
bear gunpowder scars from the attack on Pearl
Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, I knew I had become
part of living history. I loved it. I thrived. I ran
every morning along Pearl Harbor, watching
the submarines float in, and thanked my lucky
stars for such an opportunity.
I began to realize that in choosing to become
a JAG, I had chosen not just a particular legal
career path, but a way of life. The Air Force
Officer Training and JAG school cadre had
already drummed into my head that I was an
officer first, a lawyer second. Despite my luck
and good fortune at living in Hawaii, along
with the commitment came hardships. My
husband (a fellow JAG) and I were separated
from each other for nearly two years of marriage. He deployed two weeks after we were
married in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and I deployed within a month of his
return. I didn’t come home for two Christmases
in a row, one of which I spent in harm’s way. But
even though I endured hardship and sacrifice as
part of this JAG life I had chosen, I also knew I
was part of something bigger than myself and I
had the opportunity to practice alongside incredibly gifted and talented attorneys who were not
only top notch practitioners, but lived and
embodied values of integrity, honor and sacrifice, values so often dismissed in today’s society
as outdated and overly idealistic.
I began to realize that in
choosing to become a JAG, I had
chosen not just a particular legal
career path, but a way of life.
Another pull for me towards choosing JAG
was the way the JAG Corps views trial practice. When I first interviewed, the colonel told
me to expect to first chair at least one trial
within my first four years of practice. Well,
within two weeks of my arrival to Hickam as a
first lieutenant, I was handed my first criminal
case file to review for potential charging and
prosecution. It was a drug case, specifically
cocaine use and distribution, involving an airman first class who was a repeat offender
involved in Oahu’s drug scene. The facts of the
case were especially aggravating because he
was an aircraft maintainer on Hickam’s F-15
fighter jets. It was an obvious point that the
safety and integrity of the aircraft at our airlift
base directly depended on the skill and attention of the maintainers.
From the first day I was handed the case file,
two senior captains at my legal office mentored
me, taught me how to organize my case,
assemble my trial brief, handle evidence and
talk to a jury. We held multiple “murder
boards,” as I rewrote my opening statement
and closing argument over a dozen times. The
group of seven attorneys in my office critiqued
me, my delivery, my words, my posture, even
the looks that flickered across my face in response
to panel members’ answers during a mock voir
dire. I learned how to develop a proof analysis, a
thorough examination of the elements of proof
required for a charge and the corresponding evidence for each element. This key document
became the cornerstone of my future trials and
my own experiences in mentoring younger prosecutors, and is a lesson I consider one of the
most valuable I have learned as an attorney to
date. The level of training and attention to detail,
the strategic case brainstorming and the camaraderie all honed my skills as an advocate and as
a counselor.
As soon as I had gotten comfortable in my
job at Hickam and had made a habit of spending every Saturday morning on Oahu’s beautiful beaches, my world changed. My colonel
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
walked into my office on a quiet Friday afternoon, sat down, looked across the desk and
smiled at me. I smiled nervously back and
asked, “What’s going on?” She replied, “You’ve
been chosen by higher command to go to the
mountains and review some contracts.” Mountains? Contracts? The confusion must have
been all over my face because she continued,
“When I say mountains, I mean the Hindu
Kush. In Afghanistan. And when I say contracts,
I mean Army contracts.”
If I had thought I was in for an adventure in
Hawaii, it was nothing compared to the half
year I was about to spend at Bagram Airbase in
Afghanistan. As I was soon to learn, I had been
tasked as an Air Force asset embedded into the
headquarters of Combined Joint Task Force
(CJTF)-82. Run by the renowned 82nd Airborne
of the U.S. Army, CJTF-82’s mission in Afghanistan was as command over RC-East, a large
geographic area in the country to the north and
east. I was one of a few Air Force officers chosen to work inside of the command alongside
our Army comrades, as well as various military personnel stationed there from all over the
world. Although my job description had nothing to do with my duties as a JAG in Hawaii, I
began to understand that this type of flexibility
as a practitioner was par for the course in my
JAG career. To prepare myself, I attended an
intense training course to hone my skills in
government contracts.
Once I arrived in theater, I was one of three
attorneys tasked with the legal review of every
Army contract that affected RC-East. There I
moved away from my former prosecutorial
role and was knee deep in contract negotiations and fiscal law. Some of these contract
negotiations involved negotiations with local
Afghans, which meant various crash courses in
cultural and gender sensitivities in preparation
for discussions with locals.
Another key part of my job there was to help
problem solve if a contract as originally written
hit some legal snags. If my analysis was that a
contract was legally deficient in some way, it
was expected that I would find an alternative
that was legally sufficient and also fulfilled the
mission requirement. I had been trained to be
that type of attorney as an Air Force JAG, and
I understood the success of the mission was
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
affected by my ability to “think outside the
box” and seek out legal and feasible alternatives when various contract and fiscal law
issues held up a contract. On top of these practice challenges, I was also forced to face my
mortality as I experienced all manner of dangers, from earthquakes and sandstorms to Taliban rocket attacks, on a routine basis.
These few experiences represent a small fraction of my life and experiences as a JAG. I finished my Air Force tour out at Peterson Air
Force Base in Colorado Springs, a “space base”
that was part of Air Force Space Command.
There, as chief of military justice, I oversaw all
criminal trials at my office, including cases
involving theft, sexual assault and even a couple of child pornography cases. Throughout my
JAG tour, I also provided legal assistance to
military members, their families and veterans,
advising on and assisting with family law
issues, estate planning, bankruptcy, consumer
debt as well as several situations involving the
application of such laws as Uniformed Service
Employment and Reemployment Rights Act,
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Fair
Debt Collection Practices Act, among others.
Then there were all the job “perks,” including riding in military aircraft, singing the
national anthem for an immigration ceremony
in Afghanistan that welcomed soldiers into
U.S. citizenship, being intimately involved in
humanitarian efforts for local Afghan children,
a stint as a special assistant U.S. attorney in
Hawaii, and so many more. This is just one
picture of what diversity of practice can mean
for a legal practitioner, and who knew diversity
of practice could be so interesting and so fun?
About The Author
Katie Illingworth has practiced
law since 2007 and was admitted
to the Oklahoma bar in 2013.
She spent four years as an Air
Force judge advocate, six months
of which she was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Ms. Illingworth currently practices as associate general counsel at
First Financial Network Inc., a 25-year financial services
firm headquartered in Oklahoma City.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
in the LAW
Avoiding Disparate Impacts in
Background Checks of
Potential Employees
By Ruth J. Addison
any hiring decisions require the use of background
checks. Since most employees have access to sensitive
information held by their employers or work in regulated industries or interact with the public, background checks
may be necessary to avoid negligent hiring. Every employer’s
worst nightmare is a bad hire. Therefore, it is in the employer’s
best interest to investigate an applicant’s background before making an offer of employment. A bad hire is an employee that the
employer has invested time and effort into, but is incompatible
with the employer. A bad hire can negatively influence other
employees’ attitudes and office morale. Hence, employers should
take precautions to protect themselves not only from a bad decision, but also from future litigation by providing and requesting
certain information during the application process. These include,
but are not limited to, equal employment opportunity statements,
an at-will employment disclaimer, an I-9 employment eligibility
verification that acts as proof the applicant can lawfully work in
the United States and background checks.
One of the primary concerns with background checks is that it may reveal criminal
history of an applicant that has no bearing on
the position in which the applicant applied.
For example, an applicant with a misdemeanor
driving-under-the-influence conviction should
not automatically be disqualified from a position that does not involve driving, such as
housekeeping or janitorial service work.
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Since racially diverse people are arrested and
convicted at a higher rate than the majority, it
may prejudice racially diverse applicants from
obtaining gainful employment. If criminal history is revealed, the employer should be very
fair, cautious and meticulous in its approach.
Failure to do so may create a “disparate impact”
claim and an Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) charge of discrimination.
In Oklahoma, employers are required to include
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
language in employment applications that says
a conviction does not necessarily disqualify him
or her from employment.1 Employers also must
include language that advises the applicant that
they do not need to disclose expungements.2
This article will help guide employers, in
Oklahoma, through the steps to properly conduct background checks and avoid discrimination claims.
While it is not always practical to conduct
background checks, they do help employers: 1)
verify applicants for employment in sensitive
positions; 2) determine if the applicant is suitable and qualified for the desired position; 3)
determine if they have made the right hiring
decision; and 4) help avoid unwanted workplace scenarios, conflict, violence and negligent
hiring claims.3 Additionally for some regulated
businesses and industries, the employers must
conduct background checks. For example, due
to the sensitive nature of the job, the following
classes of employers are required, under Oklahoma and federal law, to perform pre-employment background checks:
3.Detention facilities
4.Motor carriers
5.Facilities under government contracts4
Background checks may or may not include
consumer reports subject to the Fair Credit
Reporting Act (FCRA).5 If the employer is
requesting information from a third-party,
more likely than not, the third-party will be
considered a Credit Reporting Agency (CRA).6
If the employer is conducting its own independent background check on websites like OSCN
or ODCR, then the FCRA will not apply, but
the employer is still obligated to advise the
applicant and obtain written consent.7
In 1990, the EEOC issued a report titled
“Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and
Conviction Records in Employment Decisions”
which serves as an authority for enforcement
of the FCRA, governed by the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).8 It outlines
a four- step process for conducting an appropriate background check.
The Investigative Process: Four Basic Steps
The first step deals with what the Credit
Reporting Agency (CRA) can disclose to the
employer. Specifically, the CRA may only supply a consumer report if the employer certifies
it will use the information only for a “permissible purpose,” it will not use the information
in violation of federal or state equal opportunity law, it will notify the applicant that the
report is being requested, it will obtain the
required consent, it will give required notices if
a decision not to hire is made based on the
report, and, in the event an “investigative consumer report” is requested, it will give the
additional disclosures.9
The second step is to advise the applicant
that a consumer report is being requested, that
the information may be used for hiring decisions and obtain the applicant’s written permission. Under Oklahoma law, an employer
must provide a box for the applicant to check if
he or she wants a copy of the report sent to
them contemporaneously (at no charge to the
If also requesting an “investigative consumer
report,” then the employer must advise the
applicant. The applicant must receive this disclosure within three days after the request,
unless it was part of the initial disclosure.10 The
employer must alert the applicant of the right
to make a written request of details of the
scope of the investigation as well as provide a
copy of the document titled “A Summary of
Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting
Act.”11 If the applicant makes a written request
for details of the scope of the investigation, the
employer must provide that information within five business days.12
The third step is triggered if the employer
decides to reject the applicant based on the
information contained in the report. In that
case, the employer must provide the applicant
with both a copy of the consumer report and a
copy of the summary of rights publication.
The fourth step arises once the applicant is
rejected. Once formally rejected, the employer
must provide the applicant with a “Notice of
Adverse Action.” That Notice must provide
the contact information for the CRA that supplied the consumer report, a statement that the
CRA did not make the decision and cannot
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
give any specific reasons for it, and disclosures
about the right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of the report and to get an additional
report for free within 60 days upon request.13
Post Investigation: What Kind of Information Is
Included in the Consumer Report
Background checks generally include, but
are not limited to, driving records, vehicle registrations, credit records, criminal records,
Social Security numbers, education records,
court records, bankruptcy records, state licensing records, military records and the names of
past employers. Employers should not consider the following eight items in their hiring
considerations: 1) bankruptcies after 10 years;
2) civil suits; 3) civil judgments; 4) records of
arrest, from date of entry, after seven years; 5)
paid tax liens after seven years; 7) accounts
placed for collection after seven years; and 8)
any other negative information (except criminal convictions) after seven years.14 Additionally, employers should not base their decision
not to hire an applicant solely on arrest records.15
Arrest records are unreliable because they do
not prove that the applicant was convicted.16
Hence, the EEOC has determined that employers must make an additional inquiry.17
What Employers Should Not Do With the Report
Once an employer has had an opportunity to
review the consumer report or criminal background check, it must weigh the information,
while simultaneously recognizing that the Civil
Rights Act makes it unlawful to discriminate
based on gender, race, nationality, religion or
belief, age, physical or mental disabilities and/
or genetic background.18 In short, employers
must treat everyone equally and fairly.
Pre-employment criminal background checks
generally exclude more racially diverse applicants than non-diverse applicants from employment. “African Americans now constitute
nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population.”19 “From 1980 to 2008, the
number of people incarcerated in America
quadrupled-from roughly 500,000 to 2.3 million people.”20 In fact,”if African American[s]
and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same
rates of whites, today’s prison and jail populations would decline by approximately 50
percent.”21 Since, racial minorities are overrepresented in the criminal justice system; the
result is that a staggering number of diverse
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
In short, employers must treat
everyone equally and fairly.
candidates will not be able to obtain gainful
employment. As a result, the EEOC has recognized the potential discriminatory impact of
background checks for diverse applicants.22
Disputes arise when an applicant or current
employee challenges the employer’s employment practices alleging that he or she suffered
age, race, ethnicity or sex discrimination due to
disparate impact.23 “A disparate impact violation is established when an employer is shown
to have used a specific employment practice,
neutral on its face but causing a substantial
adverse impact on a protected group, and
which cannot be justified as serving a legitimate business goal of the employer.”24 In other
words, a practice by an employer that is facially neutral, but has the effect of harming a protected class is deemed discrimination. Proof of
intentional discrimination is not required.25
How to Establish a Prima Facie Case
In order to maintain a disparate impact
claim, an applicant or existing employee must
show three things. First, “a specific identifiable
employment practice or policy caused a significant disparate impact on a protected
group.”26 If shown, then second, “the burden
shifts to defendant [employer] to show that the
challenged practice is job related and consistent with business necessity.27 Third, if the
employer is successful, “the plaintiff is then
required to suggest an alternative employment
practice that serves the employer’s legitimate
employment goals yet lacks the undesirable
discriminatory effect.”28
The EEOC’s position is that disparate impact
may exist when less than 80 percent percent of
racially diverse applicants are unable to obtain
employment in a particular industry.29 For
example, in “November 2010, a Chicago janitorial services provider agreed to pay $3 million
to approximately 550 rejected black job applicants under a four-year consent decree, settling
the EEOC’s allegations of race and national
origin discrimination in recruitment and hiring. The EEOC had alleged that the provider
had recruited through media directed at Eastern European immigrants and Hispanics and
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
hired people from those groups over African
Americans, and that the provider’s use of subjective decision making had a disparate impact
on African Americans. As part of the decree,
the provider also agreed to extensive changes
in its employment policies, to engage in “active
recruitment” of African American employees,
to hire previously rejected black applicants, to
implement training on discrimination and
retaliation, and to hire an outside monitor to
review compliance with the decree.”30
In short, applicants must prove that the challenged employment standard selects employees in a substantially different manner from
that of protected classes using statistical evidence of adverse impact on racially diverse
How to Establish a Business Necessity
Employers must show that the denial was
consistent with the standard for “business
necessity.”32 This standard is satisfied if the
employer is able to consider and prove that the
following factors influence the job position:
1.The nature and gravity of the offense(s)
2.The bearing, if any, of the offense(s) on
any specific responsibilities
3.The time lapse since the date of the
4.The age of the applicant at the time of the
5.Evidence of rehabilitation
For example, an applicant that has a child
endangerment conviction for failing to buckle
a child in a car seat should not mechanically be
barred from obtaining a position that does not
put them in a position to involve or engage
minor children, like working in a file room filing or shredding documents or even stocking
Despite the strict procedural requirements,
background checks remain one of the best
avenues to preparing a defense to negligent
hiring claims. Employers must take great care
to be proactive and develop non-discriminatory and unbiased practices and methods to hire
qualified applicants. However, employers need
to be cognizant of their industry and the types
of applications they may receive. Since it is
impossible to know who will apply for a particular position, employers should not create
rules that effectively excludes applicants with
criminal histories. Employers should consider
each application fairly and without prejudice.
1. See 22 O.S. §19(F); 63 O.S. §2-410.
2. Id.
3. See Hutchinson v. City of Okla. City, 919 F. Supp. 2d 1163, 1184
(W.D. Okla. 2013) (“Oklahoma law recognizes the tort of negligent hiring and retention. An employer will be held liable if, at the time of the
tortious incident, the employer had reason to believe that the [tortfeasor-employee] would create an undue risk of harm to others.”).
4. See 10 O.S. §404.1; 56 O.S. §1025.2.
5. See 15 U.S.C. §1681 et. seq.; Background checks can be included
in consumer reports. Consumer reports are defined as “any written,
oral, or other communication of any information by a consumer
reporting agency bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit
standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or
collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in
establishing the consumer’s eligibility for . . . employment purposes
….” Id. at 1681a(d)(1).
6. See Id. at (f). (A Consumer Reporting Agency “means any person
which, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis,
regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or
evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties,
and which uses any means or facility of interstate commerce for the
purpose of preparing or furnishing consumer reports.”).
7. See;
8. Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction
Records in Employment Decisions,
arrest_records.html (last visited May 5, 2014); see also Pre- Employment
Inquires and Arrest & Conviction,
inquiries_arrest_conviction.cfm (last visited May 5, 2014).
9. See 15 U.S.C. §1681 et. seq.; Background checks can be included
in consumer reports. Consumer reports are defined as “any written,
oral, or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing,
credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or
mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole
or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer’s eligibility for … employment purposes….”
10. Id. at 1681a(d)(1). 10 Id. at §1681 et. seq.
11. Id.
12. Id.
13. Id.
14. These rules are Oklahoma specific. Each state will have its
own guidelines and considerations. See Employment Background
Check Guidelines, Business Management Daily,
Employment_Background_Check_Guidelines.pdf (Last visited May
5, 2014); see also Pre-Employment Inquiries and Arrest & Conviction, (last
visited May 5, 2014); see also Consideration of Arrest and Conviction
Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, EEOC Enforcement Guidelines, supra.
15. Id.
16. Id.
17. Id.
18. See 42 U.S.C. §2000(e)).
19. See Criminal Justice Fact Sheet, National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People, Incarceration Trends in America, www. (Last visited May 5, 2014).
20. Id.
21. Id.
22. Id.
23. These claims often arise due to a failure to hire claim based on
allegations of discrimination related to age, race, disability, and sex. See
42 U.S.C. §2000e-2(k); see also Meeting of Feb. 16, 2011- EEOC to Examine Treatment of Unemployed Job Seekers, Written Testimony of James
S. Urban, Partner, Jones Day,
urban.cfm (last visited May 5, 2014); see also Women Are Getting Even,
Disparate Impact Claims,
php (Last visited May 5, 2014).
24. See Ricci v. DeStefano 557 U.S. 557, 576- 578 (2009).
25. See Griggs v. Duke Power, 401 U.S. 424 (1971).
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
26. Voltz v. Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., 91 F.App’x 63, 73 (10th Cir.
2004); See Carpenter v. Boeing Co., 456 F.3d 1183, 1187 (10th Cir. 2006)
(“[A] plaintiff may establish a prima facie case of disparate impact
discrimination by showing that a specific identifiable employment
practice or policy caused a significant disparate impact on a protected
group.”) (internal citations omitted).
27. Id. at Voltz, supra.
28. Id. (internal citations omitted); see also Ricci, supra at 578. (“Even
if the employer meets that [business necessity] burden, however, a
plaintiff may still succeed by showing that the employer refuses to
adopt an available alternative employment practice that has less disparate impact and serves the employer’s legitimate needs.”).
29. EEOC “Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures” 29 C.F.R. §1607.4 (D) (Last visited May
5, 2014).
30. See Scrub, Inc., to Pay $3 Million to Settle EEOC Racial Discrimination Suit (EEOC v. Scrub Inc., No. 09 C 4228 (N.D. Ill. consent
decree entered Nov. 9, 2010)
release/11-9-10c.cfm (last visited May 5, 2014).
31. See Drake v. City of Fort Collins, 927 F.2d 1156 (10th Cir. 1991)
(Plaintiff filed suit against the city and police department because of a
two-year college requirement. The court found that plaintiff failed to
establish a disparate impact claim because while 12.5 percent of African Americans were rejected, 18 percent of Caucasians were also
rejected. Hence, the plaintiff was unable to show a statistical evidence
of discrimination.)
32. Voltz, supra.
33. See Waldon v. Cincinnati Pub. Sch., 941 F. Supp. 2d 884, 889 (S.D.
Ohio 2013), motion to certify appeal denied (May 28, 2013)(A state law
required background checks on current school employees, even those
who did not interact with children. The employer terminated 10
employees—nine of whom were African American. A suit ensued and
a motion to dismiss was filed. The court denied the motion and held
that the former employees stated a plausible cause of action because
the employer’s employment practice did not measure aptitude, the
time lapse since the date of the offense or evidence of rehabilitation.
Instead, the policy acted as a complete bar to employment if the applicant had criminal history.)
About The Author
Ruth Addison is a trial lawyer
with McAfee & Taft. Her practice
focuses on labor and employment
and litigation. She is chair of the
OBA Diversity Committee. In
2012, the Tulsa County Bar Association honored her with a President’s Award for her leadership as
chair of its Diversity Development
Committee, which was recognized for its efforts in
developing a program to educate high school students
about legal careers that are often under-represented by
minority groups.
is proud to celebrate its 50th year of providing
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Your membership has made the Program a
success. Thank You. Find out what thousands
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Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
in the LAW
Raising the Bar
The Case for Diversity and Inclusion
in the Legal Profession
By Hannibal B. Johnson
iversity and inclusion, taken together, are the wave of the
future and the sine qua non of organizational excellence.
Andres T. Tapia, in his book, The Inclusion Paradox, captures the essence of the case for diversity and inclusion.
[T]he possibilities for an exponential explosion of creativity, innovation and lifeimproving products and services birthed
through the union of diversity & inclusion
[are evident]. Embracing the mix and
knowing how to make it work will give us
the power to create an alternative, uplifting, and creative vision.
[C]orporations, not-for-profits, government, law enforcement and the military
will have to attract and retain the best talent from multiple labor pools if they are to
survive the talent war. The key to attraction
lies in creating truly inclusive environments. Don’t be fooled by how soft and
effortless that sounds. Inclusion is one of
the hardest things to achieve.1
To its credit, the legal profession has made
and continues to make strides toward diversity and inclusion. But this is a marathon
without a finish line. Pacing and perseverance
are required.
In every sphere of the profession — pre-law
education, paraprofessional training, law
schools, academia, government service, the
criminal justice system, the judiciary, private
practice, law firms, corporate legal departments and more — commitments to and
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
improvements in diversity and inclusion must
be made if equality of opportunity and the
elevation of excellence are to be touchstones.
Moreover, the success of the legal profession
will increasingly turn on its ability to tap into
and leverage the diverse human capital at its
disposal. This too requires careful attention to
diversity and inclusion. Why, more specifically,
do diversity and inclusion matter?
