{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade.

Page 1

Photo by Simon Hurst Photography

LAW SCHOOL IS BORN. And born again. And then reinvented in the midst of great challenge. That’s the story of Oklahoma City University School of Law. We treasure our origins at statehood, our re-birth in the 1950’s, and now the leap to the urban core of a world-class city. Like a big strong horse, we are in mid-jump with eyes on the horizon. Our vision: to serve as a rigorous interdisciplinary law school in dynamic partnership with the community. That vision is now our reality. We begin the first full academic year in our new home with immense gratitude for the alums, friends and community partners who have so generously supported the school’s transformational move. The financial support and abiding friendships have strengthened our school and its mission and placed us on a national stage, much like the City itself. Our student body — a diverse and lively group of full- and part-time students — feels the galvanizing strength of the community, and they are engaged and connected to the world beyond the walls of the school. They are lengthening their stride and feeling the power and problem-solving capacity of the legal profession. Building toward this point in time, our school has been forging partnerships with several other universities and departments within our own university to develop interdisciplinary programs to prepare our students for the jobs and challenges of the future. Forensic science, child abuse and neglect, cybersecurity, education law, environmental studies, public administration, municipal law and policy, non-profit leadership, business administration and more are the subjects of developed programs or ones on the drawing board. Our building itself is scheduled to be the venue for art exhibits, theater productions and musical performances, community board meetings, judicial conferences, professional continuing education classes and world-renown speakers and visitors. Our new center for

homeland security law – The Judge Alfred P. Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law and Policy – places us in meaningful partnerships with the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security. Our community service territory embraces the surrounding schools, church missions and non-profit organizations. Our American Indian Law and Sovereignty Center and American Indian Wills Clinic are creating and sustaining partnerships with tribal communities, tribal governments, groups such as the Indian Land Tenure Foundation, and distinguished American Indian law practitioners. In these interdisciplinary initiatives, which you will read about in the pages ahead, and many more, we are engaging our students in the relationships and partnerships that will shape their professional identities and strengthen their capacities, resilience, knowledge and wisdom. We are creating leaders. We look ahead with great excitement. The faith our friends and City have placed in us and the work we have undertaken creates great responsibility — to help build a better community, to improve the system of justice, to create leaders who have the diligence, competence, civility, empathy and experience to advance the common good. We accept that responsibility and gallop toward that future with a full heart. Thank you for your goodwill, friendship and involvement in the life and future of Oklahoma City University School of Law. With gratitude and appreciation for your friendship,

Valerie K. Couch


Valerie K. Couch

E D I T O R in C H I E F

Brook Arbeitman Director of Marketing & Communications


Linda Hutchison Faculty Support Joshua M. Snavely ’10 Assistant Dean for External Relations


Brook Arbeitman Director of Marketing & Communications Sarah Dill Class of 2016 Timothy Gatton Head of Reference Services, Chickasaw Nation Law Library Michael Gibson Professor of Law Krystle Hampton Class of 2015 Arthur LeFrancois Professor of Law Lindsey Lubrano Class of 2015 Thomas Schneider Class of 2015 Pete G. Serrata III ’06 Assistant Dean for Law Career Services Carla Spivack Professor of Law


Amy Fuller Flint Inc.


Simon Hurst Lisa Lee


Admissions 405.208.5453 lawquestions@okcu.edu

Advancement 405.208.7100 lawadvancement@okcu.edu

Law Career Services 405.208.5332 hireoculaw@okcu.edu

Chickasaw Nation Law Library



7 Legal Briefs ––––––––––

21 Legal Action ––––––––––

72 Class Action ––––––––––

75 In Memoriam ––––––––––

90 Amicus Universitas


Marketing and Communications 405.208.6300 lawnews@okcu.edu

Oklahoma City University School of Law 800 N. Harvey Avenue Oklahoma City, OK 73102 405.208.5337 law.okcu.edu


92 In Conclusion

Editorial contributions and submissions, including Letters to the Editor, are welcome. All submissions are subject to editing and are used at the Editor in Chief’s discretion. LAW Magazine is a copyrighted publication of Oklahoma City University School of Law.


Disinheriting Women How American Inheritance Law (Still) Cheats Women and What to Do About It



In the Presence of Justice

Alumna Profile Stephanie Hudson



40 In Media Res

Why OCU Law is One to Watch

L AW. O K C U . E D U


Making News Now Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Development Given to Law School


F ALL THE ACCOLADES and all the momentum occurring in Oklahoma

City right now, Mayor Mick Cornett says there is one thing at his fingertips that other cities are trying to replicate – higher education in the core. In OKC, several colleges and universities have set up downtown locations. The newest addition to the scene is Oklahoma City University School of Law, which moved its entire operation into the historic Central High School building that a hundred years ago served as the city’s learning hub. At the Mayor’s 14th Development Roundtable in May, he congratulated university leaders for their restoration and renovation


L AW. O K C U . E D U

of such an iconic structure in Oklahoma City’s landscape, and awarded President Robert Henry the Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Development. “It had obviously been a long time since it had been an educational facility,” Mayor Cornett told the audience of 400 plus. “The needs of a 21st century law school are much different than that of a high school of a hundred years ago.” “They probably could have built a brand new building somewhere else for what they gathered and spent to bring this building back to code and back to more than its original glory.” It’s a magnificent

building full of life again, said President Henry in his acceptance remarks. “We have returned to the iconic vision of the founders of this city to have a remarkable educational institution right in its heart.” Just another feather in the cap of a 21st century city on the move.

If you are a fan of historic preservation, you have to love this project. MAYOR MICK CORNETT


news from in & around the city’s law school


Josh Snavely

Named Director of Murrah Center

Oklahoma City University School of Law knows no borders. Our

At the dedication of

students, faculty and alumni

Center for Homeland Security

the Murrah Center in

are out doing, seeing, serving,

Law and Policy has a new

April, Snavely said he is

Director. Josh Snavely, who also

grateful to be entrusted

serves as Assistant Dean for

with this responsibility.

The Judge Alfred P. Murrah

Advancement and External Relations at Oklahoma City University School of Law, was selected to lead the center by Dean Valerie K. Couch. Snavely earned a Mas-

changing, bettering, and we want to help share those experiences with the world! When you post a picture of yourself on social

May we remember the courage and resourcefulness of the people of Oklahoma City in the wake of terrorism. And be guided by their example as we work to prevent such acts from occurring again.

ters of Law Degree in National Security and U.S. Foreign Relations from the George Washington


josh snavely Snavely is an adjunct law professor

University Law School,

for national security law and serves

where his studies focused

as the Co-Chair of the Homeland

on counterterrorism, military

and National Security Law Commit-

justice, the law of armed conflict

tee for the American Bar Associ-

and national security law.

ation Young Lawyers Division.

media — whether working or playing, volunteering or relaxing — use the hashtag #IamOCULaw so that our followers and future students can get to know us and what we are all about.

... doing, seeing, serving, changing, bettering ... Above: The law school admissions team starts the #IamOCULaw campaign outside the downtown building. Pictured from left to right: Lorenzo Banks ’11, Ramona Freels, Dean Laurie Jones, Lisa Lee and Law McMeans ’15.

L AW. O K C U . E D U


Oklahoma Innocence Project Hosts Honorees at Fundraiser Dennis Fritz joined 29 other

All proceeds from the event

Exonerees traveled from 10 states

innocent people, who were

benefited the Oklahoma

to support the benefit. Collective-

wrongfully convicted, in

Innocence Project at Oklahoma

ly, the 30 in attendance served

supporting the Oklahoma In-

City University School of Law,

more than 480 years in prison.

nocence Project by attending

which has received more

Their average time behind bars

the A Night for the Innocent fundraiser in September. In 1988, Fritz was convicted of murder in Ponotoc County, OK. With the help of the Innocence Project, attorney Barry Scheck and DNA testing, Fritz was

than a thousand requests for help since opening in 2011. Project staff and law students in the clinic actively

... the 30 in attendance served more than 480 years in prison.

investigate every case they believe has credible evidence of actual innocence.

bars for more than 20 years and three served time on death row.

exonerated in 1999 after 12

“The costs associated with

“This benefit is about justice

years in prison. Fritz’s story

investigating claims of

for the wrongfully convicted

is detailed in John Grisham’s

innocence do not end when a

and the crime victims, as well,”

book The Innocent Man.

petition is filed,” said Christina

said Lawrence K. Hellman,

Green, Interim Legal Director

Executive Director of the

of the Oklahoma Innocence

Oklahoma Innocence Project.

Project. “Cases take years

“The victims, their families and

to resolve, and expenses

society desire to have the true

Other exonerated Oklahomans who attended the event were Sedrick Courtney, Arvin McGee, Thomas Webb III, Jeffrey Williams and Michelle

mount. We could not be more

perpetrators brought to justice.”

Murphy, who, only a week

grateful for the support from

To learn more about the

before the event, was found to

friends whose financial kindness

Oklahoma Innocence Project,

be innocent of murdering her

directly impacts each man and

go to innocence.okcu.edu or

15-week old son in 1995.

woman seeking our help.”

follow @OIPatOCU on twitter.

Clockwise: Exonerees are called one by one to the stage to be recognized; Michelle Murphy; Beacon of Justice recipients Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson-Cannino


was 16 years. Ten were behind

L AW. O K C U . E D U

Today Show

Report Includes Murrah Center

In a TODAY Show report about the 20th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, correspondent Kate Snow reflected with survivors about the worst act of domestic terrorism

Law School Recognized

on U.S. soil. Her report looked

for Diversity Oklahoma City University School of Law was honored to receive one of six Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Awards in October 2014. The award is given by the Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA) in recognition of the promotion of diversity in Oklahoma. The OBA recognized the law school for its efforts to combat the under-representation

back at 20 years and looked ahead to the future of combating

of minorities in law school. Judge Jerry D. Bass ’91 was also recognized for his advocacy

... one of six Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Awards on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, as was alumna Gay Hellman ’80 for her career championing immigration rights.

Above: Dean Valerie K. Couch accepts the Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Award on behalf of the law school. She is joined from left to right by: Lorenzo Banks ’11, Director of Diversity Initiatives at OCU Law; Emily Green, Class of 2017; Telana McCullough, Class of 2016; Diana Vermiere, 2014 Vice Chair of the OBA Diversity Committee and Ruth Addison, 2014 Co-Chair of the OBA Diversity Committee. Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma Bar Association.

terrorism, which included an interview with Murrah Center Director Josh Snavely.

Our past is our prologue. If it happened, it could happen again. So, our job is to find a way to ensure things like Oklahoma City, Boston, 9/11 don’t happen again.


josh snavely

OKC A Must See That’s right! Oklahoma City

OKC is in good company. National

was identified by National

Geographic Traveler’s 2015 list

Geographic Traveler as one of

also included locations in Corsica,

20 “must-see” places in 2015.

Japan, Tunisia, India, Jamaica,

Identified as the “pride of the

Switzerland, France, Australia,

plains,” OKC is highlighted for the revival that took place after the Oklahoma City bombing and led to, “a community of boathouses. Local architect firms and coffee roasters that wouldn’t be out of

... identified by National Geographic Traveler as one of 20 “must-see” places in 2015.

place in Portlandia… and MidTown has sprouted condos, a boutique

The Presidio, San Francisco; Sea

hotel and Dust Bowl Lanes (a

Islands, South Carolina and the

1970s-style bowling alley).”

National Mall in Washington, D.C.

L AW. O K C U . E D U


Homeland Security Chief

Building a Better Understanding

from Both Sides

on Campus

The topic of race and police shootings gained

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

repeated attention this year after several

Secretary Jeh Johnson dedicated the

deaths, including Eric Garner in New York

Murrah Center on April 19 during the

and Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. As a

National Summit on Homeland Security

result, Oklahoma City University School of

Law hosted by Oklahoma City University School of Law. During his address, Secretary Johnson commented about the temptation to overreact to events such as the Oklahoma City bombing. “Every event should be a lesson

Every event should be a lesson learned. In some instances more lessons should be learned. In Homeland Security, we try to stay one step ahead of challenges and not simply respond to the last challenge.

learned. In some instances more

_____ __

jeh johnson

lessons should

Law and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority organized the Know Your Rights 101 forum. The ultimate goal of organizers was to educate the public about their rights when stopped by police. The interactive discussion included law enforcement officers and attorneys guiding discussions with the 40 participants about expectations of and interactions with the police during a stop.

