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Building Bridges for our Students, our School and the Community Serving our School of Law, and each of you, is an honor. For me, the role of Dean of Oklahoma City University School of Law, at this critical time in American jurisprudence and our democracy, is about serving our students by building bridges for them and the broader community. I grew up around bridges and have always been inspired by their significance. I was raised in a familyowned construction business in Kansas City, and I spent summer days working on bridge projects with a shovel in my hand. I learned through hard work how important bridges are for public safety and for our economy. Bridges also made an impact on me when I was a 3rd year law student on my first trip to Washington, D.C., visiting Arlington National Cemetery. After touring the cemetery, I quietly walked across the Arlington Bridge. As I continued my walk past the Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington Monuments, and on past the White House, it hit me. Never before had I seen such a direct cause and effect. The hill of the Arlington Cemetery was full of the lives spent by policy makers at the other end of that single bridge. OCU School of Law is committed to educating and graduating bright and committed lawyers to become “Bridges” for their clients and their communities. We proudly refer to this commitment as educating and graduating “Servant Leaders,” who we expect to go and do good in the world around them. I’m excited for you to read in this edition of In Brief the work OCU Law students, alumni, and professors are doing as “Bridge Builders.” As the capital city law school of a state that is the national leader in incarceration, in a nation that leads the world in incarceration, we at OCU Law believe we have a duty to address the challenges of the criminal justice system and have committed to being on the front lines of criminal justice reform. In addition to housing the state’s first and only Innocence Project, this fall we launch the Center for Criminal Justice Reform and Bail Reform Clinic thanks to the support of local and national

foundations. One of our partners in this effort, Timothy Tardibono, Executive Director of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council, writes a thoughtful analysis of criminal justice reform in Oklahoma County. Also, on the clinical front, we provide an update on our Norick Municipal Law Clinic, launched three years ago in partnership with the Oklahoma City Municipal Counselor’s Office and the first in the country of its kind. Our cover story details the outstanding work of OCU Law alumna Kay Van Wey ’83, whose advocacy for victims was instrumental in the conviction of the Dallas neurosurgeon known as “Dr. Death.” My law school classmate, Tom Bates ’94, who now serves as Interim Commissioner for the Department of Health, is playing a critical role in the State’s regulation of medical marijuana, so we’re thankful for his willingness to ask the Department of Health’s Assistant General Counsel, Nicole Nash, to share her insights into this emerging area of Oklahoma law. However, my favorite parts of this magazine are the student stories. One of the best parts of being Dean is visiting with students and hearing their gratitude for the opportunity to study law, especially those who receive a scholarship. I hope you will spend a few minutes reading about the lives of some of our students. And if you are so moved, please consider investing in their educations through a scholarship donation. This year we re-launched the Law Alumni Association, reinstituted the Alumni Awards Dinner, and conducted a multi-state Dean’s Tour so that I could meet and hear from our diverse alumni base. If you haven’t become a member of the Alumni Association, I invite you to join today. Whether donating financially, serving as a mentor, teaching a class, hiring a student, or conducting a mock interview, we need you to train our students to become the next generation of outstanding lawyers and servant leaders in their communities. I hope you will answer the call.



Jim Roth ’94


Lauren Stradinger Director of Marketing & Communications


Stephen G. Butler Assistant Dean for Advancement & External Relations

Ally Rodriguez ’14

Madelynn Buckman

Director of Alumni Relations

Marketing & Communications Intern


4 Legal Briefs


20 Legal Action

Ethics & Attorney Well-Being



Dawn Harth Crank Creative, LLC Lauren Stradinger Director of Marketing and Communications Ally Rodriguez ’14 Director of Alumni Relations Laurie Jones Associate Dean for Admissions Lee F. Peoples Associate Dean of Library and Technology Kay Van Wey ’83 Board Certified Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Tom Bates ’94 Oklahoma Interim Commissioner of Health Nicole Nash Assistant General Counsel of Oklahoma State Department of Health


63 Alumni Profiles

Tim Tardibono Executive Director of Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council

Joseph P. Balkenbush ’86 Oklahoma Bar Association Ethics Counsel Dr. Curtis Harris ’93 Endocrinologist Anthony “A.J.” Ferate ’06 Of Counsel, Spencer Fane Hardik Gandhi Law Student Class of 2019 Anissa E. Paredes Law Student Class of 2020 Victoria Carrasco Law Student Class of 2020 Roy Adams Law Student Class of 2021


Amy Fuller Flint Inc



Liam Proniewicz


Admissions 405.208.5354, lawquestions@okcu.edu Advancement 405.208.7100, lawadvancement@okcu.edu Law Career Services 405.208.5332, hireoculaw@okcu.edu Chickasaw Nation Law Library 405.208.5271 Oklahoma City University School of Law 800 N. Harvey Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 • 405.208.5337, law.okcu.edu Editorial contributions and submissions are welcome. All submissions are subject to editing and are used at the Editor-in-Chief ’s discretion. In Brief Magazine is a copyrighted publication of Oklahoma City University School of Law.


70 Class Notes


73 In Memoriam


88 Amicus Universitas


92 In Conclusion


Top 25 Legal Movies

Dr. Death

40 56 34 46

Two Surgeons Walk into a Bar Exam ...

30 OCU’s President Martha Burger

Gavel Gap

High Expectations

Join OCU Law on social media! @OCULaw Connect, follow and have a conversation with us. Learn about the latest OCU Law news and events.

Cover concept by Lauren Stradinger.

... the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Lawyers Chapter brought programming to OCU Law, in conjunction with our Student Chapter, for two meetings during the past year. Sarah Pitlyk, a former clerk for Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he served on the D.C. Circuit and a nominee for the District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, spoke of her experiences working for the Justice and addressed opportunities for students to explore clerkships. Following the success of the first event, the Lawyer’s Chapter brought Professor Ilan Wurman to OCU Law. He provided attendees an introduction to Originalism and how to interpret law.

FEDERALIST SOCIETY By Anthony “A.J.” Ferate ’06

The OKC Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society is comprised of a membership interested in the current state of the legal order. The Federalist Society is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.




Both events, and the many socials the Lawyers Chapter opens to students, are in addition to the excellent programming the OCU Student Chapter provides, including opportunities to interact with Professor Josh Blackman and Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice (now Federal Judge for the Western District of Oklahoma) Patrick Wyrick. Members of the Lawyers Chapter have gained interns, employees, and key relationships from working with students at OCU Law, and we look forward to working with students more in the future.

Conference participants included: Dr. Stephen Sloan, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Presidential Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma


Co-sponsored by The Alfred P. Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law and Policy at Oklahoma City University School of Law and The Center for Intelligence and National Security at the University of Oklahoma. The conference honored the ground-breaking contributions of Dr. Stephen Sloan in the field of counterterrorism and brought together experts in counterterrorism analysis, policy, and national security law, including students of Dr. Sloan from the last 40 years, who contribute throughout the world to the advancement of effective counterterrorism efforts.

Robert A. Kandra, Senior Advisor with the Chertoff Group; former CIA Chief of Clandestine Human Intelligence Collection Training Program; former FBI Associate Executive Assistant Director, National Security Branch James E. Baker, Director of the Institute for National Security & Counterterrorism at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School and Professor of Law and Public Policy at Syracuse University Magnus Ranstorp, Research Director at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense University; Quality Manager of the European Union Radicalization Awareness Network – Centre of Excellence Michael J. Boettcher, Gaylord Visiting Professional Professor in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications and Senior Fellow, Center for Intelligence and National Security at the University of Oklahoma David N. Edger, Managing Director and founder of 3CI Consulting LLC James L. Regens, Regents Professor and Founding Director, Center for Intelligence and National Security and Bartlett Foundation Chair at the University of Oklahoma; author of over 200 publications and 8 books Homer Pointer, Senior Fellow at the Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law and Policy and Adjunct Professor at Oklahoma City University School of Law; former Assistant General Counsel, Federal Bureau of Investigation Marc Blitz, Alan Joseph Bennett Professor of Law at Oklahoma City University School of Law

Dr. Sloan (right) discusses counterterrorism at the 2019 seminar with Michael J. Boettcher (left).

CAPITAL CITY CONNECT The innovative program called Capital City Connect features unique programs throughout the year designed for second- and third-year OCU Law students to connect them with members of the practicing bar before graduation. Alumni and local practitioners are invited to attend the Capital City Connect programs in their areas of expertise.

The 2018-2019 Capital City Connect topics included: Connect to the Future: Law Practice and Technology – September 20th featured OCU Law Associate Dean of Administration and Distance Learning Jennifer Prilliman and Matthew Williamson of Clevyr. Oklahoma Medical Marijuana, In the Weed(s)… – October 9th featured Tom Bates ’94, Interim Commissioner, Oklahoma Department of Health; Buffy Heater, Program Administrator, Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority; Mithun Mansinghani, Solicitor General for the Oklahoma Attorney General Office; and Andrew Spiropoulos, Professor of Law & Director, Center for the Study of State Constitutional Law & Government. Municipal Law, OKC: Then and Now – October 30th featured Oklahoma City’s Mayor David Holt ’09 and former Mayor Ron Norick. Aviation and Government Contracts – February 6th featured Phil Busey ’77, OCU Trustee, Chairman and CEO, Delaware Resource Group, and Practitioner in Residence; Allison C. McGrew ’14, McAfee & Taft; and Jack Gilchrist, Gilchrist Aviation Law. The Link Between Animal Cruelty & Domestic Violence – April 10th featured Shel Harrington, OK Family Law; Emily Nicholls, Women’s Resource Center; Elizabeth Stoverink, Oklahoma Human Society; and OCU Law Associate Dean of Administration and Distance Learning Jennifer Prilliman.

Photos taken at the 2018 Oklahoma Medical Marijuana, In the Weed(s) Capital City Connect event.




Phil G. Busey Sr. ’77, CEO of Delaware Resource Group served as the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence for the spring 2019 semester. This appointment allowed him to co-teach Defense and Government Contract Law, as well as organize a panel discussion on April 11th with speaker Colonel Christopher D. May who presented JAG Corps & the Military Justice System and Mr. Rafael Garcia, SES, Director, Propulsion Directorate Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, who discussed propulsion programming, contracting, and how his directorate interfaces with the JAG program.

Colonel Christopher D. May presented JAG Corps and the Military Justice System on April 11th.

Phil Busey practiced law for 27 years until 2005. His areas of practice experience include commercial law, corporate law, public finance, federal government and contract regulation, defense and government contracting law, and Native American law.

DISTINGUISHED PRACTIONER IN RESIDENCE The Distinguished Practitioner in Residence Program at Oklahoma City University School of Law appoints a lawyer to serve as a part-time, in-house mentor, teacher, and colleague for our students, faculty, and staff. The distinguished practitioner spends time at OCU School of Law teaching a course, holding office hours, mentoring students, participating in professionalism programs and career counseling, attending law school functions, and being involved in the life of the school.

The Distinguished Practitioner in Residence Program contributes to the strong tradition of Oklahoma City University School of Law to prepare students for the practice of law as ethical, competent professionals with pragmatic problem-solving skills and dedication to service to the legal profession and the community. Phil G. Busey Sr. ’77 served as the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence.




STREET LAW “Verdict for the Defense!” With that pronouncement, ten high school students leapt to their feet, high-fived each other, and gazed triumphantly at the downcast yet still confident plaintiff ’s team. Bragging rights, the admiration of their classmates and the high school administration, and fancy gavel trophies now belonged to ten Southeast High School students, ably coached to mock trial success by law students enrolled in Oklahoma City University School of Law’s Street Law program. Congratulations were shared among members of both teams as they realized that the hard work, creativity, forensic preparation, and collaboration had resulted in an exhilarating and allconsuming experience for all.

The mock trial experience is one of the activities of OCU’s Street Law program, a program designed to foster civic engagement and to teach law with a practical application to high school students’ lives. Developed initially at Georgetown University, Street Law was offered for the first time at OCU in spring 2018. Now in its fourth semester, the program has expanded to a second high school in the Oklahoma City Public School District, Douglass High School, and has enrolled fifty high school students and forty-five law students. With generous grants from AT&T and the Oklahoma County Bar Association, the OCU Law Street Law program was able to purchase a copy of the current edition of the Street Law textbook for each of the high school

“As a high school senior, the Street Law lessons taught by a law professor inspired me to pursue a career in law. Our program, which has law students teaching the high school students, has the additional benefit of law students in the classroom serving as role models and sources of practical information, and it allows us to directly impact the next generation of lawyers and leaders.” Anissa E. Paredes, OCU Law Student BY L AURI E J ON ES Students from the Street Law class, OCU Law students and Associate Dean Laurie Jones take a photo after their annual field trip.





students and fund field trips to the Oklahoma Judicial Center and the William J. Holloway United States District Courthouse, where the students met with Judge Gary Lumpkin of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, federal Judge David Russell, United States marshals and other court personnel, and toured both facilities. Tickets to an OKC Thunder game in March 2019 were graciously provided by the Thunder organization, and the high school and law students enjoyed an

opportunity to be together in a more relaxed and informal setting in the Chesapeake Arena. Course topics include basic criminal law, criminal procedure, court structure, torts, consumer law, family law, constitutional law, immigration law, and intellectual property law. Beyond the value of the course content to the law students, who must understand it well enough to teach and explain it to non-lawyers, and to the high school students, who


learn how the law affects their lives and how they can become more empowered and engaged participants in our democracy, the Street Law program encourages relationship building and the habit of pro bono service, as well as inspiring young people to pursue a career in law. The Street Law experience has come full circle for Anissa Paredes, a second-year law student teaching in the Street Law program in the spring semester of 2019, who took Street Law as a high school student in St. Louis.