As demographics and economic variables
change, so too must the legal profession. With
respect to diversity and inclusion, adopting an
assertive, proactive posture — leading change
— offers a competitive edge. Internalizing
diversity and inclusion — understanding these
concepts on an intellectual level and living
them out on a practical one — can make an
organization more attractive, profitable and
nimble. Organizational fidelity to several key
propositions will determine the success of
diversity and inclusion undertakings.
Diversity and inclusion are both moral
imperatives and business necessities. The case
for diversity and inclusion is two-dimensional:
one moral, the other economic.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
The moral case for diversity and inclusion is
straightforward and intuitive. Valuing people
— treating others with dignity, respect and
fairness — is a near-universal moral imperative, prized by countless philosophical and
religious traditions. Diversity and inclusion
dovetail with time-honored, widely-shared
America’s leading advocacy
group for the legal profession, the
American Bar Association (ABA),
ranks diversity and inclusion
among its core focus areas.
The business case for diversity and inclusion
has become increasingly pervasive and persuasive. Globalization and demographic shifts
have altered the labor pool and reconfigured
purchasing power. Diverse groups represent
tremendous human capital and consumption
capacity. Organizations that fully appreciate
this new reality will positively alter productivity, creativity and culture, and are likely to
enhance stature in the process.
stimulate behaviors deemed consistent with
organizational core values and necessary for
optimal individual and group performance.
Diversity is. Inclusion may or may not be.
Diversity refers to the differences and similarities between and among individuals in the
context of our shared humanity (e.g., race, gender, age, religion, ability status, sexual orientation and a host of other dimensions of one’s
identity).2 Inclusion suggests affirmative, proactive approaches to highlighting shared interests, respecting differences and affording
everyone the opportunity to reach his/her full
potential.3 Organizational success depends in
substantial part on leveraging diversity and
inclusion into strategic imperatives that support organizational goals.4
Diversity and inclusion work never ends.
There will always be new people to educate,
sectarian strife to resolve, and interpersonal
crises to address. Successfully navigating the
diversity and inclusion voyage requires taking
the long view, thinking critically and strategically5 and planning for sustainability.6 How is
the legal profession faring in terms of diversity
and inclusion?
The legal profession has embraced diversity
and inclusion as central values. Translating
those values into operational imperatives
remains a work in progress.
The Association of American Law Schools
(AALS) highlights diversity and inclusion as
critical to robust learning environments and
essential to excellence in the legal profession.
AALS stresses equal opportunity and supports
affirmative action.7
Contact is necessary, but not sufficient. Inclusion entails more than simply accumulating
persons of varying backgrounds in check-thebox fashion. Leveraging diversity in service of
inclusion requires skilled facilitation that
empowers both organizations and the individuals within them. Inclusion involves not just
recruitment and hiring, but also development,
advancement and retention. A sound diversity
and inclusion strategy should address systemic
barriers to equal opportunity, provide support
systems for everyone and hold organizational
leaders accountable for fashioning a culture in
which success is possible for all.
Federal, state and local governments often
cite diversity and inclusion among their core
values. Government-affiliated attorneys are
thus likely to work for employers who, at a
minimum, acknowledge the importance of
diversity and inclusion and commit to workplaces that embrace differences.8 The degree to
which government subdivisions actualize those
diversity and inclusion values varies widely.
With change comes resistance. Embracing
diversity and inclusion means tackling the
syndrome. Culture change rarely comes easily.
Resistance and roadblocks should be expected
and, just as certainly, confronted. The aim of
meeting diversity and inclusion challenges
head-on is not to stifle dissent, but rather to
America’s leading advocacy group for the
legal profession, the American Bar Association
(ABA), ranks diversity and inclusion among its
core focus areas. The ABA has pledged to
eliminate bias in the legal profession and the
justice system and promote full and equal participation by all persons in all aspects of lawrelated careers.9 The ABA Diversity Committee
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
works to develop suggestions and strategies
for greater diversity in legal education in the
United States.10 This sweeping, explicit embrace
of diversity and inclusion lays the foundation
for front-line changes at all levels of the profession and practice.
The Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
(LCLD), a collective of corporate chief legal
officers and law firm managing partners, is
dedicated to creating a diverse legal profession. LCLD uses its considerable clout to ratchet up the performance of the legal profession in
the realm of diversity and inclusion, building
upon a 2004 document, “Call to Action: Diversity in the Legal Profession,”11 by the chief legal
officers of nearly 100 major corporations. The
Call to Action sought to expand opportunities
for diverse attorneys within the signatory corporations and the law firms with which they
did business.
LCLD cited business justifications for its push
for enhanced diversity and inclusion, impressing upon the corporate community: 1) the
importance of hiring, engaging, developing,
retaining and promoting the best talent, an
impossibility so long as barriers to full participation and success for women, minorities12 and
others remain; and 2) the growing chorus of
complaints from clients and communities about
the failure of the legal profession to closely
mirror real world demographics.13
The call to action that sparked the LCDC
push for diversity and inclusion read, in part:
As Chief Legal Officers, we hereby reaffirm
our commitment to diversity in the legal
profession. Our action is based on the need
to enhance opportunity in the legal profession and our recognition that the legal and
business interests of our clients require
legal representation that reflects the diversity of our employees, customers and the
communities where we do business.
[I]n addition to our abiding commitment to
diversity in our own departments, we pledge
that we will make decisions regarding which
law firms represent our companies based in
significant part on the diversity performance
of the firms. We intend to look for opportunities for firms we regularly use which positively distinguish themselves in this area.
We further intend to end or limit our relationships with firms whose performance
consistently evidences a lack of meaningful
interest in being diverse.14
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The call to action circulated among corporate
counsel throughout the nation. Within a matter
of months, a bevy of corporate titans signaled
their support, including: Shell Oil, General
Motors, Marriott, Dow Chemical, Aon, American Airlines, Merck, UPS, MCI, PepsiCo and
Evidence suggests that the Great Recession
eroded many of the gains spurred by the call to
action. Some consider this proof of the commonly-held perception that diversity and inclusion initiatives too often become expendable in
economic hard times.15
National organizations like the AALS, ABA
and LCDC have become champions of diversity and inclusion. Has this national support
trickled down to Oklahoma?
In terms of the legal profession in Oklahoma,
diversity16 is; but inclusion has not always
been. African Americans, for example, have
long practiced law in the state. For decades following Oklahoma’s acceptance into the Union
in 1907, however, African American attorneys
faced discrimination in ways great and small.
In the early 20th century, an impressive array
of African American lawyers practiced in Indian and Oklahoma Territories, the precursors to
the modern state of Oklahoma. Many established practices in Guthrie, the capital of Oklahoma Territory and, until 1910, the capital of the
state of Oklahoma.17 A Tulsa lawyer and civil
rights advocate, Amos T. Hall, continued the
barrier-breaking tradition of those great men.18
These lawyers faced overt and covert barriers in a state suffused in the ways of the Jim
Crow South. Facing abject racism and discrimination, they nonetheless pushed forward in the
practice of their craft.19
In 1948, a significant de jure barrier to inclusion within the Oklahoma legal profession fell.
In Sipuel v. Board of Regents of the University of
Oklahoma,20 the United States Supreme Court
ruled that the State of Oklahoma must provide
instruction for African Americans on par with
that afforded whites. The case centered on
desegregation of the University of Oklahoma
Law School. Thurgood Marshall, representing
the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP) in a forerunner to
Brown v. Board of Education,21 acted as the lead
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
counsel on the case. Amos T. Hall served as
able progress should offer encouragement and
hope to all.
Sipuel heralded change to de jure exclusion in
the law school context. Nonetheless, full inclusion of African Americans in all facets of the
legal profession proved elusive. De facto exclusion continued long after Sipuel.
Yet another sign of the movement toward
inclusion among the Oklahoma legal profession is an initiative of Tulsa-based corporations
Williams and WPX Energy called “The Pipeline+ Program (Pipeline+).” Pipeline+, working closely with the Northeastern Oklahoma
Black Lawyers Association, goes beyond the discussion of the lack of diversity and, by example
and inspiration, works to close the “diversity
gap.” Pipeline+ identifies, educates, and motivates high school students of color considering
careers in the legal profession. The program
introduces these students to the law school
experience, the practice of law and an assortment of legal practitioners. Pipeline+ also provides financial assistance for law students of
color attending Oklahoma law schools.
In recent years, professional organizations,
corporations, law firms, and others in Oklahoma have made significant strides in terms of
diversity and inclusion. The Oklahoma Bar
Association (OBA) maintains a Diversity Committee whose aims are to: 1) bring more lawyers
of color, women, young lawyers and lawyers
practicing in the public and corporate sectors
into OBA leadership; and 2) promote full and
equal participation by minorities throughout the
profession and practice by increasing opportunities.22 The OBA honors law-related individuals
and organizations with annual Ada Lois Sipuel
Fisher Diversity Awards for promoting diversity
in Oklahoma. The OBA Diversity Committee
presents these awards, first bestowed in 2012 at
a luncheon during the annual OBA Diversity
With organization leadership
aboard, venturing into the waters of
diversity and inclusion becomes
less daunting.
Diversity and inclusion rank as priorities
among professional associations at the local
level too. For example, the Tulsa County Bar
Association maintains a standing Diversity
Development Committee charged with developing diversity within the practice of law and
the TCBA, guiding firms engaged in diversity
recruitment and promoting community outreach.24
The legal profession in Oklahoma has made
noteworthy advances in diversity and inclusion in the judiciary and other high profile
areas of government service. Consider, for
example, the number of African Americans in
key judicial and executive posts.25 This undeni1100
What practical steps might be undertaken to
elevate diversity and inclusion throughout the
legal profession?
How does an academic institution, a law
firm, a corporate legal department or a team of
government lawyers get started on the work of
diversity and inclusion or enhance its ongoing
activities? Ownership by leadership is essential. Buy-in at the top, among those with decision-making and spending authority, sets the
stage for a diversity and inclusion push that is
organic, integrated and sustainable.
With organization leadership aboard, venturing into the waters of diversity and inclusion becomes less daunting. A number of practical steps may enhance the likelihood of
smooth sailing.26 Speaking the language of
diversity and inclusion, without more, is insufficient. Words must be followed with deeds.
Organizations moving toward diversity and
inclusion should: 1) conduct an objective
assessment; 2) create a long-term, integrated
strategy; 3) engage professionals for advice
and guidance; 4) implement programs for hiring, developing, retaining, and promoting
diverse talent; 5) create and sustain training,27
development, and mentoring programs; 6)
institutionalize diversity and inclusion; 7)
develop relationships and share best practices
information with other entities; 8) measure
success through appropriate metrics; 9) incen-
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
tivize and reward positive behaviors; and 10)
hold people accountable for results.
ductivity, a less agile workforce and missed
market opportunities).
What philosophy underlies the foregoing
measures? Stated differently, what individual
and organizational capacity fosters a culture in
which diversity and inclusion thrive?
The legal profession is no exception to the
rule. Cultural competency enhances the ability
of lawyers to relate to clients, co-workers, fellow
practitioners and the community at large.29
To what extent should resistance to and roadblocks in the way of cultural competency be
anticipated? If and when encountered, how
might such pushback be addressed?
If diversity and inclusion rank highly among
organizational imperatives, then it follows that
developing individual and collective capacity
around these complementary principles should
be a first-order priority. That capacity is generally known as cultural competency.28
Cultural competency speaks to a person’s
awareness, attitudes, knowledge and skills
around matters of diversity and inclusion.
Again, diversity refers explicitly to the ways in
which individuals differ from one another.
Implicitly, it suggests that beyond such differences lie core commonalities — shared interests
— upon which to build a common future. Inclusion signals embracing others; recognizing that
people are inextricably intertwined; extending
dignity and respect to all members of the human
Cultural competency suggests an awareness
of one’s own cultural identity and views about
differences, coupled with a willingness to learn
about and build upon the varying cultural and
community norms of those with whom one
comes into contact. It implies an understanding of the within-group differences that make
each individual unique, but also an appreciation for the between-group variations that add
richness and texture to our legal apparatus, our
institutions and our nation as a whole.
Cultural competency has both moral and
economic dimensions. It serves philosophical
principles of fairness and justice and furthers
business ends.
From a moral perspective, cultural competency promotes respect for and appreciation of
the worth and dignity of all people. It therefore
furthers the cause of justice.
Beyond moral considerations, the economics
of cultural competency seem clear. Given rapidly changing demographics and globalization,
those organizations with ill-developed cultural
competency will become increasingly likely to
suffer economic consequences (e.g., lower proVol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Organizations should anticipate resistance to
diversity and inclusion, if not at the outset,
then later, perhaps in the form of “diversity
fatigue” (i.e., a feeling that diversity and inclusion are getting too much attention or are being
oversold; diversity and inclusion “burnout”).
Effective communication, positive programs
and continuing education help mitigate such
Communications about diversity and inclusion should: 1) articulate a vision; 2) share the
business case; 3) establish a broad definitional
umbrella;30 4) emphasize the integration of
diversity and inclusion into regularized organizational policy, procedure and practice; 5)
stress the support of top management, citing
specific examples of such buy-in; 6) acknowledge and respond to employee concerns; and
7) elevate opportunity and fairness as key
organizational values.
Organizations that provide forums for resistance and signal openness to adjustments and
course corrections may deftly diffuse resistance
to diversity and inclusion. On a sustained
basis, employee networks, councils and task
forces serve as resources for troubleshooting
diversity and inclusion issues and challenges.
Diversity and inclusion programs should be
positive and affirming. They should also be
aligned with the overall vision of the organizational culture. This vision should weave in the
justification for and benefits from diversity and
inclusion and paint a portrait of what that
means at the individual and group levels.
The continuing education needed to address
criticism of and backlash toward diversity and
inclusion begins at the top. Diversity and inclusion efforts fail in the absence of top-level commitment and leadership by example.31
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Resistance should not be the basis for forgoing diversity and inclusion work or ending it
prematurely. If that resistance manifests itself
as diversity fatigue, consider co-optation (i.e.,
bringing in critics to help reshape and refocus
diversity and inclusion initiatives in ways that
instill new vitality and vigor). Roadblocks and
resistance and/or diversity fatigue need not be
allowed to derail otherwise sound diversity
and inclusion programs.
The case for diversity and inclusion has at
least two dimensions: one moral; the other,
economic. The moral case for is straightforward. Valuing diversity and inclusion is the
right thing to do. It is about respect for the dignity and worth of self and others.
Though the moral underpinnings of diversity and inclusion feel intuitive and natural, we
often have difficulty living up to them. We find
ways to distinguish and divide instead of
coalesce and collaborate. For those who need
an extra nudge to move into the realm of diversity and inclusion, the business case may provide just the right impetus.
Research continues to cement the business
case for diversity and inclusion. When organizations invest in diversity and inclusion, the
dividends include: (1) an increased talent pool;
2) improved retention, employee engagement
and teamwork that lead to diminished conflict
and litigation; 3) enhanced customer/client
relations, which translates into increased market opportunities; and 4) expanded creativity
and innovative solutions from a variety of perspectives that yield competitive advantage in
the marketplace.32
Economists urge that we are each motivated
by our individual self-interest. Diversity and
inclusion, properly led and managed, serve
that interest. Understanding, appreciating and
valuing diversity and then working toward
inclusive organizational cultures, is the principled course. It is also the economically prudent
1. Andres T. Tapia, The Inclusion Paradox—The Obama Era and the
Transformation of Global Diversity (Lincolnshire, Illinois: Hewitt Associates 2009), at 15.
2. Diversity includes characteristics and identities beyond the narrow categories enumerated in equal opportunity and affirmative
action non-discrimination statutes.
3. Dr. Judith Palmer formulated three diversity and inclusion paradigms: 1) The Golden Rule; 2) Right the Wrongs; and 3) Value the
Differences. The author suggests a fourth paradigm, Takatoka, a Cherokee word meaning, roughly, “standing together.” The Takatoka paradigm subsumes the others, but rests upon notions of shared space and
mutual interests. See Three Paradigms for Diversity Change Leaders,
adapted by The Koi Group © 2001 from an original article written by
Judith D. Palmer, Three Paradigms for Diversity Change Leaders, available
at (last visited Nov. 29, 2013).
4. See, e.g., Society for Human Resource Management, Diversity_
CLA_Definitions_of_Diversity_Inclusion.ppt (last visited Dec. 6, 2013);
“How We Define Diversity and Inclusion,” Cornell University, Division
of Budget and Planning, (last visited Dec. 6,
2013); “What is the Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion?,” Diversity University Newsletter, Sept. 27, 2011, available at http://tinyurl.
com/d89eukw (last visited Dec. 6, 2013).
5. See generally, Thomas, David A., Diversity as Strategy, Harvard
Business Review, Sept. 2004, available online at
mh4ytoy (last visited Nov. 26, 2013).
6. See generally, Thomas, David A., and Robin Ely, Making Differences Matter: A New Paradigm for Managing Diversity, Harvard Business
Review, Sept. 1, 1996; William Sonnenschein, The Diversity Toolkit: How
You Can Build and Benefit from a Diverse Workforce (New York, NY:
McGraw Hill 1999).
7. The Association of American Law Schools, Statement on Diversity,
Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action,
book_sgp_div.php (last visited Dec. 1, 2013).
8. Diversity and inclusion at the federal level is instructive. In
Executive Order 13583: Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide
Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce,
President Barack Obama noted: “Our Nation derives strength from the
diversity of its population and from its commitment to equal opportunity for all. We are at our best when we draw on the talents of all parts
of our society, and our greatest accomplishments are achieved when
diverse perspectives are brought to bear to overcome our greatest challenges.” See Executive Order 13583, available at http://tinyurl.
com/3vdzteh (last visited Dec. 1, 2013); U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Government-wide Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, 2011,
(last visited Dec. 1, 2013).
9. See (last
visited Nov. 24, 2013).
10. See generally, (last visited Nov. 30,
11. See
12. Caution should be exercised in the use of the term “minority”
as a referent to persons who are not members of the dominant social
group in the United States (i.e., European Americans). Some consider
the word to be a pejorative reference to socioeconomic status rather
than a mere shorthand for “non-white” status. Still others view
“minority” as connoting someone “less than,” and for that reason
reject the term as having the potential to cause psychic damage to its
targets. “People of color” is a less objectionable general term for nonwhite people when addressing issues of race and ethnicity. Specific
references to various dimensions of diversity are more appropriate
than the catch-all “minority” (e.g., African Americans; Latinos; the
LGBT community; Muslims).
13. See
ment.html (last visited Nov. 24, 2013).
14. Roderick A. Palmore, then CLO of Sara Lee Corporation and a
member of the board of directors of the Association of Corporate
Counsel (“ACC”), wrote the Call to Action. The ACC board endorsed
the Call to Action at its Oct. 24, 2004, meeting. See
neyu72l (last visited Nov. 24, 2013).
15. Imad Abdullah, “Is the Call to Action Working?,” Diversity
Matters, Baker Donelson (Spring 2011), available at http://tinyurl.
com/nok9dmj (last visited Dec. 4, 2013).
16. “Diversity” encompasses a wide array of differences. Major
identity markers or core dimensions of diversity often include: race,
ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation,
age, ability status, religion, and socioeconomic status. The author
speaks primarily to race in this section on account of personal experience and intellectual/academic familiarity.
17. Early African American legal eagles included: B. C. Franklin
(Ardmore, Rentiesville, and Tulsa); E. I. Saddler (Guthrie, Muskogee,
and Tulsa); George W.F. Sawner (Guthrie); W. H. Twine (Guthrie and
Muskogee); George N. Perkins (Guthrie); Robert Emmett Stewart
(Guthrie); G. W. P. Brown (Guthrie), A. L. Ayers (Langston); William H.
Harrison (Tulsa and Oklahoma City); and James Coody Johnson
(Wewoka). Bruce Fisher and Jerome Holmes, African American Lawyers
in Oklahoma, 75 Oklahoma Bar Journal 66 (Sept. 11, 2007) (Special Centennial Issue of the Oklahoma Bar Journal), at 1; John Hope Franklin and
John Whittington Franklin, eds., My Life and an Era — The Autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State
University Press, 1997), at 51.
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Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
18. Amos T. Hall collaborated with Thurgood Marshall, who later
became the first African American United States Solicitor General and
United States Supreme Court Justice, on important civil rights cases. In
1969, Hall was appointed special judge of the District Court of Tulsa
County. He served until 1970, when voters elected him to the post of
associate district judge for Tulsa County— the first African American
to be elected to a county-wide office and the first African American to
be elected a judge in Oklahoma. He won the post with more than fiftypercent of the vote in a four-man primary. See, e.g., Hannah D. Atkins,
Hall, Amos T. (1896 – 1971), Oklahoma Historical Society’s Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture,
(last visited Nov. 25, 2013).
19. See generally, My Life and an Era—The Autobiography of Buck
Colbert Franklin xiii-xxii (John Hope Franklin and John Whittington
Franklin, eds., Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press
1997). Hannibal B. Johnson, Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in
Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District (Austin, Texas: Eakin Press, 1998), at
105 - 106.
20. Sipuel v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, 332 U.S.
631 (1948).
21. Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
22. See generally, Oklahoma Bar Association Committee Annual
Reports for 2012, available at (last visited
Nov. 30, 2013).
23. See generally, (last visited Nov. 30,
24. See Tulsa County Bar Association,
join-a-committee (last visited Dec. 1, 2013).
25. Tom Colbert, chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court;
David B. Lewis, associate judge, Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals;
Vickie Miles-LaGrange, chief judge, United States District Court for the
Western District of Oklahoma; Carlos Chappelle, presiding judge,
Tulsa County District Court; and Danny C. Williams, Sr., United States
attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
26. See, e.g., Diversity in the Legal Profession: Next Steps, American Bar
Association, 2011, available at (last visited Nov. 29, 2013).
27. Diversity and inclusion education should focus on the following key learning objectives: 1) promoting mutual respect; 2) creating
awareness; 3) stimulating strategic thinking; and 4) enhancing critical
28. See National Center for Cultural Competence, “Conceptual
Frameworks/Models, Guiding Values and Principles,” http://nccc. (last visited Dec. 5,
2013). According to the National Center for Cultural Competence,
cultural competency requires that organizations:
[H]ave a defined set of values and principles, and demonstrate
behaviors, attitudes, policies and structures that enable them to
work effectively cross-culturally[;] have the capacity to (1) value
diversity, (2) conduct self-assessment, (3) manage the dynamics
of difference, (4) acquire and institutionalize cultural knowledge
and (5) adapt to diversity and the cultural contexts of the communities they serve[;] incorporate the above in all aspects of
policy making, administration, practice, service delivery and
involve systematically consumers, key stakeholders and communities. Cultural competence is a developmental process that
evolves over an extended period. Both individuals and organizations are at various levels of awareness, knowledge and skills
along the cultural competence continuum.