... educate the public about their rights when stopped by police.

be learned. In Homeland Security, we try to stay one step ahead of challenges and not simply respond to the last challenge.� He added that the Murrah Center will be a reminder of the value of the rule of law in times of crisis and calm.

In an article in the Oklahoman, Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty noted that it is important for law enforcement to take time to think about the larger social issues that affect their interactions with the communities they police. The Know Your Rights forum allowed for this meaningful exchange.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson


L AW. O K C U . E D U

upcoming events Brennan Lecture State Constitutional Amendments and American Constitutionalism Featuring Professor John Dinan WA K E FO RE ST U NI VE RS I TY

October 15, 2015

Alumni Awards Luncheon Honoring outstanding alumni & the classes of 1965, 1990 and 2005 In conjunction with the OBA Annual Meeting

November 4, 2015

University Closed Thanksgiving Break November 25-27, 2015

University Closed Christmas Break December 23, 2015 – January 1, 2016

Quinlan Lecture Featuring Professor Kenneth Mack HA RVA RD LAW SC HO O L

January 25, 2016

Law Review Banquet April 8, 2016

L AW. O K C U . E D U



N THE PAST, discrimination against women was written into the law of inheritance. Laws required land to pass to male heirs, married women could not own property, enter into contracts, keep their earnings, or inherit independently of their husbands. Any property, real or personal, a wife brought with her into the marriage or acquired through inheritance during the marriage became the husband’s property, which he could sell or dispose of without her agreement — ­ and which his creditors could seize — while the wife could not dispose of her property without the husband’s agreement. The wife could not make a will without the husband’s consent, and he could revoke that consent at any time until the will was proved — that is, until she died and the will was submitted for probate. The only limit on the husband’s ability to alienate property was that he had to leave enough for

the wife’s dower — a third of the husband’s real property — unless she agreed otherwise. She also received one third of the personal property the husband owned at death, above and beyond her personal possessions. Dower was only a life interest, however: her rights in it were limited to living on it and collecting rents and profits. The widow had no right to devise or sell the dower land. When she died, the land descended to the marital children; if there were no children, it went to the husband’s heirs, not to any heirs the wife might have. All this has changed. The law no longer limits a wife’s inheritance to a life interest in a third of her husband’s estate, almost all states prevent a husband – or a wife, for that matter — from disinheriting his or her spouse, and the law no longer bars women from inheriting land or devising their own property. Laws about

L AW. O K C U . E D U


inheritance and property ownership today treat men and women equally; they contain no language or provisions which distinguish between the sexes. But there is still discrimination against women in the transmission of wealth today. How is this possible, when the law no longer discriminates against women? It’s possible because, while treating men and women equally on its face, the law still often plays out in real life in a discriminatory fashion. This is because men and women are still not positioned equally with regard to income, wealth, career opportunities, social power, and reproductive capability. When the law ignores these inequalities, it ends up perpetuating them. What follows are examples of how the law as it operates in real life still discriminates against women today. Prenuptial Agreements

Prenups are an excellent example of the way a law treats the sexes exactly the same and, in doing so, discriminates against women. The law of prenups regards a man and woman negotiating a prenuptial agreement as equals: it considers both fully capable of entering into a contract knowingly and voluntarily, and in general today’s law — though this was not always the case ­— declines to concern itself with the contract’s fairness to the more vulnerable — i.e., less wealthy or professionally advanced — party. But this hands-off approach ignores the reality of many women facing a demand to sign prenup. Consider Catherine Walsh, a 23-year-old registered nurse, who married Frederick Simeone, a 39-yearold neurosurgeon earning $90,000 a year (in 1975) who also owned $300,000 of assets. Catherine was unemployed. The night before the wedding, Frederick drove the two of them to his lawyer’s office, where Frederick and the attorney presented


L AW. O K C U . E D U

Catherine with a prenuptial agreement and insisted she sign it or the wedding would be called off. The prenup limited her claims against Frederick in case of divorce to $200 per week up to a total of $25,000, and nothing else. Neither Frederick nor his lawyer explained to Catherine the rights she was giving up by signing, such as support and property division. The couple had a daughter, Christina. In 1982, they separated. In 1984, they began divorce proceedings; by this time, Frederick had satisfied the $25,000 limit on support payments and Catherine was receiving nothing. She asked the court to order Frederick to pay further alimony while the divorce litigation was pending; the court refused, citing the prenup. Catherine appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, arguing that the agreement should not be enforced because she had not been made aware of the rights she was giving up, she had not been represented by her own attorney, and its provisions limited her support payments to an unreasonably small amount, given the spouses’ relative income and assets. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected her claim. It ruled that prenups were to be treated exactly like any other contracts: there would be no inquiry into their fairness, nor any inquiry as to whether the parties were fully aware of each other’s assets and the rights they were surrendering. From now on, the only way to defeat a prenup would be the only way you could defeat a regular contract — by showing that it had been signed under fraud, misrepresentation or duress. Catherine also claimed, however, that she had signed the prenup under duress. She claimed that being presented with the final version of the prenup at 5 p.m. the evening before her wedding when she could not have consulted an attorney without the expense, embarrassment and trauma of postponing the wedding constituted duress. The court dismissed

this claim as not credible. So, Catherine was left, at 30,

separate representation and should be willing to call

with no support and no means of earning a livelihood,

off or postpone the wedding to get it. But courts and

despite having sacrificed her career to spend seven

legislatures must realize that as long as women tend to

years cooking, cleaning, entertaining and keeping

have less bargaining power in male-female relation-

house for her husband and raising their child.

ships, they will feel coerced to sign agreements that

This is a frequent prenup scenario. Prenups usually involve an older, wealthier man and a younger woman with few resources, low income, and limited career opportunities. Often, the man presents the agreement to the woman a day or even the night before the wedding. Sometimes, the woman is pregnant. She may have left her career or job in view of the upcoming marriage, especially if she is pregnant. The man threatens to call off the marriage unless she signs. This scenario involves a huge disparity in bargaining power between the parties: by not signing, the woman risks social stigma (since most women feel they will be blamed for the failed relationship), the loss of financial security and a stable future she had counted on (for her child as well, if she is pregnant). The man often already has financial security and resources, and may be confident that he will be able to find another relationship if this one fails. Despite this disparity in bargaining power, most courts refuse to consider that women in this situation are under any duress when they sign prenups, even if they are asked to sign the night before the wedding, even if they are pregnant, even if they have left a job or career in anticipation of marriage. These situations exemplify a pattern wherein the law imposes the rhetoric of equality where real equality does not yet exist. Because male-female equality is a goal, and because most laws have changed to treat men and women equally, courts ignore the reality that women are still not equal to men in many areas which affect their bargaining power: wealth, income and career opportunities. The result is that many women sign prenups which leave them penniless and without means of support after long marriages in which they had invested their lives.

must play a role in remedying the resulting unfairness. Divorce

Another example of discrimination is wealth transmission upon divorce. Traditional notions of the patriarchal family decreed that the man had a duty to support his wife and children, and alimony and property division after divorce were an extension of this rule. Reform of divorce law in the ’70s, however, replaced this model with an egalitarian one, which treats the economic obligation of marriage and divorce as equally shared responsibilities. This is a worthy goal. But, as law professor Martha Fineman explains, because of persisting inequality this new model creates a contradiction: the law now sees marriage as a level playing field, but the reality of most families is one of “dependence and need,” usually more so on the part of the women and children. For example, courts refuse to grant the economically dependent spouse a share of future earnings, despite the financial contributions and professional sacrifices she made to further his career. Take, for example, the case of Kevin and Susan Downs, who married in 1976. Kevin had finished college, and Susan had finished three years of college but she agreed to drop out of school and work to support Kevin while he went to medical school. For the next four years, Susan worked as a clerk in a department store, and her income paid household expenses. In 1980, Susan left work after the birth of the couple’s first child; they had a second child in 1982. In 1983, near the end of his residency, Kevin moved out to live with another woman. He filed for divorce shortly thereafter. When he finished his residency, he started in private practice,

Courts and legislators need to recognize that

with the expectation of a salary of $200,000 in the

women often have less bargaining power in

near future. Though testimony at trial indicated

these situations and that circumstances such as

that the discounted present value of Kevin’s future

pregnancy, lack of a job or career prospects, or lack

earnings was three million, the court ordered only

of resources, may constitute duress in the context

restitution to Susan for what she had earned as a

of prenuptial agreements. Agreements signed under

department store clerk in the amount of $50,590.

these forms of duress should not be enforced. Of course, women should not sign prenups without


are harmful to them. As long as this is the case, the law

L AW. O K C U . E D U

Susan appealed, arguing that Kevin’s medical degree was a form of marital property which should be

equitably distributed, noting that she had forgone the opportunity to finish college and worked in a menial job for several years on the assumption that the couple was investing together in his enhanced earning capacity to build their future together. The court, however, refused to consider the degree marital property, and instead remanded the case to the trial court for consideration of Kevin’s earning capacity as one factor in the alimony award. Since alimony is rehabilitative, and usually ends when a former spouse becomes employed or remarries, it is unlikely to approximate Kevin’s three million dollar increased earnings.

children together. Kevin owned a construction com-

Courts need to recognize the contributions made by the financially dependent spouse, such as foregoing education and career opportunities and working to support the other spouse through professional school and training, by treating advanced degrees as marital property and distributing future earnings accordingly.

court gave Sandra about a third of Kevin’s net worth,


cause there was no written contract saying the couple

Another situation in which the law discriminates against women is the very common one of non-marital cohabitation. Consider the following scenario: Sandra and Kevin lived together for ten years and had two

had agreed to share property. Because the couple was

pany located on the same parcel of land as their home. The home and business loans were consolidated, and all the real and personal property was in Kevin’s name. Throughout the relationship, they had both individual and joint bank accounts; Sandra deposited money from her part-time job into her account and paid for family expenses. The two agreed that Sandra’s responsibilities would be housekeeping and child care, and Kevin would run the business and support the family financially. When the couple separated in 1993, Sandra asked a court to divide the property. The trial reasoning that the parties had an unwritten contract to divide their labor for the common good, and also because Kevin would unfairly benefit at Sandra’s expense if he were allowed to keep everything. The Supreme Court of Minnesota, however, reversed be-

not married, it held, it could not order a division of the property. This left Susan with nothing to show for ten years of contributing to Kevin’s business.