We are proud to celebrate the recipients of the 2019 Law School awards, which recognize both academic excellence and outstanding service to the law school.

Chapman Rogers Award Scholarship Award Recipient Samantha Oard

Judge Dwain Box Memorial Award Outstanding Appellate Advocate Adrienne Marie Martinez Judge Tom Brett Award Excellence in Criminal Law Khaki Alaine Scrivner Philip D. Hart Outstanding Advocate Award Outstanding Trial Court Advocate Leah Alene Jackson Oklahoma City Real Property Lawyers Association Excellence in Property Law Katelyn M. King Ernest L. Wilkinson Award Excellence in American Indian Law W. Chance Rabon T. Hurley Jordan Award Excellence in Criminal Procedure Cassity Beatrice Reed Judge Alfred P. Murrah Sr. Award Outstanding Academic Performance Katherine Rose Colclazier, Chantelle L. Hickman-Ladd Charles Nesbitt Energy Law Award Award Recipient Katelyn M. King



WB Clark Award Scholarship Award Recipient Casey Osborn

OKLAHOMA BAR ASSOCIATION AWARDS Bankruptcy Section Excellence in Bankruptcy Law Katelyn M. King Business/Corporate Law Section Excellence in Corporation Law Spring 2018 Chase Grant, Fall 2018 Cassity Beatrice Reed Energy and Natural Resources Section Excellence in Energy Law Larry Alan Grizzle II Financial Institutions and Commercial Law Section Excellence in Commercial Law Katelyn M. King Litigation Section Excellence in Litigation Skills Sydney Lee Nelson Outstanding Student Award Law School Senior Alyssa Marie Gillette

OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARDS Oklahoma City University Law Alumni Association Award Service to the School of Law Garrett Sean Lam Dean’s Service Award Outstanding Service to the School of Law Evan Alan Davis, Veronica LaShay Forge, Garrett Sean Lam

OUTSTANDING GRADUATE AWARDS Oklahoma City University School of Law Justice Yvonne Kauger Outstanding Female Graduate Jessica Brown Oklahoma City University School of Law J. William Conger Distinguished Student Seth R. Blanton, Cassity Beatrice Reed Oklahoma City University School of Law Outstanding Graduate Alyssa Marie Gillette

THE ORDER OF BARRISTERS Excellence in Trial or Appellate Advocacy Competitions Brenda Lyda Doroteo, Chelsi Maegan Dry, Alyssa Marie Gillette, Leah Alene Jackson, Cheyenne Janea Konarik, Adrienne Marie Martinez, Sydney Lee Nelson, Montrel Dominique Preston, W. Chance Rabon, Sarah Jane Elizabeth Seaborn



Law Firm Mark of Distinction Riggs Abney Community / Public Service Award Elaine Turner ’89 Outstanding Young Alumna Monica Ybarra ’14 Distinguished Law Alumna Sandra Mitchell ’88 Marian P. Opala Lifetime Achievement in Law Justice James Winchester ’77

Collin Walke ’08 and Monica Ybarra ’14 emcee the 2018 Alumni Awards Dinner.

On Saturday, April 6, 2019, OCU Law held its annual Awards Dinner, hosted by the Law Alumni Association. Attendees enjoyed a cocktail hour, dinner and awards ceremony. Riggs Abney Law Firm received the Law Firm Mark of Distinction. Members of the Firm are active in numerous charitable, civic and service organizations. Their dedication to public service is equaled only by their dedication to their clients. Elaine Turner ’89 was awarded the Community and Public Service Award. She is an attorney at Hall Estill and a member of their Board of Directors. She has served as Competition Chairperson for Special Olympics in Oklahoma County since 1996 and was honored as a Unified Partner for Team USA at the 2003 World Games in Ireland. Monica Ybarra ’14 was honored as OCU Law’s Outstanding Young Alumna. She serves as Corporate Counsel at TBS Factoring Solutions, LLC and the current Chair of the Law Alumni Association. In 2018, she was honored with the Journal Record’s Leadership in Law Award due to her endless community and civic engagements. Sandra Mitchell ’88 was granted the Distinguished Alumna Award. Mitchell works at the United Nations as the Deputy Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) at the level of Assistant Secretary-General. Justice James Winchester ’77 received the Marian P. Opala Lifetime Achievement in Law Award. In December 1983, he became one of the youngest district judges in the state. He was appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court by Governor Frank Keating and has served on the state’s highest court since 2000. IN BRIEF



2018 – 2019 National Native American Law Students Association Competition


Munley Trial Advocacy Program "Because OCU Law School gave me and my brother a chance to become lawyers, we are living great lives." – J. Christopher Munley ’94 and Robert (Bob) Munley ’95 That is one of the many comments the Munley Brothers shared when they agreed to establish the “Munley Trial Advocacy Program” with a three-year, $75,000 commitment to underwrite OCU Law’s interschool advocacy program. The program currently includes teams who compete in the following competitions: • ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition • American College of Trial Lawyers National Mock Trial Competition • National Appellate Advocacy Competition • National Black Law Students Association Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition • National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition • Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition This $75,000 gift will increase the opportunities for our current and future students to participate in these important interschool competition teams and grow their skills while also growing OCU Law’s engagement in these national competitions.



2018 – 2019 ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition OCU Law students Adrienne Martinez, Alyssa Gillette, Levon Eudaley, Jaycee Booth, Baxter Lewallen and Alan Taylor performed outstandingly in the ABA Appellate Advocacy Competition this year. The competition started with 192 teams in six regionals. The team of Jaycee Booth, Baxter Lewallen, and Alan Taylor advanced to the elimination round of the Boston regional as the tenth seed, earning a win over a team from Harvard along the way. They were eliminated in a close match in the round of sixteen. The team of Adrienne Martinez, Alyssa Gillette, and Levon Eudaley won all five arguments in Boston and advanced to the national finals in Chicago as one of the four regional winners. Three of the top ten speakers in the regional were from OCU. Adrienne Martinez finished sixth, and Alyssa Gillette and Baxter Lewallen tied for eighth. In Chicago, OCU Law went 2-0 on the first day of nationals, defeating Northwestern and BYU, and advanced to the elimination round as the number three seed based on margin of victory. Although the team was eliminated in a split decision in that round, both of OCU’s oral advocates received awards as top ten speakers. Alyssa Gillette finished eighth and Adrienne Martinez was tenth.


The NALSA appellate advocacy team prepared for and traveled to Tucson in March for the national moot court competition. Team members included Victoria Carrasco, Ben Frizzell, Cheyenne Konarik and Chance Rabon. The National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition hosted 42 other teams from around the country. Each OCU Law NALSA team worked hard drafting their brief and practicing throughout January and February. Victoria Carrasco and Ben Frizzell excelled by advancing beyond the preliminary rounds into the sixteenth round of the national competition.

2018 – 2019 National Black Law Students Association Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition

2018 – 2019 American College of Trial Lawyers National Mock Trial Competition

The 2018-19 Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Team won first place in the National Black Law Students Association southwestern regional competition held in New Orleans in January 2019. Team members were 3L Leah Jackson, 2Ls Madison Doughty and Tiffani Shipman, and 1L Madison Huffling. Leah Jackson and Madison Huffling shared the award for Best Advocate in the region. The team advanced to the national competition in Little Rock in March 2019, competing through two preliminary rounds against teams from Pace University and Pennsylvania State University, and narrowly missing advancing to the semi-final round. This year was the fourth year that OCU has sponsored a team and the third year for OCU to advance to the national competition.

The American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) Mock Trial Team was led by Assistant District Attorney Dan Pond. For the 2018 2019 season, the members of the team were Chelsi Dry, Lindsay Gray, Sarah Seaborn, and Amber Smith. After long nights and many weekends of practicing, the team traveled to Lubbock, Texas, in February for the ACTL Mock Trial Competition.

Team members must be active participants in Oklahoma City University School of Law’s John A. Green chapter of the Black Law Students Association, complete a minimum number of service hours, and participate in weekly practice rounds for the competition. Each team member must participate as both an advocate and a witness at trial. The team is coached by Professor Danne’ Johnson and Associate Dean for Admissions Laurie W. Jones.

2018 – 2019 Phillip C. Jessup International Law Competition The OCU Law Jessup appellate advocacy team members included Jude Abualhashem, Jacqueline Bolden, Elke Meeus and Ariel Sezanayev. They participated in the Rocky Mountain Regional Competition, hosted by the University of Denver, on February 22-24. The OCU team won two of the four rounds, defeating the University of Oklahoma and the University of Arizona while losing to University of Kansas and Vanderbilt University. The loss to Vanderbilt was by a 2 to 1 split vote of the judges. Had OCU won that round, they would have qualified for the quarterfinals involving eight of the total nineteen teams. University of Kansas won the regional competition.


The participants for the mock trial team were paired up into two sets of teams, and each team practiced advocating for both the prosecution and the defense side of the case. Both teams successfully competed in three rounds of the competition before they were eliminated. By the end of the competition season, the team learned how to analyze both sides of a case and shaped their skills as future trial attorneys.



NORICK MUNICIPAL LAW RESEARCH CLINIC CELEBRATES THIRD YEAR The Norick Municipal Law Research Clinic was founded in 2016 as a partnership between OCU Law and the City of Oklahoma City’s Municipal Counselor’s Office. Many municipal counselors are OCU Law alumni including the lead Municipal Counselor Kenneth Jordan ’80, Deputy Municipal Counselor Cindy Richard ’92, and Assistant Municipal Counselor Rita Douglas-Talley ’85, to name just a few. Clinic students are paired up to work with a specific municipal counselor as their client at the beginning of the semester. Students are assigned a wide variety of questions ranging from traditional municipal law issues to more cutting-edge issues confronting cities across the nation. The complexity of issues addressed in the clinic is no surprise given the City’s 500-million-dollar annual budget and workforce of over six thousand employees. Students develop their communication, interviewing, and counseling skills through live client meetings and client email exchanges.

The classroom component provides instruction in municipal law, legal ethics, research and writing, and professional skills. Students are able to research and write a formal memorandum addressing their client’s question. Instruction also includes lead municipal counselor Kenneth Jordan lecturing to students early in the semester. The partnership between OCU Law and the Municipal Counselors Office continues to develop. At the request of the Municipal Counselors, the clinic is now offered each semester instead of once per year. In recent semesters, the Municipal Counselors have generously agreed to increase the amount of interaction they have with students. Students now make their final presentations in City Council Chambers to a panel of municipal counselors.

“The municipal counselors are fantastic partners to work with. Their involvement is critical in developing the students’ knowledge, skills, and abilities. Through our work, we are preparing the next generation of lawyers, some may become government lawyers, municipal lawyers, or even work for the City of Oklahoma City at some point in their careers.” Lee Peoples, Associate Dean of Library and Technology and Clinic founder

OCU Law Students who participated in the spring 2019 clinic, their mentor attorneys, professors, OCU Law alumni and the mayor of Oklahoma City David Holt ’09 pose for a photograph in city council chambers following the students’ final presentations. 14



Eleven panelists discuss disaster preparedness.

THE NATIONAL SUMMIT ON HOMELAND SECURITY LAW “THREATS TO CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE: PREPARATION, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY” APRIL 18 – 19, 2019 Co-sponsored by The Judge Alfred P. Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law and Policy and American College of Environmental Lawyers.

Panel discussions reviewed disaster scenarios involving environmental releases, as well as natural disasters and sabotage, focusing on risk management, cybersecurity, insurance coverage, and legal challenges.

The 2019 Murrah Center National Summit explored current laws, regulations and policies governing the full scope of disasters including preparedness, hazard mitigation, response, and recovery. Panel discussions reviewed disaster scenarios involving environmental releases, as well as natural disasters and sabotage, focusing on risk management, cybersecurity, insurance coverage, and legal challenges. The panels were designed to illustrate agency authority and interagency coordination in the context of disasters, and responsible party duties in the context of an environmental release disaster. The panelists provided the most current disaster preparedness, response and recovery policies, processes, and resources protecting the public and businesses, in addition to critical infrastructure, including oil and gas pipelines, electric grids, water resources, water distribution systems, communication channels, chemical process plants, and other potentially high-risk facilities. Keynote speakers included Congresswoman Kendra Horn, FEMA Region 6 Regional Administrator Tony Robinson, and Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Director Mark Gower. Panel participants included experts from FEMA, Department of Homeland Security, the Oklahoma Departments of Emergency Management, Environmental Quality and Insurance, the Oklahoma City Office of Emergency Management and Public Works Department, representatives from the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, cybersecurity and the insurance industries, as well as the American College of Environmental Law.







“ C O M M A N D O R M E D I AT E ? C O N F L I C T I N G C O N S T I T U T I O N A L V I S I O N S ”

 Bruce Frohnen, Professor of Law from Ohio Northern University’s Pettit College of Law, presented OCU Law’s annual Brennan Lecture. His presentation, titled “Command or Mediate? Conflicting Constitutional Visions,” focused on the conflicting views people have regarding the Constitution. His presentation considered how people disagree over what a constitution should look like, whether direct elections should occur and whether a president or parliament should be “in charge.” He also spoke about how different groups of people disagree on what a constitution should be designed to achieve.







 With the support of a sponsorship from INTEGRIS Health, OCU Law presented its sixth lecture in the series focusing on the intersection of healthcare and law. Michele Goodwin is a leading expert on health law regulation and policy. She has written several books, including Black Market: The Supply and Demand of Body Parts.