See also, Terry L. Cross, Barbara J. Bazron, Karl W. Dennis, and Mareasa
R. Isaacs, Towards a Culturally Competent System of Care: A Monograph on
Effective Services for Minority Children Who Are Severely Emotionally Disturbed: Volumes I, II, and III (Washington, D.C.: CASSP Technical Assistance Center, Georgetown University, March 1989), available online at
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014 (last visited Dec. 5, 2013). Key parts of the
work of the National Center for Cultural Competence are based on the
work of Cross, Bazron, Dennis, and Isaacs.
29. See generally, Katherine Frink-Hamlett, “The Case for Cultural
Competency,” New York Law Journal, April 25, 2011, available at http:// (last visited Dec. 4, 2013).
30. Adopting a comprehensive and clear definition of diversity will
help tamp down resistance to diversity and inclusion initiatives. The
definition should be broad enough to include race, ethnicity, national
origin, gender, parental status, religion education, physical abilities,
age, sexual orientation, work status, functional expertise, political/
ideological persuasion, and much more. “Diversity” should capture
the various and sundry differences people bring to the table.
31. What might organizations do to ensure leadership support of
diversity and inclusion?: 1) help strengthen the facilitation and intervention skills of leaders to equip them to counter verbal and nonverbal resistance to diversity and inclusion; 2) hire coaches to help
leaders hone their skills in addressing employees who raise concerns
about potential bias as a result of diversity inclusion efforts; 3) offer
opportunities to enhance leaders’ team-building and conflict resolution skills; 4) create opportunities for leaders to demonstrate their
support for and understanding of diversity and inclusion; 5) require
leaders to participate in outside community organizations (i.e., associations, nonprofit boards) in which they are exposed to communities outside their own demographic and socio-economic backgrounds; 6) make
diversity and inclusion a core leadership competency against which to
develop, assess, and promote the next generation of organization leaders; and 7) link leaders’ compensation to performance objectives related
to recruiting, developing, and advancing a diverse group of employees.
Adapted in part from Workplace Diversity: How to Tackle Resistance,
Catalyst, May 13, 2009, (last visited Oct. 31,
2011); Gary S. Topchik, Confronting Negativity in the Workplace, http:// (last visited Oct.
31, 2011).
32. Marcus Robinson, Charles Pfeffer, and Joan Buccigrossi, “Business Case for Inclusion and Engagement,” 2003, available at http:// (last visited Dec. 5, 2013).
About The Author
Hannibal B. Johnson, a Harvard Law School graduate, is an
author, attorney, consultant and
college professor. Mr. Johnson’s
work focuses primarily on diversity
and inclusion, African American
history and culture and community leadership. He teaches at
Oklahoma State University and the University of
Oklahoma and previously taught at the University of
Tulsa College of Law. He has authored many books and
a play on diversity and African American history. Mr.
Johnson has received numerous awards and honors for
his work and community service.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Real Estate Law Section
Marketable Record Title: A Deed
Which Conveys Only the Grantor’s
‘Right, Title and Interest’ Can Be a
‘Root of Title’
By Kraettli Q. Epperson
Some title examiners are suggesting that it is
the law in Oklahoma that: if a deed expressly
states that it is conveying the “right, title and
interest” of the grantor, then such deed cannot
serve as a “root of title” (sometimes referred to
herein as the “root”) under the Marketable
Record Title Act (MRTA or the act) (the “nonroot position”).1 If this non-root position prevails, then the MRTA would be rendered essentially useless, because — by statute — all statutory form quit claim deeds and statutory form
warranty deeds (sometimes referred to herein
as “statutory deeds”) only convey the “right,
title and interest” of the grantor regardless of
whether such limiting language is added to the
statutory form deed language.2 Put another
way, since most “links” in any record “chain of
title” consist of such statutory deeds, if this
non-root position prevails, none of these “links”
will be treated as the root for anyone’s chain of
The MRTA has been an incredibly strong tool
for over 50 years in Oklahoma, since its adoption in 1963, because it extinguishes all real
property claims of interest — both valid and
invalid — arising before a conveyance (i.e.,
deed or decree) known as the root, and this act
confers marketable record title on the grantee
in such root (and its assignees). The MRTA
makes titles safe and easily transferrable, by
eliminating not only stray claims, but also
originally valid, but old and unused, claims of
interest.3 Such ancient claims are extinguished
under the act when the local land records show
no activity by the “pre-root” interest claimant
asserting an ownership interest, within the
30-year-old period subsequent to the root.4
As stated by the Oklahoma Supreme Court
in a 1982 case: “Legal effect is, in some instances,
accorded by the Act [MRTA] to the recording of
void instruments. This is consistent with the statute’s objectives of limiting the necessity of
title investigation to records which post-date
the root of title and of facilitating land title
Such act creates valid marketable record title
automatically, without the intervention of a
court; this produces the beneficial effect of promoting the certainty of title while eliminating
the expense of litigation and the delay of real
estate closings due to requiring curative lawsuits
(e.g., probates and quiet title actions).6 As stated
in the most recent 1990 version of the Prefactory
Note in the Uniform Laws Commission discussion of the Model Marketable Title Act:
The basic idea of the Marketable Title Act is to
codify the venerable New England tradition of
conducting title searches back not to the original creation of title, but for a reasonable period
only. The Model Act is designed to assure a title
searcher who has found a chain of title starting
with a document at least 30 years old that he
need search no further back in the record.
The period of time established under the act
to review the land records under both the
Model Marketable Title Act and the Oklahoma
version was initially 40 years and was then
shortened to 30 years.7
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
This cleansing action, which eliminates
ancient “unused” interests, fosters the public
policy of maximizing the productivity of land
by implementing the axiom of “use it or lose
it.” This policy is also reflected in the concept
of title by prescription (i.e., adverse
Under the MRTA, the instrument known as
the “root of title” (the root) is described as:
(e) “Root of title” means that conveyance
or other title transaction in the chain of
title of a person, purporting to create the interest claimed by such person, upon which he
relies as a basis for the marketability of his title,
and which was the most recent to be recorded as
of a date thirty (30) years prior to the time
when marketability is being determined. The
effective date of the “root of title” is the date on
which it is recorded.
(f) “Title transaction” means any transaction
affecting title to any interest in land, including
title by will or descent, title by tax deed, mineral
deed, lease or reservation, or by trustee’s, referee’s, guardian’s, executor’s, administrator’s,
master in chancery’s, sheriff’s or marshal’s deed,
or decree of any court, as well as warranty
deed, quitclaim deed, or mortgage.9
It should be noted that this list of “title transactions” which can constitute the root, includes
a “warranty deed, [and] quitclaim deed.” Absent
other guidance, this “warranty deed, [and] quitclaim deed” presumably means the statutory
form warranty deed and statutory form quit
claim deed. As noted above, the statutory form
warranty deed “shall convey to the grantee, his
heirs or assigns, the whole interest of the
grantor in the premises described,” and the
statutory form quit claim deed “shall convey
all the right, title and interest of the maker
thereof in and to the premises therein
There is an ongoing discussion among title
examiners in Oklahoma as to whether the
addition of the words: “right, title and interest”
to the granting language of a quit claim deed or
warranty deed changes the fundamental nature
of the deed so that it cannot operate as a root
for the lands being described.
The reasons the non-root position should be
rejected are: 1) the Reed case, on which it is
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
based, is not instructive or dispositive, and 2) it
would undermine the entire system of marketable record title established by the Legislature
through its adoption of the MRTA in 1963 and
implemented by title examiners continuously
since then.
The Reed Case
This non-root position is based principally
on the holding of a 1945 Oklahoma Supreme
Court case which dealt with a dispute between
a grantor and a grantee in a warranty deed.
The dispute concerned what portion of the
lands described in a warranty deed are covered
by the warranty language in the deed, when
the granting clause is preceded by language
limiting such conveyance to the “right, title
and interest” of the grantor.11
As stated in the syllabus by the Reed court:
¶0 1. COVENANTS - Covenant of warranty
where granting clause of deed contained words
“all their right, title and interest in and to”
preceding description of property. In the granting clause of a deed the words, “all their
right, title and interest in and to,” preceding the description of the real property,
limits the grant to the present interest of
the grantor, and the covenant of warranty
refers only to the right, title and interest of
the grantor in the premises at the time of
the conveyance. Kimbro v. Harper, 113 Okla.
46, 238 P. 840, is overruled in so far as it
conflicts herewith.
The Reed holding should not have any impact
on the interpretation of the MRTA because its
facts and argument do not affect the implementation of the MRTA, for the following reasons:
1. The Reed case turned on a) the actual
knowledge of the grantee of the defect in title,
b) the record title reflecting such defect, and c)
the intent of the two parties. The decision was
not really based on the addition of the “right,
title and interest” language to the warranty
deed. The Reed court explains its rationale as
¶8 The plaintiff contends that grantors at the time
held title to 23/24ths undivided interest in the land
described; that the words, ‘all their right, title and
interest in and to’, preceding the legal description of
the land conveyed, were qualifying words, which
expressly limited the grant to the interest in the
land then held by the grantors. The defendant contends that such words do not cut down the interest
conveyed to any limited amount, but warrants the
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
title to the entire interest in the land covered by the
legal description.
¶9 The contention of the defendant is without
merit where the record shows that the grantor
did not have title to the entire interest in the
land, and the grantee knew it, and it was not
the intention of the parties that the deed
should convey more than the grantor had in
the land. AND
2. There was no discussion of the MRTA in
the 1945 Reed case, because the MRTA was not
even adopted until 1963. Under the MRTA, the
nature of marketable record ownership of land
is fundamentally changed to be based on a
limited 30-year review of record title, instead
of a review all the way back to the issuance of
the patent from the sovereign. This new procedure for determining the true owners of real
property involves extinguishing all pre-root
interests and vesting superior title to the holder
of title under the root and his/her assigns,
against all claimants. This is without regard to
whether such pre-root claims would otherwise
be valid and senior. In other words, due to the
new effect of the MRTA, contrary to the holding in Reed, the grantor in the root can “convey
more than the grantor had in the land.”
Even a void instrument (i.e., a void tax deed)
which — by its nature — makes no representation of ownership of the whole interest, can be
a valid root of title and create marketable
record title.12
If the impact of the non-root position was
applied to only those deeds with such “right,
title and interest” language added to the granting clause, the impact would be limited to
excluding such deeds — which are probably
few in number — from consideration as a root.
Examiners would have to find a root instrument — at least 30 years old — which did not
contain such a limitation. Subsequent post-root
conveyances, which comprise the required
30-year unbroken and unchallenged chain,
could contain such a restriction, since the
holder of the title under the unrestricted root
instrument would be treated as claiming and
conveying a full non-limited interest, and the
subsequent grantors would be passing such
interest forward.13
However, because a statutory form quit claim
deed conveys only “all the right, title and inter1106
est of the maker,” and a statutory form warranty deed only conveys “the whole interest of
the grantor” — regardless of whether or not
someone adds to the statutory deed form the
language limiting its grant to the right, title
and interest of the grantor — if such non-root
position prevails, then not only will the possibility of a deed being a root be denied to those
expressly limited deeds, but the potential to be
a root will also be denied to any statutory
form deed.14
Such a negative result would be contrary to
both 1) the presumption that all legislative
enactments are to be interpreted in a way so as
to carry out their stated purpose, and are not
treated as a nullity,15 and 2) the act’s stated
intent to extinguish old claims.16
If the non-root position prevails, this would
force a title examination to extend beyond the
legislatively-mandated 30-year period, to look
for a “conveyance or other title transaction”
which is neither an expressly limited deed nor
a statutory form deed. Presumably, the only
instruments which then could be considered as
a possible root would be court proceedings,
such as probate and quiet title decrees. This
fails to add any benefit to the title examination
process because such decrees are already
deemed uncontestable after 10 years under the
Simplification of Land Titles Act.17
In the face of 1) the problems identified above
with relying on the Reed case, 2) the express language of the MRTA, 3) the inherent statutorilyimposed limitation on all statutory form deeds
to conveying the “right, title and interest” of the
grantor, and 4) the disastrous retrograding
impact on the title examination process, the nonroot position must be rejected.
1. 16 O.S. §§71-78.
2. 16 O.S. §18: “A quitclaim deed, made in substantial compliance
with the provisions of this chapter, shall convey all the right, title and
interest of the maker thereof in and to the premises therein described.”;
16 O.S. §19: “A warranty deed made in substantial compliance with the
provisions of this chapter, shall convey to the grantee, his heirs or
assigns, the whole interest of the grantor in the premises described...”.
3. 16 O.S. §73: “...All such interests, claims or charges, however denominated, whether legal or equitable, present or future, whether such interests,
claims or charges are asserted by a person sui juris or under a disability,
whether such person is within or without the state, whether such person is
natural or corporate, or is private or governmental, are hereby declared to be null
and void.
4. 16 O.S. §71: Any person having the legal capacity to own land in this
state, who has an unbroken chain of title of record to any interest in land for
thirty (30) years or more, shall be deemed to have a marketable record title to
such interest as defined in Section 78 of this title, subject only to the matters
stated in Section 72 of this title. ...”
5. Mobbs v. City of Lehigh, 1982 OK 149, ¶17.
6. The Oklahoma Marketable Record Title Act, Tulsa Law Journal (Vol. 9,
No. 1, 1973, pg. 74) See Bennett v. Whitehouse, 690 F. Supp. 955, 962 (U.S.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Dist. Ct. W. Dist. OK. 1988). Also see Anderson v. Pickering, 1975 OK CIV
APP 42, ¶16. And see “Anderson v. Pickering and the Marketable Record Title
Act,” by H. Henley Blair and Henry Rheinberger 51 OBJ 2517 (1980).
7. 16 O.S.§71 (Session Laws 1970, c. 92, §1, eff. July 1, 1972).
8. 60 O.S.§333, and 12 O.S.§93(4).
9. 16 O.S.§78.
10. 16 O.S. §19; 16 O.S. §18; real estate attorneys typically refer to the
statutory “quit claim deed” as a “quit claim deed,” but they commonly
refer to the statutory “warranty deed” as a “general warranty deed” to
distinguish it from a “special warranty deed. A “special warranty deed”
gives all of the usual present and future warranties found in a general
warranty deed (i.e., 16 O.S.§19), except that, if such defects or encumbrances arise before the grantor/warrantor came into title, they would
not be covered. Whayne v. McBirney 1945 OK 42, ¶¶0, 14. See the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission’s standard form UNIFORM CONTRACT
OF SALE OF REAL ESTATE: RESIDENTIAL SALE (11-2013) which provides: “Seller agrees to sell and convey by General Warranty Deed, and
Buyer agrees to accept such deed...”.
11. Reed v. Whitney, 1945 OK 354
12. Mobbs v. City of Lehigh, 1982 OK 149, see ¶1, 15, 16, and ¶17.
13. 16 O.S.§29; the “shelter rule” is explained in Knowles v. Freeman,
1982 OK 89, ¶18 and 22.
14. 16 O.S. §§18 & 19; and 16 O.S.§§40 and 41.
15. Curtis v. Board of Educ. of Sayre Public Schools, 1995 OK 119, ¶9.
16. 16 O.S.§73.
17. 16 O.S.§61-63, 66.
About The Author
Kraettli Q. Epperson is a partner with Mee Mee Hoge &
Epperson in Oklahoma City. He
focuses on oil/gas and real property matters (expert, mediation,
title exam and lawsuits). He
chairs the OBA Real Property
Law Section’s Title Examination
Standards Committee, teaches
“Oklahoma Land Titles” at OCU
School of Law and edits West’s Oklahoma Real Estate
Forms. His website is
In remembrance
of our former partner and colleague
and his distinguished career serving
the cause of justice as the longest sitting judge
on the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Thanks to you,
was a success!
Special thanks to those who partnered with the OBA Law Day Committee
to support Law Day in Oklahoma
Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Colbert
OBA President Renée DeMoss
Dr. Lori Basey
Susan Krug
Linda Herndon, Massage Therapist
Astrud Ray-Kubier, Massage Therapist
Mike Wilds
Beale Professional Services
Big Anthony’s Barbecue, Tulsa
Canton Lake Association
Carter County Courthouse Staff
Derryberry & Naifeh LLP
Hall Estill PC
Lamar Outdoor Advertising
Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc.
Legal Graphics Inc.
Mordy & Mordy PC
No Boundaries International
OBA Human Trafficking Task Force
Oklahoma Attorneys Mutual Insurance Company
Oklahoma County Bar Auxiliary
Overlook Café, Canton
Phillips Murrah PC
Pierce Couch Hendrickson Baysinger and Green, LLP
Soup Soup Catering and Takeout
Students and Faculty at Oklahoma City University
School of Law
Tulsa County Bar Association
University of Tulsa College of Law
Vital Outdoor Advertising
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Forensic Accounting | Valuation Services | Litigation Support | Computer Forensics
“The computer has become the
file cabinet of thoughts, feelings,
plots, conspiracies, and assets.”
~ Brook Schaub
Computer Forensics Manager
405.858.5504 | w w w.e i d e b a i l l y. c o m
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Rural Lawyers Tout Big
Possibilities in Small Towns
By Kirby Lee Davis
Three recent deaths have left District Court
Judge Michael D. DeBerry with only two attorneys serving one of the areas he covers — and
both surviving practitioners are 65 years old or
“We need lawyers in southeastern Oklahoma,”
said DeBerry, who serves McCurtain, Choctaw
and Pushmataha counties. “Antlers is dying,
and Hugo is dying. We really need lawyers.”
Like many states, Oklahoma faces a growing
shortage of legal help in its rural communities,
with more needs expected as aging lawyers
retire or pass on. While estimating demand
remains difficult, with many attorneys’ careers
stretching past traditional retirement age, the
Oklahoma Bar Association Law Schools Committee touted the broad rural opportunities to
40 University of Tulsa students Friday.
“There are attorneys out there who, like
Bruce, are covered with work, because there’s
only three or four attorneys in town, and they
have been there forever,” said Dru Tate, a 2010
TU law school grad who works at Bruce Coker
and Associates of Okemah. “They don’t get a
lot of students fresh out of law school.”
Many attorneys spoke warmly of the advantages rural markets provide.
“For me, it’s the quality of life,” said 2012 TU
law school graduate Ryan Olsen, who started
with Vinita’s Logan and Lowry as an intern
and never left.
An avid hunter and fisher, he said he appreciates that firm’s low-key atmosphere and oneminute commute from his rural home.
“You just never know what’s going to walk
in the door,” he said of his clients’ needs, which
range from family and criminal law to coalmining legislation and health care. “I’ve really
enjoyed the variety of things I do every day.”
Small Oklahoma towns are experiencing a need
for more lawyers, providing opportunities for those
willing to relocate. Photographer: Emily Buchanan
Several attorneys said the rural workload
remains quite steady, with a wide variety of
cases readily available.
“We can do almost anything you want to do,
other than securities, mergers and acquisitions,” said David Butler, a member of the Enid
firm Mitchell and DeClerck.
Marion Fry, a 1999 TU graduate, appreciated
his opportunities, both as assistant district
attorney in LeFlore County and a Choctaw
Nation Court of Appeals judge.
“It’s just like being in a big town,” he said of
his Poteau posts. “People in small towns need
attorneys just like people do in large cities. I
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
think you’re missing an opportunity if you
don’t think about small-town Oklahoma.”
Newly married, with a baby on the way, Tate
appreciated the flexibility provided by Coker’s
law firm.
“It turned into the perfect job for me,” she
said. “I do drive to Okemah two days a week.
The other days I work from home.”
Tate said many potential positions may be
identified by simply surveying existing practitioners and their ages. Several attorneys recommended opening friendly relations with
rural OBA chapters, judges and their clerks to
learn local needs and cultures.
“Some of the valuable insight you may get
would be the cases you want to stay away
from, if you know what I mean,” Tate said.
Butler urged students to study demographic
resources like the Oklahoma Directory of Lawyers to discover places such as Fairview, which
he said has one attorney 86 years old, one 70
and one in his 40s.
“Be persistent,” said Butler. “Do your
research. Learn about the community. Learn
about the lawyers who are there. You can find
a spot.”
Tate touted the non-competitive environment among rural lawyers, with many willing
to farm out business to new practices, associates or partners.
Rural law practices offer many benefits, especially
a healthy balance of work and family life/recreation.
Photographer: Emily Buchanan
While salaries may trail some urban positions, several attorneys said earnings can still
be quite rewarding. A rural area’s lower cost of
living balances out some salary differences,
Walker said.
“Small towns are great,” Fry said. “You get to
know people, too. The people are great. They
take time to listen to you. They care about you.
They want to know how you are. Not how you
are, but how you are, really.”
About The Author
“They have more business than they can
handle,” said retired Ardmore District Judge
Tom Walker, noting some rural attorneys may
be more willing to rent or share office space
than take on an associate or partner.
Kirby Lee Davis is the Tulsa
bureau chief for The Journal Record.
This article, originally published
in The Journal Record March 31,
2014 issue, is reprinted with permission from the publisher.
“You’ve then got the best of both worlds,” he
said. “You have the knowledge of an experienced attorney, but you’re also on your own.”
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
OBA Awards:
Call for
Once a year, attorneys are recognized and
praised for the work they do the other 364
days of the year. That day comes during the
annual meeting when the OBA Awards are
given out to the state’s most outstanding
attorneys and legal organizations. If you
know an attorney who deserves recognition
for their professionalism, selflessness or
overall excellence, please nominate them.
It only takes a moment to nominate someone, and it could mean the world to a bar
colleague or organization that is making
Oklahoma a better place.
•Anyone can submit an award nomination, and anyone nominated can win.
•The deadline in August 15, but get
your nomination in EARLY!
•Nominations don’t have to be long;
they can be as short as a one-page
letter to the OBA Awards Committee.
•The entire nomination cannot exceed
five single-sided, 8 1/2” x 11” pages.
(This includes exhibits.)
•Make sure the name of the person
being nominated and the person (or
organization) making the nomination
is on the nomination.
•If you think someone qualifies for
awards in several categories, pick one
award and only do one nomination.
The OBA Awards Committee may consider the nominee for an award in a
category other than one in which you
nominate that person.
Annual Meeting 2013: Da
City receives the Fern Ho vid Prater of Oklahoma
lland Courageous Lawyer
Award from 2013 OBA
President Jim Stuart.