L AW. O K C U . E D U


Many couples choose to live together rather than marry, and this can disadvantage women because cohabitation fails to offer the protections of marriage on divorce or death. Because the woman is more likely to be the financially dependent spouse, this lack of protection often leaves her with little to show for years of investment in a marriage-like relationship. Courts need to use equitable remedies to compensate vulnerable parties when these relationships end in separation or death. Women also need to protect themselves by getting contracts up front and in writing about how the couple will divide resources in these circumstances. Caregiving

inheritance law discriminates against them. Courts and legislatures need to discard the family member rule and compensate those who make monetary and professional sacrifices to care for their relatives. Caregivers themselves need to get written contracts spelling out how their services will be compensated. Spousal Inheritance

Another area of law that disproportionately affects women is spousal inheritance. Women on average live longer than men, and so are statistically more likely to be the inheriting surviving spouse. Thus, spousal inheritance laws are most likely to affect women. While it’s true that forty-nine states have statutes preventing

Another social reality is that women perform the

the decedent spouse from totally disinheriting his

majority of caregiving for parents and children, and

wife, and while her share is no longer limited to a life

many sacrifice income and career opportunities to

interest, many loopholes remain. First, most state laws

do so. They often, however, fail to get compensated for

require that the surviving spouse’s share be a third of

their losses from the estate of the decedent for whom

the decedent’s estate, a fraction that fails to reflect the

they cared because of the “family member rule,”

partnership of marriage. Second, many states still al-

which presumes that caregiving services rendered by

low for the surviving spouse’s share to be a life interest

one family member to another are gratuitous. The case

— the same as dower. Like dower, this form of interest

of Borelli v. Brusseau is typical: after he had a stroke in

leaves the survivor with limited rights in the property:

a hospital, Mr. Borelli pleaded with his wife to care for

she may live on it if it is real property, but not sell it or

him at home, although this required around the clock

leave it to her heirs; if it is money in trust, she receives

nursing care. At first, Mrs. Borelli suggested a paid

a limited income from it, often at the discretion of a

caregiver, but Mr. Borelli was adamant that he wanted

trustee. Finally, the spousal share generally consists

her to care for him. In return, he promised to transfer

of a fraction of the decedent’s probate estate, but the

most of his separate property to her by will. Mrs.

law offers many ways of depleting that estate, such as

Borelli performed her part of the agreement, sacrific-

lifetime gifts and trusts. Thus, there are many ways

ing, as she put it, the ability to have “an independent

to shrink the pot from which the surviving spouse’s

life,” but Mr. Borelli did not perform his: he left

share is taken, reducing the amount of the share.

his property to his daughter from a prior marriage. Mrs. Borelli sued the estate for the enforcement of the contract, but the court denied her the promised compensation because she was a family member and therefore had a duty to render the services without pay. The “family member rule” arose in the nineteenth century, when it made sense in the context of large, multi-generational families living together as one economic unit. It makes less sense today, when families live in much smaller units, and returning home to care for parents often requires

Legislatures need to revisit the treatment of spousal shares: trusts and trust-like arrangements should not satisfy the elective share without the consent of the surviving spouse. Legislators also need to define the estate from which the elective share is taken to prevent the decedent spouse from depleting the pot and so shrinking the elective share. Finally, long-term marriages should result in an increase of the spousal share to fifty percent. Common Law Marriage

significant disruption in life plans. Since women

Today, eleven states recognize a form of informal

are more likely to make these sacrifices, the law’s

marriage called “common law marriage.” This refers

roadblocks in the way of reimbursement for these

to a marriage-like relationship which, although not

services when the relative dies is another way

solemnized according to state law with a marriage

L AW. O K C U . E D U


license and the participation of an official empowered

they also bar battered women who kill their abusers

by the state to marry people, the state will recognize

in fear of their lives from inheriting, which is less

if certain conditions are met. The conditions are: the

morally obvious. Women resort to killing to save

couple’s capacity to marry each other (age, blood

themselves from life-threatening violence as a last

relationship, etc.), the couple’s belief that they are

resort: they have almost always made many previous,

married, and the couple’s holding themselves out

futile attempts to get help from police, social service

to the community as married. Evidence in support

agencies, and medical personnel. It seems both unjust

of the last requirement can consist of the testimony

and pointless to deprive such women of the right to

of community members and friends, evidence such

inherit resources that might help them rebuild their

as joint bank accounts and tax returns, the couple

own and their children’s lives. The law of inheritance,

referring to each other as husband and wife, etc.

however, often leaves them poor and vulnerable.

In states that do recognize common law marriage,

Legislatures need to modify existing law to exempt

the law nonetheless harms women who have taken

abused spouses who kill in self-defense from the

on the role of homemaker or financially dependent

purview of Slayer Rules. They should also require

spouse. Common law marriage is very hard to prove,

life insurance companies to do the same.

and when women go to court upon dissolution of the relationship or the death of the common law spouse, seeking property division or part of the estate, they

The law of inheritance has

are rarely successful. If they fail, the law also denies

changed over the past two

them the benefit of pensions, worker’s comp benefits,

hundred years to treat

and wrongful death damages. Because women are

men and women equally.

usually the less financially independent party in the

And it does, as written.

partnership, this difficulty often results in their being

Unfortunately, as it takes

left with little or nothing from the years they contrib-

effect in reality, it still

uted to what they thought was a mutual enterprise.

disadvantages women.

Many of these cases involve women who agreed to

This is because women

keep house and raise children while the man worked

are still not equally

outside the home; when courts fail to recognize

situated in society, and

these as marriages, the women have no claim for

so the law imposes equal

spousal support, property division, or inheritance.

treatment on an unequal

Much like the situations arising from cohabitation, courts need to be willing to offer equitable remedies when the financially dependent spouse has suffered losses due to non-compensated contributions to the partnership. Women also need to take responsibility for insisting on written contracts setting out what that compensation will be in case of separation or death. Domestic violence



playing field, resulting in further inequality. As long as women sacrifice education and career advancement for marriage and bear the brunt of family caregiving and homemaking in both marriage and

The intersection of inheritance law and domestic

cohabitation, they will

violence garners very little attention, yet it is an area

continue to suffer the

in which women are often doubly harmed: first by

effects of unequal wealth

the violence, and then by the failure of inheritance

transmission. Inheritance

law to take the violence into account. For example,

law needs to acknowledge

every state prevents a murderer from inheriting

the reality of women’s

from his or her victim, and all life insurance policies

social position and play a

have the same stipulation, under so-called “Slayer

role in remedying, rather

Rules” — rules which seem morally obvious. But

than exacerbating it.

L AW. O K C U . E D U

Professor Carla Spivack provided this article as an excerpt of a book in progress called “Disinheriting Women: How American Inheritance Law (Still) Cheats Women and What to Do About It.” Professor Spivack is the Oxford Professor of Law and teaches Property, Wills, Trusts and Estates and other Property-related courses at Oklahoma City University School of Law. She is also Director of OCU’s Certificate in Estate Planning program.


L AW. O K C U . E D U

L AW. O K C U . E D U



L AW. O K C U . E D U

L AW. O K C U . E D U



L AW. O K C U . E D U

L AW. O K C U . E D U



L AW. O K C U . E D U

L AW. O K C U . E D U



L AW. O K C U . E D U

L AW. O K C U . E D U



L AW. O K C U . E D U


L AW. O K C U . E D U

L AW. O K C U . E D U


BY M I C H A E L T. G I B S O N Professor of Law

A Salute to Dan Morgan Professor & Friend


ORMAN AND EDEM Professor of Trial Advocacy Daniel

Morgan has retired after 33 years of teaching at Oklahoma City University School of Law. Morgan regaled his Torts students with tales of practicing law in


Gillette, WY, punch lines from

He coauthored two editions of the Oklahoma Trial Manual (with J. Morris and Tricia Hatamyar) ( 1997 and 1999 ) and Consumer Law: Cases, Problems, and Materials (with Fred Miller and Alvin Harrell) ( 1986 and 1998).

New Yorker cartoons, and phrases that have never graced the pages of the Oxford English Dictionary. He expected his Trial Practice students to “come loaded for bear” and warned that anyone whose presentation “sucked pondwater” would “have his heiniecaboo nailed to a telephone pole.” He admitted to being “as


crazy as a peach orchard boar” (think hogs and fermented fruit), and, as reported in the June 2003 Briefcase, he once sang part of an Advanced Torts exam while dressed in an Elvis white jumpsuit with a 6’ flaming red scarf.

L AW. O K C U . E D U

The U.S. Eleventh Circuit quoted his analysis of the federal Truth in Lending Act. See Williams v. Homestake Mortgage, 968

F.2d 1137, 1142 ( 11th Cir. 1992 ). He was a longtime member of the William J. Holloway, Jr., American Inn of Court and OCU’s liaison to the Oklahoma County Bar Association’s Board of Directors. OCU President Robert Henry once described Morgan as “a dean’s dream” who tackled difficult projects without complaint. JUDICIAL VISITS Morgan brought the practice of law to his students. He persuaded Judges Jerry Bass, ’91, Niles Jackson, ’75, and others to try civil and criminal cases in our Moot Courtroom. He arranged for the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals and

the Court of Civil Appeals to hear oral arguments at OCU.

corporate bankruptcy with

He enlisted Oklahoma City practitioners to help him team-teach Consumer Law and Trial Practice. He helped develop our Litigation Practice Sequence program, in which students work a single case through Pretrial Litigation in the fall and Trial Practice in the spring. The evidence they discover in the fall is the only evidence they can introduce during their spring trial.

ultimately settling in Tulsa.

He also joined with the University of Central Oklahoma’s (UCO) Forensic Science Institute to create Forensic Science in the Courtroom. In that course, UCO master’s level forensic science students join with OCU law students to investigate a case and prepare the scientific evidence for trial. Then they conduct Daubert hearings, with our law students examining and cross-examining the forensic science students.

Morgan won’t take the hint.


Crowe and Dunlevy before RETIREMENT (?) Despite Dan’s accomplishments, his retirement does not mark the end of an era. That’s because he won’t leave. A lavish retirement party hosted by Dean Valerie Couch and her husband, Joe? The Oklahoma City University Law Review’s 100-page tribute? Instead, he continues to teach as an adjunct. That lets him roam our new building, eager to share his knowledge of blood-splatter charts, various ways to bury a dead camel (intended to be the mascot of Campbell County High School) in a Wyoming borrow ditch, and the intricacies of consumer protection statutes. He just won’t stop. And I hope he never does.

Prof. Morgan practiced law with his father, Tom, a former president of the Wyoming Bar Association, and Wade Brorby, now on senior status with the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. He also taught for two years at the University of Wyoming, then came to OCU in 1979. He and Andrea have been married for 47 years. Daughter Katie Abboud teaches high school English in Tulsa. Daughter Sarah Morgan Balbas, ’01, was OCU’s Oklahoma Bar Association Outstanding Graduate (each of her first-year professors called on her during her first week of class), and she practiced

Michael Gibson has taught Contracts, Sales and Leases and Federal Courts at Oklahoma City University School of Law for 30 years. He is also the law school’s unofficial archivist: his bookshelves hold two dozen threering binders full of news clippings about alumni, faculty and staff.

L AW. O K C U . E D U


BY K RY S T L E L . H A M P T O N Class of 2015


L AW. O K C U . E D U

In the Presence of Justice A Dream Come True


N SEPTEMBER 11, 2014 I had the opportunity to sit in the presence of Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor during her visit to Oklahoma City University School of Law. This is something that very few people can say they have done, and I felt honored. As an African-American woman, I sat in awe as I watched the first Latina Justice on the United States Supreme Court enter the room with such prestige. I think it is amazing to see a woman with her upbringing, a woman who started life in such humble beginnings, make it to where she is today. She is an inspiration who has made tremendous strides for minority women everywhere. In her speech that day she told the audience, “hearing is not the same as agreeing, by the way; you can hear things and disagree, but you are not entitled to disagree until you understand.” That statement meant so much to me. As an attorney-to-be, it is important that I develop the ability to understand and to listen to the needs of the people that I serve before I render my thoughts to them. I will remember those wise words when I enter the legal profession; I owe that to my clients, my colleagues, and myself when the time comes.

When asked what advice she had for the law students as they enter the world of the legal profession and become citizen lawyers, the Justice said, “never forget either in law school

... but you are not entitled to disagree until you understand. or in practice that what the legal profession is, is service to people; if you remember that you will never become unhappy with law.” That advice gave me hope. As a law student, it is easy to get enveloped in doubt and fear of being an unsuccessful attorney. Justice Sotomayor’s advice gave me hope, hope and clarity that I will never be unsuccessful in the practice of law as long as I am doing what I have been called to do, which is to serve. It was a privilege to sit before Justice Sotomayor and listen to her words of encouragement and truth. It is every law student’s dream to meet a Supreme Court Justice, and my dream has been fulfilled.

L AW. O K C U . E D U



AW SCHOOLS don’t usually make an entrance when they step onto the national stage. They don’t arrive on the scene instantly. They are born. Then evolve. They grow. Then mature. They have long lifelines and complex transformations, curvaceous redirections and moments of idleness. Their presence among the law profession advances as a timed and steady process over years and, most commonly, decades.


sending it out, when it merges

Yet, every so often, when a

its prestigious history with

school becomes part of a city’s

contemporary innovation, when

downtown renaissance, when

it combines firm doctrinal

it opens its doors and lets the

teaching with cutting-edge skills

future in while simultaneously

integration, when its students

Moving here has ignited the imaginations of all of us, including our faculty. Being in this new environment is really causing us to be creative, as well as very focused on the future and preparing our students for the jobs of the future.