Professor Michele Goodwin addressed the demand for human body parts, tissues, and cells and how they outpace supply in the United States. She explored the demand for human body parts, what it conveys economically, ethically, and socially, and why some body parts are valued differently in law and society, creating hierarchies in the flesh.







 Professor Danielle Keats Citron’s Quinlan Lecture focused on how sexual privacy serves crucial values, including sexual autonomy, identity formation, intimacy development, and equal opportunity. The lecture addressed how sexual privacy deserves special protection and comprehensive legislation. The Quinlan Lecture is named for long-time Oklahoma City University law professor Wayne Quinlan. Professor Quinlan taught at Oklahoma City University from 1952 until his death in 1981 and served as a Special Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 1966 and 1967. His love of constitutional law and American history inspired the faculty to name this annual lecture in his honor.


Nearby? OCU Law was the first law school established in the state of Oklahoma in 1907. The School of Law is currently located in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City, in a building constructed in 1910 to be the city’s first high school by the same architect who designed the Oklahoma State Capitol.





/2 mile

1 mile

2 miles

Coffee Shops


Myriad Gardens

Restaurants & Bars

Government Offices

Memorial Museum

State Agencies

Chesapeake Arena (Home of the OKC Thunder)

Riversport Rapids & Riversport Adventure Park

Retail Shopping

Law Firms


City Hall

Dog Parks

Civic Center Music Hall

/4 mile


American Civil Liberties Union Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building


St. Anthony’s Hospital Internship & Externship Opportunities

Concert Venues Entertainment Options Movie Theater Hotels

OU Medical Center Biking & Running Trails Recreation Areas Oklahoma State Capitol Oklahoma Judicial Center Oklahoma History Center Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Home of the OKC Dodgers)

Legal Action AWA R D S






2018 Privacy Law Scholars Conference, George Washington University, Washington, DC, SelfIncrimination, Cyborgs, and the (Unconscious) Self: Mental Privacy and the Fifth Amendment (May 2018)

Symposium, University of Oklahoma Law School Falsehoods, Fake News, and the First Amendment, Empowering Watchmen for Truth: Free Speech, Fake News, and Technology (February 2018) P U B L I C AT I O N S

Marc Blitz Professor of Law B.A., Harvard University Ph.D., University of Chicago J.D., University of Chicago

Co-editor, with Jan Christoph Bublitz, The Future of Freedom of Thought: Neuroscience and Liberty (Palgrave MacMillan forthcoming 2020)

Series editor for the following book series: Palgrave Studies in Law, Neuroscience and Human Behavior (2018)

The Law of Virtual and Augmented Reality (co-editor with Woodrow Barfield) (Edward Elgar 2018) The First Amendment, Video Games, and Virtual Reality Training, in ed. Woodrow Barfield and Marc Jonathan Blitz, The Law of Virtual and Augmented Reality (Edward Elgar 2018)


Augmented and Virtual Reality, Freedom of Expression, and the Personalization of Public Space, in ed. Woodrow Barfield and Marc Jonathan Blitz, The Law of Virtual and Augmented Reality (Edward Elgar 2018)

Lies, Line Drawing and (Deep) Fake News, 71 Okla. L. Rev. 59 (2018) OT H E R

2018 Oklahoma City University Award for Scholarship of Discovery





Steven Foster


Named primary editor of the Law School Academic Support Blog on the Law Professors Blog Network

Instructor of Law B.A., University of Oklahoma J.D., Oklahoma City University School of Law


Presented “Fact Finding for Texas Attorneys” to Law Magnet Program Students at Richardson High School in Texas (March 2019) Taught Texas CLE, “Fact Finding for Texas Attorneys” at Husch Blackwell in Dallas (March 2019)


Taught Oklahoma CLE “Fact Finding on the Internet” (January 2019) Named Most Helpful Librarian by Merit Scholars in 2018




Timothy Gatton Law Library Professor B.A., Cornell College J.D., Oklahoma City University School of Law M.L.I.S., University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences Publications



Art LeFrancois: An Appreciation, 42 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 131 (2017)

Lawrence Hellman Dean Emeritus Professor of Law B.S., Washington & Lee University J.D., Northwestern University M.B.A., Northwestern University



Co-coached the Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Team (with Associate Dean Laurie Jones) which advanced to Nationals Conducted Implicit Bias Training for the United Methodist Church Spoke at the 31st annual Martin Luther King Memorial at Temple B’Nai Israel Gave the keynote address for the Oklahoma Librarians Association Gala

Danné L. Johnson Constance Baker Motley Professor of Law B.A., University of Pennsylvania J.D., George Washington University

Recognized by the Journal Record as one of 2018’s 50 Women Making a Difference in Oklahoma Recognized by the Association of Black Lawyers with the 2019 Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Diversity Award






Received the 2018 Mona Salyer Lambird award from the Oklahoma Bar Association

Traveled to the Dilley Detention Center in Dilley, Texas, to work for a week in November with a group of volunteer lawyers and law students to prepare asylum seekers for their immigration interviews and credible fear hearings

Laurie Jones

Co-coached the Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Team (with Professor Danne’ Johnson) to a first-place win at the Southwest Regional Competition and to participation in the national competition in Little Rock, Arkansas

Legal Research and Writing Professor Associate Dean of Admissions B.A. Oklahoma State University J.D. University of Oklahoma


Eric Laity Professor of Law B.A., Harvard University J.D., Harvard University


The International Import of the American Conflict-of-Laws Experience (Forthcoming 2020)




Vicki Lawrence MacDougall


Professor of Law Director, Health Law Program B.A., University of Oklahoma J.D., Oklahoma City University P U B L I C AT I O N S

The Jury Verdict Favored Helen Palsgraf: A Critique of the Restatement (Third) PEH and Foreseeability — “What Does It All Mean?” 43 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 1 (2019)

Dean's Tour

As the thirteenth Dean of Oklahoma City University School of Law, Dean Roth has spent 2018 and 2019 traveling around Oklahoma including Sayre, Lawton, Durant, Muskogee, Tulsa and Ada, Texas, the District of Columbia, New York, Kansas and Missouri meeting our OCU Law alumni. He is simply awed at the work our alumni are doing, the businesses they have built and the positions of responsibility and leadership they hold. Alumni he met along the way included state Supreme Court justices and other appellate judges, trial court judges, legislators, elected officials at all levels of government, United Nations appointees, business leaders, general counsel of hospital corporations, partners of major international law firms, heads of non-profit organizations, lawyers who serve as the counselors of their communities, legal aid attorneys, technology entrepreneurs, faculty members, writers, and artists. Dean Roth will continue meeting with alumni as he holds the position of Dean. Be on the lookout for when he is in your area or if you are interested in him visiting your city, contact us at lawadvancement@okcu.edu. Dean Roth is proud of all of our OCU Law graduates and is excited by the different career paths that our graduates have taken to change the world. Lawyers are essential to a thriving economy, a healthy democracy and a peaceful world. Embracing that essential purpose propels our law school forward – to protect and strengthen society and prepare its future leaders.





Presented Negligence: Purpose, Elements & Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State, to the Mississippi Judicial College (2018) P U B L I C AT I O N S


Citing Sisters: A Study of the Oklahoma Appellate Courts (forthcoming) Oklahoma Appellate Courts and Secondary Authority (forthcoming) OT H E R

Concluded service as Interim Dean (June 2018)

Lee Peoples Associate Dean of Library and Technology Frederick Charles Hicks Professor of Law B.A., University of Oklahoma J.D., University of Oklahoma M.L.L.S., University of Oklahoma


Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Legal Practice: The Honorable R2D2 Presiding, OCBA Briefcase (July 2017)

Jennifer Prilliman Law Library Professor Associate Dean of Administration and Distance Education B.A., University of Central Oklahoma J.D., University of Oklahoma M.L.L.S., University of Oklahoma




The Law School’s Dilemma: Preparing Students to Adapt to the Changes in the Practice of Law, Presented at MALLCO Paper Workshop (October 2017) OT H E R


Promoted to Associate Dean of Administration and Distance Education



Competitive Federalism: Environmental Governance as a Zero-Sum Game, in Beyond Zero-Sum Environmentalism (Sarah Krakoff et al. eds., Environmental Law Institute) (forthcoming 2019)

Shannon Roesler Professor of Law B.A., University of Kansas M.A., University of Chicago J.D., University of Kansas LL.M., Georgetown University M.A., University of Wisconsin

Agency Reasons at the Intersection of Expertise and Presidential Preferences, 71 Admin. L. Rev. (forthcoming Sept. 2019) Workshopped the paper at the ABA SEER First Annual Law Professors Workshop in San Diego, October 2018, and at the Inaugural Environmental Works-in-Progress Roundtable co-sponsored by the University of Houston’s Environment, Energy, & Natural Resources Center and the University of Calgary Faculty of Law in Houston (December 2018) Environmental Justice and Environmental Sustainability (book chapter for Environmental Law), Disrupted (Environmental Law Institute) (forthcoming 2020)

In January of 2019, Jennifer Prilliman moved from her position in the Law Library and was promoted to the position of Associate Dean of Administration and Distance Education. In her new role, Dean Prilliman will oversee the law school’s finances, the law school clinics, special events, facilities, and distance education efforts, including potential online programs. Dean Prilliman is also overseeing the launch and implementation of the new Criminal Justice Center. The Criminal Justice Center, which has been funded with a generous gift from the Gaylord Foundation, will promote the study of all aspects of criminal justice through faculty and student scholarship. The Criminal Justice Center will also house criminal law clinics for law students to gain first-hand experience practicing criminal law.

Contributed to a collection of very short essays published by a group of environmental law faculty. Environmental Law. Disrupted, contribution (with Sarah Krakoff), 49 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 10038 (2019) (contribution posted on the Environmental Law Prof Blog on Nov. 10, 2018, and the CPRBlog on Nov. 14, 2018)


Recipient of the 2019 Oklahoma City University’s Outstanding Faculty Member Award Commencement Speaker at Oklahoma City University’s 2019 graduation ceremony





More Sail Than Anchor: An Interpretation of The Federalist (to be circulated) The Intellectual Architecture of Anti-Equality Conservatism (to be circulated) OT H E R

Invited Participant, Conference on Reforming our Institutions, Institute for Humane Studies, Chicago, IL (July 2018) Opinion piece on the new Supreme Court, Tulsa World (July 2018)

Andrew Spiropoulos Robert S. Kerr Sr. Professor of Constitutional Law Director, Center for the Study of State Constitutional Law & Government B.A., Carleton College J.D., University of Chicago M.A., University of Chicago

Moderated panel on Medical Marijuana Legislation, Oklahoma City University Capital City Connect (October 2018) Commentator, Federalist Society chapter event on Originalism, Oklahoma City University (October 2018)

Speech on Executive Branch reform, Oklahoma Legislators Policy Roundtable, Americans For Prosperity/Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (November 2018) Speech on Oklahoma Supreme Court and Fallin Administration, Federalist Society Lawyers Division Chapter, Oklahoma City (January 2019) Opinion piece on Executive Branch Reform, Tulsa World, (February 2019) Speech on Structure of Oklahoma Government, Leadership Exchange Academy (March 2019) Speech on Structure of Oklahoma Government, Government Affairs Conference, Cornerstone Credit Union League (March 2019)


Presentation on Alexander Hamilton, Faculty Colloquium, Oklahoma City University (April 2019) Speech on Structure of Oklahoma Government, PSO Pac Day at the Capitol (May 2019) Author of Weekly Column on State government and politics, Journal Record, Oklahoma City, OK






One of the signers of an Amicus Brief in the Supreme Court case North Carolina Department of Revenue v. The Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust (the brief is titled the Law Professors Amicus Brief); consulting with the attorneys for the petitioner in this case Robbing Women: How Property Law (Still) Cheats Women and What You Can Do About It, Rowan and Littlefield (forthcoming 2019) Power, Property and the Law of Trusts, Redux: Some 21st Century Trusts, in Power, Property and the Law of Trusts, Cambridge University Press, (forthcoming 2019) Broken Links: Inheritance and Inequality, Wisc. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2019) Critical Trusts and Estates: An Introduction, Wisc. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2019) P R E S E N TAT I O N S

Presented to the Oklahoma City Estate Planning Council regarding default forms of property ownership

Carla Spivack Oxford Research Professor of Law Director, Certificate Program in Estate Planning B.A. Princeton University J.D. New York University Ph.D. Boston College

“Property laws disadvantage women at key stages of their lives: when cohabiting with a man instead of getting married, signing a prenuptial agreement, surviving an abusive relationship, caring for elderly parents, outliving their husbands, and inheriting property — This book explains why, and what you can do about it.” The Smart Woman’s Guide to Property Law ( forthcoming 2020) Carla Spivack





to talk with her about her thoughts on becoming the 18th president of Oklahoma City University, she’s unbuttoning her coat and straightening her wind-swept hair – having just stepped inside from a campus tree planting on one of Oklahoma’s typical blustery March days. Though we’re meeting for the first time, she greets me with the warmth and candor of an old friend, and I can’t help but formulate a quick first impression: just as she ushered in the fresh air of the outdoors with her arrival only a few seconds before, her presence is also a breath of fresh air. In a time when universities nationwide have slowly begun awakening to the possibilities of venturing outside traditional paths in their search for presidential candidates, Burger herself – a career business professional with a background in the financial and energy industries and very little on her resume in common with that of a career academic – landed on the short list of candidates somewhat inadvertently. That’s not to imply, however, that any of it happened by chance or without thoughtful consideration. Burger isn’t the type you would describe as impulsive or lacking a clear and deliberate plan in what she does. But if you want to describe her as a nontraditional pick


for the role of college president, that’s perfectly fine with her. Oh – and she’s also the first female to hold the position in the university’s 115 years. So there’s that. Burger’s long history with OCU began in 1992, when she earned her MBA in accounting, attending evening classes while working full-time. She was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2008, chairing its audit and finance committee, and received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the university in 2012. In 2018, when then-president Robert Henry’s retirement announcement prompted the development of a search committee for his successor, Burger was invested in the task – joining her fellow committee members in researching applicants and reviewing personal and professional networks for potential candidates. “I was actively involved in the search process with the committee,” explained Burger. “As we were considering prospects who might be a good fit, we reached out to




a few people who politely said,

back of my mind.”