•You can mail, fax or email your
nomination (pick one). Emails should
be sent to [email protected]
Fax: 405-416-7089. Mail: OBA Awards
Committee, P.O. Box 53036, Oklahoma
City, OK 73152
Outstanding County Bar Association
Award – for meritorious efforts and activities
2013 Winners: Comanche County Bar Association, Osage County Bar Association
Hicks Epton Law Day Award – for
individuals or organizations for noteworthy
Law Day activities
2013 Winners: Custer County Bar Association,
LeFlore County Bar Association
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Golden Gavel Award – for OBA Committees and Sections performing with a high
degree of excellence
2013 Winner: Lawyers Helping Lawyers
Liberty Bell Award – for non-lawyers or
lay organizations for promoting or publicizing matters regarding the legal system
2013 Winner: Women’s Service and Family
Resource Center of El Reno
Outstanding Young Lawyer Award –
for a member of the OBA Young Lawyers
Division for service to the profession
2013 Winner: Jennifer Castillo, Oklahoma
Earl Sneed Award – for outstanding
continuing legal education contributions
2013 Winners: Donna J. Jackson, Oklahoma
City; D. Kenyon Williams Jr., Tulsa
Award of Judicial Excellence – for
excellence of character, job performance or
achievement while a judge and service to
the bench, bar and community
2013 Winner: Judge Clancy Smith, Tulsa/
Oklahoma City
Fern Holland Courageous Lawyer Award
– to an OBA member who has courageously
performed in a manner befitting the highest
ideals of our profession
2013 Winners: Albert J. Hoch Jr., Oklahoma
City; David Prater, Oklahoma City; Micheal
Salem, Oklahoma City
Outstanding Service to the Public Award
– for significant community service by an
OBA member or bar-related entity
2013 Winners: Molly Aspan, Tulsa;
Linda Scoggins, Oklahoma City
Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service
– by an OBA member or bar-related entity
2013 Winners: William J. Doyle, Tulsa;
Gaylene McCallum, Bartlesville
Joe Stamper Distinguished Service
Award – to an OBA member for long-term
service to the bar association or contributions to the legal profession
2013 Winner: Steven Barghols, Oklahoma City
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Neil E. Bogan Professionalism Award –
to an OBA member practicing 10 years or
more who for conduct, honesty, integrity
and courtesy best represents the highest
standards of the legal profession
2013 Winner: Reid E. Robison, Oklahoma City
John E. Shipp Award for Ethics – to an
OBA member who has truly exemplified
the ethics of the legal profession either by
1) acting in accordance with the highest
ethical standards in the face of pressure to
do otherwise or 2) by serving as a role
model for ethics to the other members
of the profession
2013 Winner: Frederick K. Slicker, Tulsa
Alma Wilson Award – for an OBA member who has made a significant contribution
to improving the lives of Oklahoma children
2013 Winner: Ben Loring, Miami
Trailblazer Award – to an OBA member or
members who by their significant, unique
visionary efforts have had a profound
impact upon our profession and/or community and in doing so have blazed a trail
for others to follow.
Not awarded in 2013.
More Helpful Award Info Online
Go to
to find:
• N omination form (You don’t need one, but if
you want one – you’ve got it!)
• A ward winner history (Helpful so you don’t
nominate someone for an award they’ve
already received)
• B ios on the people honored to have awards
named for them
• T ips for writing stronger nominations
(You want your nominee to win, right?)
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Session Nears End, Many Bills
Still Active
By Duchess Bartmess
HB 2536 Signed April 28,
2014. Adds two new sections
of law regarding legal custody of a child with specified
limitations and exceptions.
Although there is less than
two weeks until the last day
the Oklahoma Legislature can
constitutionally meet this session, there is a large number of
active measures still pending.
A number of those measures
continue to be monitored by
the Legislative Monitoring
Committee. The following is
an update on the measures
being watched that have been
discussed in earlier Oklahoma
Bar Journal reports.
HB 2790 Signed April 28,
2014. Modifies probate procedure, adds new requirement
to the elements for petition
for summary administration;
authorizes issuing letters of
special administration without a hearing; alters requirements for notice to creditors
and notice of hearing.
No longer active are HB
2686, HB 2731, HB 3368, SB
1678, SB 1775, SB 1893 and SB
HB 2325 Signed April 7, 2014. Extends civil
immunity during a time of emergency to those
individuals and agencies providing shelter,
adds the federal government to the list of
requesting agencies and adds tornadoes to the
list of natural disasters covered by the statute.
HB 2366 Signed April 22, 2014. Adds new law
to Title 12 creating the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act with the stated purpose of
addressing constitutional rights of persons to
participate in government.
HB 2405 Signed April 21, 2014. Amends section
153 of the Governmental Tort Claims Act limiting liability to provisions of the act regardless
of other state law or the constitution.
SB 1600 Signed April 29,
2014. Adds to the locations
where an officer with probable cause may, without a warrant, arrest a person involved
in an accident who is under the influence of
alcohol, intoxicating liquor, or a controlled
dangerous substance.
SB 1904 Signed April 21, 2014. Modifies the
definition of “Oklahoma assets” under the
Family Wealth Preservation Trust Act.
SB 1993 Signed April 28, 2014. Creates a new
statutory responsibility for support and education by the mother of a child born out of
wedlock; modifies procedures relating to
establishment of paternity of the child; includes
new language to make each parent responsible for support of child; modifies provisions
relating to responsibilities of parent whose
rights have been terminated and as to child if
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
HB 3001 Vetoed April 28, 2014. Specifies procedures regulating visitation if a custodial parent
prevents visitation with the noncustodial parent or hides the child for more than six months,
the noncustodial parent will not have to pay
any ordered child support or alimony for the
time visitation is prevented or child is hidden.
SB 1475 On general order in the House as of
April 9, 2014. Changes the responsibilities of
court-appointed fiduciary reporting requirements; alters termination provisions; and
makes notice of revocation requirements.
SB 1497 House amendments read April 7, 2014.
Provides any person denied access to meetings
of a public body, other than executive sessions
may bring a civil suit for declarative or injunctive relief, or both; authorizes reasonable attorney fees.
SB 1612 House amendments read April 21,
2014. Pertains to interference with visitation
rights of noncustodial parent; modifies procedures related to enforcement of visitation
rights; requires assessment of attorney fees and
court costs; provides forms.
SB 1754 On general order in the House as of
March 31, 2014. New language to require property and casualty insurers licensed in Oklahoma who write commercial insurance to provide, upon written request of a client of the
insurer, the commercial loss history of the
insured for the past 36 months; establishes time
frames and fines for failure to comply.
SB 2089 On general order in House as of April
9, 2014, with title stricken. Adds requirement
that a landlord of a multifamily dwelling of
more than four families shall maintain public
safety and protection from habitual gang or
drug activity; defines “habitual gang or drug
activity;” adds authority of tenant to bring suit
for failure to provide such safety and protection;
grants district attorney authority to prosecute
landlord; district attorney given discretionary
authority to distribute monies recovered.
HB 2338 On general order in Senate as of
March 25, 2014. Exempts from liability any
individual, business, school, or church that
renders emergency care, aid, shelter, or other
assistance during a natural disaster or cata-
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
strophic event unless damage was caused by
the gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct of the individual or entity rendering
the emergency care, aid, shelter, or assistance.
HB 3365 On general order in the Senate as of
March 25, 2014. New law regarding product
liability action brought against a product manufacturer or seller; creates rebuttable presumption applies for the same liability action brought
against a manufacture or seller if it is established that the product was subject to premarket licensing or approval by the federal government; limits application.
The following measures have survived the
major legislative deadlines but have not been
discussed and are still considered to be active:
HB 2667 Senate amendments read April 22,
2014 (stricken title). Modifies the list of crimes
requiring termination of parental rights; directs
the district attorney to file a petition or motion
for termination of parental rights no later than
90 days after the court has ordered the individualized service plan, if the parent has made
no measureable progress in correcting the conditions which caused the child to be adjudicated deprived.
HB 2334 Senate amendments read April 23,
2014 (stricken title, stricken enacting clause).
Amends Section 843.5 of Title 21, relates to child
abuse; clarifies statutory language related to the
definition of child abuse, child sexual abuse, and
child sexual exploitation and adds that nothing
in this bill prohibits any parent or guardian from
using reasonable and ordinary force as a means
of discipline including, but not limited to, spanking, switching, or paddling.
HB 2508 Senate amendments read April 23,
2014. Provides conditions and procedures for
reduction of top individual income tax rate
and addresses adjustment of corporate income
tax rate.
HB 3159 Sent to governor April 21, 2014.
Relates to sentencing powers of the court;
clarifying probation requirement by adding a
private supervision provider of other person
designated by the court; mandates supervision
will be initiated not exceed two years, unless a
petition is filed alleging a violation of any condition of deferred judgment or seeking revocation of a suspended sentence, if filed during
the supervision period.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
HB 3188 Senate amendments read April 23,
2014. Provides procedures regarding limiting
professional liability for voluntary architectural or engineering services; modifying scope of
immunity including immunity for persons
producing risk-assessment reports for specific
structures; excluding liability for loss related to
such services.
HB 3365 Sent to governor April 28, 2014. New
law providing certain rebuttable presumptions
in production liability actions; providing
grounds for rebutting presumptions; providing circumstances for which a product liability
action may be asserted; providing for liability
under certain circumstances.
SB 1141 House amendments read April 22, 2014.
Reduces the fee for civil cases filed in district
court that is credited to the Council on Judicial
Complaints Revolving Fund from $2 to $1.35.
SB 1538 House amendments read April 21, 2014.
Provides any person aggrieved by a violation of
the crime of human trafficking may bring civil
action against those who committed the crime,
establishes statute of limitations for the cause of
action; adds to definition of victim.
SB 1875 Sent to governor April 28, 2014.
Addresses expungement of records. Specifies
application procedures relating to deferred
sentence; sealing of records with exceptions;
authorizes admissibility of records for specified purposes; provides for retroactivity of
certain provisions.
SB 1908 House amendments read April 28, 2014.
Addresses offers of judgment, repeals section
1101 of Title 12 of the Oklahoma Statutes. civil
procedure statute related to procedures concerning an offer, acceptance by plaintiff, notice and
filing in actions to recover money only.
To find the current status of a bill, scroll
down to the bottom of the Oklahoma State
Legislature’s website at www.oklegislature.
gov. More information about bills the OBA is
watching can be found at
About The Author
SB 1720 House amendments read April 28,
2014, (stricken title, stricken enacting clause).
Provides an explanation to imposing a $40 per
month fee for a suspended or deferred sentence for any offense that does not order supervision by the Department of Corrections.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Duchess Bartmess practices in
Oklahoma City and chairs the
Legislative Monitoring Committee. She can be reached at [email protected]
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Travel discounts for OBA members
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Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Century-Old Letter Provides
Judicial Flashback
By Jarrod Beckstrom
Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Samuel W. Hayes sat at his desk on April 22, 1913,
and penned a letter to a man he didn’t know
and would never meet. In fact, that man would
not be born for another 36 years, but the contents of the letter and its relevance today is
uncanny, almost eerie.
the bench and 3) Quality trial courts and access
to justice for all Oklahomans.
Progress has been made in many regards, but
the challenge of protecting the system of justice
is forever ongoing.
Justice Hayes folded the letter
into thirds, stuffed it in an envelope and placed it in a chest at
the First Lutheran Church in
Oklahoma City. It wouldn’t be
read until 100 years later.
The letter was addressed “To
The Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court of The State of Oklahoma,
A.D., 2013.” Chief Justice Tom
Colbert read the letter at a public
ceremony last month, and the
words reached across a century.
After a well-wishing greeting,
the letter’s tone turned occupational and discussed Justice
Hayes’ hopes for the Oklahoma
judiciary in 2013. Two world
wars, 25 state governors and a
multitude of societal changes
later – his words were poignantly relevant to the recent challenges to Oklahoma’s courts.
“I anticipate that this greeting
finds you laboring under a judiciary system, in some respects
improved over our present system,” Hayes wrote and continued to list three areas in which
he hoped progress had been
made: 1) A non-political system
of electing judges, 2) Sufficient
remuneration for judges in order
to attract the best legal talent to
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
“I cannot tell you the uncanny foresight that
Justice Hayes had,” Chief Justice Colbert said
after the reading. “It’s like he was sitting here
with a crystal ball and seeing us sitting here
today, and seeing the issues we are addressing
every day.”
The letter is a fascinating read and a reminder that even though we have come a long way
in 100 years, we must remain vigilant in protecting the third branch and citizens’ rights to
fair and impartial courts free from political
Among those issues was ensuring all citizens
have a “fair shake” in court and the ability to
have a fair trial.
Jarrod Beckstrom is a communications specialist
in the OBA Communications Department.
Vice Chief Justice John Reif pointed out that
the three points Justice Hayes focused on in his
letter were representative of the “three legs of
the stool of judicial independence” and that
“its strength is in all three of its legs…that was
the meaning of judicial independence in 1913
and is the meaning of justice in 2014.”
Chief Justice Samuel W. Hayes
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
New Lawyers Take Oath
oard of Bar Examiners Chairperson Stephanie C. Jones of Clinton announces that 76 applicants
who took the Oklahoma Bar Examination on February 25-26, 2014 were admitted to the Oklahoma Bar Association on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 or by proxy at a later date. Oklahoma Supreme
Court Chief Justice Tom Colbert administered the oath of attorney to the candidates at a swearing-in
ceremony at the State Capitol. A total of 121 applicants took the examination.
Other members of the Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners are Vice-Chairperson Scott E. Williams,
Oklahoma City; Monte Brown, McAlester; Robert D. Long, Ardmore; Bryan Morris, Ada; Loretta F.
Radford, Tulsa; Roger Rinehart, El Reno; Donna L. Smith, Miami; and Thomas M. Wright, Muskogee.
The new admittees are:
Allen, Jesse Lee
Bell, Katheryn Cole
Box, Tyler Corbett
Bruce, Leah Katherine
Caldwell, Jade
Carter, Courtney Elizabeth
Chaudry, Natasha
Clark, Marle Nichelle
Clydesdale, Jonathan Mark
Law school students from TU College of Law and other out-of-state law
schools take the oath to become lawyers.
Compton, Cody Lee
Davis, Christopher Neil
Dow, Ashlyn Elizabeth
Cooper, Shaquana L.
Dean, Angela Dawn
Doyle, Sherry Lynn
Deen, Blake Thomas
Duren, Dylan Tyler
DeFehr, Matthew Richard
Eick, Melissa Jeanne
Dikeman, Jordan Wade
Faith, Ross Bain
Cosner, William Thomas
Curlik, Rodger Vaughn
Dabiri, Hossein
Ferguson, Ryan Scott
Flesch, Dane J
Floyd, David Clay
Garretson, Douglas Martin
Gore, Ronald Marvin
Gray, Daniel Ryan
Harden, Nichole Alexandra
Hill, Rebecca Ann
Students from OU College of Law and OCU School of Law take their
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Hopkins, Robyn
Inhofe, Anna Lee
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Jabara, Rami M.
Morris, Jordan Ashley
Sharp, Alex Michael
Jacoby, Stephanie Noel
Muzaffar, Zane
Shelton, Christopher Dale
Johnson, Jessica L.
Norris, Brandon James
Singer, Ruth Espey
Jones, Hilary Ann
Nuhfer-Whiteman, Jennifer Ann
St John, Alexis Nicole
Jordan, Bayley Carter
Oglesby, Micheal Steven
Stacy, Matthew Alan
Jordan, Courtney Rae
Payton, Rayshon Jamil
Sullivan, Paula Kim
Kovash, Joseph Wade
Perdue, Deborah Patrice
Toppah, JoEtta Marie
Leizear, Alan Raymond
Polchinski, Ryan William
Torgerson, Julie Anne
Lewis, Brad Stockton
Prado, James R.
Trevino, Jaime J.
Loman, Caitlynn Marie
Radovcic, Michael
Tunder, Jennifer Lynn
Luebke, Joseph Karl
Raines, John D.
Virgin, Emily Marie
Mackert, Dean Emerson
Saint, Mathew Scott
Wentz, David Benjamin
Martin, Amber Brianne
Sams, Laura
Wood, John R.
Martin, Kenneth Albert
Scott, Tralynna Lane Sherrill
Young, John Chapman
Make a Difference
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We are a statewide, civil law firm providing legal services to the impoverished and senior population of
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To start making a difference, complete our application and submit it to Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma.
The online application can be found:
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Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Tribal Nations –
Global Impact
The Sovereignty Symposium
June 4 - 5, 2014
Skirvin Hotel
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The Twenty-Seventh Sovereignty Symposium is dedicated to the
life and work of Justice Rudolph Hargrave.
‘Cheyenne Warrior Woman’
The Sovereignty Symposium was established to provide a forum in which ideas concerning common legal issues could be exchanged in a scholarly, non-adversarial
environment. The Supreme Court espouses no view on any of the issues, and the positions taken by the participants are not endorsed by the Supreme Court.
Wednesday Morning
4 CLE credits / 1 ethics included
7:30 – 4:30 Registration Honors Lounge
8:00 – 8:30 Complimentary Continental Breakfast
10:30 – 10:45 Morning Coffee / Tea Break
(This Panel Continues From 1:30 - 5:30)
Crystal Room
MODERATOR: JAMES C. COLLARD, Director of Planning and
Economic Development, Citizen Potawatomi Nation
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma District 5 Representative,
United States House of Representatives
VINAI THUMMALAPALLY, Executive Director, SelectUSA
LARRY V. PARMAN, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce
ENRIQUE VILLAR-GAMBETTA, Honorary Oklahoma Consul
to Peru
DON CHAPMAN, (Côqayohômuwôk), President, Uncas Consulting
Services LLC
MARCUS VERNER, Director, Export Assistance Center, United
States Department of Commerce
CHARLES ‘CHUCK’ D. MILLS, President and CEO,
Mills Machine Company
(This Panel Continues From 3:45 - 5:30)
Centennial 1-2
Presiding Judge, Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Court
THOMAS S. WALKER, (Wyandotte/Cherokee), Appellate Magistrate of the Court of Indian Offenses for the Southern Plains
Region of Tribes, District Judge, (Retired), Brigadier General
(Retired), Oklahoma National Guard
WILLIAM P. BOWDEN, Major General (Retired), United States
Air Force, Baker Commission Member
CATHY CHRISTENSEN, Past President (2012), Oklahoma
Bar Association
CARLA PRATT, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Nancy J.
LaMont Faculty Scholar, Professor, Dickinson Law School,
Pennsylvania State University
LISA OTIPOBY-HERBERT, (Comanche), Justice, Kaw Nation
Supreme Court, Magistrate, Court of Indian Offenses, Bureau of
Indian Affairs
AARON DUCK, Associate District Judge, former Chief Judge of
Chickasaw District Court
TERRY WEST, The West Law Firm
Grand Ballroom A
MODERATORS: DOUGLAS COMBS, (Mvscogee Creek), Justice,
Oklahoma Supreme Court
LEAH HARJO-WARE, (Mvscogee/Yuchi), Attorney
DAVID MULLON, (Cherokee), Chief Counsel, National Congress
of American Indians
EUGENIA CHARLES-NEWTON, (Navajo), Faculty Services
Librarian, Texas Tech School of Law Library, Texas Tech University
JIM JAMES, (Ohkay Owingeh), Deputy Director of Field Operations, Office of Special Trustee for American Indians, Bureau of
Indian Affairs
CHRISTIE JACOBS, Representative, Indian Tribal Governments
Division, Internal Revenue Service
DAVID M. ENGLISH, Professor, School of Law, University
of Missouri
KATHLEEN GUZMAN, Professor, School of Law, University
of Oklahoma
DAVID SMITH, Kilpatrick, Townsend, and Stockton
SHARLENE M. ROUND FACE, Southern Plains Regional Realty
Officer, Bureau of Indian Affairs
Wednesday Afternoon
5 CLE credits / 1.5 ethics included
3:30 – 3:45 Tea / Cookie Break for all Panels
Grand Ballroom D-F
Justice, Oklahoma Supreme Court
(Cheyenne), Chief, Council of the 44, Director, Cheyenne and
Arapaho Tribes Language Program
Bishop of the United Methodist Conference of Oklahoma
Governor, State of Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
President, Oklahoma Bar Association
Chief Justice, Oklahoma Supreme Court
President, Oklahoma City University
Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Canada
Justice, Oklahoma Supreme Court
(Cheyenne), Chief, Council of the 44, Director, Cheyenne and
Arapaho Tribes Language Program
Grand Ballroom D-F
President, Oklahoma City University
Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Canada
Congressman, 4th District of Oklahoma, United States House
of Representatives
(Choctaw), Chief (Retired), Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
(Cheyenne), President and CEO, Autry National Center
Founder and CEO, Institute for the Economic Empowerment
of Women
(Seminole), Master Artist, Former Principal Chief, Seminole
Nation of Oklahoma, Former State Senator, Oklahoma Senate
Crystal Room
MODERATOR: JAMES C. COLLARD, Director of Planning and
Economic Development, Citizen Potawatomi Nation
GAVIN CLARKSON, (Choctaw), Associate Professor, College of
Business, New Mexico State University
DIANE LUPKE, International Economic Development Council
JANIE HIPP, (Chickasaw), Director, Indigenous Food and
Agriculture Initiative, School of Law, University of Arkansas
TIM GATZ, Deputy Director, Oklahoma Department of
TERRY NEESE, Founder and CEO, Institute for Economic
Empowerment of Women
Chickasaw Nation Industries, Inc.
ALISHA MURPHY (Navajo), Buder Scholar, Kathryn M. Buder
Center for American Indian Studies, Washington University
(A Continuation of the Morning Panel)
Centennial 1-2
3:45 – 5:00 ETHICS ADDRESS
JOHN REIF, Vice-Chief Justice, Oklahoma Supreme Court
ALISON CAVE, Vice-President, Oklahoma Attorneys
Mutual Insurance Company, President, The Sovereignty
Symposium Inc.