L AW. O K C U . E D U


Dean Valerie Couch

and graduates consistently make their mark on the world so that the world blinks twice and takes note, it may appear as if the law school suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Even with its long history. Even with its decades of evolution. Suddenly, it’s just there.

known. But, as the weeks turn to months and the months close in on the first year, the unknown benefits are beginning to rise to the top, says Roy Williams, President and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

The School of Law may seem to have accomplished exactly that by establishing itself in the center of Oklahoma City’s resurgence while simultaneously leading the way in service, innovation, leadership, and tradition. It may appear to have simply arrived smack in the middle of it all.

From the MAPS projects to the Midtown Development and the always burgeoning Bricktown, Oklahoma City is on a growth spurt lasting long past its adolescence. Now comes the development of what is being called “The Innovation District,” an area that begins at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and extends all the way to the Automobile Alley District.

Whether it did or didn’t, one reality is clear: If everyone isn’t paying attention yet, they will be. Here’s why.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? “Moving here has ignited the imaginations of all of us, including our faculty. Being in this new environment is really causing us to be creative, as well as very focused on the future and preparing our students for the jobs of the future,” says Dean Valerie K. Couch. The relocation placed the School of Law in the hub of the activity downtown. It’s been a strategic move from the beginning, a way to position law students in the heart of the public and private law profession. Those are the benefits that are

entrepreneurs and innovators on the legal issues they should be thinking about,” says Williams. “It could expand to, not only being a law school, but also a provider of information that is within their resource capacity.”

How far west does it go? No one knows, yet, Williams says. Growth like this isn’t likely to accept easy boundaries. The Innovation District will be a new area where different kinds of disciplines collide, like engineers and architects, medical researchers and infrastructure specialists. All brought together. All working together. All happening at the law school’s front door, says Williams. “The law school could very well become a part of The Innovation District. It could be where we have workshops and seminars to educate

The law school could very well become a part of The Innovation District. It could be where we have workshops and seminars to educate entrepreneurs and innovators on the legal issues they should be thinking about. L AW. O K C U . E D U


WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? By the end of the trial, the world would finally have an answer to one of life’s most elusive questions: Did Humpty Dumpty have a great fall? Or was he pushed? The mock trial took place inside

graders from Gatewood Ele-

the Federal Bar Association. “It

mentary School about the court

was just awesome. The last day

system, followed by a mock trial

they gave us all letters they had

to determine whether Pierce

written up in class. It was so

the Pig was guilty of pushing

touching to see. The kids were

Humpty or if he was simply

saying they want to be lawyers

an innocent bystander when the big guy fell off the wall.

the U.S. District Court for the

“We were trying to give these

Western District of Oklahoma,

fourth graders a view of

four blocks from the law school.

opportunities they might not

Approximately 15 law students

realize exist out there,” says

volunteered to spend a week

Cedric Bond, President of the

teaching underprivileged fourth

OCU law student chapter of

when they grow up now.” The hours spent with the students at Gatewood is one example of how law students are making downtown their home and, in the process, making their home a better place.

m a k ing history Celebrating a Revitalized New Home The central hub of education in downtown Oklahoma City has come full circle with the relocation of Oklahoma City University School of Law to the historic Central High School facility. To commemorate such a

momentous moment in the history of the law school, and the revival of a building to its original purpose, Dean Valerie K. Couch and OCU President Robert H. Henry hosted a week-long celebration March 23-27, 2015.

Law Librarian Susan Urban (L), Dean of Career Services Pete Serrata (center) and Professor Deborah Tussey (R) toast the new facility.

Kicking things off, the dean hosted a champagne toast for students, faculty and staff, who she said is the primary reason for the move downtown. Next up, President Henry welcomed university faculty

and staff to the downtown OCU campus. The Faculty & Staff Breakfast included an official flag raising ceremony featuring the Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association who did the honors.

OCU President & CEO Robert Henry (L) and law professor Edward Lyons (R).

“From day one here at the school, we talk with students about the basic fact that being a lawyer is being of service,” says Dean Couch. “I am often astonished to hear of a group of students who had simply seen a need and decided they would team up to meet that need and to help a group or person who needs help, or just respond to some other need in the community.” The examples of this are extensive. Law students from Phi Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) gets ready to work on their adopted street.

It was a poignant evening when the J. William Conger Courtroom at the law school was dedicated to mentor, teacher, friend and colleague Bill Conger. Bill passed away in 2013, but his legacy lives on in the courtroom that bears his name. After the toast in Bill’s

honor, all of the law school’s donors were invited to a reception honoring their generosity that made the law school’s move a reality.

Governor Bill Anoatubby and the awarding of an honorary doctorate to OCU alum and ribbon cutting emcee Chris Harrison.

The name of the Chickasaw Nation Law Library was unveiled at a dinner Thursday night featuring the Chickasaw Nation Elder Choir, remarks from

The week of festivities culminated with a ribbon cutting on March 27. Nearly 600 joined the law school for this significant moment in its 100 plus year history.

University faculty and staff were welcomed to the downtown campus for breakfast.

Among the guests were alums from Central High School who are part of the law school family. The building remained open for guests to tour before the celebration kicked into high gear with an alumni reception and a plaza packed with friends new and old for the first H&8th Night Market of 2015.

The Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association raised the flags for the first time.

Alpha Delta (PAD) have adopted

serve lunch at the Jesus House,

logo design, law students raised

a street, specifically Harvey

another local homeless shelter.

$1,520 to donate to the cause.

running from 6th to 13th.

“What we hope is that the

“We want to bring awareness

community looks at us and

to human rights issues that are

says, ‘Yeah, they do care more

happening nationally and also

about just themselves and

internationally,” says Neema

their fancy building. They

Kimathi, President of the law

care about everyone else out

school’s International Human

here,” says Kearby Dickeson,

Rights Law Association. “We

a recent OCU Law graduate.

want people from Oklahoma to

Even as they impact their

know the issues that are going on

local community, law school

and to be a little bit more aware.”

students are reaching beyond


We were trying to give these fourth graders a view of opportunities they might not realize exist out there.


Cedric Bond Class of 2017

the nation’s boundaries, too. The International Human Rights Law Association recently held a fundraiser to support END IT, a worldwide movement to end human

Law students from the Public

trafficking and slavery. Selling

Interest Law Group (PILG)

tank tops with the END IT

Michael O’Shea wasn’t having a bad day. It was just his first day, or close to it. And it was still up in the air which way this day would go. After graduating from

served lunch at City Rescue

Harvard Law School in 2001,

Mission, a homeless shelter off

he landed a job clerking for a

Bricktown. Students from the

federal judge. On this day — this

Christian Legal Society held a

nearly first day — of his new law

coat drive for a local underpriv-

career, he was asked to go to

ileged elementary school. Other

the Cook County Courthouse

students have volunteered to

and file an appearance.

To dedicate the J. William Conger Courtroom, guests raised their glasses for a scotch toast, Bill’s favorite drink.

Friend and former law partner Drew Neville shares a few “Bill” stories before leading the toast.

“I metaphorically saluted

on experiential courses, says

rience with things like real estate

and left the office. Then I

Michael Gibson, an OCU law

transactions and estate planning.

thought, ‘I don’t know how

professor. These simulation

to draft an appearance. I’ve

courses allow students to learn

never seen one,’” he says.

by actually doing the work, like

Now, as a professor who teaches the law school’s skills integrated Civil Practice and Procedure course, O’Shea gives students exactly what he needed on his first day: experience.

preparing for a trial, mediating a dispute, or writing a commercial contract. There are also plans to

As the inaugural year for the skills integration course ends, faculty are weighing what worked, what didn’t work, and how students are responding.

implement skills exercises into

“Especially if you’re not from a

property courses and allowing

family of lawyers, your first ex-

students to get firsthand expe-

perience in the legal field is sort

“My classes correspond with the doctrinal subjects he is teaching on a weekly basis,” says Jana Knott ‘11, a practicing attorney and adjunct professor who co-taught the course with O’Shea. “He will finish a chapter on personal jurisdiction, and I’ll come into the middle or at the end of the chapter and do an exercise that focuses on how to apply those concepts in the real world.” Since the ’70s, legal academics have been pushing law schools to include more skills-based training with a main focus

Friend and former law partner Len Cason unveils Bill’s official portrait, which hangs in the courtroom.

of a deer in the headlight look. That’s what I got initially,” says Knott. “As the year went along and we had more opportunities to interact with clients, supervising partners, and case files, they got a lot more comfortable thinking on their feet, asking the right questions, and really

The regular infusion of lawyers into the downtown community will benefit the school and the lawyers, law firms, and businesses by allowing more regular interaction and on-the-job training.


getting a grasp on the basics.” The new location and close proximity of the school to the downtown legal

“A lot of our lawyers teach at the law school on an adjunct

Kevin Gordon

President & CEO, Crowe & Dunlevy

basis. The closeness of the

profession is helping make

school is making that easier,”

things like these co-taught

says Gordon. “I’ve already talked

skills courses possible, says

to several of them, and they

Kevin Gordon, President and

are finding it easier to walk up

CEO, Crowe & Dunlevy.

the street to teach a class. They

can go teach the class and come back instead of leaving for the day. It’s better for them and the school, because now there are more resources to draw on.” The relocation downtown, the proximity of the legal profession, and the enthusiasm of both working in tandem is creating a synergistic movement that supports both the law school and the law firms, says Gordon. “The regular infusion of lawyers into the downtown

(From left to right) Cynthia Dugger ’79; Josh Snavely, Assistant Dean of Advancement & External Relations; Bill Shdeed ’65 and Richard Dugger ’64 at the Reception honoring all donors.

The Chickasaw Nation Elder Choir performs for guests at the dinner.

Tasha Fridia

community will benefit the school and the lawyers, law firms, and businesses by allowing more regular interaction and on-the-job training,” says Gordon, who lauded the new opportunities lawyers now have to attend lectures, seminars, and arguments from visiting judges. “It’s really giving back to the lawyers in the legal community, which will make us a bigger part of OCU law.”

John W. Norman (R) receives a Greg Burns print of the new law school building.


OCU NALSA chapter, which sent

“Native Americans are under represented. They think it would be too hard, too difficult, that they couldn’t be a lawyer. I want to show them examples of people they can relate to who are doing it.”

to the conference. Now, as the

Tasha Fridia could nominate herself. She is most definitely one of those people. A 2L passionate about Native American Law and part Native American herself, Fridia was elected to the National Native American Law School Association (NNALSA) board as the Area 3 representative during the Federal Bar Association Indian Law Conference in Arizona.

a delegation of three students Area 3 representative, Fridia is the point person for all the NALSA chapters in Arkansas,

I owe it to my family to do the most I can do with my education since my family is sacrificing so much.


Tasha Fridia Class of 2017

“I’m so excited. I feel like the law school has been so supportive of everything I’ve done. There are so many resources available,” she says.

Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana,

Fridia won the national election after serving as president of the

to run for the National NALSA

Mississippi, Missouri, Texas, and, of course, Oklahoma. But she has no intention of stopping now. For year two, she has plans vice-president position.

Ribbon cutting emcee & OCU alum Chris Harrison (L) joins Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby (R) for a picture before dinner.

Telana McCullough

“My husband is stationed in Kansas. My daughters and I are here,” says Fridia. “I owe it to my family to do the most I can do with my education since my family is sacrificing so much.” She isn’t alone in her passion for an outstanding legal education, her devotion to service, or her movement on the national stage. Telana McCullough, a third-year law student, was recently appoint-

Oklahoma Lt. Governor Todd Lamb ’05 speaks during the law school’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

Central High School alums join Sammy Lovelace (2nd from left) under the original high school proscenium.

ed to the national Board of Directors for Equal Justice Works. “I was moved that they would see the importance of having a young adult with my point of view on the board,” she says. “They wanted my perspective as a law student who is passionate about public interest work and wants to devote their career to increasing access to justice for society’s most vulnerable populations.”