‘no thank you’. But then one of

At the time, Burger was retired from her longtime career as an executive in the energy industry. “I guess I just wasn’t ready to be retired yet. And I love this place,” said Burger; “So I withdrew from the search committee and submitted my application.” Applying for a job as a candidate who wasn’t really looking for a job, Burger viewed her decision as more of an opportunity to contribute something meaningful. “It’s a challenging time for OCU and higher education in general, and I just thought ‘What better way can I serve the university and our community?’”

them said to another committee

"I think about the law school and how beautifully it’s positioned and now, Dean Roth has this great vibe going there that gives the school a personality that’s really resonating with our students and with prospective students.” member, ‘You know who should do it? Martha Burger.’ That was reported back to me and I sort of laughed it off and moved on. But the thought just stayed in the

A recent article published by Inside Higher Ed highlights the growing popularity among the nation’s universities of focusing their search efforts on “institutional specific needs at that moment in the school’s history.” According to Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the American

Council on Education, who is quoted in the article, funding cuts and demographic changes are forcing institutions to “rethink how they hire their leaders and take a more thoughtful and nuanced approach than in the past.” Burger believes there is a time and a season for every type of president – and right now, as private universities feel the pressure of that changing landscape tightening perhaps even more than larger public universities, she feels her professional strength in effective management of business as well as financial resources can be a valuable asset at a critical time. “I think I bring a perspective to the job that we need right now,” says Burger. In what could be described as a beautifully ironic unfurling of serendipity, she credits her time at OCU as pivotal in helping her shape that perspective and

Top left: President Burger and students on Move In Day 2018. Bottom Left: President Burger and Dean Mark Parker with the delegation from the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing, China. Middle: President Burger speaking at her inauguration. Top Right: President Burger speaking at the 2018 OCU Holiday Gala. Bottom Right: President Burger joins Ron Norick in celebrating her inauguration. 32



refine the characteristics that made her a highly valued contributor to every role in which she served throughout her career. “The ability to manage a project from point A to point B is so important. And that’s what OCU did for me,” says Martha, “It really helped me hone the skills to drive a project or an initiative to completion.” For now, point B is still a barely visible sight on the distant horizon. But if point A is any indication, that horizon is very bright. Since the kickoff of Burger’s time on campus, she has initiated a number of changes that carry with them clear notes of bold new thinking and future-focused motivation. For the School of

Law, one of the most notable is the hiring of new Dean, Jim Roth. “I think about the law school and how beautifully it’s positioned,” Burger said, “and now, Dean Roth has this great vibe going there that gives the school a personality that’s really resonating with our students and with prospective students.” I think the general feeling throughout the campus is that everyone expects to see great things from the president who was somewhat – albeit delightfully – unexpected. And as long as we’re talking about things that are unexpected, here are a couple of notes: Burger’s favorite musician is Meat Loaf and her favorite movie is The

Terminator. Okay, maybe those facts are completely irrelevant, but they just seemed so fun. So un-college-president-y. So ... Martha. Call it fate, call it destiny, call it what you will – but Martha Burger’s arrival here definitely feels like a departure from the norm. She may not have the title of career academic on her resume, but her passion for the job and for OCU is contagious, and her history of success is undeniable. And to borrow a phrase from Meat Loaf himself, “Two out of three ain’t bad.”

Burger’s favorite musician is Meat Loaf, and her favorite movie is The Terminator.

Women in the Judiciary According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. population is over 311 million, with females comprising 50.8% of the total population. Over the past few decades, statistics have shown that women are enrolling in numbers equal to men at law schools across the country. In 2018, the American Bar Association reported that over 20,000 female students enrolled in law school compared to around 18,000 males. This increase in females has even been seen by schools locally. In 2019, the number of female students in the entering class at Oklahoma City University School of Law was 56%, compared to 44% of male students. Despite the number of women graduating with their J.D. and going into legal practice, the number of women represented in the judiciary is relatively low. But who the American public sees representing us on the judicial bench BY LAUREN ST RA D I N G ER DIRECTO R of MARKE TIN G & COMMUN I C ATI O N S

matters. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” Since the Supreme Court first convened in 1790, 113 justices have served on the bench. Of those justices, four have been women. In 1981, Ronald Reagan promised he would appoint a woman to the court, and he kept this promise by appointing Sandra Day O’Connor. President Bill Clinton made the second female appointment twelve years later by nominating Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993. The final two Supreme Court Justices were appointed by Barack Obama. Sonia Sotomayor was appointed in 2009 and Elena Kagan in 2010. “Society as a whole benefits immeasurably from a climate in which all persons, regardless of race or gender, may have the opportunity to earn respect, responsibility, advancement and remuneration based on ability.” – Sandra Day O’Connor


The Gavel Gap

60 v. 167 female



district courts in the U.S. have never had a female judge

active judges sitting on the 13 federal courts of appeal


Women of SCOTUS

of active U.S. district/trial court judges are women

Genevieve Rose Cline was the


Elena Kagan

Sonia Sotomayor



Ruth Sandra Day Bader Ginsburg O’Connor 1993


Pre-SCOTUS Bench

0 years

7 years

13 years

6 years

Nominated By

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

Bill Clinton

Ronald Reagan


87 days

66 days

57 days

34 days






Law School



Columbia/ Harvard







Age When Appointed





first woman named to the federal bench. In 1928, President Calvin Coolidge appointed her to the U.S. Customs Court (now known as the U.S. Court of International Trade). She served on the court for 25 years.

The first woman was appointed to the federal bench nearly

140 years after the federal court system was established.




The number of women in the judiciary should be increased in the coming years to accurately represent and reflect the female population in this country. A more diverse judicial branch equates to a more representative government. So, we want to take the time here at Oklahoma City University School of Law to say that we are proud of all our female graduates and we are happy to highlight many who are representing the public as judges and justices in Oklahoma and across the country. Here are just a few of our female graduates who have dedicated their career to serving our great nation.





Deborah Browers Barnes

Yvonne Kauger

Presiding Judge of Division IV of the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals

Justice, Oklahoma Supreme Court

1983 OCU Law Graduate, University of Oklahoma (B.A. Journalism)

1969 OCU Law Graduate Southwestern Oklahoma State University (B.S. Biology)

What do you enjoy most about serving as a judge?









“The power I exert on the court depends on the power of my arguments, not on my gender.”







35 R



I like the search for the right answer based on the law and the facts, and the challenge to express it in a way that my mother, who was not a lawyer, could understand.












What do you enjoy most about serving as a judge?

I have a heart for the people of Oklahoma and am humbled to have been entrusted to serve our fellow Oklahomans in my position as an appellate judge. I enjoy most the opportunity to decide a variety of problems presented in our cases that impact everyday issues of everyday people, including issues in the domains of family law, property law, contracts, insurance, procedural issues—as well as issues in the arenas of oil and gas law and administrative law, and many other areas of the civil law. The Court is an environment of continual learning as society evolves and the law adapts over the years. I enjoy wrestling with the challenging issues raised in each matter and discussing the cases with my judicial attorneys and the other judges on my panel to arrive at a reasoned resolution based on the facts and applicable law. Serving as an appellate judge is a fascinating job that I find immensely satisfying and meaningful.


– Sandra Day O’Connor





Kassie N. McCoy

Alicia Gibbles Littlefield

Associate District Judge, Rogers County, OK

Special District Judge, Delaware County, OK

2012 OCU Law Graduate Oklahoma State University (B.A. Political Science)

1987 OCU Law Graduate Oklahoma City University (B.S. Psychology)

What do you enjoy most about serving as a judge?

What do you enjoy most about serving as a judge?

Serving as Associate District Judge for Rogers County is an honorable position, one that requires a passion for fairness and justice. As the Associate District Judge, I am responsible for the Felony docket and the Probate docket. In this role, I am required to make decisions daily that affect the things that matter most to members of the community—their families, their children, their property, and their liberties. This is a responsibility I embrace and take very seriously. As an elected official, it is important to me to strengthen and maintain the public’s confidence in the judicial system.

I am very lucky to have a job that enables me to level the playing field to bring fairness and equity to circumstances that are not always fair and equal. Sometimes that means punishment for someone who crossed the line in violation of both the law and the rights of others—and the restoration of rights to the victim.












• G







A •











Laws are written in an effort to make life’s playing surface a level playing field that provides equal opportunity to everyone. When someone steps outside the boundaries of that field of fairness—or when someone attempts to play the game of life in violation of the rules upon which our lawmakers agreed, it is my job to restore fairness and equity to those who fall victim—whether that is determining that someone violated the rules or determining that they have indeed been unfairly accused by others. It is a job that puts the responsibility on me to make sure the law is applied fairly and equally to everyone, regardless of their station in life.








Natalie Mai

Susan Johnson

District Judge, Seventh Judicial District, State of Oklahoma

Special Judge, District Court of Oklahoma County

2009 OCU Law Graduate Cornell University (B.S. Hotel Administration)

1989 OCU Law Graduate University of Central Oklahoma (B.A. Sociology)

What do you enjoy most about serving as a judge?

What do you enjoy most about serving as a judge?

What I enjoy most about being a judge is the ability to serve and interact with the public. I especially love visiting with jurors after a trial as they share their thoughts on our legal system, the different stages of a trial, as well as what mattered or not in their deliberation in the particular case.

I am assigned to the juvenile division, which is the hardest job ever, but also the most rewarding because I am able to help families be reunited with their children and help children obtain permanency.



A Y E •


























From the legal side, I get to decide issues based on the law when given a set of facts, without thought regarding advocacy.


The Honorable Philippa James ’92, Oklahoma City Municipal Court Judge

"I attended OCU School of Law’s evening program from 1988 to 1992. The students in my section had full-time day jobs. What I most appreciated about the night program were the adjunct professors who were actually practicing attorneys during the day. One of my favorite classes was Trial Practice with Professor Emmanuel Edem. The things I learned from him in that class have been invaluable to me throughout my legal career. The most important thing I learned from Professor Edem was to treat people with dignity and respect. That lesson has served me well since graduating from law school in 1992. Since I work in a court of limited jurisdiction, the majority of citizens appearing in our courts are self-represented litigants. It is imperative that we treat them with dignity and respect while also helping them navigate something that is totally unfamiliar to them. That has been my personal mantra since I was appointed by our City Council to serve as a Municipal Judge."





Kimberly E. West

Lydia Y. Green

U.S. Magistrate Judge, Eastern District of Oklahoma

Special Judge, District Court of Oklahoma County

1983 OCU Law Graduate University of Oklahoma (B.A. Political Science)

2003 OCU Law Graduate Texas Tech University (B.S. Biology)

What do you enjoy most about serving as a judge?




The Honorable Barbara Hatfield ’84 Special Judge Canadian County, OK




2 A










"I was grateful to be a student at OCU Law School, learning from practicing attorneys as well as scholarly professors. The opportunity to participate in the Legal Internship Program while attending school was an added bonus. (Being a Judge was not ever on my radar.)"














Being given the honor to serve on the Juvenile docket, I am provided with the ability to potentially change lives. I am able to observe families heal, be reunified, be both created and re-created. In addition, I have the opportunity to work with juveniles who have not made the best decisions; leading them to being involved in the system at a young age. There is nothing like witnessing a child be reunified with their parent(s). Unfortunately, there are some parents that aren’t able to parent their child for various reasons. Although dealing with that aspect can be difficult, there is a light at the end of the tunnel in which I am able to witness new beginnings in a child’s life when they find their new forever family and new forever home. While sometimes this docket brings sadness, there is a lot of joy and forgiveness as well. I am so blessed to be in this position and so humbled by those who trust me to do this work. If I can save one young man or young lady from making a wrong decision that will lead them down the path to the Department of Corrections, then I have done my job! It is very rewarding work and I am thankful to be a part of it.


The two words which best describe the impact of my service as a judge are satisfaction and fulfillment. My legal career has allowed me to fulfill my intellectual goals and work towards the betterment of democracy and society.


What do you enjoy most about serving as a judge?




Is there a Doctor in the Courthouse? Medical errors today result in the loss of more than

250,000 lives a year.



by Johns Hopkins patient safety experts makes the claim that medical errors today result in the loss of more than 250,000 lives a year. It seems contradictory then, that the National Center for State Courts reports that of all personal injury cases nationwide, less than 5% fall into the medical malpractice category. That doesn’t account for cases settled out of court, of course, but the undeniable truth is that the vast majority of medical malpractice incidents are never reported – and even if they are, most never result in a trial. Of those that do go to trial, verdicts for the plaintiff and payouts are rare. Statistics vary, but most sources report the number to be around 5% or less.