Grand Ballroom A
MODERATOR: NOMA GURICH, Justice, Oklahoma Supreme
ROBERT E. HAYES, JR., Bishop, United Methodist Conference
of Oklahoma
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
DAVID WILSON, (Choctaw), Reverend, United Methodist
Conference Superintendent, Oklahoma Indian Missionary
GORDON YELLOWMAN, (Cheyenne), Chief, Council of the 44,
Director, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Language Program
C. BLUE CLARK, (Mvscogee Creek), Native American Legal
Research Center, College of Law, Oklahoma City University
HARVEY PRATT, (Cheyenne), Chief, Council of the 44,
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
BARBARA SMITH, (Chickasaw), Justice, Chickasaw Nation
Supreme Court
Book Signing Reception
Oklahoma Judicial Center, 2100 North Lincoln Boulevard
Thursday Morning
4.5 CLE credits / 1 ethics included
7:30 – 4:30 Registration Honors Lounge
8:00 – 8:30 Complimentary Continental Breakfast
10:30 – 10:45 Morning Coffee / Tea Break
Grand Ballroom D-E
MODERATOR: JOHN FISCHER, Judge, Oklahoma Court of
Civil Appeals
STEVEN HAGER, Director of Litigation, Oklahoma Indian
Legal Services
SUE TATE, Court Improvement Project Coordinator, Oklahoma
Administrative Office of The Courts
RITA HART, (Choctaw/Jicarilla Apache), Tribal Program Manager,
Oklahoma Department of Human Services
DIANE HAMMONS, (Cherokee), Assistant Professor, Northeastern State University
TSINENA BRUNO-THOMPSON, (Cherokee), President & CEO,
Oklahoma Lawyers for Children
10:45 - 12:30 PANEL A: GAMING (This Panel Continues
from 1:30 - 5:30
Grand Ballroom D-E
of Gaming Affairs, Division of Commerce, Chickasaw Nation
NANCY GREEN, (Choctaw), Green Law Firm
Acting Chairman, National Indian Gaming Commission
DANIEL LITTLE, Associate Commissioner, National Indian
Gaming Commission
ERNEST L. STEVENS, JR., (Oneida), Executive Director,
National Indian Gaming Association
JASON GILES, (Mvscogee Creek), Executive Director,
National Indian Gaming Association
8:30 – 10:30 PANEL B: CRIMINAL LAW
Centennial 1-2
Court of Criminal Appeals
SANFORD C. COATS, United States Attorney, Western District
of Oklahoma
BARBARA ANNE SMITH, (Chickasaw), Justice, Chickasaw
Nation Supreme Court
ARVO MIKKANEN, (Kiowa/Comanche), Assistant U.S. Attorney,
Western District of Oklahoma
DARREN A. CRUZAN, (Miami), Deputy Director, Office of
Justice Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs
ROBERT DON GIFFORD, (Cherokee), Assistant U.S. Attorney,
Western District of Oklahoma
TRENT SHORES, (Choctaw), Assistant U.S. Attorney, Northern
District of Oklahoma, Chief Judge, Kaw Nation District Court
SHANNON COZZONI, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Northern
District of Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
MICHAEL COLBERT SMITH, (Chickasaw), Smith & Smith
Attorneys at Law
BRETT TAYLOR, Deputy Director, Technical Assistance, Center
for Court Innovation
ERIKA SASSON, Peacemaking Program Director, Tribal Justice
Exchange, Center for Court Innovation
BRETT LEE SHELTON, Staff Attorney, Native American
Rights Fund
8:30 – 12:30 PANEL C: THE ASIAN CONNECTION (This Panel
Continues From 1:30 - 5:30)
Grand Ballroom A
Artist, Former Principal Chief, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma,
Former State Senator, Oklahoma Senate
KAI (KENNETH) ZHENNAN, CEO, Creativity Group
CHEN JIGUO, President, Shanghai Coal Chemical Group
TANG PEIYUN, Vice-President, Shanghai Nanpu Food Group
WANG CHUNFENG, President, Shanghai Xin Trade Co. Ltd.
TANG ZHUANGQUN, CEO, Shanghai Zhe Jia Real Estate
Co. Ltd.
Grand Ballroom B
of Civil Appeals
ALEX SKIBINE, (Osage), S.J. Quinney Professor of Law,
College of Law, University of Utah
KRISTEN CARPENTER, Associate Professor and Co-Director,
American Indian Law Program, School of Law,
University of Colorado
ANGELA R. RILEY, (Potawatomi), Professor, School of Law,
UCLA, Director, American Indian Studies Center/American
Indian Studies Joint JD/MA Degree Program
ROBERT J. MILLER, (Eastern Shawnee), Professor, Sandra Day
O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
Grand Ballroom C
MODERATORS: W. KEITH RAPP, Judge, Court of Civil
Liaison, Office of the Governor, State of Oklahoma
C. BLUE CLARK, (Mvscogee Creek), Native American Legal
Research Center, College of Law, Oklahoma City University
TAIWAGI HELTON, Professor, College of Law, University of
Oklahoma, Special Justice, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
Supreme Court
CASEY ROSS-PETHERICK, (Cherokee), Associate Professor,
College of Law, Oklahoma City University
SUSAN WORK, (Choctaw), Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP
COLLINE WAHKINNEY-KEELY, (Comanche), Director,
Oklahoma Indian Legal Services
STEPHEN GREETHAM, General Counsel, Chickasaw Nation
Commerce Department, Chickasaw Nation Executive
Thursday Afternoon
4.5 CLE credits / 0 ethics included
3:30 – 3:45 Tea / Cookie Break for all Panels
1:30 – 5:30 PANEL A: GAMING (A Continuation
of the Morning Panel)
Grand Ballroom D-E
of Gaming Affairs, Division of Commerce, Chickasaw Nation
NANCY GREEN, (Choctaw), Green Law Firm
KIM ARNOLD, COO, The Innovation Group
DEAN LUTHEY, Gable Gotwals, General Counsel, Oklahoma
Indian Gaming Association
JASON GILES, (Mvscogee Creek), Executive Director, National
Indian Gaming Association
JAMES MAIDA, CEO, GLI Gaming Laboratories International
SHEILA MORAGO, (Gila River), Executive Director, Oklahoma
Indian Gaming Association
WILLIAM NORMAN, (Mvscogee Creek), Hobbs, Straus,
Dean and Walker
DEAN LUTHEY, Gable Gotwals, General Counsel, Oklahoma
Indian Gaming Association
ALAN P. MEISTER, Principal Economist, Nathan Associates
ELIZABETH HOMER, (Osage), Homer Law
Grand Ballroom B
East Central University
ROBERT HENRY, President, Oklahoma City University
GLEN D. JOHNSON, Chancellor, Oklahoma State Regents
for Higher Education
SUSAN PADDACK, State Senator, Oklahoma State Senate
HENRIETTA MANN, (Cheyenne), President, Cheyenne and
Arapaho Tribal College
ROBERT SOMMERS, Oklahoma Secrectary of Education and
Workforce Development, Director, Oklahoma Department of
Career and Technology Education
MATT LITTERELL, Interim Business and Industry Services
Director, Tulsa Technology Center
DIANE HAMMONS, (Cherokee), Assistant Professor, Criminal
Justice, Northeastern State University
ANASTASIA PITTMAN, (Seminole), Representative, District 99,
Oklahoma House of Representatives
JERRY MCPEAK, (Mvscogee Creek), Representative, District 13,
Oklahoma House of Representatives
(A Continuation of the Morning Panel)
Grand Ballroom A
Master Artist, Former Principal Chief, Seminole Nation
of Oklahoma, Former State Senator, Oklahoma Senate
KAI (KENNETH) ZHENNAN, CEO, Creativity Group
CHEN JIGUO, President, Shanghai Coal Chemical Group
TANG PEIYUN, Vice-President, Shanghai Nanpu Food Group
WANG CHUNFENG, President, Shanghai Xin Trade Co. Ltd.
TANG ZHUANGQUN, CEO, Shanghai Zhe Jia Real Estate
Co. Ltd.
Centennial 1-2
Division II, Court of Civil Appeals
GUS PALMER, JR., (Kiowa), Associate Professor, Anthropology,
Interim Director, Native American Studies, University of
BLAKE WADE, Chief Executive Officer, American Indian
Cultural Center and Museum, President, Oklahoma Business
Composer, Composer-in-Residence for the Chickasaw
Summer Arts Academy
GORDON YELLOWMAN, (Cheyenne), Chief, Council of the 44,
Director, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Language Program
ROY BONEY, JR., (Cherokee), Cherokee Nation Language
BUNKY ECHO-HAWK, (Pawnee/Yakama), Artist
ANASTASIA PITTMAN, (Seminole), Representative, District 99,
Oklahoma House of Representatives
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
June 4 - 5, 2014
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Registration Form
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Address: _________________________________________________________
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18 hours of CLE credit for lawyers will be awarded, including 3.5 hours of ethics.
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$150.00 June 5, 2014 only
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We ask that you register online at This site also provides hotel
registration information and a detailed agenda. For hotel registration please contact the Skirvin-Hilton
Hotel at 1-405-272-3040. If you wish to register by paper, please mail this form to:
The Oklahoma Judicial Center, Suite 1
2100 North Lincoln Boulevard
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105-4914
Presented By
The Oklahoma Bar Association
Indian Law Section
The University of Tulsa College of Law
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The University of Oklahoma College of Law
Oklahoma City University School of Law
The Sovereignty Symposium, Inc.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
One Murder Too Many
By Laurence J. Yadon and Robert Barr Smith
Reviewed by Judge Allen Welch
One story within this story
regards Telex’ civil action
against IBM, which employed a team of 300 and 50
lawyers, in that case. In a
222-page opinion, a federal
judge awarded Telex $353
million, and awarded a judgment to IBM for their counterclaim in the amount of
$22.9 million. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s judgment on behalf of Telex —
but not the judgment for
IBM. The two sides eventually settled in a “walk away,”
without any money exchanging hands. Roger Wheeler and Whitey
Bulger were both born in Boston, three years and 14 miles
apart. Their two lives intersected tragically in the parking lot of Southern Hills
Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.,
on May 27, 1981. This story is
about Wheeler’s murder, one
murder too many.
The authors painstakingly
detail a fascinating history of
“the Irish Mafia” in south
Boston, a history replete with
random and horrific acts of
violence. Whitey Bulger, a
petty thief, became the undisputed boss of the south Boston mafia, largely by attrition
248 Pages * Hardcover
Wheeler turned to the
after his colleagues and com$24.95
World Jai Alai league, as an
petitors were killed. He “liked
ISBN: 978-1455618194
investment. He soon learned
to hurt people and watch them
Pelican Publishing
that organized crime was
cringe in fear.” When a presiskimming profits — and that
dential commission on orgaorganized crime knew that
nized crime described him as a
he knew. Wheeler’s pilot inspected his plane for
“bank robber, drug trafficker and murderer,”
bombs. Wheeler bought a gun. His fears were
Bulger complained to associates “I’m no drug
warranted. “This guy won’t take our money,”
one henchman told Bulger, “we need to get rid
Roger Wheeler moved to Tulsa in 1948, to take
of him.”
a job with Standard Oil Co. By 1965, he was the
The two shooters had murdered at least 18
chairman, CEO and sole shareholder of Telex.
people before they shot Wheeler. They tracked
He owned a 4,500 square foot house in Nanhim down at his regular Wednesday afternoon
tucket and an 11,000 acre ranch in Wyoming. His
golf game at Southern Hills. Referring to his golf
personal wealth was estimated at $60 million.
buddies at the conclusion of his outing, Wheeler
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
turned to another friend and said “These guys
are killing me.” Those were evidently his last
words. Wheeler was shot in the head shortly
after starting his car.
Bulger and his girlfriend avoided capture for
20 years, and went undercover at a modest
apartment in Santa Monica, Calif. A former
neighbor in Iceland saw a story about Bulger
and his girlfriend on CNN, and recognized her
neighbors who had fondly taken care of her cat.
“A cat got me captured,” Bulger later said. The
police cornered Bulger in his garage. In his
apartment, police found 30 shotguns, rifles and
pistols, and $822,198 in cash.
Bulger was convicted on 31 counts, including
11 murders. The associate who testified against
him and admitted to 20 murders was sentenced
to 12 years.
Several OBA members are mentioned in the
book, including Tim Harris and Joel Wohlegemuth. The authors are also members of the Oklahoma Bar Association. Robert Barr Smith was a
professor for many years at the OU College of
Readers will relish tales about the civil trial
and the criminal trial, the breathtaking audacity
of Whitey Bulger and “the Boston Irish mafia,”
and the tragic event in the parking lot of Southern Hills Country Club.
Judge Welch is a special judge in Oklahoma County and serves on the OBA Board of Editors.
You are not alone.
Free 24-hour confidential assistance
• depression/anxiety
• substance abuse
• stress
• relationship challenges
Counseling and
peer support
are available.
Some services
free as a member
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Why Every Vote Matters
By John Morris Williams
“Why Every Vote Matters”
was the ABA theme for Law
Day this year. It is fitting that
voting was the subject for this
year. In our democracy, votes
matter. There are many different kinds of votes. There are
votes for political office; there
are votes in the Legislature.
There are votes even at the
nation’s highest court. At times
even the highest courts vote to
determine if a popular election
was properly conducted, and
the votes properly counted.
Even the anchor of our justice
system, juries cast votes.
branches that garner such
admiration. Although they are
important and should be much
respected, it is our courts and
legal system that differentiate
us from the rest of the world.
Dictatorships have an executive
leader. Even harsh totalitarian
systems have some sort of legislative body. It is that wonderful and magnificent document
called the Constitution and its
application by the court that
has served us well to preserve
our democracy.
It is our job to ensure our system of government maintains
credibility. Governors, courts
and legislatures sometimes get
it wrong on an issue. History
has shown people will keep
faith with an imperfect system
as long as it strives for perfection. On the other hand, a
system where the result is
obtained by bribery or corruption alienates and encourages
people to mistrust a system of
government. In short, it is not
As most of you are aware,
Oklahoma Bar Association
members vote for six members
of the Judicial Nominating
Commission. The ability to
maintain your right to vote on
those elections was put into
question this spring. Thankfully, the effort to take away this
important balance in judicial
selection failed. The lawyer
members of the JNC are much
like jurors. They see the evidence firsthand of what makes
a great judge. Lawyers who
regularly appear before judges,
regardless of who they are
representing, best know the
demeanor, lack of bias and
respect for the rule of law of
sitting judges.
It is our job to
ensure our system of
government maintains
No one wants to vote in an
election in which the result is
preordained. No one wants to
participate in a judicial system
in which the result is preordained. Most everyone on a
ballot or who is a party to a
legal action wants to win. But,
at what price? It is the role of
lawyers to make sure that the
zeal for victory does not overpower the rule of law.
The world envies our country
for our legal system. It is not
our executive or legislative
Sometimes courts (and even
voters) get it wrong, but over
the long haul as long as lawyers stand in the ready to make
every vote count, we have a
strong chance of hanging on to
our democracy. It is our job to
make the votes of the unpopular, the minority and the downtrodden just as important and
count just the same as the votes
of the popular, the majority and
the affluent.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
I can think of no higher calling than to ensure the votes of
citizens in our democracy are
cast without fear of dishonesty
and are not counted based on
the color of the hand that cast
them. The men and women in
uniform for our country everyday stand to pay the ultimate
prices to ensure that our
democracy is safe from foreign
invaders. It is our job as members of the bar to ensure that
politics and political gamesVol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
manship do not erode or undo
that for which many have given
their lives.
Every vote matters. The fate
of our nation rests upon this
premise. It is the job of lawyers
to make sure a vote whether
cast in a presidential election or
a jury room is freely given and
fairly counted. It is our job as
public citizens to ensure that all
votes cast be done so by an
educated electorate who by
their own experience know and
believe every vote matters. To contact Executive Director
Williams, email him at johnw@
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Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
What We Saw at
By Jim Calloway
was reported to have had an
all-time record number of registered attendees, including at
least seven from Oklahoma.
There are other legal technology conferences, but ABA
TECHSHOW is special. No
other conference brings
together so many of the people who write and blog about
technology, do technology
consulting for law firms and
are experts in their field. The
attendees include some of the
sharpest people I have had the
pleasure to meet. Of course,
I haven’t missed an ABA
TECHSHOW since my first
one in 1999 and I am a former
ABA TECHSHOW chair, so
I am biased.
In this column, some of us
will share our ABA TECHSHOW experiences and readers will also be provided with
links to lists of great apps for
lawyers and online resources
that you can put to use right
now. You will not want to skip
the endnotes section on this
column and you are reminded
that we will post this to the
Management Assistance Program page at
with live links within the next
few weeks.
The formula for ABA
TECHSHOW is really simple:
1)Only allow each person
to do a couple of presentations, usually paired
with a co-presenter,
which means a lot of
experts are needed to
fill the 50–plus sessions,
2)Avoid CLE presentations
by vendors in most
cases, but allow some
clearly identified vendor
showcases which are not
for CLE credit,
3)Actively recruit new first
time speakers, and
4)Truly engage the attendees. What other conference has small group
dinners with the speakers that attendees can
sign up to attend?
Cheryl Clayton of Noble
is vice chair of the OBA Law
Office Management and
Technology Section and was
a first-time attendee at ABA
TECHSHOW this year. We
stopped to talk in the exhibit
hall for a moment, and I
knew she was really enjoying
TECHSHOW when she said,
“I’m sorry. I’ve got to go.
There’s just not enough time.”
and hurried off to see more
vendors. So I asked her to
share her impressions when
we returned to Oklahoma.
“Initially, I felt intimidated
by program presenters clearly
in the forefront of legal techThe Oklahoma Bar Journal
nology,” Ms. Clayton said.
“But they understood that we
were lawyers, first and foremost, and kept it simple.”
“The show was fast paced
and each hour there were at
least two or three sessions I
wanted to attend, so instead
I had to make hard choices,”
she said. “There were more
software, hardware and service vendors than I expected.
They gave me a sense of
where legal technology was
heading. If there was a buzzword, it was ‘the cloud.’ There
were cloud applications for
computing, storage and whole
office solutions. At this point,
I am not completely sold on
cloud computing in large part
because I practice in an area
where Internet services can
be spotty. But it looks like the
wave of the future.”
“The next buzz word was
iPad,” Ms. Clayton said.
“Lawyers have taken the iPad
and made it their own. I know
I love mine. Whether for iPad
or Android tablets, more and
more apps are being developed that are particularly useful to lawyers. And something
really special happened at the
show. My beloved WordPerfect is not down and out,
despite Jim Calloway’s predicVol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
tions to the contrary. Corel
announced a new app for the
iPad, and you can try it out by
going to iTunes and downloading the free trial “WordPerfect X7” iOS app. Granted,
it will require a few fixes but
as an iPad word processing
app, it is a game changer in
my opinion.”
“I am excited about incorporating what I learned at ABA
TECHSHOW into helping to
plan a CLE for litigators. But it
will just be a small bite of the
big apple. Since the Oklahoma
Bar Association is an event
promoter of the annual ABA
TECHSHOW, we need a larger
presence there. On top of making a serious dent in MCLE
requirements, the show is just
plain fun. The speakers are
entertaining, the food good
and the hotel first class. I want
to go back,” she concluded.
Steven J. Goetzinger of Oklahoma City also attended the
conference. “The ABA
TECHSHOW exceeded my
expectations,” Mr. Goetzinger
said. “Until I attended the
show, I considered myself fairly tech-savvy and proficient at
utilizing web-based legal
resources. But after attending
seminars on free legal research
websites, Word on iPad for
lawyers and iPad demonstrative evidence, among many
others, I walked away realizing that I had been living in
the tech dark ages. Anyone
who practices law, whether
in a small or large firm, or
for a company, will benefit
by attending this show and
seminars such as these.”
Jeffrey Taylor (aka The
Droid Lawyer) spoke at ABA
TECHSHOW again this year.
2014 Round-up and Review”
on his blog the day after the
show concluded.2 He also live
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Don’t Forget – Register for the
OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference!
Several additional sponsors have been added for the 2014 OBA
Solo & Small Firm Conference. We hope for record conference
attendance June 19-21 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in
Tulsa. Check out the conference schedule and speakers at
Conference Sponsors
Oklahoma Attorneys Mutual
Insurance Company
Gold Sponsors
Currington Mortgage Company
Gable Gotwals
Silver Sponsors
Beale Professional Services
Family Law Section
General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section
Legal Directories Publishing Company, Inc.
Law Office Management and Technology Section
Bronze Sponsors
ABA Retirement Funds
Beyond Square One
FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business
Tabs 3 Software
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
I spoke on ‘How to Add
Document Assembly into
Your Workflow’ and a
session called ‘iPad in
Action’ with Tom Mighell,
who has written several
books about lawyers using
iPad devices.
blogged3 several of the presentations. (Interestingly I could
not get the live blog page to
open in Internet Explorer, but
it worked fine in Chrome.)
Needless to say, he appears to
have attended or presented at
all of the Android sessions.
He did one shootout session
I wish I could have attended,
“Office 365 v. Google Apps.”
You can download the materials for his Android customization presentation.4 Many of
you will also be interested in
downloading the apps he
showed off with Dan Siegel in
the Saturday morning shootout between mobile devices.
Their session was “60 Android
Apps and Widgets.”5 Mr. Taylor will be speaking at the
OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference this summer on “The
Google-Powered Law Office.”
I spoke on “How to Add
Document Assembly into Your
Workflow” and a session
called “iPad in Action”
with Tom Mighell, who
has written several books
about lawyers using iPad
devices. I’ll be speaking
about document assem-
bly at the OBA Solo & Small
Firm Conference this summer.
ABA TECHSHOW concludes each year with a panel
program called 60 Sites in 60
Minutes. After more than two
days of a flood of technology
information, this program
gives the audience a chance
for a few laughs as really
goofy websites are mixed in
with new important websites
and web services. The complete list is online on the ABA
TECHSHOW website at
I mentioned that one Saturday morning slot was broken
down by which mobile device
one uses. The largest crowd
attended “60 iOS apps in 60
Minutes.”6 It showcased a
great collection of apps. Jeff
Richardson posted the list of
all of the apps profiled at his
iPhoneJD blog.7 The app
Cycloramic impressed us all,
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
even though it really has no
business purpose for lawyers.
You stand your iPhone on end
and it uses the ringer vibrator
to slowly spin the phone
around to take to take 360
degrees pictures.8 Jeff also
posted some pictures he took
at ABA TECHSHOW.9 I would
not mention that here except
for the fact that vendor
MyCase hired an artist to produce live murals during several of the presentations and the
results were interesting. You
can see a couple of examples
Reid Trautz, another former
TECHSHOW chair, posted his
“Top Ten Takeaways from
his blog.10 Some of you will
remember Mr. Trautz from his
presentations at past OBA Solo
& Small Firm Conferences and
the Technology Fair. At the
2011 OBA Annual Meeting, he
noted that several of the programs centered on workflow.
Mr. Trautz said that a better
term than workflow is “business process improvement”
and predicts we will all be
hearing more about BPI in
the future. He highlighted
The Form Tool’s Doxsera,11
Wordrake12 and a newcomer,
ITimeKeep Mobile app,13 as
examples of BPI focus.
Of course, writing is not the
only way that people share
what they learned at ABA
TECHSHOW. Tom Mighell
and Dennis Kennedy did an
Wrapup” podcast on their
Kennedy-Mighell Report,14
while Sharon Nelson and I
interviewed ABA TECHSHOW 2014 Chair Natalie
Kelly for “Headlines from
our Digital Edge: Lawyers and
Technology podcast.15
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
There are a good number
of Canadians at ABA TECHSHOW every year and sometimes visitors from other
countries. Philippe Doyle
Gray, a barrister from Sydney,
Australia, attended his third
consecutive ABA TECHSHOW
and was a speaker this time.