Her national appointment will do exactly that.

HEY DAD, YOU WANNA HAVE A CATCH? Sammy Lovelace met his wife in that building. He danced with her the first time in that building, too. It’s also where he took metal working class. Where he studied under his favorite teacher Grayford Chesher. Where he made many of his lifelong

Dean Valerie K. Couch & President Robert Henry stand by the plaque dedicating the building.

I was moved that they would see the importance of having a young adult with my point of view on the board.


Telena McCullough Class of 2016

A crowd of nearly 600 filled McLaughlin Hall for the ribbon cutting.

friends. Where he graduated in 1963. Where he spent the “best years of my life,” he says. The Central High School building, now home to the School of Law, was the beginning of everything important in his life — his education, his love, his marriage, his two daughters, his three granddaughters. It’s where life really began. And now his granddaughter is walking the same halls, climbing the same stairs, and finding the same beginning. “He took so much pride in his high school, and I take so much pride in where I’m going to law school,” says Samantha Bachman, a third-year law student. “It’s a great feeling.” When she came to the School of Law orientation, she fell in love with the instant personal

connection and community feel due to smaller class sizes and individual attention from professors. Attending school where her grandfather and grandmother fell in love? That’s just an incredible perk. One that will continue when she takes her engagement photos inside the historic entrance later this year.

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING? From its initial beginning in 1907 to its second rebirth in 2015, the potential of what the School of Law is, could be, even will be, has never graciously accepted limits. There is no mindset, not among faculty, students, or the city, that the law school has reached a resting point. So why should the national legal community pay

attention to Oklahoma City University School of Law? Dean Valerie Couch believes the answer is in medias res. “In medias res is a Latin term that means in the middle of the action or in the middle of the thing. It’s a great concept because most great stories began in medias res, like the Iliad and the Odyssey. Great adventure stories begin in the middle of the action,” she says. “That’s us. We are right in the middle of the world. We’re a player in what’s happening in the world. Our students become lawyers who are tenacious and resilient. Who don’t give up on their clients or the judicial system. Who skillfully seek justice. Who give and who serve. The students that thrive here are the kind that want to do good in the world, who become lawyers who thrive in the middle of the action.”

There is no mindset, not among faculty, students, or the city, that the law school has reached a resting point.

(from left to right) Emmanuel Edem ’82, David Porch, Justice Yvonne Kauger ’69, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb ’05, President Robert Henry, Dean Valerie Couch, Mayor Mick Cornett, Meg Salyer, Ron Norick, Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Sammy Lovelace and Tomas Schneider ’15 officially cut the ribbon.

The entire community was invited to round out the week of celebration by joining the law school for fun and games during the first H&8th Night Market of 2015.


L AW. O K C U . E D U

Walking the Walk Making the Case for Experience


HACKLED IN HANDCUFFS and leg irons, the defendant sat in the jury box alone

and isolated. In his eyes showed the weight of the proceeding. It would be a day that he would never forget. In the witness stand, the arresting officer sat stiffly and proudly. At every syllable from the officer, the court reporter poked and jabbed at her machine in a hypnotic syncopation. Every question, every answer, every breath — save for his — flowed unceasingly from the reporter’s swift fingers. Then there was the judge. Her eyes determined and steely, lips pursed and firm. Sitting regally, powerfully, in her flowing black gown. He could feel her gaze cut him to the core whenever she looked at him. When the lawyers first began

BY P E T E G . S E R R ATA I I I Assistant Dean for Law Career Services

to question and prod the officer for information, the judge simply watched in silence. Yet as the pace

L AW. O K C U . E D U


of the questions and answers

arraignment. The hearing I

from Oklahoma City University.

crescendoed, the judge’s calm

witnessed happened exactly

As a Licensed Legal Intern, the

yet powerful voice cut through

as described except that the

student was learning how to

the courtroom like a knife. He couldn’t tell whether she was an enemy or an ally, only that the witness and the attorneys responded with a practiced deference. His freedom hung

... we have put more Licensed Legal Interns in the workplace than any other Oklahoma school.

precariously in the balance. Then, his hope for a

prosecuting attorney was not an

practice law by prosecuting a real

attorney. Arguing on behalf of

defendant, in a real court, and in

arguments turned the tide of the

the people of Oklahoma County

real time.

Judge’s reserved demeanor.

was a third-year law student

My chest swelled with pride

technicality, or even a miracle, was dashed as the prosecutor’s

His attorney was sharp, but it seemed that the prosecutor was better. Instead of a miraculous release, the man knew that his arraignment would end only as the prosecution began. His freedom, it seemed, would elude him for sometime longer. FROM PROSE TO PRO’S Surprisingly, I have yet to receive my invitation to co-author John Grisham’s next legal thriller. The scene described above happened in the Oklahoma County courtroom of the Honorable Lisa Hammond in April of this year. On that day I was bringing a student to meet Judge Hammond and happened to arrive during a particularly contested


L AW. O K C U . E D U

that, not only had one of my

we have put more Licensed

one must have a solid foundation

students gone “toe to toe” against

Legal Interns into the workplace

of legal theory. However, to be a

a respected and experienced

than any other Oklahoma

professional of conscience and

criminal defense attorney, but he

school. In fact, more often than

courage, that is to be an OCU law-

had won. The moment served to

not, Oklahoma City University

yer, one must also have the skills

remind me of how critical such

students employed as licensed

and experience to use that theory

Arguing on behalf of the people of Oklahoma County was a third year law student from Oklahoma City University.

legal interns

to solve the problems faced by real

throughout the

clients. Our commitment to our

state outnumber

students’ legal education merely

students from

begins with the law. From there

all of the other

our students’ education reaches

Oklahoma law

into the law firms, courtrooms,

schools combined.

boardrooms, and industries where

Now that legal

lawyers take on the problems of the

employment has

greater world.

become the

To hire an OCU Law student, or

bottom line in

Licensed Legal Intern, contact

legal education,

Assistant Dean Pete Serrata at

it seems that


we were ahead of our time for years. With our employment rates pushing innovation

experience is to the training

and competition throughout

of exceptional lawyers. More

Oklahoma and nationally, the

aptly stated, it is central to the

innovativeness and forward-

formation of OCU lawyers.

thinking of our faculty and

Twenty years ago, our faculty created the first full-time legal research and writing staff to equip students with the essential skills to practice law. Even then, there were many in the legal academe that questioned our approach. When the Law School created a formal externship program to place students in the workplace for on-the-job training with experienced mentor attorneys, we were working beyond the

administration has created a legacy that is getting noticed beyond the courtroom. Last spring Oklahoma City University was recognized as being in the top quartile of all American law schools, and the highest in Oklahoma, for employment. This year U.S. News and World Report named Oklahoma City University School of Law as a “top tier” law school. And the accolades just keep coming.

traditional boundaries of legal

Even so, our success begins

education. With these innova-

and ends with each lawyer that

tions and our commitment to

leaves our doors. As I have said in

produce practice-ready lawyers,

previous columns, to be a lawyer

Pete G. Serrata joined Oklahoma City University School of Law in August 2012 as Assistant Dean for Law Career Services. Prior to joining the administration, Pete practiced law at the Oklahoma City firm of Derryberry and Naifeh. Pete served in the U.S. Army Reserves after 9/11 and is a 2006 graduate of Oklahoma City University School of Law.

L AW. O K C U . E D U


BY B R O O K A R B E I T M A N Director of Marketing & Communication

#RaceTalk Baltimore. Cleveland. New York. Ferguson.


ASK FORCES. New diversity positions. Chants. Videos.

believe race relations in this

“Life and lawyering is not about

country are “generally bad.”

being a spectator,” Johnson

The country is suffering in the

says. “We need engaged legal

wake of disparity. So, where

minds ready to confront, think

All of this has been swirling

does that leave us? Who has

and discuss issues and concepts

and growing since unarmed

the cure for the epidemic? Will

related to justice and fairness.”

Florida teen Treyvon Martin

we ever be able to move past

was shot and killed in 2012.

discrimination based on race?

And while former Secretary of

Professor Danné Johnson is the

State Condoleezza Rice, who was

Constance Baker Motley Professor

raised in Alabama in the ’60s,

of Law at Oklahoma City Uni-

doesn’t think most Americans

versity School of Law. She is an

harbor racist attitudes, a New

African American woman whose

York Times/CBS News poll

passion is cultural competency,

This is exactly why she reached

conducted in May 2015 found

and she is not shy when it comes

out to her first-year students in

that 61% of those surveyed

to talking about race in America.

the fall of 2014 and asked who

Marches. Riots.


L AW. O K C U . E D U

Life & lawyering is not about being a spectator.

I think that ordinary Americans try not to look at each other in terms of race. You’re never going to be colorblind. We have this birth defect of slavery and all that came after it, but I think most Americans don’t harbor racists attitudes. ––––– –––––––––––– Condoleezza Rice in an interview with AL.com

assignment or encouraged to watch a video, which will be discussed at the next meeting. For Johnson, it has been a fascinating and dynamic group of students who are white, black, Asian, Native American, Indian, men and women, from the

would be willing to participate in

city, from the country, from

a non-required discussion group

Oklahoma and beyond — but all

focusing on race in America.

of whom have a desire to learn

The response was overwhelming

more about their own beliefs

and #RaceTalk was formed.

and the perspectives of others.

The #RaceTalkers meet bi-weekly

Precisely why Christina

over lunch and examine a variety

Isom decided to join.

of social injustices. Usually they

“I grew up in a very small rural

are given a small reading

town in southeastern Oklahoma,

which is predominately white, and though I knew about discrimination that took place I never really was aware of what kind of impact it still has today.” “Before this group I was very uncomfortable talking about anything that had to do with race. I was afraid I would offend someone, or that as a white woman I had no place to speak. But from this group I have realized that it’s okay to talk about race, and it’s important to acknowledge each person’s differences. It’s okay to ask and to learn.” Tasha Fridia is a biracial woman of African American and American Indian decent. She decided to join the group because of her interest in examining the multifaceted issue of race. “Growing up biracial, I was always aware of race and experienced both the beauty and cruelty that it can evoke. I felt that by sharing my perspective I could give a face to some of the overarching issues of race and racism. I was also very interested in learning from others in the group.” #RaceTalk has allowed students to explore the topic of race in a safe environment fueled by honesty and understanding. But the journey is far from over, and before the Summer break Johnson encouraged her students to stay dialed in and be active participants in the pursuit of cultural competency. “Listen to the narrative that is being played out in the media and push beyond your own walls. Think and challenge the things you hear. Ask questions. Stay engaged. Each day the world is more complex than the last.”

L AW. O K C U . E D U



T WAS A LIBRARY straight from Hogwarts. I glanced around looking for Harry Potter and his smelting stick. The vaulted ceilings, the wrought-iron chandeliers, the dark wood paneling, it was what you would expect from an old-world European university, except I was in Michigan. Specifically, I was inside the University of Michigan’s law library, one of the most awe-inspiring rooms a law librarian (or, at that time, a soon-to-be law librarian) could experience. I glanced around and thought, “This is going to be me soon. Working in a place like this.”

visit other law libraries. As

The school’s law library is the

many as possible. In as many

largest Mexican law library

different places as possible.

outside of Mexico City. Having

And so the adventure begins.

never visited a Mexican law


what they would have in terms

My friend Diego Sada is a law

of their collection. Mexico is

professor at Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey. His sister

library before, I didn’t know

a civil law country, based on civil code, instead of common

married the Mexican ambas-

law. That means that unlike our

sador to China, which has noth-

system, case law is secondary

ing to do with law libraries, but

and subordinate to statutory

I just think that’s fascinating.

law. As a result, I expected they

I flew down in March 2013 to

would need fewer resources.

sit in on some legal research

What I found, however, was a

classes and see the school’s

surprising amount of American

law library. In between the

law materials. As soon as I saw

classes, I gave a presentation

the U.S. law reviews, I thought,

I had to visit other law libraries. As many as possible. In as many different places as possible.