It’s no surprise to anyone who’s been through torts that medical malpractice claims are notoriously difficult to prove. Further complicating matters, most states impose caps on the amount of money a patient can receive for damages. Hence, given that less-thanattractive set of circumstances, it’s not difficult to understand why so many of these cases never find their way to a courthouse. Nearly impossible to understand, however, is how a Dallas-area neurosurgeon who left 31 patients paralyzed or severely injured and two dead in just under two years was able to

continue practicing until public outcry finally forced a long overdue move by the state medical board. Dr. Christopher Duntsch is the subject of a podcast, produced by Wondery in 2018, entitled Dr. Death. The podcast examines the case, beginning with a look at Duntsch’s history and some of the characteristics and behaviors he exhibited throughout his life that seem, in retrospect, to reveal early signs of what eventually would lead to his downfall. It concludes with – spoiler alert – the indictment of Duntsch in 2015 on five counts of aggravated assault and one count of harming an elderly person and, ultimately, his sentencing to life in prison in 2017.


investigation and quickly began uncovering details that pieced together the makings of a real-life horror story. She contacted a friend, who at the time was an investigative reporter for a Dallas-area television station, and told him, “We’ve got a madman on the loose.” Together, they set into motion a news story that triggered a sobering ripple effect. “After he did the show, more and more people came forward. And every time we got a call, we were like, ‘What? How is this guy still practicing?’” said Van Wey. Even more troubling was the seeming disregard for the litany of red flags lining his path from one hospital to the next. “Even after we started working on the cases, he continued to get privileges at subsequent hospitals. We knew that the medical board had not taken his license, but we thought to ourselves, ‘There’s no way he’s practicing. No hospital would let him have privileges there,’” explained Van Wey, “and then someone else would have a bad outcome and it would just be another jaw-dropping moment like, ‘This is unbelievable.’”

A major player in that conclusion was Dallas-based attorney and OCU Law alumna, Kay Van Wey ’83. Fourteen of Duntsch’s victims were represented by Van Wey’s firm – the first of which was Mary Efurd. Efurd, 71 years old at the time of surgery in 2012, went to Duntsch for what should have been a fairly simple procedure to fuse two of her vertebrae. When she awoke from the surgery in excruciating pain and unable to stand or even wiggle her toes, it was clear something was terribly amiss. Another surgeon, Dr. Robert Henderson, was called in to perform a second surgery and was shocked to find what could most aptly be described, in non-medical terms, as a mess: hardware from the surgery left in her soft tissue, a severed nerve root, a screw that had skewered the nerves that control one leg and the bladder, and multiple unnecessary screw holes along her spine. Henderson was one of several surgeons who would eventually try – and fail – to persuade hospital administrators, the Texas Medical Board, and even the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office to take action against Duntsch before others were injured or killed.


Efurd eventually reached out to Van Wey, who was simultaneously shocked at the details of the case and determined to take it on. “When I heard Ms. Efurd’s story, and then went to meet her and saw that she was still in rehab and in such horrible pain, I just thought, ‘Ok, there’s no way I’m not helping her,’” said Van Wey. Van Wey launched her own

The healthcare system is theoretically designed with patient safety in mind. However, there is very low compliance and little to no repercussions for insti-



Unbelievable. Yes. That might be the most appropriate one-word description of this terrifyingly disturbing story that brings to light an even more disturbing reality: a system that is supposed to be in place to care for patients and protect them from harm is – often – failing to do that. Which led us to the glaring one-word question: Why? Van Wey herself takes it from here – offering her best attempt at what is most appropriately described as an explanation rather than an answer. Answers are supposed to provide us with a sense of resolve; a bit of clarity to free our minds from the mire of the gray area. But if there’s any clarity here at all, it’s that the search for an answer leads only to more questions. Dr. Duntsch is not the first drug-impaired surgeon I [Van Wey] have ever sued and sadly, he probably won’t be the last. The environment that bred and fostered the actions of Dr. Duntsch has existed for decades and persists today.

tutions who fail to comply. It begins with residency programs that are there to “weed out” doctors who do not possess the skill or judgment to safely perform their jobs or those who suffer from alcohol, drug, or mental health issues. There are hospital credentialing committees to carefully review qualifications and peer review committees to track outcomes and address problems. There are medical boards who are there to protect patients from dangerous doctors and charlatans.



Even as early as his residency program, Dr. Duntsch showed signs of being dangerous, yet he was passed through and actually promoted and recommended for the positions he got as a spine surgeon in Dallas. The various hospitals in which he operated and either severely maimed or killed patients knew he was dangerous, yet they passed him on to the next hospital. The Texas Medical Board received many complaints from patients, doctors, and lawyers alerting them that he was virtually certain to go on hurting and killing patients, yet they sat on their hands. You would think that a case as widely publicized and outrageous as the Dr. Duntsch case would result in enough public outcry to mandate change. Yet I am sad to report nothing has changed. There are several reasons why. First, by failing to enforce the rules and regulations that exist to protect patients, we have essentially allowed certain healthcare institutions to self-regulate. Second, we allow certain healthcare institutions to operate in complete secrecy. If a hospital knows a doctor is dangerous, the patient would have no way of discovering that information in order to make an informed choice. If a medical board had information on which it failed to act, the patient would never know. If the National Practitioner Data Bank had a virtual dossier on a dangerous doctor, the patient would never know. Many of my clients researched Dr. Duntsch on the internet before allowing him to operate on their spines and found nothing but glowing reviews even after those “in the know” had proof he was a mad man with a scalpel. Third, we have “tort reform” laws and conservative-leaning




courts that make medical malpractice cases prohibitively expensive and ridiculously difficult to pursue. Fourth, we have an entrepreneurial setup in which profit is king and patients are pawns in the money machine. Sound harsh? You might think so until you come sit in my chair and see all the “train wrecks” that come across my desk. But the problem is not limited to drug-addicted surgeons. We have a crisis of epidemic proportions when it comes to healthcare in the United States. A study by Martin Makary, M.D. M.P.H., and Michael Daniel, M.D., reveals that medical error is not included in the rankings of causes of death as compiled by the CDC. If it were, it would show that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.1 To put that into perspective, Dr. Makary urges us to imagine if four jumbo jetliners went down every week. THAT is the cost of medical mistakes in America.2 Imagine if patients had organizations advocating for them that were as powerful as the American Heart Association or the American Cancer Society or if women had an organization like the Susan G. Komen Foundation advocating for their safety. But medical error is largely a silent epidemic. If four jumbo jetliners crashed every week, there would be congressional hearings, planes would be grounded, and the problem would be fixed. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do know this: I am a patient. You are a patient. Everyone you love is a patient. We are all at risk. This epidemic knows no socio-economic bounds. Until the problem is given the same amount of funding and attention that the #1 and #2 killers receive, the problem will persist. Yes, there is a role for making changes within the civil justice system. Lawyers are doing what they can, but largely one case at a time. I imagine all of us became lawyers because we had big dreams of changing the world. As a 1983 graduate from OCU School of Law, I can honestly say that I still believe in the power of lawyers to make the world a safer place, and I am hellbent on doing my part to make healthcare safe for all of us.




Imagine if four jumbo jetliners went down every week. That is the cost of medical mistakes in America.2

1 Martin Makary and Michael Daniel, Medical Error—The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US, HOAF-CAIM, https://healthofamericans.org/files/Medical_error.pdf 2 Martin Makary, How to Stop Hospital from Killing Us, (Sept. 21, 2012) The Wall Street Journal, https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10000872396390444620104578008263334441352




CREATION of the MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM Since the passage of State Question No. 788, Initiative Petition No. 412, and the legalization of medical marijuana less than a year ago, Oklahoma has seen the creation of an entirely new industry with widespread impact that affects not only those who can now seek medical marijuana licensure—such as medical patients, their caregivers, and business owners—but also touches upon the lives or livelihood of many others— physicians, banks, attorneys, law enforcement, landlords, schools, local municipalities, courts, and, of course, state agencies like the Oklahoma State Health Department (OSDH) to list a few. Named as the regulatory agency for the medical marijuana program and charged with implementing the medical marijuana licensing program, OSDH accomplished what no other state has: the successful implementation of a medical marijuana licensing program within sixty (60) days of the ballot measure’s passage. Passed on June 26, 2018, by a majority vote of the citizens of Oklahoma, State Question 788 gave OSDH thirty (30) days to have the application requirements and forms available to the public and sixty (60) days to begin receiving and processing applications. OSDH created a division within the Department called the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana

Authority (OMMA), and on Saturday, August 25, 2018, OMMA staff were at the office to start receiving and processing applications. The tight statutory deadlines and its quick implementation are not the only unique aspects of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program. In comparison to other state programs, Oklahoma has no limit or cap on the number of licenses that can be issued to businesses and requires no qualifying medical conditions for patients. As a result, Oklahoma has seen a consistent increase in application numbers since the implementation of the program and an unusually high volume of applications for a young program. As of May 28, 2019, OMMA had received 127,601 patient applications (with estimations that this number may reach as high as 250,000 overall) and 5,424 business licenses. At

along with other program information and application forms, are available on the OMMA website, http://omma. ok.gov. During this 2019 legislative session, the legislature has passed nine (9) bills addressing medical marijuana. The most substantial bill, HB 2612, creates the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act and contains forty-nine (49) pages of new legislation (as compared to the five [5] pages of State Question 788). Other bills include SB 31, SB 162, SB 882, SB 811, HB 2613, SB 532, HB 2601, and SB 1030. As of May 28, 2019, all but SB 1030 had been signed by the

Oklahoma has seen the creation of an entirely new industry with widespread impact... least 115,002 patient licenses and 1,958 caregiver licenses have been approved. At least 5,228 business applications have been approved—2,970 growers; 1,459 dispensaries; and 799 processors. THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK Existing law governing the Oklahoma medical marijuana program includes the State Question codified as 63 Okla. Stat. §§ 420A et seq. and the OSDH rules and regulations published in the Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) in Chapter 310:681. OAC 310:681 has not yet been published on the State’s online Oklahoma Administrative Code and Register; however, copies of these laws,



Governor. While these bills have varying effective dates, the majority of changes to the program from new legislation will become effective in late August, ninety (90) days after the close of this legislative session, otherwise referred to as sine die. Although OSDH is still evaluating the new legislation, its coordination with existing law, and its impact on the current program, the following are some highlights.






1: LICENSES, TERMS, AND FEES State Question 788 created eight (8) license categories: patient (adult and minor); caregiver; temporary out-ofstate patients; growers; processors; dispensaries; transportation; and research. Pursuant to State Question 788, patient licenses are valid for two (2) years, and the license fee, both for the initial license and renewals, is $100 or $20 for individuals on Medicare or Soonercare. Temporary patient licenses are valid for thirty (30) days and are $100. Caregiver licenses may not extend beyond the expiration date of the underlying patient license and have no fee. Grower, processor, and dispensary licenses are valid for one (1) year with annual fees of $2,500. New legislation will create at least six (6) new license categories: educational facility; transporter and transporter agent; testing laboratory; temporary (60-day) patient license; and waste disposal. The license terms and fees provided above will remain the same. Additional business and waste disposal licenses and permits will be valid for one (1) year. Annual fees for these license categories will be as follows: $2,500 for transporters and testing laboratories; $100 for transporter agent licenses; $500 for research and educational facility licenses; $5,000 for medical marijuana waste disposal licenses; and $500 for waste disposal facility permits.

2: DEADLINES FOR LICENSE APPLICATION REVIEW State Question 788 requires OMMA to review and approve, reject*, or deny both patient and business licenses within fourteen (14) calendar days. New legislation will expand these time-



lines and allow for fourteen (14) business days for review of patient and caregiver applications and ninety (90) business days for review of business licenses. *Rejection of a license is not a denial. It merely means that the application is deficient/ incomplete in some way and needs to be corrected. No additional fee is required to correct a rejected application.

3: CONFIDENTIALITY Contrary to popular belief, patient information maintained by OMMA and licensed medical marijuana businesses is not protected by the federal regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) because neither OMMA nor licensed business are considered covered entities under those federal regulations. However, State Question 788 requires that OMMA seal all patient and caregiver application records and information from public disclosure. This requirement is actually more protective than HIPAA, which has several exemptions that could allow for disclosure; however, it only applies to OMMA, not businesses that obtain patient information. Business application and license information is not sealed and is subject to public disclosure through the Oklahoma Open Records Act. New legislation will continue to seal all patient and caregiver application records and


information. It will also makes certain categories of business information confidential and exempted from the Oklahoma Open Records Act. These categories include financial information and private business information that, if disclosed, would give an advantage to competitors.

4: TESTING Current law only requires edible products containing medical marijuana to be tested. The testing requirements, which are set forth in OAC 310:681-5-8.1 require processors to have at least one lot of each type of edible medical marijuana product tested quarterly to ensure the product does not exceed the allowable thresholds for microbials, solvents and chemicals, metals, pesticides, and contaminants and filth. Processors are also required to test for TCH potency and include that potency on the label of all medical marijuana products being sold. New legislation will require growers and processors to conduct testing of each harvest or product batch of medical marijuana, containing no greater than ten (10) pounds, prior to any transfer or sale. It will also require testing for terpenoid potency—a unique requirement in comparison to other states. Terpenes are the aromatic oils found in marijuana and other plants that play in a role in the effect medical marijuana may have on a patient. For example, some terpenes may promote

relaxation, while others promote focus and acuity.

5: HOMEGROW Other than the possession limits set forth in State Question 788, current law has no restrictions on homegrow by patients and caregivers. New legislation will only permit patients and caregivers to grow medical marijuana “on real property owned by the patient license holder or on real property for which the patient license holder has the property owner’s permission to grow on the property.” Any medical marijuana grown

cannot be accessible to a member of the general public or visible from any street adjacent to the property. The operation of any extraction equipment using butane, propane, carbon dioxide or other potentially hazardous material will be expressly prohibited in any residential property. MOVING FORWARD Facing tight statutory deadlines once again, OMMA is already busily preparing for the implementation of the program changes listed above and others that will occur as a result of new legislation. No less than seven (7) workgroups have been established to focus on individual components that will be necessary for the development of these program changes, including establishment of new licensure categories, information


technology system development and data management, and procurements and contracting. Additional workgroups being called on an ad hoc basis include rules promulgation and communications. In addition to finalizing workplans and timeframes to implement the program changes in a timely manner, OMMA is developing a communication plan to inform the industry and other stakeholders of upcoming milestones and deadlines. At nearly one year old, there’s no denying that Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program is changing and growing up fast.