He was the first-ever ABA
TECHSHOW speaker from
Australia. I sat in on his session on Evernote and really
need to find the time to put
his tips into practice. He has
developed a free web resource
titled “How to Optimize Your
Use of Evernote,” with links to
his videos, writings and other
observations about Evernote.
It is online at www.philippe
view/55/45/. Here is how he
describes Evernote on the site:
“Evernote is software that is
a digital extension to your biological memory. Remembering
ideas becomes trivial…The
intellectual demands on professional life can be overwhelming. Great minds are
best deployed to the intractable problems to hand. But life
is made up of lots of little
things that have to be remembered. Evernote stops you
wasting effort on remembering
all those little things, and liberates your imagination.”
ABA TECHSHOW is also a
time when many legal software vendors announce new
or updated products. For
information on new products
and the features of existing
products that were showcased
there, see Bob Ambrogi’s
“Top 10 Product Announcements at ABA TECHSHOW”16
and Kandy Hopkins’ “Trend-
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
ing: Legal Technology on
the Rise.”17
The two keynote sessions
were very different in subject
matter. Rick Klau is a partner
at Google Ventures where he
helps lead Startup Lab. Rick
Klau has attended and spoken
at TECHSHOW many times in
the past so it was good to see
him back. His three lessons
for lawyers from his talk were
data always beats opinion,
sometimes you just need to
say no and always think big.
While those may sound like
something from a fortune
cookie, his explanation was
actually quite impressive. No
matter how smart you are,
your opinion is just an educated guess. A survey of the marketplace will give the correct
answer. If you are trying to
decide which phrase of two
contenders works best for
marketing on your website,
buy a Google AdWord for one
on one week and then the
other on the next to see which
one “sells out” more quickly.
Admittedly, that is a very
simple example, but a lawyer
trying to catch a consumer’s
attention cannot stop being a
lawyer and adopt the consumer’s state of mind.
Former White House Counsel John Dean spoke of his
insider view of the Watergate
scandal. “How in God’s name
could so many lawyers get
involved in something like
this?” was the quote we will
all remember from his speech.
Twenty-one lawyers, including
Dean himself, were caught up
in Watergate. It was after
Watergate, he said that “the
American Bar Association
made the decision to modify
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
its model rules so that students would be required to
take legal ethics in law school,
would have to pass a special
ethics examination before they
could practice law, and would
have to take mandatory ethics
CLEs in order to keep their
We hope to see you at ABA
TECHSHOW sometime in the
future. That is just a peek at
this year’s event. But if you
haven’t had enough, a link
to 50 more posts about ABA
TECHSHOW 2014 may be
viewed on the Business of
Law Blog at
kDyVk9. I’m sure you are not
surprised that a lot of ABA
TECHSHOW attendees write
for blogs.
Mr. Calloway is OBA Management Assistance Program director. Need a quick answer to a tech
problem or help resolving a management dilemma? Contact him
at 405-416-7008, 800-522-8065
or [email protected] It’s a free
member benefit!
6. In a real sign of the times, there were
only three people present at the Blackberry session that morning.
12 — Wordrake provides a discount to OBA members. See www.
13. See a recent review of iTimeKeep at
Trust Account Overdraft Reports:
Your Duty to Update Trust Account
By Gina Hendryx
The Office of the General
Counsel, under the supervision of the Professional
Responsibility Commission,
oversees the Trust Account
Overdraft Reporting requirements of Rule 1.15(j) - (m) of
the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct (ORPC),
5 O.S. 2011, ch. 1, app. 3-A.
This rule requires lawyer
trust accounts to be maintained in financial institutions
approved by the Office of the
General Counsel. A financial
institution attains this approval by agreeing to provide a
report to the office in the event
any properly payable instrument is presented against a
lawyer trust account containing insufficient funds, irrespective of whether or not
the instrument is honored.
response, an investigation may
be commenced. Repeated
overdrafts due to negligent
accounting practices have
resulted in referral to the Discipline Diversion Program for
instruction in proper trust
accounting procedures.
In 2013, 144 notices of overdraft of a client trust account
were received by the Office of
the General Counsel. A review
of the bar graph reflects that
the reported trust account
overdrafts have significantly
and steadily decreased over
the past four years. This
decrease is due, in part, to the
successful completion of the
Discipline Diversion Program
by previously identified attorneys with multiple overdrafts.
The recidivism rate for same
has been negligible after
completion of the program.
Oklahoma licensed attorneys
should remember that they
have a continuing duty to
update trust account information. ORPC 1.15 (g) states:
“Effective January 1, 2009,
all members of the Bar who
are required under the Oklahoma Rules of Professional
Conduct, to maintain a trust
account for the deposit of clients’ funds entrusted to said
lawyer, shall do so and furnish
information regarding said
account(s) as hereinafter provided. Each member of the Bar
shall provide the Oklahoma
Bar Association with the name
of the bank or banks in which
the lawyer carries any trust
account, the name under
Trust account overdraft
reporting agreements are
submitted by depository institutions and the institutions
forward reports of insufficient
fund overdrafts simultaneously with and within the time
provided by law for notice of
the dishonor. Notification triggers a general inquiry to the
attorney requesting an explanation for the deficient
account. Based upon the
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
which the account is carried
and the account number. The
lawyer or law firm shall provide such information within
thirty (30) days from the date
that said account is opened,
closed, changed, or modified.
The Oklahoma Bar Association
will provide online access
and/or paper forms for members to comply with these
reporting requirements. Provision will be made for a
response by lawyers who do
not maintain a trust account
and the reason for not maintaining said account. Information received by the Association as a result of this inquiry
shall remain confidential
except as provided by the
Rules Governing Disciplinary
Proceedings. Failure of any
lawyer to respond giving the
information requested by the
Oklahoma Bar Association,
Oklahoma Bar Foundation
or the Office of the General
Counsel of the Oklahoma Bar
Association will be grounds
for appropriate discipline.”
You may check your account
reporting status on the OBA
website. Go to
and scroll down to login to
“” This is a
password-protected site and
will require your OBA number
and PIN (number or password) to enter. New lawyers
receive their PINs in new
attorney materials or all OBA
members may obtain a PIN by
requesting same from the site,
by emailing membership@ or by calling
405-416-7000 or 800-522-8065.
Once you have entered the
my.OKBar section of the OBA
website, you may review your
roster information, dues and
MCLE status, as well as report
your trust account information. All client trust accounts
should be reported on the
form. This includes IOLTA
accounts and non-IOLTA
If you do not have Internet
access or wish to report changes directly, you may contact
Tracy Sanders with the OBA at
405-416-7080 or 800-522-8065
and request a paper form to
report your trust account
Ms. Hendryx is the OBA
general counsel.
Print or
You now have a choice.
e 78
e 85◆uNo
No. .35
◆ Feb
Continue receiving your printed Oklahoma Bar
Journal court issues (two per month) in the mail –
or receive an e-mail with a link to the electronic
version instead. Mailed copies stop. There’s no
dues reduction, but you save some trees.
If you want the electronic version of the court issues
and didn’t indicate that on your dues statement
go online to and sign in.
Click on “Roster Info” to switch to electronic.
Be sure your e-mail address is current.
Want the print version?
No need to do anything.
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Court Ma
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Supporting the Advancement of
our Legal Profession
By Dietmar K. Caudle
As the charitable arm of the
Oklahoma Bar Association, the
Oklahoma Bar Foundation
reaches out to students through
law-related education programs
designed to teach about the
law, the legal system and the
fundamental principles upon
which our democracy is based.
Our law student scholarships
are designed to capture only
the most energetic and devoted
lawyers to our grand legal profession. Law Day, largely celebrated on May 1, provides a
forum for all Oklahoma counties and their bar associations
to celebrate the annual Law
Day theme, which was
“Democracy and You” this year.
OBF sponsors two YMCA
Youth in Government programs
— the Youth Model Legislative
Day and participation in the
new ABA National Judicial
Competition. The OBF also
sponsors the statewide Oklahoma High School Mock Trial
Program each year, which
allows students to gain an
insider’s perspective of the
legal process and act out their
dreams of becoming potential
future barristers.
The OBF’s mission of “Lawyers Transforming Lives” is
accomplished by providing
annual support for the promotion of justice, funding of
critical legal services and the
advancement and better understanding of the law. During
2013, the OBF funded grants to
many diverse law-related services organizations and the
courts for technology projects
in the total amount of $490,575.
The OBF and the OBA have
joined forces to ensure the public is able to gain better understanding of the law and
improved access to our legal
lawyers who are OBF Fellows
at various giving levels. Lawyers who are not Fellows can
still help by including OBF in
their annual gift planning and
give what they feel is appropriate for their personal financial
situation. Our generous supporters clearly understand the
OBF accomplishes a great deal
Attending the OBF Court Grants at Work dedication ceremony of the
Oklahoma County Courthouse Public Media Center in the Law Library
are from left County Commissioner Brian Maughan, Law Library Board
Secretary Sarah Schumacher, Law Library President Sheila Stinson,
OBF President Dietmar K. Caudle, Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice
Noma Gurich, OBF Executive Director Nancy Norsworthy, Judge Barbara Swinton and OBF Trustee Jeffery D. Trevillion Jr.
system. Civil legal aid has traditionally been the flagship
of OBF grant awards. The OBF
is diligent in broadcasting the
grant award process and the
many successful stories resulting from the awards.
It is important to note that
the OBF’s mission cannot
occur without the generosity
of its donors. These donors
consist of approximately 1,600
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
with the donations received
each year.
The second category of
donors includes the newly
structured Community Fellow
program. These donors consist
of law firms, OBA sections and
committees, IOLTA banks and
businesses in the community
that recognize the good deeds
accomplished by OBF and
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
choose to partner in this invaluable law-related work.
The third category of OBF
funding is derived from statewide cy pres awards. The most
recent has come from a courtsponsored cy pres award from
Dewey, Custer and Roger Mills
counties. These types of awards
are typically issued by the sitting district court judge. Cy pres
awards are not part of the
annual budget and are invaluable donations that have made
a critical difference in the OBF’s
ability to maintain grant funding and make a lasting impact.
The fourth category of OBF
funding is derived from the
receipt of IOLTA income. The
final category of OBF donations
comes from estate planning
proceeds and gifts from other
foundations. It is clear that the
OBF cannot succeed in its mis-
sion of “Lawyers Transforming
Lives” without these annual
About The Author
The OBF salutes your continued financial support in a
mission which benefits every
county and every citizen of
our great state, and we look
forward to accomplishing more
with everyone’s help.
Dietmar K.
Caudle practices in Lawton and serves
as OBF President. He can
be reached at
Give to OBF Today!
The 2014 OBF grant application
is currently available on the OBF
website. Grant applications are
being accepted now through
Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
Tributes and Memorials
A simple and meaningful way to honor those who have played an important
role in your life or whose accomplishments you would like to recognize.
The OBF will notify your tribute or memorial recipient that you made a
special remembrance gift in their honor or in memory of a loved one.
Help the OBF meet its ongoing mission - lawyers transforming lives
through the advancement of education, citizenship and justice for all.
Make your tribute or memorial gift today at:
Or if you prefer, please make checks payable to:
Oklahoma Bar Foundation P. O. Box 53036 Oklahoma City OK 73152-3036
Email: [email protected] • Phone: 405-416-7070
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
2014 OBF Fellow and Community Fellow Enrollment Form
Name, !
" # $ % & $name,
' & ( ) ' Firm
* # + % &or
, % other
- ( & . ' )affiliation_
& $ , ' / % & #_"_________________________________________________
& " % % + & 0 / & 0 " & '1.&2 ' 3 3 ! " # $ 4 & . % - - ' 5 !
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be an OBF Fellow now – Bill me later ___ $100 enclosed and bill annually
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o OBA Section or Committee o Law firm/office o County Bar Association o IOLTA Bank
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Choose from three tiers of OBF Community Fellow support to pledge your group’s help:
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Print Name >2*(:*!J1-927!)(J*!/?*/J:!&(7(D2*!.$+!!GJ2(?$)(!L(#!B$%-9(.1$-!
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The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Meeting Summary
The Oklahoma Bar Association
Board of Governors met at
the Oklahoma Bar Center in
Oklahoma City on Friday,
March 21, 2014.
President DeMoss reported
she attended the Tulsa County
Bar Association past presidents’ luncheon, Shawnee
Education Foundation dinner
honoring Justice Combs, Litigation Section meeting/CLE
and OETA Festival fundraiser.
She made presentations at the
Cleveland County Bar Association CLE and Muskogee
Rotary Club. She prepared an
Oklahoma Bar Journal article
and participated in planning
meetings for the Oklahoma
Bar Journal publication, 2014
Annual Meeting, town hall in
Custer County, April Board of
Governors meeting, Day at the
Capitol, Appellate Advocacy
Seminar and proposed senior
Vice President Shields,
unable to attend the meeting,
reported via email that she
attended the Oklahoma County Bar Association meeting
and planning meetings with
various informal groups concerning judicial independence
President-Elect Poarch,
unable to attend the meeting,
reported via email that he
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
attended the Cleveland County Bar Association meeting
and ABA Bar Leadership Institute in Chicago. He participated in the OBA Technology
Committee meeting and met
once in person and once by
conference call regarding the
contract for a new bar journal
Past President Stuart reported he attended the February
board meeting and Shawnee
Educational Foundation banquet at which Justice Doug
Combs was presented with the
Alumni Award. He also volunteered for the OBA’s night to
take pledges at the OETA
Executive Director Williams
reported he attended the town
hall event in El Reno, High
School Mock Trial Program
championship finals, Technology Committee meeting, Bar
Leadership Institute, YLD
monthly meeting, OETA Festival fundraising event and
MCLE Commission meeting.
He spoke to the OBA Leadership Academy. He also reported his assistant, Debbie Brink,
will be on medical leave
beginning the first week of
April and may be out of the
office up to one month.
Governor Dexter reported
she attended the February
Board of Governors meeting,
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
luncheon following the board
meeting, Tulsa County Bar
Association past presidents
luncheon, TCBA Nominations
and Awards Committee, and
OBA Awards Committee meeting. Governor Gifford reported he attended the February
board meeting and Oklahoma
County Bar Association Board
of Directors meeting. He made
a presentation to the Central
Oklahoma Association of
Legal Assistants. Governor
Hays reported she attended
the February Board of Governors meeting and lunch following the meeting, OBA Family Law Section monthly meeting for which she prepared
and presented the budget
report, Tulsa County Bar Association judicial dinner, OBA
FLS practice manual advertising planning session, OBA FLS
Trial Advocacy Institute planning session and OBA FLS
executive planning session for
Annual Meeting. She also provided an OBA board report at
the TCBA Board of Directors
meeting, communicated with
the TCBA Long Range Planning Committee and communicated with the Solo and
Small Firm Planning Committee. Governor Jackson reported he attended the February
Board of Governors meeting,
Canadian County Courthouse
event and Garfield County Bar
Association meeting. He spoke
regarding the judiciary to the
Kiwanis and to the noon
AMBUCS. Governor Marshall
reported he attended the
February board meeting and
Shawnee Educational Founda1139
tion dinner honoring Justice
Combs. Governor Parrott,
unable to attend the meeting,
reported via email that she
attended the February board
meeting, luncheon following
the meeting, OBA Awards
Committee meeting and Bench
and Bar Committee meeting.
Governor Sain reported he
attended the February board
meeting, Idabel Warrior Club
meeting, McCurtain Memorial
Hospital Foundation meeting
and McCurtain County Bar
Association meeting. He also
read “Green Eggs and Ham”
by Dr. Seuss to a class of second graders at Primary South
in Idabel. Governor Smith
reported he attended the February board meeting. He made
presentations to the Wagoner
County Rotarians and Muskogee County Bar Association.
He hosted President DeMoss,
who gave a presentation to the
Muskogee Rotary. Governor
Stevens reported he attended
the February board meeting
and March Cleveland County
Bar Association meeting that
included a presentation by
President DeMoss. He served
as a volunteer for an OBA
Lawyers for Heroes Yellow
Ribbon pre-deployment event.
Governor Thomas, unable to
attend the meeting, reported
via email that she attended the
February board meeting, town
hall event in El Reno and
Washington County Bar
Association meeting.
Governor Hennigh reported
he attended the February board
meeting, Pay it Forward YLD
Task Force meeting and Garfield County Bar Association
meeting. He helped prepare
and distribute the bar exam
survival kits and chaired the
February YLD board meeting.
He said that many new lawyers
are faced with the challenge of
finding employment, and the
division will be drafting a proposal to establish a fund that
would assist bar members in
paying their membership dues.
A proposal will be submitted to
the Board of Governors for its
Justice Kauger reported the
Supreme Court has been busy.
Planning is underway for Sovereignty Symposium, which
will have a chief justice from
Canada as the keynote speaker. She said extra copies of the
court’s new book are available.
The next Movie Night with the
Justices CLE will feature the
movie, Chicago.
Executive Director Williams
reported the Bar Association
Technology Committee is
looking forward to the launch
of the new OBA member software in July. The committee is
looking at a new product to
allow more interaction among
members, and videoconferencing options are also being
reviewed. Governor Jackson
reported the Civil Procedure/
Evidence Code Committee has
reviewed proposed legislation.
President DeMoss reported the
Law-related Education Committee is conducting a training
session for lawyers in the classroom on April 16, and board
members are invited. She also
said Legislative Monitoring
Committee Chair Duchess Bartmess gave a presentation on
legislation to the Litigation Section that was excellent. She recommended Ms. Bartmess as a
speaker for other groups.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Section Chair Jeanette Timmons described a member
benefit called Lexology, which
is a web-based daily newswire
service for business/corporate
lawyers that is free to subscribers. To take advantage of
the free service, email addresses would need to be provided,
which is against OBA policy.
Ms. Timmons said restrictions
could be required to prevent
Lexology from sharing email
addresses and that if the
OBA terminates the service,
addresses will be deleted. She
said the section will share the
opportunity with section
members and any member
who wants to opt-out can do
so before email addresses are
shared. The board authorized
Executive Director Williams to
execute the contract.
Governor Dexter reported
the Awards Committee recommends that the same awards
presented last year be presented in 2014. The board
approved the Awards Committee recommendation.
Written status reports of the
Professional Responsibility
Commission and OBA disciplinary matters for February
2014 were submitted for the
board’s review.
President DeMoss reported
that she and President-Elect
Poarch talked to Cleveland
County Bar Association members, and a candidate for the
District 5 board vacancy was
recommended. The board
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
voted to appoint Rickey J.
Knighton, Norman, to the
position formerly held by
Jim Drummond, who moved
to Texas.
President DeMoss shared the
process being used to find a
printer to replace long-time
bar journal printer, Printing
Inc., which is going out of
business. She reported four
printers submitted bids and
selected was Stigler Printing.
A task force will be formed to
consider whether changes
should be made to the 10
theme issues or 24 court issues currently printed. It was
announced that Fastcase at
the request of the OBA is fast
tracking the availability of free
monthly advance sheets for
the court material in electronic
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
President DeMoss reported
the first meeting held at the
Canadian County Courthouse
in El Reno was successful. She
thanked board members for
their participation. Governor
Jackson said he spoke to two
or three organizations in Enid
and took with him former
Judicial Nominating Commission member Glenn Devoll to
also speak. One speaking
engagement resulted in a front
page newspaper article.
Governor Smith reported the
presentation to the Muskogee
Rotary was well attended. It
was a good program that was
well received.
President DeMoss expressed
her concern about proposed
legislation. She emphasized
the importance of OBA Day
at the Capitol, which will be
March 25.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
President DeMoss reported
the OBA raised more than
$7,000 in private donations
from OBA members to benefit
OETA, Oklahoma’s statewide
PBS TV station. The donation
keeps the OBA in the highest
possible donor level. The station co-produces the Ask A
Lawyer TV show with the OBA
every year. Bar members volunteered one evening during
the fundraising event to take
The Board of Governors met
on Friday, April 25, 2014, at
the Idabel Chamber of Commerce in Idabel. A summary
of those actions will be published after the minutes are
approved. The next board
meeting will be at 10 a.m.
Friday, May 23, in Oklahoma
Providing Pro Bono Services Earns
Multiple Rewards
By Kelly M. Hunt
It takes time, money and
effort to become an attorney.
Basically, one must get an
undergraduate degree, take
the LSAT, graduate from law
school, pass a bar exam, pass
character and fitness inquiries
and join state and local bars.
Somewhere in there, the brave
ones may also choose to do an
internship or just try and have
a life, with the former being
the easier option.
After all of this, one is finally an attorney and licensed to
practice law. However, the
license doesn’t mean that the
work is over. New attorneys
still have to find a job, which,
with today’s economy, may
not be an easy task. Also, just
because one has a law license
doesn’t mean it’s permanent.
After getting a license, attorneys have many requirements
for keeping it. On a basic
level, we must continually
conduct ourselves in ethical
and professional ways. Along
with that, there are annual
fees that must be paid and
annual continuing legal education requirements (CLEs)
that must be met — and the
latter is what this article is
really about.
In Oklahoma, an attorney
must complete 12 hours of
continuing legal education
each year.1 Though there may
be varying opinions as to why
we have to comply, the general idea is to ensure that attorneys stay on top of the current
laws and to enhance our standards of practice. Inherently,
in a constantly changing
world, keeping current on the
Volunteering also
allows attorneys to
expand their networking system and get
their names out to
others in the legal
law and adhering to high
standards of practice are good
things. But there can be downsides to classic CLE programs
and to ensuring that they are
worthwhile ways to spend our
time and money.
One of the biggest downfalls
is that most CLE programs
aren’t free. Programs through
the National Business Institute2 can run hundreds of dollars and conferences can cost
thousands. The Oklahoma Bar
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Association offers classes, but
they come at a cost and aren’t
always available throughout
the state.3 Local bar associations may also offer CLE programs, but those may not be
free and may not be in the
attorney’s field of practice.
Another CLE option is
the membership route. This
would entail finding a club
or association that offers CLE
credits as part of the membership and paying the annual
fee. One example is the American Inns of Court, which
offers monthly meetings that
count toward CLE credits.4
Another is the American Bar
Association, which offers discounted CLE programs and
free webinars.5 But, again,
costs are involved with these
options and the programs
may not fit the attorney’s
field of practice.
The pull for an attorney’s
time and resources doesn’t
end at CLE credits either.