The trip to Michigan had been for a Moot Court Competition. Let’s just say the competition had been a personal low point. (I was a little nervous. Nervousness on me means I can’t speak, think, or swallow because all the moisture has left my mouth and my lips stick to my teeth. Not pleasant.) But walking into that library started something for me — I had to


L AW. O K C U . E D U

about American law libraries,

“Hey, that’s us!” They also had

how we perform legal research,

resources like the Atlantic Report-

and I showed them our

er, the Houston Law Review, and

LibGuides. They responded by

a computer lab similar to what

being enthusiastic, curious,

you would find in the states.

and telling me I could speak in English instead, so I gave my Spanish a rest.

When I returned to the states, the adventure continued.


On my way home from Monterrey, I stopped in Dallas for a few days and toured the Underwood Law Library at SMU’s Dedman School of Law. The collection blew me away. It’s enormous. They don’t downsize. They add.

One of the most vital responsibilities of a law library in today’s digital culture is providing easy access to electronic sources for students and alumni... Not that I should be surprised. SMU is in the top 20% of law libraries when it comes to resources. And they’ve earned it. One of their special collections has a book dating back to 1474. What can I say? I’m a law librarian. I took a moment to drool over that.

Monterrey, Mexico

In August 2013, I went back to Dallas and visited Jones Day as well as the Dallas County Law Library. In both libraries, you’ll find a nearly polar opposite approach from SMU’s Underwood Law Library. Jones Day, for example, has slashed their print collection from 40,000 volumes to around 750! When I asked about this, the law librarian there said the library’s focus is “cost, cost, cost.” These days, many law libraries, like us, are taking into account that we’re training tomorrow’s attorneys and tomorrow’s attorneys are using technology more and print less. In fact, if I ever tell a student that finding a particular resource is “a little easier in the books,” they give me a look that says, “You’ve got to be out of your mind, I’m not looking in a book.” One of the most vital responsibilities of a law library in today’s digital culture is providing easy access to electronic sources for students and alumni, and then helping them focus and navigate that world. Yes, your research may warrant six million hits. But that means you’ve got six million hits. See where I’m going with this? That’s why I’m here to help. AROUND THE WORLD

I’ve walked through the bookshelves of law libraries all over the U.S., like Drexel’s Kline School of Law Legal Research Center and the University of Pennsylvania Law Library, both in Philadelphia;

L AW. O K C U . E D U


the UCLA Law Library in Los Angeles; the Northwestern University Law Library in Chicago, which had amazing views of Lake Michigan; the Georgia State University Law Library in Atlanta, as well as the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta. If I’m in a town, you’ll Rome, Italy

eventually find me in the local law school library. Except when I was in Rome for my 50th birthday in November 2013. I spent that trip visiting the Colosseum, having beer and pizza with an old law school alumni pal, and seeing the Pope. Yes. You heard me right. The Pope. However, if visiting the Pontifical Lateran University library in Rome gives me a good excuse to go back, so be it. Why do I keep visiting all these libraries? I visit because I want to know what the

microphone. Here, people laugh and interact and support each other. Our library is more than just a resource, although we grow and improve our resources constantly. We’re a community. Even if you only access the information and resources we offer online, you are part of this community, too. I’m going to keep visiting law libraries. I want to know what other law libraries are doing and how we can always improve what we offer. For me, being Head of Reference Services is a dream job. I love meeting our alumni and letting them know about the great things happening here and the resources they can access from anywhere, including the legal research tips we can offer.

other librarians are doing. Are they active and involved? Do they interact with students? What

For me, this is a dream job.

kind of programs and outreach opportunities do they offer? And, possibly most important, do they have fun? In all my travels, I’ve never come across another law library that has the same kind of atmosphere as the Chickasaw Nation Law Library at OCU. People are loud and rambunctious at times. Or at least I am. I’m the super loud librarian who never needs a


L AW. O K C U . E D U

If you haven’t stopped by and seen our new digs at 800 N. Harvey, come visit and I’ll show you what the Chickasaw Nation Law Library at Oklahoma City University School of Law can do for you. I’ll even personally give you a tour and tell you all about that time I saw the Pope in Rome.

BY T H O M A S R . S C H N E I D E R Class of 2015

The Oklahoma Standard Lessons Learned from the National Summit on Homeland Security Law


KLAHOMA CITY University School of Law welcomed local,

ment agencies immediately

each other well prior to the

following the Oklahoma City

Bombing and had developed

Bombing. For some students,

good relationships with one

state and national leaders to

including myself, the summit

another. Summit attendees

Oklahoma City April 17-19, 2015,

started on Thursday morning

were informed that these key

for meaningful and educated

when we participated in an in-

relationships are an oddity.

conversations about homeland

teractive lecture on the National

Nevertheless, the time and effort

security law and policy. The

Security Council with Chief

dedicated to preserving those

National Summit on Homeland

Judge James Baker of the U.S.

relationships allowed officials to

Security Law and Policy occurred

Court of Appeals for the Armed

greatly impact the effectiveness

in conjunction with the 20th

Forces. Three key themes

and efficiency of the rescue,

anniversary of the Oklahoma

emanated from the summit, and two of them were contributors

recovery, investigation, and

City Bombing. The various panel discussions took place in the

to Oklahoma’s prevailing

rebuilding efforts. Each of these individuals knew their roles

newly relocated School of Law,

response to the Bombing.

which previously served as the

The first was that local, state,

prevented timely and costly turf

command center for law enforce-

and federal officials knew

wars. Self-awareness is crucial to

and those of others, which

L AW. O K C U . E D U


successful disaster management, whether natural or man-made.

Judge James Baker, Chief Judge to the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, delivers the keynote address on the first day of the summit.

Second, security must be viewed through the lens of liberty. Many argue that these two pursuits are fundamentally exclusive of each other. However, Chief Judge James Baker, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, departs from the common logic on the security-liberty paradox. He believes that the best defense to a security threat is to defend democracy by defending those liberties

its enemies and the world that the words written in the Constitution and our laws are much more than the paper on which they are written, even in the gravest of times. Chief Judge Baker concluded his keynote address by analogizing Oklahoma Strong as upholding the Constitution to the Oklahoma Standard — service, kindness, and honor.

that democracy secures. In

Third and finally, good

addition, he also opined on

process cannot be under-

the importance of ethics in

valued. Numerous panelists

the national security debate.

identified the process as

“Get to ‘Yes’ with honor.

one of the most important

Keep the nation safe and the

aspects of any investigation

Constitution intact,” said

or legal inquiry. Of high

Baker. When the laws are

import was a discussion

not clearly written, “ethics is

regarding the trial of Timothy

what you fall back on,” Baker

McVeigh. According to

also remarked. By defending

former Deputy Attorney

our nation through uphold-

General Jamie Gorelick,

ing liberty, America shows

then-Attorney General Janet

Participating in the panel about responding to the Oklahoma City Bombing were (from left to right) Ron Norick, former Mayor of Oklahoma City; Chief Bob Ricks, former FBI Special Agent in Charge; Chief Sam Gonzales, former Oklahoma City Police Chief; Chief Gary Marrs, former Oklahoma City Fire Chief and former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating.

Reno set out to show the

Never give up on good

American sense of justice

process, especially when a

for what it is known to be.

lot is on the line.

This was in part achieved

Looking ahead to my

by paying special attention to detail at all stages of the trial. Furthermore, current

next chapter as a LL.M. candidate in National Security and U.S. Foreign

Oklahoma Supreme Court

Relations Law, I intend to

Justice Steven Taylor’s (then

use these three themes to

a district judge in Pittsburg

inform my analysis of the

County) assurance of a fair

questions I am presented

trial or no trial to Terry

and the problems that I

Nichols for his state trial

am tasked to solve. While

was also of special note.

all three appear to be so

Several panelists com-

basic to achieve, they are

mended Justice Taylor’s

often the most difficult to

commitment to process.

see through.

Thomas R. Schneider graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in May 2015. He served as the 2014-2015 Student Bar Association President. Thomas has been admitted to the National Security and U.S. Foreign Relations Law LL.M. program at the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C.

L AW. O K C U . E D U


Alumna Profile Class of 1993 BY S A R A H D I L L Class of 2016

“After growing up watching all the complicated legal issues my grandparents had to deal with in Indian Country, it was important to me to learn how to help my family. Indian law became my passion, and my experiences growing up helped guide my path through law school and beyond.�


ONE WOLF v. Hitchcock is a precedent that exists today, 100

plus years after the Supreme Court decided the Allotment Act of 1900 was legal, costing the Kiowa-Commanche Tribe a substantial portion of its reservation in Oklahoma. It has been called a landmark case in American Indian law, and for 1993 alumna Stephanie Hudson, the case is personal. Sitting in her Federal Indian Law class and reading Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock along with her classmates, Stephanie recognized the name Lone Wolf as one of her family names. In fact, she soon realized that Lone Wolf was her grandfather’s grandfather. This

one case and the story of her great-great-grandfather inspired her to follow his lead advocating on behalf of Native Americans. P U RP O S E

Stephanie they encouraged to go to law school.

... she soon realized that Lone Wolf was her grandfather’s grandfather.

Law school was almost a no-brainer for Stephanie based on the encouragement and inspiration of her family. Her grandparents are full-blood Kiowa and they both attended Native American boarding schools. As Stephanie recalls, her grandparents always pushed the importance of obtaining a higher education. And of all their grandchildren, it was

“After growing up watching all the complicated legal issues my grandparents had to deal with in Indian Country, it was important to me to learn how to help my family. Indian law became my passion, and my experiences

growing up helped guide my path through law school and beyond.” After graduation, Stephanie worked for the law school as a coordinator for the Early Settlement Central program, part of the law school’s Center on Alternative Dispute Resolution. This was an important step in her career that she says helped

land, Indian housing issues, tribal sovereignty issues and individual rights.

her alma mater has evolved, too.

There is a misconception that tribes have an abundance of money, especially those with thriving casinos. But tribal leaders across Oklahoma also deal with a variety of societal and economic struggles just

and an externship available.

Stephanie said when she attended law school there was one class Now, there is a clinic, a certificate program and numerous classes offered for those who want to eventually practice in this highly specialized area. I N S P I R ATI O N

Stephanie believes her work there can provide a safety net for tribal citizens and establish stronger tribal governments for the future. her understand the art of dealing with different personalities, guiding people who otherwise can’t agree and the importance of mediation. For seven years, she worked alongside Professor Phyllis Bernard teaching client representation in mediation, client interviewing and negotiation, all the while gaining a better understanding of the legal field and how to be a lawyer. For the past 14 years, the Oklahoma Indian Legal Services (OILS) is where Stephanie has utilized her skills to work tirelessly on behalf of low-income Indians living in Oklahoma. OILS specializes in legal issues that impact Indian people because of their membership in a federally recognized tribe such as Indian child welfare cases, probate on restricted lands, wills for elderly Indians on trust or restricted

Her professional journey began at Oklahoma City University School of Law, sitting in class learning about her ancestor Lone Wolf. And following his footsteps, Stephanie Hudson is an inspiration to the next generation of Indian lawyers in much the same way.

like other governments. OILS is a resource for those tribal communities, and Stephanie believes her work there can provide a safety net for tribal citizens and establish stronger tribal governments for the future. E VO LU T I O N

As a member of the Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) during law school to OILS Senior Staff Attorney, Stephanie has witnessed the evolution of Indian law in Oklahoma. “There’s been amazing changes for tribes across Oklahoma as they grow, gain more sovereignty rights and transform from struggling communities to major forces in the state.” The Indian law program at

Sarah Dill is as third-year law student at Oklahoma City University. She serves as the Native American Law Students Association President (2015-2016). Sarah is originally from Coweta, Oklahoma, and is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Sarah is a candidate for the law school’s Certificate in American Indian Law, and she plans to work with tribes and tribal communities upon graduation.