The personal characteristics of honesty and integrity are essential to be an ethical lawyer and are inherent in being a good person as well. Being a lawyer is not easy. In fact, it is often very difficult. There are so many responsibilities that must be coordinated. And that doesn’t include our responsibilities at home. So, we must make time to ensure we are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy. Sometimes a seemingly insignificant event can send us to a place no one wants to go. Before we know it, we can go over the proverbial edge and spiral into destructive behaviors.

Ethics & Attorney Well-Being BY J O SE P H P. BA L KE NBU SH ’86 O KLA H O M A BA R A S S O C I ATI O N E TH I C S C O UN S E L

In 2016, the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation published their study1 of nearly 13,000 currently practicing lawyers. It found: … between 21 and 36 percent (of lawyers) qualify as problem drinkers, and that approximately 28 percent, 19 percent, and 23 percent are struggling with some level of depression, anxiety, and stress, respectively. The parade of difficulties also includes suicide, social alienation, work addiction, sleep deprivation, job dissatisfaction, a “diversity crisis,” complaints of work-life conflict, incivility, a narrowing of values so that profit predominates, and negative public perception. Notably, the study found that younger lawyers in the first ten years of practice and those working in private firms experience the highest rates of problem drinking and depression. The budding impairment of many of the future generation of lawyers should be alarming to everyone. Too many face less productive, less satisfying, and more troubled career paths. Additionally, 15 law schools and over 3,300 law students participated in the Survey of Law Student Well-Being, the results of which were released in 2016. It found that 17 percent experienced some level of depression, 14 percent experienced severe anxiety, 23 percent had mild or moderate anxiety, and six percent reported serious suicidal thoughts in the past year. As to alcohol use, 43 percent reported binge drinking at least once in the prior two weeks and nearly one-quarter

(22%) reported binge-drinking two or more times during that period. One-quarter fell into the category of being at risk for alcoholism for which further screening was recommended.

problem drinkers

The results from both surveys signal an elevated risk in the legal community for mental health and substance abuse disorders, tightly intertwined with an alcohol-based social culture. But the analysis of the problem doesn’t end there. The studies reflect that the majority of lawyers and law students do not have a mental health or substance use disorder. But that doesn’t mean they are thriving. Many lawyers experience a “profound ambivalence” about their work, and different sectors of the profession vary in their levels of satisfaction and well-being.

younger lawyers

Lawyer well-being issues can no longer be ignored. Acting for the benefit of lawyers who are functioning below their ability and for those suffering due to substance use and mental health disorders, the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being urges our profession’s leaders to act.

o f l aw y e r s a r e

experience the

highest rates of


drinking & depression

There are a multitude of reasons to take action, but the most obvious is that lawyer well-being influences ethics and professionalism. The aspirational goal articulated in the Preamble to the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct calls for lawyers to “strive to attain the highest level of skill, to improve the law and the legal profession and to exemplify the legal profession’s ideals of public service.” From a humanitarian perspective, promoting well-being is the right thing to do. Untreated mental

1 The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/images/abanews/ThePathToLawyerWellBeingReportRevFINAL.pdf




health and substance use disorders ruin lives and careers. They affect too many of our colleagues. Though our profession prioritizes individualism and self-sufficiency, we all contribute to, and are affected by, the collective legal culture. Whether that culture is toxic or sustaining is up to us. Our interdependence creates a joint responsibility for solutions. If anything from the above applies to you, if you are stressed out or overwhelmed, if you are depressed, anxious, suffering from addiction, or are in need of help in any other way, every state in

the U.S. has a Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) that will provide you with the help you need. You are not alone! Lawyer Assistance Programs (LAPs) were created decades ago. There are literally thousands of lawyers across the U.S. that volunteer their time to help lawyers in need. LAPs are not just for alcoholics or drug addicts. LAPs also provide services to any bar member or law student (may differ from state to state) who is experiencing mental, emotional, psychological and/or financial issues. Each state has its own LAP program, a toll free number (which

is staffed 24/7) to contact for help, and the services provided are free. Additional information regarding LAP can be found by simply searching the internet for the Lawyer Assistance Program in your state. Again, the services provided are free of charge and are confidential per state law. So please - take the best care of you!!! Joseph Balkenbush is Ethics Counsel at the Oklahoma Bar Association. He graduated with his J.D. from the OCU School of Law in 1986, served as a Judge of the District Court in Oklahoma and is a former United States Marine.

you are not alone americanbar.org/groups/lawyer_assistance

2235 186

Top Ranking but for How Long?

74 1975 1721 186

51 1621

1704 1648 1640 112 70 125 44 1534

49 44


1726 112 40 1584

1663 73 39 1551


FEB 2017

OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR 2018 2018 2018 2019 2019 2019

Oklahoma County Jail Population 54




Municipal IN BRIEF


IN THE SUMMER OF 2018, Oklahoma took the top spot on a national list. Sports team ranking? Most innovative place? Top new job destination? Nope. Top state in the country for incarceration rate, a top spot award most Oklahomans don’t want to win. After hovering near the top of the list for several years, Oklahoma was pushed to the top after the previous number one, Louisiana, enacted justice reform measures that worked to drop it down from the top spot. According to the Prison Policy Initiative’s 2018 rankings, Oklahoma is now the top incarcerator of both women and men nationwide. But while long-term past policies jumped Oklahoma to the top spot, a few years prior to and during 2018, a change was occurring signaling growing momentum for justice reform efforts statewide and in Oklahoma County. Such changes might mean that Oklahoma’s stay at the top could be short-lived.

In 2016, Oklahoma voters passed two significant ballot initiatives aimed at reducing the state’s high incarceration rate. State Questions 780 and 781 reclassified some drug-related crimes from felonies to misdemeanors while setting up a system to reinvest savings from reduced costs into expanding treatment, diversion, and community-based intervention services. In each of the last three sessions of the Oklahoma Legislature, incremental progress has been made to enact justice reform measures. In the 2019 session, the budget includes $10 million for such services envisioned in SQ 781 along with other justice reform legislation. Additionally, newly elected Governor Kevin Stitt has pushed pardon and parole reforms to accomplish his goal

of dropping out of the top 10 in incarceration by the end of his first term. Yet, the momentum on justice reform is not only occurring at the State Capitol. In response to the growing concerns about chronic overcrowding in Oklahoma County’s jail facility, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber announced the creation of a special task force to evaluate Oklahoma County’s criminal justice system in December 2015. With collaboration and input from a diverse group of community members, the Chamber contracted with the Vera Institute of Justice to complete an initial analysis and make recommendations for reform of the Oklahoma County criminal justice system. Vera released their recommendations in December 2016. As a central recommendation of the report, an inter-local agreement between Oklahoma County, the City of Oklahoma City, the City of Edmond, and the City of Midwest City created the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC) in November 2017. The Advisory Council continued to evolve with the hiring of a full-time Executive Director in February 2018 to provide support to the CJAC’s efforts. The creation of this permanent oversight body is key to implementing the proposed criminal justice reforms which can be summarized in these six key recommendations:

1. Create oversight and accountability mechanisms for the local justice system. 2. Reduce jail admissions for municipal violations and low-level misdemeanors. 3. Create a fair and efficient pretrial release process that safely reduces unnecessary pretrial incarceration. 4. Identify and address district court case processing delays that increase jail admissions and length of stay. 5. Expand meaningful diversion program options, focusing on those with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

Although each of the six recommendations carries numerous challenges and barriers to improvement, the good news is that because of the cooperative effort of the Advisory Council’s stakeholders, progress continues to be made on each of the six recommendations. The Oklahoma County Jail was originally built for 1,200 inmates when it opened in 1991. By the end of the decade the jail population doubled, requiring a second bunk to be added into cells built for one. That meant jail counts running near or above 2,400 on a regular basis in the 2000s. Because of the prolonged overcrowding and other unsafe conditions, the U.S. Department of Justice reviewed the jail in 2008, and entered into an agreement with Oklahoma County in 2009 for the USDOJ to continue monitoring conditions at the jail including future visits. Ten years later, Oklahoma County still remains under USDOJ review. However, because of numerous reforms being implemented by various agencies that serve on the CJAC, the jail population appears to be leveling off at numbers that haven’t been seen since early in the jail’s history. The 1st and 2nd Quarters of the 2019 fiscal year demonstrated a downward jail population that stayed steady in the 3rd Quarter. Current 2019 data shows daily jail populations averaging below 1,750 in January and February and reaching a 3Q low of 1,663 for the March average. The fiscal year three quarters combined appear to have set a new “normal” for incarceration in Oklahoma County, far below historical numbers. As we celebrate the remarkable progress and the possible establishment of this new “normal” for the jail population in Oklahoma County Jail, the looming question for the CJAC, state, county, and municipal officials and other community leaders to answer is, “How much more can be done to safely reduce the jail population in Oklahoma County and the prison population statewide?” As that question gets answered in the coming months and years, Oklahoma’s top ranking hopefully will not endure.

6. Reduce the impact of justice system fines and fees as a driver of jail growth and recidivism. IN BRIEF



Two Surgeons Walk into a Bar Exam ... Fair warning: if you’re predisposed to feelings of inadequacy or struggle to silence the inner critic who pops in with frequent reminders that you could be doing more with your life, you might want to take this opportunity to move on to the next article. However, if you, like me, are intrigued by the opportunity to hear two successful local physicians share personal insights on what it takes to excel in law school, read on. Two quick things: one, that’s not a typo. They are physicians, and they went to law school. Two, they were physicians when they went to law school. OCU Law is proud of the many individuals that have pursued a J.D. and an M.D. over the years. In this article, we want to highlight two special individuals, Drs. R. Darryl Fisher ’89 and R. Cullen Thomas ’99, both Oklahoma City residents and graduates of Oklahoma City University School of Law. They took separate and distinct paths to their Juris Doctor degrees, but the similarities that surfaced as they recounted their individual journeys make it nearly impossible to conceive that nothing more than chance was at play. They both were drawn to the surgical field even before medical school, built successful surgical practices in Oklahoma City, went to night classes at OCU Law while maintaining those practices, graduated with honors, and – in addition to succeeding in both medicine and law – aspired to be writers.



We asked both of them a series of similar questions regarding the decision to pursue a law degree while practicing full-time as a surgeon. However, a quick glance at each of their accomplishments while in medical school might provide some insight into the most burning and seemingly obvious first question: “How? How did you do it?” Just a few of the highlights: Dr. Fisher completed his pre-med studies with a 4.0 GPA and earned his M.D. at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine with a ranking of first in his class. Dr. Thomas completed his classes in just three years and worked in the lab as an instructor during his last year as well. One semester, in fact, he simultaneously managed 20 hours of classwork and 20 hours of lab work while also teaching the undergraduate chemistry lab. Ok. That’s how.




Dr. R. Darryl Fisher Dr. R. Cullen Thomas





So tell us why. What was happening in your life when you decided to pursue law school?

Were there similarities for you between medicine and law?

It was the late ’80s and I was in private practice as a heart surgeon. At the same time, I was becoming more involved in business activities as my parents and I began acquiring real estate (and eventually, several local banks) in Ada. It just seemed like I needed to have a better understanding of business and business law than I had, so I decided I would go to law school.

I found that practicing both medicine and law forced me to use both sides of my brain. In medical school, there is the assimilation of a large mass of facts and information and training. In law school, I had to think more analytically and learned to weigh evidence and compare competing issues. In both fields, having strong people skills and general life experience was a benefit, because taking care of patients and taking care of clients is similar in a lot of ways.

Dr. R. Darryl Fisher ’89 It was 1994. I was 13 years into my practice and the busiest surgeon at the hospital. I have found throughout my life that I like to reinvent myself every five years or so, and I told my wife I wanted to look at some other opportunities I could pursue while still continuing my practice. We considered a wide variety of options: an MBA, a computer science degree, and going to law school. Ultimately, we agreed that a law degree would distinguish me more than the other types of degrees – and it also intrigued me because I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I felt that of all the options, law school would at least give me the ability to write better.

Dr. R. Cullen Thomas ’99 58



A common thread through the two professions for me has always been believing that we should use the gifts we have for the benefit of others. I’ve never believed that medicine practiced well or law practiced well is about the dollars. If it becomes about the dollars, it becomes a business. If you take care of people, you’re meeting a need within yourself – because as you give, the reward to you is sometimes greater than it is to the other person.

Did you approach law school with the same intensity as medical school?

Looking back on it, I realize how naïve I was when I first made the decision. I lived in north Oklahoma City at the time and practiced near downtown. I thought, ‘Hmmm. The school is on my way home. I can just stop by there and take a few classes after work.’ I enrolled and it took about 24 hours before it became evident that this was serious and would be more than just an idle evening I was going to be spending on the way home. But generally speaking, a surgeon will typically become very capable and very competent at what they do. It’s just our nature – and frankly, you can tend to get into a rut. So, I found it to be a refreshing challenge. It required a lot of study and a lot of reading, but I also found it to be a very enjoyable part of my day and an enjoyable complement to my surgical practice.