Oklahoma Model Rule 6.1
states that, “A lawyer should
render public interest legal
service.”6 Attorneys should
provide legal services to those
unable to pay. Though the
Oklahoma rules don’t specify
the number of hours each
year, the ABA Model Rules
promote at least 50 hours.7
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Attorneys have special skills
and knowledge that can help
many people in important
ways, and although this can be
a contested topic, full of constitutional and moral arguments, attorneys should use
their skills and knowledge and
provide pro bono legal services — if they are able to and if
they want to. However, attorneys should not be forced to
volunteer and, unfortunately,
many don’t.
It’s too bad, because there
really are many benefits to volunteering. To begin with, providing free or inexpensive
legal services is a great way to
give back to society. Many are
in desperate need of legal
assistance but can’t afford it.
To address this need, organizations offer perks to volunteer
attorneys, such as free CLE
credits, forms databases and
experienced staff attorneys to
help figure out the nuances of
the legal system.8 Volunteering
also allows attorneys to
expand their networking system and get their names out to
others in the legal field.
Despite these incentives,
many attorneys still don’t volunteer. As easy as it is to say
that attorneys need to make
time for it, the reality is that
there are just so many things
already tugging at our pockets
and time. So what, then, is the
happy medium between meeting CLE requirements in a
meaningful way and providing pro bono services, while
still making efficient use of
our time and resources? Well,
the answer may lie in programs already being offered
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
by 11 different states, which
give CLE credit in exchange
for pro bono work.9
Though the specifics vary
from state to state, CLE for
pro bono credit programs typically require that the attorney
receive the pro bono client via
a referral from a court or designated program or institution.10 These providers include
legal aid associations or access
to justice-type programs,
which help ensure that the
services are provided to lowincome or indigent clients.
The CLE for pro bono credit
programs usually provide for
a ratio of one CLE credit for a
specific number of hours
worked, with an annual maximum to be earned. For example, in Arizona an attorney
gets one CLE credit for every
five hours of pro bono work,
with a maximum of five credits per year.11 If Oklahoma had
a program like Arizona’s, an
attorney could get five CLE
credits by providing 25 hours
of pro bono work. If the clients
came through Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma,12 the attorney could obtain more CLE
credits via Legal Aid’s free
CLE courses.13 Thus, by performing our ethical duty by
representing a pro bono client
or two and then participating
in free CLE courses, attorneys
can take care of most, if not
all, of the year’s CLE requirements, as well as help out
those most in need of legal
Ultimately, providing CLE
credits for pro bono work
offers many benefits to both
society and attorneys. Lowincome and indigent clients
get the legal help they need,
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
and attorneys can integrate the
work into their normal routine
— performing it as their time
allows. It is a win-win situation for everyone and definitely something to be considered
when looking at the model
rules and ways that attorneys
can gain CLE credit.
1. Okla. ST CLE Rule 7, reg. 3.6; see also
Oklahoma Bar Association, Rules of the Supreme
Court of Oklahoma, available at www.okbar.
2. See
3. See;
although online CLE offerings are available at
any time to all members.
4. See
5. See
6. Okla. Rules of Professional Conduct, rule
6.1, available at
7. ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 6.1, available at
8. See, About Our Pro Bono
9. See American Bar Association, Continuing Legal Education (CLE)/Pro Bono State Rules,
10. See supra.
11. See Ariz. R. Sup. Ct. Rule 45(a)(5).
12. See Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc.,
13., Watch for upcoming
CLE events from Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma,
About The Author
Kelly M.
Hunt is the
owner of Hunt
Law PLLC, a
small, general
practice firm in
Broken Arrow.
She practices
primarily in business, family, oil
and gas, and property law. She is
also an adjunct professor with
the University of Tulsa’s new,
online Masters in Energy Law
program. Originally from Michigan, she graduated magna cum
laude from Thomas M. Cooley
Law School in 2012.
Diversity Within Your Own Law
Practice Has Its Benefits
By Kaleb Hennigh
The practice of law is an
evolving profession that
requires the ability to respond
and adapt to new laws, changes to existing laws and variations of interpretations of
those laws based on the
actions of legislators, administrators, judges and justices.
One thing I’ve learned in my
10 years of practice is that you
must always be flexible, willing to continue to learn, adapt
and grow, and most importantly to remain humble and
courteous at all times when
working within this industry.
“Diversity in the Law” is the
theme for this month’s bar
journal, and I wanted to touch
on something that will make
all of us better attorneys.
When the term “diversity”
comes up, I’m certain many
people think a lot of different
things. For example, when
addressing our profession one
might think of the make-up
of attorneys such as what
percentage is female or male,
what ethnicity is more prominent, or whether the political
views of the profession seem
to be more conservative or liberal, etc. However, I want you
to think about your specific
practice and how maintaining
a diverse practice will help
you become a better advocate
for your clients.
As a young
lawyer, don’t be afraid
to take on a new
client needing
representation in an
area that is new to
you — accept and
embrace the
I began my practice in a
small boutique firm focusing
on agricultural intellectual
property rights serving a clientele in need of protecting their
own research and development within the wheat seed
industry. While practicing in
this area I was introduced to
another group of clients in dire
need of financial help navigating through the reorganization
of their large scale agricultural
production practices through
bankruptcy reorganization.
In serving these needs and
returning to northwest Oklahoma, I took my knowledge
from assisting those financially
stressed clients and began
working with large and small
agricultural families and operThe Oklahoma Bar Journal
ators who were looking to
ensure that the family farm
and heritage was maintained
from generation to generation.
So began my asset protection
and estate planning practice.
As I assisted these families in
this capacity, soon arose the
need for additional large scale
asset purchases; real estate and
mineral transactions; wind
and oil and gas lease negotiations; and then litigation
involving trust disputes and
probate litigation. While serving clients in each of these
areas and utilizing the knowledge obtained from assisting
those clients, I believe I have
become a much better attorney
and able to provide sound
advice due to the diversity
within my practice.
Certainly as laws continue to
change, complexities begin to
compound and the need to
stay abreast of all the evolving
issues within each area of our
profession grows, it makes
sense that attorneys seek to
become more and more
focused on narrow aspects
within a practice area. Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements are
here to make certain that as a
practitioner seeking to maintain a diverse practice, one
would get the training and
development he or she needs.
I do believe there is an opportunity to maintain a diverse
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
As a young lawyer, don’t be
afraid to take on a new client
needing representation in an
area that is new to you —
accept and embrace the challenge. Look to the OBA for a
CLE and identify a more
versed attorney willing to
assist you through the representation. I believe you will not
only enjoy the new challenge,
but most importantly you will
become a better professional!
Incorporating diversity within
your own practice will benefit
you and your client.
practice to ensure that clients’
goals and objectives are
accomplished, and I encourage
all young lawyers to keep an
open mind and to seek ways
to maintain diversity within
their own practices.
MCLE requirements should
not be what a practicing attorney relies on to establish or
consider themselves well
versed in a particular area of
law. Young attorneys should
set these established requirements as a floor and seek a
mentor to assist them as they
work to meet the needs of
their clients.
Currently, the OBA requires
an attorney to complete a minimum of 12 Oklahoma MCLEapproved credits during each
calendar year with a minimum
of one credit devoted to professional responsibility, legal
ethics or legal malpractice prevention. Fellow young lawyers
use these classes and courses
to gain a better understanding
of other areas of practice
which can be implemented in
your current practice area.
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
About The Author
The comprehension of the
bankruptcy rules and regulations have aided me greatly
throughout my asset protection and succession planning
practice, and in my opinion by
working in both of these areas
I’m able to give my clients a
much more thorough representation. This is just one
example of how maintaining a
diverse practice will assist you
in becoming a better attorney.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
practices in
Enid and
serves as
the YLD
He can be
contacted at
[email protected]
OBA Litigation Section meeting; 12 p.m.;
Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City with
teleconference; Contact David VanMeter 405-228-4949
Licensed Legal Intern Swearing-In Ceremony;
12:45 p.m.; Judicial Center, Oklahoma City; Contact
Wanda Reece 405-416-7000
OBA Bench and Bar Committee meeting; 12 p.m.;
Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City with OSU Tulsa,
Tulsa; Contact Judge David B. Lewis 405-556-9611
OBA Professional Responsibility Commission
meeting; 9 a.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City;
Contact Dieadra Goss 405-416-7063
OBA Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
meeting; 12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma
City and OSU Tulsa, Tulsa; Contact Jeffrey Love
OBA Communications Committee meeting;
12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City and
Doerner Saunders Law Office, 3200 S. Boston Ave.,
Ste. 500, Tulsa; Contact Dick Pryor 405-740-2944
OBA Board of Governors meeting; 10 a.m.;
Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City; Contact
John Morris Williams 405-416-7000
OBA Closed – Memorial Day observed
OBA Women in Law Committee meeting; 12 p.m.;
Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City and University of
Tulsa, Tulsa; Contact Allison Thompson 918-295-3604
OBA Work/Life Balance Committee meeting;
12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City with
teleconference; Contact Sarah Schumacher
OBA Government and Administrative Law
Practice Section meeting; 4 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar
Center, Oklahoma City with teleconference; Contact
Scott Boughton 405-717-8957
OBA Lawyers Helping Lawyers discussion group
meeting; 6 p.m.; Office of Tom Cummings, 701 NW
13th St., Oklahoma City; RSVP to Kim Reber
[email protected]
OBA Lawyers Helping Lawyers discussion group
meeting; 6 p.m.; University of Tulsa College of Law,
John Rogers Hall, 3120 E. 4th Pl., Rm. 206, Tulsa;
RSVP to Kim Reber [email protected]
OBA Diversity Committee meeting; 12 p.m.;
Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City with
teleconference; Contact Ruth Addison 918-574-3051
OBA Legal Intern Committee meeting; 3 p.m.;
Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City with teleconference; Contact Candace Blalock 405-238-0143
OBA Board of Bar Examiners meeting; 9 a.m.;
Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City; Contact Oklahoma
Board of Bar Examiners 405-416-7075
OBA Family Law Section meeting; 3 p.m.;
Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City and OSU Tulsa,
Tulsa; Contact M. Shane Henry 918-585-1107
OBA Law-related Education Committee meeting;
12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City with
teleconference; Contact Suzanne Heggy 405-556-9612
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
OBA Bench and Bar Committee meeting;
12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City
and OSU Tulsa, Tulsa; Contact Judge David Lewis
19-21 OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference; Hard Rock
Hotel and Casino, 777 W. Cherokee St., Catoosa;
Contact Nickie Day or Jim Calloway 405-416-7000
OBA Board of Governors meeting; Hard Rock
Hotel and Casino, 777 W. Cherokee St., Catoosa;
Contact John Williams 405-416-7000.
OBA Access to Justice Committee meeting;
10 a.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City and
OSU Tulsa, Tulsa; Contact Laurie Jones 405-208-5354
OBA Rules of Professional Conduct Committee
meeting; 3 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma
City with OSU Tulsa, Tulsa; Contact Paul Middleton
OBA Women in Law Committee meeting;
12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City and
University of Tulsa School of Law, Tulsa; Contact
Allison Thompson 918-295-3604
OBA Work/Life Balance Committee meeting;
12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City with
teleconference; Contact Sarah Schumacher
Oklahoma Bar Foundation meeting; 8:30 a.m.;
Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City; Contact
Nancy Norsworthy 405-416-7070
OBA Financial Institutions and Commercial
Law Section meeting; 12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar
Center, Oklahoma City with OSU Tulsa, Tulsa; Contact
Eric Johnson 405-602-3812
OBA Juvenile Law Section meeting; 4 p.m.;
Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City with teleconference; Contact Tsinena Thompson 405-232-4453
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
OBA Government and Administrative Law
Practice Section meeting; 4 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar
Center, Oklahoma City with teleconference; Contact
Scott Boughton 405-717-8957
OBA Closed – Independence Day observed
OBA Diversity Committee meeting; 12 p.m.;
Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City with
teleconference; Contact Ruth Addison 918-574-3051
OBA Law-related Education Committee
meeting; 12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma
City with teleconference; Contact Suzanne Heggy
OBA Bench and Bar Committee meeting;
12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City and
OSU Tulsa, Tulsa; Contact Judge David Lewis
OBA Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
meeting 12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma
City with OSU Tulsa, Tulsa; Contact Jeffrey Love
OBA Clients’ Security Fund Committee
meeting; 2 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma
City with OSU Tulsa, Tulsa; Contact Micheal Salem
OBA Women in Law Committee meeting;
12 p.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City and
University of Tulsa School of Law, Tulsa; Contact
Allison Thompson 918-295-3604
OBA Professional Responsibility Commission
meeting; 9:30 a.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma
City; Contact Dieadra Goss 405-416-7063
Oklahoma Bar Foundation meeting and lunch;
11:30 a.m.; Oklahoma Bar Center, Oklahoma City and
OSU Tulsa, Tulsa; Contact Nancy Norsworthy
OBA Young Lawyers Division meeting; 10 a.m.;
Tulsa County Bar Center, Tulsa; Contact Kaleb Hennigh
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Legislation Impacting OBA Fails Vote in Oklahoma House
With broad bipartisan opposition, the Oklahoma House of Representatives defeated SJR21
with a 31-65 vote on Thursday, April 24. The failure to pass the proposed legislation means
that Oklahoma lawyers from across the state will continue to elect six of their colleagues to
represent the legal profession as a nonpartisan, minority voice on the state’s 15-member
Judicial Nominating Commission.
“We’d like to thank all members of the Oklahoma House for their careful consideration of the effects of the proposed measure,” said OBA
President Renée DeMoss of Tulsa. “We would also like to thank the
Oklahoma citizens, lawyers and non-lawyers alike, who contacted their
elected officials and asked them to defeat this bill. Fair and impartial
courts are important to all Oklahomans, and that is what we will
continue to have in our state.”
President DeMoss also expressed thanks to those who gathered at
the Capitol as the bill was being heard as well as the more than 2,500
Oklahomans who signed a petition urging lawmakers to defeat the bill.
The OBA will now focus efforts on its Courtfacts initiative, seeking to increase public
education and understanding of the judicial branch of government. More information
is available at
OBA Women in
Law Committee
members stuff
eggs at the
Wilkin McMurray law firm.
From left:
Cheryl Jackson,
Sharon Halowell,
Jana Robinson
and Elissa
The Court of Civil Appeals, Tulsa Division,
also hosted members of the OBA Women in
Law Committee as they assembled eggs for
the event. From left: Sandra Jarvis, Emily
Duensing and Judy Parks.
OBA Women in Law Committee/Lawyers
Fighting Hunger Team Up for Food
Donation Event
More than 500 Easter hams and other grocery
items were distributed to families in need during
the recent Live Local Give Local/Celebrate
Spring Event in Tulsa. The event was a combined
effort between the Community Food Bank of
Eastern Oklahoma, Emergency Infant Services,
Iron Gate and Lawyers Fighting Hunger, and
numerous Tulsa lawyers volunteered their time
and resources. OBA Women in Law Committee
members stuffed 5,400 Easter eggs with candy
and toys to give to families as a festive touch to
celebrate the holiday.
From left: Rhonda Wallace, Allison Thompson,
Lora Montross and Tammie Goodell work on
plastic egg assembly at the Court of Civil
Appeals, Tulsa Division.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Tulsa Lawyer Brings Home ‘Three-Peep’ in National Contest
Paula J. Quillin’s series of dioramas titled “Constitutional Crisis” earned grand prize honors
in the ABA Journal Sixth Annual “Peeps in Law Contest.” Instead of engaging in microwave
“Peep wars,” legal professionals across the country used the animal-shaped marshmallows to
create law-inspired models. Ms.
Quillin’s entry won with 1,224
votes (37.95 percent of total
votes). It marks the third year
in a row that Franden Woodard
Farris Quillin + Goodnight has
won the grand prize.
Ms. Quillin, a partner with the
firm, said this year’s submission was a total joint effort
between her and Barbara Rush,
the firm’s writing and research
specialist. Their diorama was
inspired by the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. They even incorporated actual photos from Dealey Plaza, the location of
the assassination.
View all of this year’s entries at
New Judges Appointed
Gov. Mary Fallin recently announced appointments to fill judicial vacancies in Texas, Comanche and Choctaw counties. 2009 OBA President Jon K. Parsley of Guymon was named Texas
County district judge, succeeding Judge Greg Zigler who retired. Before his swearing in,
Judge Parsley practiced privately since 2003, focusing on oil and gas, real estate and contracts.
He also handled civil and criminal cases. He most recently served on the OBA Professional
Responsibility Commission and as chairman of its Mentorship Task Force. In 2003, he received
the OBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award and the OBA President’s Award in 2007. He
earned a bachelor’s degree from UCO and a law degree from the OU College of Law.
Emmit Tayloe of Lawton was named district judge for Comanche County. He succeeds Judge
Allen McCall who retired. Judge Tayloe began his private practice in 1986, with a heavy caseload of federal, state and municipal
criminal cases as well as a variety of
Bar Journal Taking a Summer Vacation
civil cases. He served previously for
four years as an assistant district attorThe Oklahoma Bar Journal theme issues are taking a
ney in the Comanche County district
short break. The next issue, devoted to “Children
attorney’s office, from 1982-86. He
and the Law” will be published Aug. 9. Deadline
earned a bachelor’s degree from
for submissions will be July 5. You’ll still receive
Cameron University and a law degree
issues containing court material twice a month in
from the OU College of Law.
June and July. Have a safe and happy summer!
Bill Baze of Hugo has been named an
associate district judge in Choctaw
County. He succeeds Judge James
Wolfe, who died recently. Judge Baze
previously served as the assistant district attorney in Choctaw County and
as an appellate attorney for the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System. He
received a bachelor’s degree and a
law degree from the University of
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Invite Teachers to Attend This
Year’s Hatton W. Sumners
Teacher Institute
Free Discussion Groups Available to
OBA Members
The Hatton W. Sumners Teacher Institute will be held June 9-13 at Oklahoma City University. The institute,
aimed at Oklahoma educators, offers
programs to help teach citizenship
skills necessary for young adults to
fulfill their role in society. This year’s
institute theme is “Using Civics
Technology in Our Classrooms.” The
conference is offered at no charge with
all expenses paid for attendees. The
application deadline is May 23. Please
share this information with your local
teachers. More information is available
“The Emotional Challenges of the Solo Practitioner” will be the topic of the June 5 meetings of the
Lawyers Helping Lawyers discussion groups in
Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Each meeting, always
the first Thursday of each month, is facilitated by
committee members and a licensed mental health
professional. In Tulsa, the meeting time is 6 – 7:30
p.m. at the TU College of Law, John Rogers Hall,
3120 E. 4th Place, Room 206. In Oklahoma City, the
group meets from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the office of Tom
Cummings, 701 N.W. 13th Street. There is no cost to
attend and snacks will be provided. RSVPs to Kim
Reber, [email protected], are encouraged to
ensure there is food for all.
Important Dates to Keep in Mind
Don’t forget! The Oklahoma Bar Center will be closed
Monday, May 26 and Friday, July 4 in observance of the
Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays. Remember to register and join us for the 2014 Solo & Small Firm
Conference in Tulsa June 19-21, and be sure to docket the
OBA Annual Meeting to be held in Tulsa Nov. 13-14.
Aspiring Writers Take Note
We want to feature your work on “The Back
Page.” Submit articles related to the practice of law, or send us something humorous, transforming or intriguing. Poetry is
an option too. Send submissions no more
than two double-spaced pages (or 1 1/4 single-spaced pages) to OBA Communications
Director Carol Manning, [email protected]
OBA Member Reinstatement
Connect With the OBA Through Social Media
The following OBA member suspended for nonpayment of dues
or noncompliance with the Rules
for Mandatory Continuing Legal
Education has complied with the
requirements for reinstatement,
and notice is hereby given of such
Have you checked out the OBA Facebook page? It’s
a great way to get updates and information about
upcoming events and the Oklahoma legal community.
Like our page at
Association. And be sure to follow @OklahomaBar
on Twitter!
Bradley Joseph Noland
OBA No. 21767
5152 State Highway 199
Ardmore, OK 73401
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
ohn R. Woodard III, of
Franden Woodard Farris
Quillin & Goodnight, was
recently selected to be a fellow of the Litigation Counsel
of America. The Litigation
Counsel of America is an
honorary society of American
lawyers who are selected by
invitation, based upon accomplishments in litigation and
ethical reputation.
under 40” class of 2014. The
list is comprised of Oklahoma
professionals recognized for
professional achievements
and contributions to their
dam Childers, of Crowe
& Dunlevy, has been
named chairman of the Oklahoma City Metro Employer
Council. The council is a cooperative educational effort of
the Oklahoma Employment
Security Commission, Workforce Oklahoma partners and
Oklahoma City area human
resource professionals.
imberly McCullough, of
J. Michael Entz Inc., was
recently elected to the board
of directors for the Oklahoma
Chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners.
The mission of OK - NARO
is to encourage and promote
exploration and production
of minerals in Oklahoma
while preserving, protecting,
advancing and representing
the interests and rights of
Oklahoma mineral and
royalty owners.
mily Maxwell Herron,
assistant district attorney
for District 17, received the
2014 Mary Ellen Wilson
Award from the Oklahoma
State Department of Health’s
Family Support and Prevention Service. The award
is given to a person who
demonstrates outstanding
commitment to child abuse
prevention services.
rae Gray of Coalgate was
recognized as a member
of Oklahoma Magazine’s “40
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
ruman B. Rucker Law
Offices announces that
Peter D. (Dan) Rucker has
joined the firm’s practice. The
firm specializes in civil trial
practice with an emphasis in
insurance defense. Mr. Rucker
is admitted to practice law in
Oklahoma and Arkansas.
onald R. Bradford and
Marc S. Albert announce
a new law partnership, Bradford & Albert. Located in
Tulsa, the firm will practice in
product liability, personal injury and medical malpractice.
ignato Cooper Kolker &
Roberson PC announces
that Joy Tate and C. Dayne
Mayes have joined the firm.
Ms. Tate graduated from the
OU College of Law in 2013.
Mr. Mayes graduated from
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
the OU College of Law in
2007. Both will practice in
the area of general insurance
augherty Fowler Peregrin
Haught & Jenson has
named Mark J. Peregrin as
partner at the firm. Mr. Peregrin has been a special Federal Aviation Administration
counsel with the firm since
2007. His practice is focused
on structuring and closing
aircraft transactions and filing
transaction documents with
the FAA.
laney & Tweedy PLLC
announces that Trey Tipton and Ward Hobson have
joined the firm as attorneys.
Mr. Tipton graduated from
the OU College of Law in
2005. He joined the firm as an
associate in 2013. His practice
focuses on business, commercial and real estate law. Mr.
Hobson graduated from the
OU College of Law in 2007.