L AW. O K C U . E D U


L AW. O K C U . E D U



L AW. O K C U . E D U

up to

$999 Sue H. Abreu ’11 Christin M. Adkins ’98 Jasmine Aghili

Eva Arellano

Chelsea M. Baldwin ’09

Ann Alspaugh

Jasen A. Armstrong ’15

Bank of Oklahoma

American College of Trial Lawyers

April Arnesen ’15

Susan Barber & David Nagle

American Fidelity Assurance Company

Robyn Assaf ’92 Joni L. Autrey ’12

Rose Barber ’89 & Geoff Hefner Jay Barnett

Misba Ahmed

American Fidelity Foundation

Leah ’07 & Brad Avey

Candice & Charles Ainsworth

Vickie Ayer

Leslie Barrows ’00 & Jeff Sanford

Barbara L. Andrews

Samantha Bachman

J. Edward Barth

Cristi L. Andrews ’89

Blake J. Batchelor

Jamie R. Andrews ’15

Colleen & Don ’62 Balaban

Brook & Chris Arbeitman

Sarah ’01 & John Balbas

Alia Al-Assaf ’15 Melinda ’99 & Al Alizadeh-Fard


Robert D. Allen

L AW. O K C U . E D U


Kellye ’94 & Thomas ’94 Bates

Laura & David ’74 Beal

Donald Bishop ’75

Colleen M. Bowler

Leah & Dick Beale

Rebecca & Gregory ’76 Bistram

Merle & Charles Boyce

Stephanie N. Black

Sharon & John Bozalis

Hilary Blake ’11 Sally & Joe Blake

Taunia & Rick ’76 Bozarth

Linda & Morris Blumenthal

Brian D. Bracher

Steve M. Brown

Howard K. Berry

Jason Bolitho

Norwood P. Beveridge

Cedric C. Bond

Georgann & Peter Bradford

Tiffany Browning

Kenneth N. Bethune ’10

Stephen M. Booth ’74

Connie Bryan ’89

Shannon E. Bickham ’07

Martha & Ronald Bradshaw

Christine C. Bird

Lois & Willis Bottger

Malcolm H. Branch ’70

Regan Strickland Beatty ’04 & Brian Beatty ’08 Sally & Steve Bentley Steven A. Berklacy ’15

Phyllis D. Boyson ’76

Kayla & Joshua ’08 Brannon Amber N. Brigham Melissa A. Brooks Cody J. Brown Dorothy J. Brown ’80

Robert C. Brueckner Brett H. Burch ’15 Ande ’13 & Dusty Burchfield Taylor L. Burdick Dana Joy & Glen ’74 Burns David J. Burrus Jack G. Bush ’59 Jessica Camp Betty & Arnold Cannon Anna Cantu Linda L. Carpenter Jonathan Carr Sherri A. Carver ’91 Chelsea Castonguay Betty Jane & Michael Cawley Kayla Cawood SuJung Cho Cheri & James ’67 Clark Bobby J. Coffman ’01 Don V. Cogman


L AW. O K C U . E D U

Jodi C. Cole ’08

Amber M. Farris

Kecia ’94 & Wade ’91 Cole

Deborah & Mike Felice

Steve A. Coleman ’74

Cara & Shannon ’03 Ferrell

Danielle M. Connolly

Laura ’06 & Eric Finley

Cody G. Cook ’15

First Bank

Christopher C. Cooper ’14

(Wichita Falls, Texas)

Dallas L. Coplin

First Bank & Trust Company (Wagoner, OK)

Robin & Wallace ’86 Coppedge

Graham M. Fishburn

Cynthia Cortright

Ericka C. Fisher ’15

Sandy & Art Cotton

Sonja SoRelle & Don Fitzgerald

Suzanne & Luther ’73 Cowan Von Creel Bailey Daugherty

Midori & John ’93 Flood Bev & Stan Foster

Andrew R. Davis

Jennifer & Steven ’08 Foster

Stacey & Christopher ’94 Dawes

Susan & John Frank

Michael L. Decker ’78

Frankfurt Short Bruza Associates, P.C.

Gayla & Michael DeGiusti

Doug Frantz

Daniel Delluomo ’86

Katherine E. Frantz

Darlene & Robert ’73 Dennis

Kent R. Frates

Corbin Dickerson Kearby Dickeson ’15 Cynthia & Joseph ’77 Dinoto

Josephine W. Freede Tasha R. Fridia Donald Gaines Julie & Gore ’94 Gaines

Ann & Steve ’78 DiNovis

Colleen L. Galaviz

Brianna & Kyle ’14 Domnick

Andrew H. Garrett

Anne & Clark ’66 Dougherty

Geralyn & Charles Geister

Qhaurium K. Douglas Tiffani D. Dragg ’15 Jason A. Duff ’07 Jennifer ’03 & Cody Dutton

Christa ’00 & Martin George Teresa ’07 & Kevin Gerber

Meagon R. Eagon

Stefanie & Dudley ’92 Gilbert

Suzanne & James Edmondson

Lisa D. Giles

Shannon & Corey Edwards Anna M. Eischen ’00 Alpha & Von ’77 Elkins Lida & Ronald Elkins John C. Elliott ’04 Adam J. England

Andrew T. Gin Connie C. Givens Sarah J. Glick ’01 Nikki L. Godwin ’15 Pam & Douglas ’78 Golden

Stacy & Derek ’09 Ensminger

Susan & Eddie ’71 Goldman

Allen Evans

Jesse Gordon

Christy & Jim ’75 Everest

Joshua L. Grace

Christiane B. Faris

Emily Green

L AW. O K C U . E D U


Teresa Green

Carole & Ben Heinrich

Rabiah Jeenah

Cinda & Owen Lafferty

Michelle Gremmel ’15

Brooke N. Henderson

Calla J. Jenkins

Michael J. Lambert ’14

Barbara & John ’77 Gunter

Stuart Hene ’09

Kimberly S. Jenkins

Dana ’84 & Gary Laverty

Mary Lynn & Gary Hill

Terry Jenks ’84

Lacie D. Lawson ’15

Betty Jo & Frank Hill

A. Scott Johnson ’79

Brian Hackler

Jennifer ’13 & Adam Hinsperger

Danné & Reginald Johnson

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.

Samantha ’13 & Colby Haggard

Jerome A. Holmes

Jordan D. Johnson

Rachel & David ’09 Holt

Joshua Johnson

Amanda & Lewis ’11 Lenaire

Elise M. Horne

Michelle ’91 & Mark Johnson

Mark Lester ’04 & David Fretwell

Molly E. Howell

Christin Jeffrey ’09 & Blake ’09 Jones

Elaine & Harrison Levy

Ronald Howland ’64

Yvonne D. Jones ’15

Kay & Bob ’68 Lewis

Daniel A. Humsi ’15

Howard S. Josephson ’77

Sade Lewis

Yvonne & Charles ’64 Hunnicutt

Michael A. June

Russell Lissuzzo ’87

James D. Kallstrom

Kurt A. Liu

Yvonne Kauger ’69

Danielle Lomax

Scott P. Kedy ’12

Brennan J. Lombardi

Noma Gurich & John Miley

Lee & Richard Hall Amanda K. Hamill Krystle Hampton ’15 Whitney Haney Bria A. Hanlon ’15 Joy & Tom Hardin Mary Ann & Joseph Harroz Hattie L. Hartman ’15 Brandi Haskins ’15 Mary & Don Haskins Alexandria J. Hatcher

Barbara ’84 & Preston Hatfield Michael Hatfield ’11 Madelaine A. Hawkins Elizabeth Thompson-Hay ’86 & Jeffrey Hay ’84


Morgan Howard ’15

Brian Huseman ’97 Tera & Allen ’10 Hutson Laurie & James ’73 Hyde

Michelle & Thomas ’08 Ishmael Christina D. Isom Gail & Jay ’74 Israel Darlene ’84 & Lee ’89 Ivy

Kathy & John ’77 Kempf

Judy Lehmbeck

Jeremy A. Kent

Joanna & Brandon ’04 Long

Sanna B. Khan

Lindsey M. Lubrano ’15

Neema N. Kimathi

Ellen & John Lynn

Brian P. King ’15

Allison Lyons ’14

Evan W. King

W. Carlisle Mabrey

Barbara S. Kinney ’88

Bebe & Bruce MacKellar

Allison Haynes

Donna J. Jackson ’88

Sherry & Cecil ’04 Heaton

Joseph P. James ’94

Julie & Craig Knutson

Melissa A. Mahler

Virginia Hefner ’15

Philippa C. James ’92

Catheryn S. Koss ’05

Denea Malone

Kaye & Christopher ’96 Heinhold

Francisco Jasso

Mary & Jim ’69 Kutch

Bret F. Mangan ’15

Ricardo Jasso

Julie & Paul ’80 Lacy

Michael Mannes ’81

L AW. O K C U . E D U

Patti & Richard Marshall

Michael Means ’15

Deniese & Alan Newman

Amber L. Martin

Alisha F. Mehrhoff ’12

Patrick C. Nichols

Anisha M. Mathew ’15

Hedra & Harry Merson

Cassandra T. Nguyen

Emmalee J. Mattern

Adonna & Stewart Meyer

Natalie Nguyen

Katherine & Donald McCarty

Samantha V. Miller

Vanmai ’02 & Robert ’01 Nguyen

Molly E. McClure ’15 Telana McCullough

Christina Misner-Pollard & King Pollard

William McCollum ’83

Lyna L. Mitchell ’10

Penny S. Oleson ’12

Cathy & Jay ’73 McCown

J.T. Moon

Kassie N. McCoy ’12

Mary Helen Moricoli

Packard New American Kitchen LP

Linda & Thomas ’70 McCoy

Christen M. Moroz

Kenneth P. McDaniel ’92

Eleanor ’67 & Cal Moser

Sean R. McDivitt ’15

Dayna & Stephen ’89 Moss

Sandra & Adams McHenry John R. McKee Paige ’14 & Jentry McLaughlin

Earl D. Mills ’59

Martha Lee Mullen Brooke & Mike Murphy Tiffany R. Murphy

Karla & Shane ’79 McLaury

Jeaneen Naifeh

Keren Williams McLendon ’07

Stephanie & Blair ’02 Naifeh

Whitney E. McMahon ’12 Law W. McMeans ’15

Carol North Lexie P. O’Brien ’12

Andrea ’08 & Zachary Painter Celeste B. Pagano Julie & Daniel ’96 Palazzo Alex Palmer ’15 Christopher C. Papin ’08 Sharity D. Parham ’15 Gayle & Richard Parry Krishan V. Patel Neel D. Patel

Roger Nayar

Yesha P. Patel ’15

Charles D. “Buddy” Neal ’75

Abigail M. Patten

Drew Neville

Barbara & William Paul

Debra & George ’77 Paull Emma Payne Jennifer & Michael ’00 Peloquin Jason W. Perkins Judy & Bill Phillips Casady Pickar Pierce Couch Hendrickson Baysinger & Green Michael Pierson Melissa & Craig ’94 Pitts Juan A. Ramos ’15 Pamela & Paul Ray Michael E. Reel ’11 Daniel X. Resendez Mary & Herschel Richard Kristin E. Richards Lindy & John Ritz Bana & Wilson Roberts Ellie & Gary Roberts Shawnae ’01 & Bart Robey

L AW. O K C U . E D U


Elaine A. Robinson Lynne & Keith Roller Shelby Ross Linda Kennedy Rosser Cami Ruff ’15 Josh Rummel ’13 Kurt Rupert Lara ’01 & Clint ’01 Russell Paula & Bill ’68 Sanford Jennifer & Roland ’06 Schafer Thomas R. Schneider ’15 Doris & Wayne ’56 Schooley Whitney ’08 & Peter ’07 Scimeca Jason S. Seabolt Sage & Colby Seal Gessica D. Sewell ’15 Bayleigh Sharp Jordan M. Sibley ’11 Evelyn B. Simmons Darrell L. Sims Siri & Michael ’81 Sinha Adam Sisk Seth A. Sloan ’15 DeAnn & Lee Allan Smith Scott B. Smythe Christopher Snyder ’15 Nicole A. Solimano Christopher P. Sorensen Cynthia Sparling ’78 Carla Spivack & Mikhail Disson Stacey D. Spivey Laurie & John Stansbury Kelly & Steven Stoner Phyllis & Daniel Stough Lori Dubin & Robert ’73 Strunin Barbara & Charles Swinton Tara ’07 & Habib Tabatabaie Benjamin Tech Cheryl & Darren ’88 Telford