There were several what you might call ‘awakenings’ that happened for me during my first year. The first one occurred at the end of the first semester after we received our grades in January. I was in the upper part of the class, but my grades were not outstanding. I decided that if I was going to do this for another three and a half years, I had to get better. I told myself ‘law doesn’t need another average lawyer. If I’m going to do this, I’ve got to do it well and really apply myself.’ After I made that decision, my grade point average got higher every single semester.

What is something law school taught you that you have applied in other areas? Neater handwriting (laughs). Law school helped me realize that I have strong verbal ability. Patients had always told me that I was the only doctor who explained things to them in a way they understood. But it wasn’t until I got into law school that I was able to really recognize and develop my communication skills.

Having a law degree has been helpful to me in many ways. It has been helpful in the banking industry, in real estate investments, and in my personal estate planning. In life, it gives you an insight you can’t have otherwise. The experience creates in you an ability to question things and a willingness or desire to make, as we often refer to it in medicine, evidence-based decisions.

Today, both doctors are still actively pursuing their various passions: Dr. Thomas is no longer practicing surgery but serves as president of Mercy Clinic West Communities in Oklahoma City, working to help fulfill the health system’s vision of “…improving the health of our communities and each person we serve.” He is also an active donor and member of the Oklahoma Innocence Project. Dr. Fisher is now retired but involved in the management of his family’s banks. He has authored three books and is actively involved in the annual creative writing festival he founded 15 years ago at his alma mater, East Central University in Ada. Their stories and the examples they continue to set remind us all that we are always capable of so much more than we realize. No one chooses law school because it’s easy. But maybe what we should all remember is when you choose to do something because it stokes a fire deep inside, it serves a need bigger than yourself or simply inspires a part of you to whom you haven’t yet been introduced … it isn’t about easy or difficult. “It’s our choices,” wrote J.K. Rowling, “that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” We thank you, Dr. Fisher and Dr. Thomas, for your many contributions to our school and our community.




Medical Licensure Boards

is charged with assuring public safety. The authority of the Board reaches only to the license of a practicing Medical Doctor (Allopathic) or any other para-medical specialty under its statutory power. A licensure board operates on complaints and does not investigate a physician proactively.






Patients in most states assume that a medical license is a public assurance of a quality practice. It is not. Possibly better said, to paraphrase a quote from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, the “purpose of the law is to tell the bad man what he cannot do.” A medical license is the floor of quality, and individual training and dedication are the ceiling. I served on the Oklahoma Medical Licensure Board for a term of 7 years. For part of that time, I was the

A licensure board operates on complaints and does not investigate a physician proactively.

Board President. In that capacity, I received an angry call in January 2008 from one of the newly appointed members of the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) staff: “What are you doing in Oklahoma? Keep it up and you and I will get to know each other really well.” Overall, we received four calls from the FTC. He was referring to a complaint sent to the Board that alleged deceptive advertising and self-representation by one of the surgical physicians we licensed. The complaint was by another subspecialty group of physicians who did similar procedures, but only after more fellowship training and a Specialty Board examination. We were being asked to discipline that physician, and to send him a cease-and-desist order, to protect the public from an “unsafe” surgeon. We had agreed to hear the compliant. The attorney for the Oklahoma Board was sincerely puzzled as to why the FTC thought it had antitrust enforcement power over a state-appointed Medical Licensure Board (or of any profession, including the Bar), since we operated under the “state-action antitrust immunity doctrine.” Board members were appointed by the Governor, derived their authority

from statute, only used principles and rules directly approved by the Legislature and Governor, conducted full and public hearings as governed by the Sunshine Acts of Oklahoma, and only considered complaints brought to and investigated by the Attorney General’s office. A defendant physician usually had legal counsel of his/her choosing present, entered testimony in an open hearing, and knew all the charges in advance. The Board had independent legal counsel present throughout the proceedings to advise us on the governing law. We thought we were immune from the Sherman Antitrust Act and the FTC when we limited or revoked a physician’s license. And then came North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC 135 S.Ct. 1101 (2015). The original case in Dental Examiners was filed as an administrative action by the FTC June 17, 2010. We realized shortly after that date what the phone calls in 2008 concerned. The FTC intended to challenge the state immunity doctrine when a clear violation (in their understanding) of the Sherman Antitrust Act occurred. The FTC was looking for




such a violation when we were called, but Oklahoma was not chosen. Instead, the FTC focused on the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners, which had issued a 2003 cease-and-desist letter to non-dentists who were whitening teeth in kiosks in malls. Teeth whitening using the chemicals and techniques then available was determined by the Dental Board to be a dental procedure, and complaints of injury had reached the Dental Board. The Board determined the whitening to be the practice of dentistry without a license, and therefore subject to their authority. The Harvard Law Review 1 provides a good summary of the case history and the eventual 6-3 decision of the Court. The major findings of the case were against the Dental Examiners. First, the Court determined that the Board was to be treated as a private actor due to the fact that “the controlling number of decision makers [were] active market participants in the occupation the board regulates.” However, the composition of the Board was not necessarily dispositive, provided that the state’s supervision was sufficient, based on a “flexible and context-dependent” inquiry. According to the majority, the two key issues to be decided by future courts were: (1) is the Board acting to carry out a clear State Policy and (2) does the State’s actual supervision “provide realistic assurance that a nonsovereign actor’s anticompetitive conduct promotes that State Policy?” This decision was a major reversal of licensure board activity throughout the United States. In response to Dental Examiners, the Oklahoma AG and Governor issued Executive Order 2015-33 on July 17, 2015, that required all “licensure or prohibition actions” of a licensure board be submitted to the AG “for review and written analysis for possible violation of the law.” Overwhelmed by the decisions of the multiple licensure boards who were now submitting their actions for review, and in response to clarification by the FTC and Federal Courts, Governor Kevin Stitt more recently issued Executive Order 2019-17 defining certain actions [i-vi] that qualify for review, and those actions [if anticompetitive] were to be reviewed by the AG’s Office for accordance with State Policy. As an aside, and in case you were wondering: How had the Medical Licensure Board decided the complaint about the “unsafe” surgeon? The hearing was 1 North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC, (Nov. 2015), Harvard Law Review, harvardlawreview.org/2015/north-carolina-stateboard-of-dental-examiners-v-ftc-2/

held and the Board decided the complaint the way the FTC wanted it to be decided: in favor of the lesser-trained surgeon. The decision was not made because of the calls from the FTC. The calls were not shared with the Licensure Board members until after the members had reviewed the training, skill and experience of the physician in question. He was found to be skilled, experienced and trained in what he said he did, and did not extend himself beyond what he knew to do well. The Board did not ignore the issue, but decided it based on the findings. The complexity of medical practice and licensure is astounding. While licensure is a privilege and not a right, removal of a licensure or limitation of a license depends on due process. Due process depends on accurate information. If any part of the safety net of quality assurance is defective, if any complaint is ignored or not made to a Licensure Board, discovering a “bad doctor” is often impossible until damage is done. One of the “weak links” in the process can be hospital reporting. Hospitals must report any discipline or privilege/ scope of practice changes they make, both to the Physicians Data Bank and the Licensure Board. However, hospitals must feel protected from any defamation suits and antitrust allegations by the physician they report. That is not true today. A hospital’s legal counsel will too often advise some lesser action than revocation of privileges or censure for bad outcomes, even when the medical staff may feel it is warranted. Without a complaint, a licensure board cannot limit or revoke a medical license. Hopefully, we can learn from the mistakes we have made…and mend the safety net.

Alumni Profiles Post-graduation: We catch up on what alumni are doing 25, 20, 15, 10, 5 years out of law school.

25 20 15 10 5


Annette O’Donnell-Butner ’94 Chief Compliance Officer for Public Markets, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, San Francisco, California

Describe your work. I am responsible for the administration and oversight of the compliance policies and procedures for KKR Credit Advisors (US) LLC, a registered investment advisor regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

My career trajectory was not a straight pathway, but more of a winding road...

What activities do you enjoy outside of work? I enjoy skiing with my family in Utah, supporting my two sons who are baseball players and violinists, reading the New York Times, baking chocolate chip cookies and bike riding along the Jersey shoreline.

What do you like about your life 25 years after law school? I value the principal-based fundamentals, the analytical and reasoning skills and effective communication competence developed by a legal education that afford avenues for alternative careers. KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate and credit, with strategic partners that manage hedge funds. As of 2019, KKR has a team of over 1,400 employees, consultants, and senior advisors, including approximately 500 investment professionals working across 16 industries in offices around the world.

Are you where you expected to be at this stage of your career and life? My career trajectory was not a straight pathway, but more of a winding road where opportunities helped shape my professional life.




Alumni Profiles 25 20 15 10 5 YEARS

Mitchell “Mick” McCarthy ’99 Of Counsel, Hall Estill Attorneys at Law, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Describe your work. My work involves a wonderfully challenging blend of technology and law. I’m a patent attorney, meaning that in addition to passing the Oklahoma bar exam, I also passed a federal bar exam to obtain my license to represent clients seeking patent protection for their inventions from the federal government via its United States Patent and Trademark Office. A good portion of my time is spent doing that, preparing patent applications and prosecuting them through the administrative process by which they become issued patents. I also spend a good portion of my time enforcing my clients’ patent rights, be it through licensing negotiations and/ or litigation. In addition to patent work, I also obtain and enforce my clients’ rights in other bodies of law including trademark, copyright, and trade secret protection.

Mitchell McCarthy passed a federal bar exam to obtain a license to represent clients seeking patent protection for their inventions from the federal government via its United States Patent and Trademark Office.

What activities do you enjoy outside of work? In this season of my life, there’s nothing I enjoy more than playing with my grandchildren, Grace, Ethan, Levi, and Ava. Our favorite regular activities include whatever makes us laugh out loud, such as games, trampoline, skateboards, campfires, hikes, and frisbee with my Mini-Aussies Mia and Zoe. We relish a road trip adventure. Besides time with my favorite little people, I enjoy Jeeping, golfing, fishing, running, having coffee with




mom, and making music. I work hard and long, which can be grueling, so these activities are essential in keeping me grounded and balanced. Are you where you expected to be at this stage of your career and life? I started law school at 35 years old, having already worked as an engineer for more than a dozen years at that time. I applied because I expected that becoming a patent attorney would provide the intellectual challenges and pursuits I thrive on. Where I am now far exceeds my expectations then. On top of solid engineering experience, I’ve had the benefit of engaging all aspects of practicing the law. That is, I’ve worked as a patent attorney for small firms, for large firms, for my own firm, and as corporate in-house counsel. I was a better patent attorney on day one because I was already an experienced engineer. What do you like about your life 10 years after law school? I’m really proud of the established legacy for the practice of law in my family. My father and OCU Law alumnus, Bill McCarthy '72, was also a patent attorney and the greatest mentor a guy could hope for. My fondest memories of him involve us working on challenging cases together. It was a great day when my twin daughters told me they had decided to go to law school. Now they and their husbands all practice law in the Oklahoma City area. I like that the legacy lives on.

Alumni Profiles 25 20 15 10 5 YEARS

Brandon Long ’04 Shareholder, Employee Benefits Practice Leader, McAfee & Taft, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Describe your work. I help companies and governmental entities with employee benefits issues, including ERISA, the Affordable Care Act, 401(k) plans, investment issues, medical plans, and cost-containment strategies. I am fortunate to work with smart clients of all shapes and sizes, including clients in multiple states and clients with employees all over the country. What activities do you enjoy outside of work? My wife and I have four kids ages 12-21. I love spending time with them and doing whatever they want to do. We love to travel, go to the movies, and eat out together. As I type this, we are driving to Colorado to go skiing, and my kids are playing "name that movie." I love listening to them laugh and make fun of each other. I am an avid (but not very good) runner and have been consistently running and working out with the same group of losers, who are my closest friends, for many years. I also love to read and consume books—nothing intellectual, mostly fiction.

After 12 years at McAfee & Taft, Brandon Long works with clients of all shapes and sizes, including clients in multiple states and clients with employees all over the country.


Are you where you expected to be at this stage of your career and life? Yes and no. Honestly, I always thought I would live and practice law in a big city, but each time we moved to a bigger city, we eventually came back to Oklahoma, and I’m glad we did. Oklahoma is a great place to live and raise a family, and it’s a great place to practice law. Oklahoma is growing and evolving in a positive way, and I think we are all lucky to be a part of it. What do you like about your life 15 years after law school? Almost everything. My parents have been gone for many years now, but I’m so thankful for the opportunities and life they gave me. I like my wife, and I’m glad that she still likes me, and I’m thankful for the life we’ve built together and how close our family is. I like my daily routine including morning workouts and coffee with my buddies. In terms of work, I like practicing law at McAfee & Taft, where I’ve been for almost 12 years now. I am so lucky to get to work with my smart and talented partners on interesting projects for nice clients.



Alumni Profiles 25 20 15 10 5 YEARS

Amanda J. Cochran-McCall ’09 Chief for General Litigation Division, Texas Attorney General, Austin, Texas

Describe your work. I have the honor of leading the division that represents the State of Texas and its officials in the state’s most important litigation. We handle constitutional, civil rights, and employment matters in state and federal courts. This is law practice at its purest—decisions are made based on the best legal strategy and argument, on pursuing what is right, and a fidelity to protecting Texans. Jury trials, bench trials, and appellate arguments are part of our day-to-day. It is fast paced, challenging and always interesting. What activities do you enjoy outside of work? Outside of work, I enjoy cooking and gardening. My cooking exploits are more fruitful on the weekends when I have time to experiment and try more complicated dishes. Even when it is over 100 degrees out, I brave the heat to tend the garden because I love having the fresh ingredients for my recipes. I also spend a lot of time watching my two teenagers (16 and 13) play soccer all over Texas, and I love cheering them on from the sidelines.