His practice includes intellectual property, business
and commercial law and
civil litigation.
all Estill announces that
Tyler D. Leonard, Vaden
F. Bales and Gregory W.
Alberty have joined the
firm’s Tulsa office. Mr. Leonard graduated from the TU
College of Law in 2003. Mr.
Bales graduated from the
Washburn University School
of Law in 1975. Mr. Alberty
graduated from the TU College of Law in 1997.
egal Aid Services of Oklahoma announces Douglas
Bragg has joined its Oklahoma City office. Mr. Bragg
graduated from the OU College of Law in 2009. He will
be working as an embedded
attorney with the Education
& Employment Ministry in
Oklahoma City.
also spoke at two “Ask the
Counselor” sessions and on
an “Experts Panel” at the Leedom Group’s Buy Here Pay
Here World Convention in
Las Vegas.
ndrew Adams III has
founded Hogen Adams
PLLC, an Indian law firm in
St. Paul, Minn. The firm practices in all aspects of Indian
law. Mr. Adams serves as a
judge of several tribal courts,
including as chief justice of
the Muscogee (Creek) Nation
Supreme Court.
ichards & Connor
announces that Lawrence
R. Murphy Jr. has become of
counsel with the firm. The
firm announces that Mariann
Atkins, Christopher Brecht,
Anthony Mann, Adam Wilson, Colby Pearce and Nicole
Herron have joined the firm
as associates. Their practice
will include insurance coverage, bad faith litigation, general civil litigation, criminal
defense and family law.
Vance Winningham, of
Winningham Stein &
Basey, spoke to OU College of
Public Health students and
faculty concerning the U.S.
immigration system, with
emphasis on employment
related visas for health professionals and pathways to
obtaining lawful permanent
residence status.
Robyn Assaf of Oklahoma City recently presented “Medical Liability
Law – USA Experience” to
the Private Hospitals Association in Jordan, where she was
invited to speak about pending changes to Jordanian
medical liability law.
U College of Law professor Vicki J. Limas presented “Employment Law in
Indian Country: A Case of
Competing Sovereigns” at the
Tribal Employment Rights &
Law Conference in Prior
Lake, Minn.
ric L. Johnson, of the
Oklahoma City office of
Hudson Cook LLP, moderated a panel discussion on Bitcoins at the ABA Business
Law Section’s Consumer
Financial Services Committee
meeting in Los Angeles. Eric
atthew C. Kane, of
Ryan Whaley Coldiron
Shandy PLLC, recently presented “Twenty Years of Litigating the ‘Rwandan Genocide’ in U.S. Courts” at the
Rwanda 20 Years After: Memory, Justice and Recovery in
the Shadow of Genocide Conference at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
rin Donovan, of Erin
Donovan & Associates,
recently spoke at the American College of Trust and
Estate counsel’s annual
Dumont, of Riggs
presented “Health
Care Reform – Pay or Play”
to the Oklahoma Association
of Health Underwriters at its
spring continuing education
event in Oklahoma City.
How to place an announcement: The Oklahoma Bar Journal
welcomes short articles or
news items about OBA members and upcoming meetings.
If you are an OBA member and
you’ve moved, become a partner, hired an associate, taken
on a partner, received a promotion or an award, or given a
talk or speech with statewide
or national stature, we’d like
to hear from you. Sections,
committees, and county bar
associations are encouraged
to submit short stories about
upcoming or recent activities.
Honors bestowed by other
publications (e.g., Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, etc.) will not
be accepted as announcements.
(Oklahoma-based publications
are the exception.) Information
selected for publication is
printed at no cost, subject to
editing, and printed as space
Submit news items via email to:
Lori Rasmussen
Communications Dept.
Oklahoma Bar Association
[email protected]
Articles for the Aug. 9 issue
must be received by July 5.
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
harles Perry Ames of Oklahoma City died April 28,
2014. He was born March 22,
1924, in Oklahoma City. He
earned his undergraduate
degree from Princeton University and his J.D. from the OU
College of Law in 1952. He
practiced law at the Ames Law
Firm, started by his grandfather. He served as a lieutenant
in the U.S. Army, receiving a
Bronze Star for his service in
World War II and a Purple
Heart after being wounded by
machine gun fire. He enjoyed
traveling with his wife, spending time with his family and
pets and attending OU football
orrest Lee Frueh of Norman
died March 4, 2014. He was
born Jan. 26, 1939, in Perry. He
earned his bachelor’s degree in
accounting from OU in 1962
and his J.D. from the OU
College of Law in 1970. His
40-year career at OU included
work as a professor, director of
undergraduate programs, associate dean and professor emeritus. He was a member, faculty
advisor and former president
of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.
In addition to his work at OU
he was a practicing certified
public accountant for more
than 40 years.
ina Marie Crow Halcomb
of Jefferson City, Mo., died
March 31, 2014. She was born
May 28, 1967, in Mooreland.
She earned her bachelor’s
degree from OU in 1989 and
her J.D. from the OU College of
Law in 1992. In 1988 she was a
delegate for OU at the Democratic National Convention in
Atlanta. She began her career
with Legal Aid of Western
Oklahoma. She also clerked
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
for Judge Theodore McMillian
in St. Louis and worked at the
office of the Missouri attorney
general before going into private practice. In 2012 she
received the President’s Award
for excellence in her field from
the Missouri Bar. Memorial
contributions may be made to
the Cole and Kaelyn Halcomb
Fund at Jefferson Bank, 700
Southwest Blvd., Jefferson City,
MO, 65109.
arlene Reeves Mitchell
of Oklahoma City died
March 31, 2014. She was born
August 19, 1949, in Chickasha.
She earned her J.D. from OCU
in 1997. Prior to becoming an
attorney, she worked as a legal
assistant for probate and general practice attorneys. As an
attorney her practice included
estate, family and bankruptcy
law. She loved bowling, often
traveling around the country
for tournaments.
ilbur P. Patton of Oklahoma City died March 29,
2014. He was born Jan. 3, 1920,
in Morehead, Ky. He served in
the U.S. Navy, working on a
minesweeper during World
War II. He earned his J.D. from
the OU College of Law in 1948.
He retired as an attorney from
Fireman’s Fund Insurance
Company. He loved fishing
and riding his motorcycles.
illiam Amis “Bill” Pipkin of Purcell died April
7, 2014. He was born June 25,
1934, and received his J.D. from
Samford University in 1957. He
practiced as a lawyer in Moore.
ertha Faye Teague of Hulbert died March 17, 2014.
She was born April 27, 1939, in
Chelsea. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degree in
education from Northeastern
State University. After retiring
from teaching at Hulbert High
School, she returned to law
school, earning her J.D. from
the TU College of Law in 1994.
She then served as an assistant
district attorney. She loved
spending time with her family
and traveling with her husband. Her other favorite pastimes included listening to
Elvis, collecting Elvis memorabilia and taking her annual trip
to Graceland.
William J. Holloway,
Jr. of Oklahoma City died
April 25, 2014. He was born
June 23, 1923, in Hugo. He
served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He received
his undergraduate degree from
OU in 1947 and his J.D. from
Harvard Law School in 1950.
After receiving his law degree,
he briefly worked as an attorney for the U.S. Department of
Justice. He practiced privately
in Oklahoma City from 19521968. He was nominated by
President Lyndon B. Johnson in
1968 to serve on the 10th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals, serving as its chief judge from 19841991. He was the court’s longest-serving judge, serving
until his death, although he
took senior status in 1992. He
received the OBA’s President’s
Award for 20 years of judicial
service in 1988. In 2006, the
Oklahoma City Federal Bar
Association introduced the
William J. Holloway Jr. Lecture
Series in his honor. Judge Holloway was a member of St.
Luke’s United Methodist
Church in Oklahoma City, Phi
Gamma Delta fraternity and
the American Law Institute.
Memorial donations may be
made to Doctors without
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Good Great Morning
Tips for those of us who just aren’t morning people
A great resource for lawyers who
need some inspiration and motivation
Presentation Pick-Me-Up
Going Green
Are your meeting presentations lacking? Here are 10 rules
for improving them.
Saying goodbye to bulky paper
files? Here are some fun ideas for
repurposing those old file cabinets
Meet TED
Short, inspirational videos for those seeking a deeper
understanding of the world — or who just want to hear
some refreshing news for a change
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
litigation. Backed by established firm. Neil D. Van
Dalsem, Taylor, Ryan, Schmidt, Van Dalsem & Williams PC, 918-749-5566, [email protected]
Exclusive research & writing. Highest quality: trial and
appellate, state and federal, admitted and practiced
U.S. Supreme Court. Over 20 published opinions with
numerous reversals on certiorari. MaryGaye LeBoeuf
405-728-9925, [email protected]
Fitzgerald Economic and Business Consulting
Economic Damages, Lost Profits, Analysis, Business/
Pension Valuations, Employment, Discrimination,
Divorce, Wrongful Discharge, Vocational Assessment,
Life Care Plans, Medical Records Review, Oil and Gas
Law and Damages. National, Experience. Call Patrick
Fitzgerald. 405-919-2312.
Board Certified
Diplomate — ABFE
Life Fellow — ACFEI
Arthur D. Linville
Court Qualified
Former OSBI Agent
FBI National Academy
Free consultation. Resolutions to all types of tax problems. Our clients never meet with the IRS. The Law
Office of Travis W. Watkins PC. 405-607-1192 ext. 112;
918-877-2794; 800-721-7054 24 hrs.
NON-PRODUCING Minerals; ORRI; O & G Interests.
Please contact: Patrick Cowan, CPL, CSW Corporation,
P.O. Box 21655, Oklahoma City, OK 73156-1655; 405755-7200; Fax 405-755-5555; email: [email protected]
Appeals and litigation support
Expert research and writing by a veteran generalist
who thrives on variety. Virtually any subject or any
type of project, large or small. NANCY K. ANDERSON, 405-682-9554, [email protected]
Creative. Clear. Concise.
BUSINESS VALUATIONS: Marital Dissolution * Estate, Gift and Income Tax * Family Limited Partnerships * Buy-Sell Agreements * Mergers, Acquisitions,
Reorganization and Bankruptcy * SBA/Bank required.
Dual Certified by NACVA and IBA, experienced, reliable, established in 1982. Travel engagements accepted.
Connally & Associates PC 918-743-8181 or bconnally@
Expert witness, tree appraisals, reports,
damage assessments, herbicide damage, hazard
assessments, all of Oklahoma and beyond.
Certified arborist, OSU horticulture alumni,
23 years in business. [email protected];
Want To Purchase Minerals AND OTHER
OIL/GAS INTERESTS. Send details to: P.O. Box 13557,
Denver, CO 80201.
25 Years in business with over 20,000 cases. Experienced in
automobile, truck, railroad, motorcycle, and construction zone
accidents for plaintiffs or defendants. OKC Police Dept. 22
years. Investigator or supervisor of more than 16,000 accidents.
Jim G. Jackson & Associates Edmond, OK 405-348-7930
Available as a Mediator or as an Expert, for litigation or
appeals on Real Estate and Oil/Gas Title matters. Over
thirty years of experience in title examination and title
litigation. OCU Adjunct Law Professor (Oklahoma
Land Titles). OBA Real Property Law Section Title Examination Standards Committee Chair. General Editor
of Vernon’s Oklahoma Forms 2d: Real Estate. Interested
in unusual and complex title issues. Many papers presented or published on real estate and oil/gas matters,
especially title issues. Visit, &
contact me at [email protected] or 405-848-9100.
Litigation support, embezzlement and fraud investigations, expert witness testimony, accounting
irregularities, independent determination of loss, due
diligence, asset verification. 30+ years investigative
and financial analysis experience. Contact
Darrel James, CPA, [email protected] or
Dale McDaniel, CPA, [email protected],
BETA TESTERS NEEDED FOR LAW OFFICE SOFTWARE. If you, or any of your staff, would like to beta
test Juris DOC Pro, free of charge, for 60 days in exchange for feedback, download it at http://www. Once downloaded and installed,
contact me and I’ll send you a 60 day license key,
which removes the watermark from the forms and allows unlimited use of the application for 60 days. In
addition to an invoicing component which makes client billing easy, it contains several thousand law forms
and alternate clauses, all connected to a database, to
handle most cases, from start to finish, in the areas of
law reflected on the website. Contact Tom Harris –
phone: 620.725.3344; email: [email protected]
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
TECHNICAL WRITING/ Fact investigation. Medical
chronologies/ legal indexes. RN – 30 years’ medical/
legal experience. Marie Lombard 405-343-1657.
OFFICE SPACE TO SHARE. Located near 71st and Yale.
Executive and smaller offices. Access to conference room,
reception area and kitchen. Use of work area includes
scanners and copiers. Telephone and Internet service
provided. Month to month leases available. Longer term
leases with negotiable terms are available. Ample parking. If interested call 918-814-3411.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE SUITES. Two blocks from District
& Federal Courthouses. Receptionist, phones, copier,
internet, and cable provided. Six established attorneys
available for referrals on a case-by-case basis. Midtown
Plaza location. 405-272-0303.
DOWNTOWN OFFICE SPACE. Individual private
suites perfect for 1-2 person firm. 3 conference rooms.
Quiet and secure. Membership comes with access to
the Petroleum Club. Virtual offices start at $500/
month. Located on the corner of Park Ave and Broadway. A couple of blocks from the courthouses, minutes
from the Capitol, directly across from Skirvin. Fully
turnkey. All bills paid. Short-term leases available and
daily rental for conference rooms available. Light secretarial included, phones answered, reception of your
clients. 405-231-0909.
OFFICE SPACE FOR LEASE one block north of the
federal courthouse. Rent all inclusive with phone,
parking, and receptionist. Call 405-239-2726 for more
MIDTOWN TULSA LAW OFFICE – 1861 E. 15th. Utica
Square district. Receptionist, copier, phone, fax, wireless internet, alarm system, conference room, signage,
kitchen. Ample Parking. Virtual Office leases also
available. Contact Terrie at 918-747-4600.
TULSA OFFICE SPACE with practicing attorneys, short
walk to courthouse. Includes receptionist, phone, internet and access to conference room. Office 12’ x 17’. Secretarial services and covered parking available. $450
per month. Call Lynn Mundell 918-582-9339
LUXURY OFFICE SPACE – One office available for
lease in the Esperanza Office Park near NW 150th and
May in OKC. Fully furnished reception area, receptionist, conference room, complete kitchen, fax, high speed
internet, building security, free parking, $870 per
month. Please call Gregg Renegar 405-285-8118.
Office Space – MidTown Law Center
Historic atmosphere in restored 1926 building for
solo or small firm lawyers. Rent includes: phone, fax,
long distance, internet, parking, library, kitchen
privileges, on site storage, two conference rooms and
receptionist. Enjoy collegiality with civil/trial/
commercial attorneys
229-1476 or 204-0404
The successful candidate will assist in-house attorneys supporting MidFirst Bank’s commercial lending function. This position will assist attorneys with
documenting, tracking and closing varying types of
commercial loan transactions. Assist attorneys with
management and documentation of defaulted commercial loans of varying types and complexities, assist
attorneys with management and tracking of matters
assigned to outside counsel, including (a) monitoring
compliance with engagement agreements, case budgeting, and processing invoices for matters assigned
to outside counsel; (b) maintaining docket of hearings
and deadlines associated with ongoing litigation; and
(c) assisting with reporting to bank management on
collection cases.
The successful candidate will either have (a) a
bachelor degree, (b) the successful completion of
Certified Legal Assistant examination, (c) a certificate from an ABA-accredited paralegal program, or
(d) equivalent work experience. At least 3 years’ experience with commercial loan documentation, due
diligence and management is required. Thorough
working knowledge of computer software used in
legal practice, including Microsoft Word, Excel and
Outlook and Westlaw is required. Effective planning, problem solving and analytical skills, ingenuity, judgment and administrative skills.
If you are interested in this position, please visit
our web-site to complete an on-line application:
Equal Opportunity Employer- M/F/Disability/Vets
THE OKLAHOMA TAX COMMISSION, LEGAL DIVISION seeks an attorney for an opening in its OKC office, Collections Section. 0-2 years’ experience preferred. Applicants must be licensed to practice law in
Oklahoma and have a current OK driver’s license as
the position requires travel. Submit résumé and writing sample to John Hawkins, Assistant General Counsel, 120 N. Robinson, Suite 2000W, OKC, OK 73102. The
OTC is an equal opportunity employer.
ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY, 0-3 years experience. Enid
law firm seeking associate with an interest in business
and civil litigation and willing to relocate to the Enid
area. Send résumé, cover letter, transcript and writing
sample to [email protected]
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
IN-HOUSE TRANSACTIONAL PARALEGAL. American Fidelity Corporation seeks a full time Sr. Paralegal
for its Legal Department (Contracts, Transactions and
IP team). Ideal candidate will have 5 – 7+ years legal
experience as a paralegal in a transactional practice,
with significant expertise in legal document preparation and management. Strong attention to detail and
organization skills are essential as well as ability to prioritize and respond to deadlines. Law firm experience,
college degree and paralegal certification are desirable.
Highly competitive compensation and benefits. Please
apply via the careers page of the corporate website at All applications will be kept
an AV-rated, regional full-service firm, seeks associate
with 2+ years experience for a full-time position involving family law and general civil litigation for its
Tulsa office. Applicants should submit résumé and
cover letter via email to [email protected], regular mail to 502 West 6th Street, Tulsa, OK 74119, or via Salary is commensurate with
experience. All applications are confidential. EOE.
NORMAN LAW FIRM is seeking sharp, motivated attorneys for fast-paced transactional work. Members of
our growing firm enjoy a team atmosphere and an energetic environment. Attorneys will be part of a creative
process in solving tax cases, handle an assigned caseload, and will be assisted by an experienced support
staff. Our firm offers health insurance benefits, paid vacation, paid personal days, and a 401K matching program. Applicants need to be admitted to practice law in
Oklahoma. No tax experience necessary. Submit cover
letter and résumé to [email protected]
FIRM seeks Legal Assistant to fill a position with our
established Intellectual Property practice group. Prior
experience as a legal assistant and excellent word processing and organizational skills are required. Previous
experience as an intellectual property legal assistant is
a plus. The starting salary is negotiable based on experience. Generous benefits package includes paid parking, medical and life insurance. Other benefits include
401(k), profit sharing, dental insurance, long term disability, and a cafeteria plan for uninsured medical and
day care expenses. Please send résumé, references and
salary requirements to Judy Cross at judy.cross@
CONTRACT ADMINISTRATOR POSITION at the University of Oklahoma. Responsibilities include drafting,
reviewing, negotiating and approving contracts in accordance with applicable law and University policy. Acts as
a resource to University Outreach departments reviewing grant and contract proposals, certifications and representations. Must produce deliverables in accordance
with professional-level business standards. Advises University officers in relation to contracts, compliance, and
risk assessment. Assists Director of Contract Administration with administrative matters. Apply through https:// Job requisition # 19395
applicants/Central?quickFind=84036 The University is
an equal opportunity institution.
seeks experienced legal assistant. The right candidate
will be able to maintain deadlines, supervise support
staff in conjunction with attorneys and interact with clients. We offer competitive pay, health, dental and vision insurance, as well as a matching 401k plan. Please
send résumé to “Box H,” Oklahoma Bar Association,
P.O. Box 53036; Oklahoma City OK 73152.
OFFICE is seeking an Assistant District Attorney for
the Poteau Office. Primary responsibilities include the
criminal prosecution of all domestic violence and sexual assault offenses, felony and misdemeanor, provide
training and advice to local law enforcement on cases
involving domestic violence and sexual assault, and
perform other duties as assigned. Salary DOE. Applicant must have a J.D. from an accredited law school;
legal experience in criminal law and prior courtroom
experience preferred. Must be a member of good standing with the Oklahoma State Bar. Applicants may submit a résumé, postmarked no later than June 9, 2014 to
the following address: District Attorney’s Office, 100 S.
Broadway, Room 300, Poteau, OK 74953, 918-647-2245,
Fax: 918-647-3209.
NORTHWEST OKLAHOMA LAW FIRM has an immediate opportunity for an associate attorney with 0-5 years
of experience. Candidates must be motivated, willing to
work in a variety of capacities, detail and task oriented
and play nice with others. If your goal is to live and work
in God’s Country, legally defined as the territory North
of Hwy 51 and West of Hwy 81 we are interested in visiting with you. Our firm is looking for a candidate seeking
gainful employment with an interest in living and working in Northwest Oklahoma with practice desires and/
or experience in oil and gas title work, family law, legal
research and writing and litigation. In addition to a great
work atmosphere the firm provides benefits. Contact us
at: [email protected]
with a minimum of 5 years of experience in civil litigation. Submit résumé and writing sample to “Box A,”
Oklahoma Bar Association. P.O. Box 53036, Oklahoma
City, OK 73152.
SUCCESSFUL SOLE PRACTITIONER LAW PRACTICE in OKC metro. Focus on estate planning, asset
protection, collections, bankruptcy, general business
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The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
Family is looking for the attorney who assisted in the
legal affairs of Kiowana C. Lamkin who passed away
on the 21st day of March, 2014. Possibly in the Tulsa
area. If you have information, please contact Bruce G.
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At Home
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014
At Work
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
And on the Go
Buffalo Shield
By Linda Burkett-O’Hern
In Oklahoma, a Choctaw word
for “land of the red men,”
an Oklahoma legislator,
offended at all the English/Spanish signs
wanted to make English the official language.
Ghosts of the dead Algonquin, Apache, Assiniboine, Arapaho, Aztec,
Blackfoot, Cayuga, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cheyenne,
Comanche, Crow, Delaware, Hopi, Huron, Iowa, Kansas, Kickapoo,
Kiowa, Klamath, Maya, Miami, Mohawk, Muskogee Creek, Natchez,
Navajo, Nez Perce, Ojibwa, Omaha, Oneida, Onondaga, Osage,
Ottawa, Paiute, Potawatomi, Sac and Fox, Seminole, Seneca,
Shawnee, Shoshoni, Sioux, Tarahumara, Tonkawa, Tuscarora, Wichita,
Wyandot and Yaqui
got up and danced to the drum beat, laughing,
and their pure and mixed blood
descendants smiled,
some cloaked in European and other genes
and wearing English and native names.
They know we’re all related
and some understand the healing plan
of the one-half dark and one-half white buffalo
painted by the medicine shield man.
An old fire alarm sign
set in metal on the north entryway wall
of the federal courthouse in Oklahoma City
reads Fire in English and Feuer in German.
Germans and Americans both taught their enemies how to speak that
word of their languages and together at Nuremberg, after the
firestorm at Dresden, and Camp Gruber here in Oklahoma,
they taught each other how to speak peace.
Linda Burkett-O’Hern is a lawyer who lives in Tulsa.
The Oklahoma Bar Journal
Vol. 85 — No. 14 — 5/17/2014

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