L AW. O K C U . E D U

Helen & Judson Temple

Sarah D. Willey

Lisa ’91 & William Bays

Carolyn & Philip Hart

Rachel ’96 & Bill ’78 Thetford

D. Kent Williams

James E. Thielke

Phyllis Bernard & Dann May

Suzanne C. Hayden ’84

Jerry Williams

Debra Tourtellotte ’88 & John Thomas

Karin & Levi ’03 Williamson

Marilyn & Charles Bethea

Gay ’80 & Larry Hellman

Jackey & Joel ’86 Bieber

Molly ’06 & Brian ’05 Henderson

Holly & Marc Blitz

Susan & John Hermes

Minnett H. Thornton

Laura ’06 & Corey Wilson

Nicholas E. Thurman ’15

Nicole M. Wilson ’14

Roger Brown

Carrie E. Hixon ’05

Sheryl & Norman ’80 Thygesen

Nancy Winans-Garrison ’87

Linda J. Byford ’03

Stacie & Philip ’01 Hixon

Gaylan R. Towle

Bria Moore Winston ’10 & Kyle Winston

Ann & Charles Cantrell

Laura & Brian ’03 Hobbs

Tyler P. Trammell

Pierce W. Winters ’15

Pat & Roy ’61 Chandler

Carole & Donald ’76 Hoeft

Sandy & Jon Trudgeon

Kimberly D. Witte

Cathy Christensen ’86 & Jim Ditmars

Jeanne Hoffman Smith

Phillip & Mary Truss

Megan & Nicolas Wohr

Cathy Christensen, P.C.

Teresa & Glede ’01 Holman

Susan & Mike Turpen

Betty & Michael Wolf Jan & Joe Womack

Sherry & J. William Conger

Keith Houser ’78

Jeannette Valverde Pope Van Cleef ’77

Taylor J. Wyatt

Kami & Eric ’06 Huddleston

Lindsey J. Vanhooser ’09

Stephanie & Michael ’09 Cooper

Austin J. Young ’15

Sarah M. Ventris

Beverly Ann & Carl ’74 Young

David L. Wagner Katie N. Wagner Amanda ’12 & Benjamin Waite

Mary E. Young Preston M. Young ’15 Courtney L. Zamudio

Ruth Grant & Gary Waite ’80 Marsha & John Waldo

Mary Ann & Bill ’77 Corum

Tina A. Hughes ’90

Cindy & John ’79 Crittenden

Melanie & Bryan Jester

Karen Eby

Melissa Smith-Johnson & Barry Johnson

Kristen & Jon ’05 Echols Christine & Greg Eddington Olivia & Jay ’08 Evans Robert R. Faulk ’04


Timothy E. Foley ’92

Judy ’99 & Jeff Walraven

up to

Austin C. Walters


Jean E. Giles & Steven Presson

Kathy & Russell Walker

Shree & Tim ’86 Warner Travis N. Weedn ’14

Karen L. Howick ’78

Tim Gatton ’10

David Johnson Laurie L. Jones Nancy & Robert ’77 Kemps Nancy I. Kenderdine Angela & Alan ’96 Kennington

Rochelle ’93 & Trent Guinn

Linda & Timothy ’68 Larason

Renee & Barry ’81 Grissom

Kendra Robben Lewis ’07 William M. Lewis ’03

Mary Westman ’15

Wayne Allison ’07

Carla & Joe ’67 Wheeler

Sam Anderson

Shayla & Robert ’99 Hammeke

Richard D. White

Nancy Arroyo ’78

Ann & Burns Hargis

Leslie Wileman ’98 & Tony Fitch

Deborah ’83 & Ron ’80 Barnes

Beverly & Alvin ’72 Harrell

Marie & Edward Lyons Vicki L. MacDougall ’77 Carly ’10 & Jason Maderer

L AW. O K C U . E D U


Larissa & Brad ’13 Madore Brendan S. Maher Christopher Martin Lori McConnell ’10 & Carter Jennings Gregory McCracken ’81 Brenda & Tom McDaniel LeAnne McGill ’06 Debbie ’89 & Kenneth N. McKinney Rozia McKinney-Foster ’81 & Larry Foster Vicki Miles-LaGrange Nikki ’90 & Joel Miliband

Shannon Roesler & Jill Watskey

Beverly & John K. ’73 Williams

Nicholas Harroz ’09

Lois & John Salmeron

Sheryl ’90 & Lawrence Young

Sydney & Michael ’78 Homsey

Sandy & Ralph ’74 Sallusti Robbie & Hiram ’02 Sasser Leslie & Dennis ’75 Schaefer Jennifer & Andrew ’07 Schroeder

$10,000 up to


Stephanie & Tom Seymour Julia & Andy Shoup Barbara & Roger Simons Darla & David ’94 Slane

Ju-Chuan & Dennis W. Arrow

Justin G. Smith ’06 Joshua M. Snavely ’10

Kay & Jim ’66 Bass

Mathias Mone

Douglas J. Sorocco

Andrea & Daniel Morgan

Kim ’93 & Ken Spady

Debby & Andrew ’79 Benton

Angela R. Morrison ’90

Ellen & Andrew Spiropoulos

Elisabeth ’06 & Caleb ’04 Muckala

Kelley & Irwin Steinhorn

Barbara Thornton & Niles L. Jackson ’75 Carrie & Steven ’92 Katigan Linda & Tom ’76 Klos Eric T. Laity Linda Petree Lambert

Robyn & Hamden ’82 Baskin

Emilykaye & Michael Mitchelson

Patsy & J.R. ’73 Homsey

Betsy & Art LeFrancois Linda & Duke Ligon John Mackechnie ’77 Martha & Robert ’74 Margo John McCune Charitable Trust

Chris & Dennis ’78 Box

Marilyn & Bud ’65 Meade

Kristin & Joe ’02 Carson

George R. Milner ’92

Donna & Len Cason

Carol & Bob ’83 Naifeh Keri Coleman Norris ’97 & Ty Norris Ann & Michael O’Shea Phillips Murrah, PC Tom Quinn ’74 Casey R. Ross-Petherick ’03 Meg Salyer Pam & Stuart ’76 Schroeder Pete G. Serrata ’06 Marsha & Steve ’88 Turner Deborah S. Tussey


Karen & Robert ’79 O’Bannon

Paula K. Sullivan ’13

Sherry & Joe ’74 Crosthwait

OCU Student Affairs

Elaine R. Turner ’89

Paula J. Dalley

OCU Student Government Association

Marsha & John Waldo

Vanessa & David Donchin

E. Christine Reid ’96

Barbara Ann & Geary ’75 Walke

Cynthia ’79 & Dick ’64 Dugger

Patricia & J.D. ’76 Rohrer

Ray Wall ’68

Emma V. Rolls & Lee Peoples

Janet & William ’64 Wantland

Nancy Dumoff & George Proctor ’76

Courtney ’99 & Chad Warmington

Sue & Stephen ’77 Reel

Heidi M. Weingartner ’94

Debra ’89 McCormick & Robert ’89 Gray

Cindy L. Richard ’92

Jane F. Wheeler ’77

Bradley A. Gungoll ’80

L AW. O K C U . E D U

$50,000 up to


Keri Williams ’00 & Brent Foster Michael T. Gibson Jettie Person & Harry Goldman ’77

Steve Agee Chimene & Bob ’79 Burke Valerie & Joe Couch Gail & Steve Davis Gretchen & Larry Hartzog

Lou C. Kerr & The Kerr Foundation Kay & Clark Musser Kim & David Rainbolt


Charlotte & Joe ’74 Edwards

Sue & Gary ’74 Homsey

H. E. Rainbolt

Jane & Gerald ’68 Gamble

William C. Mee

Carol & Steve ’83 Goetzinger

Midtown HC, LLC

Charlotte & John Richels

Hartzog, Conger, Cason & Neville, LLP

Norman & Edem, PLLC

Jan & Robert H. Henry

James H. & Madalynne Norick Foundation

Sarkeys Foundation Pam & Bill ’65 Shdeed Richard L. Sias

up to

$499,999 BancFirst Libby & G.T. Blankenship Connie & Randall ’90 Calvert Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Inc. Crowe & Dunlevy

L AW. O K C U . E D U


$500,000 up to

$999,999 Kandy & Ronald J. Norick Pat & Ray ’65 Potts

$1 Million and up

Chickasaw Nation E.L. & Thelma Gaylord Foundation Inasmuch Foundation Jonalee & Paul ’81 McLaughlin

L AW. O K C U . E D U



Let us resolve today to be the change we seek in our communities; refuse to accept the status quo; reinvent ourselves constantly; renew our minds and spirits often; remind our friends, family, and fellow citizens how much they matter; and finally re-imagine what the rule of law is and what it means to us. Let us today strive to achieve these noble pursuits to change tomorrow and beyond for our generation and the next. Thomas Schneider, Class of 2015 STUDENT BAR ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT

In Conclusion:

Rabiah Jeenah A Journey Toward Change


OON TO BE SECOND year law student, Rabiah Jeenah, spent a month in South Africa during her summer ’15 break. The South African native, who grew up in Texas, has a passion for the law and in her role in making the world a better place. Something she learned from an inspiration close to home.

Did you always want to be involved in the legal profession? My mother practiced criminal law and family law in South Africa. When she came to the states, she got permission to take the bar exam and passed on her first try. She is absolutely incredible. She is my inspiration through and through. I loved seeing her in the courtroom, even as a child. I think it was a seed that was planted when I was a child that simply grew over time. It was never anything I felt pressured to do. More than anything, my mother just told me to do what I loved.

It’s safe to say your mom was a huge influence on you growing up. Yes. My mom definitely inspired me to start my own journey toward change and toward

bettering the world that we live in. She, her friends and my father were very active in the fight against apartheid in South Africa. It was incredible to see that passion and to see them fight for something they thought was a right deserved by every individual regardless of race, creed or religion. We are all human at the end of the day and that’s what she fights for. I want to carry that on.

You graduated with a psychology degree from UT Dallas. How do you think that will help you in the practice of law? I loved learning about how the mind works and how people think; the neuroscience behind it. I think that’s something I’ve learned to implement in the legal field. It gives me a better understanding of who people are, which will benefit me in terms of relationships with potential clients. I think Justice Sotomayor put it perfectly in terms of empathy. She spoke about empathy not being the equivalent of sympathy, but being a tool used to understand where an individual is coming from and using that in determining what the correct punishment is for that individual. I believe my background in psychology will

help me empathize with my clients and better represent them.

Tell us about your internship in South Africa. My family and I needed to make a trip to South Africa for family obligations. I wanted to utilize my time while I was there, and I did not want to leave the law behind me because, simply put, it is who I am. So, I accepted an internship at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, an absolutely incredible firm. I’m excited to see what they are doing differently from what we are doing here in the United States in terms of the legal system, but also in terms of the mindset of attorneys and how they go about attorney/client relationships. I’ve also been invited to spend a week with the Commissioner of Human Rights, Mohamed Shafie Ameermia. He was one of the individuals who fought against apartheid with my mother, which I think is so honorable. To see how far he has come and how he’s using his passion in a positive way to change the legal system and the way people think in South Africa is incredible. He’s doing something with his life. He’s not just making a dollar; he’s changing lives. And to me that’s what its about.

Profile for Oklahoma City University School of Law

LAW Magazine  

Front & Center Autumn 2015 Oklahoma City University School of Law

LAW Magazine  

Front & Center Autumn 2015 Oklahoma City University School of Law

Profile for oculaw