With less than five years of practice, Amanda CochranMcCall convinced her chief to add her as a core litigation team member in the longest civil bench trial in Travis Count history. They ultimately won the case.

Are you where you expected to be at this stage of your career and life? In law school, I did not plan to pursue a public service position. However, I interned at the Texas Attorney




General’s office as a 3L in the division I now lead. As a new assistant attorney general, I ran my own cases from day one. I cannot describe the immense pride I felt the first time I stood up in court and announced for the record my name and that I was there for Texas. I did not expect to be able to contribute on some of our biggest cases so early in my career. With less than five years of practice, I convinced my chief to add me as a core litigation team member in the longest civil bench trial—over 20 weeks—in Travis County history concerning Texas’s school finance system. We ultimately won that case. What do you like about your life 10 years after law school? I have a better understanding of what motivates me. Defending various state agencies and officials over the years, I have had a front row seat to learn how different agencies work and execute their core functions. I have spent extensive time briefing and researching issues, fleshing out the bounds of the law. This experience and time with the different legal subject matters make me a better attorney and counselor for my clients. I like that I get to make a difference even when it’s in small ways. Whether coaching a young lawyer, working through a novel legal problem, or guiding a state leader through a hard decision, I go home each day knowing that my efforts mattered.

Alumni Profiles 25 20 15 10 5


Taylor Rex Robertson ’14 Associate, Haynes and Boone, LLC in Dallas, Texas

Describe your work. I practice a wide range of commercial litigation representing plaintiffs and defendants in Texas state and federal courts, including disputes over contracts, franchising, distribution, food and beverage, intellectual property, insurance, real estate, and bankruptcy. I have managed all aspects of these matters—client management, case strategy, initial pleadings, discovery, motion practice, and trial. I also have experience in appellate court and federal courts outside of Texas. My firm’s clients include commercial landlords, pharmaceutical companies, popular snack food manufacturers, media funding companies, and major construction firms. My pro bono clients include residential tenants and terminated employees. I also volunteered as a prosecutor for Class C misdemeanors (i.e. traffic tickets) where Texas law allows defendants to demand jury trials for those crimes. Finally, I am the Associate Recruiter for the business litigation section in Dallas and participate in the recruiting process for summer and entry level associates.

Taylor Robertson won the 2019 Wine Tasting U.S. Open Championship Final in July, which is a blind wine tasting competition held in California. Taylor and his tasting partner qualifed to represent the U.S. against 27 countries in the World Wine Tasting Championship on Oct. 12, 2019, at the Château de Chambord in Chambord in the Loire Valley, France.

theory of wine and viticulture. Last year, I passed the Certified Sommelier exam administered by the Court of Master Sommeliers, and I continue to practice blind tasting for future exams and competitions. I recently hosted a wine seminar for my colleagues and have other seminars and classes planned for the future. I am also the Vice Chair of the Texas High School Mock Trial Competition, which is a statewide mock trial competition for all Texas high schools, and I was the chief case writer for the fact patterns used in competition for the past two years. When necessary, I serve as a presiding or scoring judge during our regional and state competitions. But a good glass of wine with my wife on the couch next to our terrifying four-pound dog named Booger beats all of those by a mile. Are you where you expected to be at this stage of your career and life? Yes, although I did not expect to obtain so much experience in such a wide range of litigation cases, such as bankruptcy, insurance, and franchising. That has been an unexpected bonus and added breadth to my litigation skills. What do you like about your life 5 years after law school? I thoroughly enjoy my clients and the cases I work on. I like having significant responsibility in complex litigation matters with substantial damages at stake. And I love being a trial lawyer.

What activities do you enjoy outside of work? After working at The Mantel Wine Bar & Bistro in Bricktown prior to law school, I developed a unique interest in the history and





A Classic Beauty

Victoria Carrasco studied law in Rome through OCU Law’s study abroad program.

There are those experiences in life that leave a lasting impact. For me, living in a foreign country was one. Living and studying abroad in Italy gave me a newfound sense of independence. The experience opened my mind to new perspectives and lifestyles in a way that simply cannot be achieved in a one- or two-week vacation. It challenged my way of seeing the world, and I feel I came out of the experience a more confident and well-rounded person. The interaction with the Italian culture has had a lasting impact on my own way of life. I discovered a few lifestyle differences that I felt Italy did better than the United States, and I’ve incorporated these differences into my own life. Ultimately, the experience created an unshakeable sense of confidence and new perspective in me that I have continually drawn upon since I returned. The experience dramatically increased my overall potential as a law student and future lawyer. I have been provided with a newfound sense of independence because of all of the challenges I had to overcome on a daily basis. I learned how to use the Rome public transportation system with instructions and directions only written in Italian. After a couple days, I realized from observing locals that walking was far more efficient in




Rome, which is vastly different than daily life in Oklahoma City, where we drive everywhere. Walking over six miles a day became a normal part of my day. I also had to learn how to order a meal and direct my taxi driver in the local language. While language translators came in handy, the experience was enhanced when I put the translator away. I challenged myself that by the end of the program, I would be ordering meals and directing my taxi driver in Italian without any help, and I successfully accomplished these goals. Toward the middle of the trip, I found myself setting goals similar to those on a weekly basis, which I feel truly added to the overall newfound sense of independence I gained and have carried into life here in the States. While in Rome, I became well-acquainted with the Italian family that owned the apartment I stayed in, the business owners of the businesses nearby, and the neighbors of the apartment complex. I found myself forced to find ways to interact with all of these people who were so different from me, who practice different customs, and approach the world differently on a daily basis. Each one of them taught me new ways of looking at the world. While I have always been a somewhat direct and welcoming person, these individuals taught me how to be even

more direct and welcoming with my communication. For example, in the Italian culture, body language and gestures are everything, which is very different than Americans. I now find myself communicating more effectively through stronger body language and gestures. I made lifelong friendships with my classmates that were from around the world. My classmates opened my mind every day to new ways of looking at the law and new ways of finding resolutions. Among many topics we discussed during class, one of the most interesting and challenging topics in the Alternative Dispute Resolution class involved discussions of international contracts and how to overcome language barriers between the parties while also finding a resolution that is beneficial to both sides of the litigation that were from two completely different regions of the world. Each student’s culturally different perspective significantly enhanced the learning environment. Studying abroad is a must. Not only to acquire language skill and experience a different culture, but in order to build upon your own personal growth and provide a lasting impact on your own life. I now consider Rome, Italy, as my second home, and I am forever grateful for the personal growth I experienced upon return.


2018 - 2019

Class Notes 1959




Zee Howell, a World War II veteran, was featured in a KWTC story.

John Frederick “Fred” Kempf, Jr. was named a shareholder in the Oklahoma City office of Hall Estill law firm.

Mark B. Toffoli joined The Gooding Law Firm P.C.

Rex Hodges was honored with the 2019 ABA Military Pro Bono Project Outstanding Services Award.

1965 Ray Potts published an op-ed in The Oklahoman urging Oklahoma to expand early learning programs for children and teenagers.

1973 John K. Williams joined the law firm of Fellers Snider.

1974 Garvin A. Isaacs, Jr. was recognized by Continental’s Who's Who as a Pinnacle Attorney for his role as owner and sole practitioner at Garvin A. Isaacs, Inc. Joe E. Edwards was selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America 2019 list.

Ron Kreiter returned to the Oklahoma Insurance Department as deputy general counsel. Richard Perry received the President’s Award from the Garfield County Bar Association.

1978 M. Franklin Keel, who served as Eastern Regional Director for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was inducted into the University of Science and Arts for the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Richard P. Propester was selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America 2019 list.

1980 Mike Mordy was named chair of the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission.

1981 Charles Gass was appointed special judge for Canadian County.




Gayle L. Barrett was selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America 2019 list.

1983 Kay Van Wey was featured in a podcast called Dr. Death, which casts a spotlight on a deadly Dallas neurosurgeon. She represented more than a dozen of the victims in the Dallas area.

1984 Vicki Behenna received the Stonecipher Award from LegalShield. Paul Woodward retained his judgeship for District 4 Office 2 in Garfield, Blaine, Grant and Kingfisher counties.

1985 John David Luton was sworn in as the new special judge in Wagoner County.

1987 Kent Gilliland was elected as a new member of Hall Estill's Executive Committee.

1990 Cary Pirrong was named the Director of Equity and Compliance at Oklahoma City Community College.

1991 Christina Melton Crain was appointed to the Trinity River Authority Board of Directors and the University of Texas System Board of Regents. Tony A. Scott was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from East Central University in Ada. Joe Gappa was named general counsel of the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

1992 George Milner was featured in the Dallas edition of Attorney at Law Magazine.





Leslie L. Vincent joined the Department of Interior’s Rocky Mountain Regional Solicitor’s Office in Lakewood, Colorado, as an Assistant Regional Solicitor. She will supervise the Federal and Indian Royalties Section.

Judge Sharon K. Holmes was a featured speaker for the Women’s Missionary Unit Annual Brunch, part of the Vernon A.M.E. Church’s Women’s Day Weekend.

Tanya S. Bryant was selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America 2019 list.

Peter L. Scimeca joined the Fellers Snider law firm.

1994 Eric Begin opened Starr, Begin & King PLLC, a boutique litigation firm in Tulsa. Cynthia L. Andrews was selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America 2019 list. Scott Rowland retained his judgeship on the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

1995 David Littman joined the Fort Worth firm of Cantey Hanger LLP. Nathan Dills was named President of the Oklahoma-based ACP Sheet Metal Company and managing partner of Midwest Fabricators LLC.

1997 Laura Brookins Fleet was selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America 2019 list.

1998 Kevin B. Ratliff opened The Ratliff Law Firm.

Ron Griffin was selected by the district judges of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to serve as the U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Court’s Midland/ Odessa division. Sonja Porter was awarded the Thurgood Marshall Appellate Advocacy Award from the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

2001 Cindy Truong was honored as a member of the 2018 Journal Record’s “Fifty Making a Difference.”

2002 Hiram Sasser gave a presentation at the University of Chicago titled, “First Amendment Pro Bono Opportunities.”

2003 Carman Rainbolt became the Assistant District Attorney for Okmulgee and McIntosh counties. Alice Wasson joined the Gilmore & Bell, P.C. firm as lead compliance counsel for its Kansas City office.

2005 Carrie Hixon received the Legal Aid Services Pro Bono Recognition Award. This award recognizes attorneys in the community who have offered outstanding pro bono services in the past year.

2006 Matthew Stump was awarded with a President’s Commendation by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) at the 2018 Annual Conference on Immigration Law in San Francisco. Trae Gray, founder of Landowner, PLLC, was named to the 2019 Best Lawyers in American list in the practice of Energy Law. Todd Pauley was named Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. A.J. Ferate joined the Oklahoma City office of Spencer Fane LLP as Of Counsel. Adam C. Hall was selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America 2019 list.


Joel Linares became Assistant City Manager of Moab, Utah. Brandon Long was elected President of SouthWest Benefits Association. Suvir Dhar, a Simmons Hanly Conroy firm shareholder focusing on mesothelioma litigation, was named to the 2019 St. Louis Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list.

2008 Jesse Chapel joined Hartzog Conger Cason & Neville. Collin Walke was named to the Journal Record’s Achievers Under 40 list.

2009 Amanda CochranMcCall was promoted to division chief of general litigation by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Jake Pipinich was named as a partner at the law firm of Pierce Couch Hendrickson Baysinger & Green, LLP. Natalie Mai won the District 7 Office 5 judge seat for Oklahoma County. Vijay Madduri was named partner to the firm Munson & McMillin.





2011 cont.

Lucas Garritson recently collaborated with OnBlick to develop proprietary software for immigration compliance. OnBlick is the first of its kind Immigration and HR compliance software assuring organizational compliance.

Lauren Campbell joined the Oklahoma City office of Phillips Murrah.

Michael J. McMillin was named partner to the firm Munson & McMillin.

Kari Hoffhines was named to the Top 20 Under 40 list by the Edmond Sun and the Business Times of Edmond. Daniel C. Hays was named managing director of Chansolme Harroz Hays Schnebel PLLC. Allen L. Hutson, attorney for the Crowe & Dunlevy firm, began his second term on the Oklahoma Bar Foundation’s 2019 board of trustees.

Tynia Watson was elected to the position of director in the Crowe & Dunlevy Oklahoma City office. Elizabeth Bowersox was elected as a shareholder at the Oklahoma City office of McAfee & Taft. Lewis T. LeNaire was promoted to shareholder of the GableGotwals law firm. Lysbeth George was selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America 2019 list. Brett Butner was elected as associate district judge in Seminole County, OK.

2013 Ande Burchfield was selected as a member of the Oklahoma City LOYAL XIII Class. Tim Gallegly was named to the Journal Record’s Achievers Under 40 list.

2012 Kara Didier joined the Edmond based firm Hester Schem Hester & Dionisio. Alexandra Ah Loy was named General Counsel for Turn Key Health Clinics.

Brandi Haskins joined the firm of Fuller Tubb & Bickford, PLLC. Jason Supplee began a new position as Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) for the Southern District of Texas in Corpus Christi, TX.

Paige Masters was selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America 2019 list and the LOYAL XIV Class. Kassie McCoy was elected as associate district judge in Rogers County, OK.

Following Dean Valerie Couch’s historic efforts to relocate the law school to Downtown Oklahoma City, Dean Jim Roth is building on that momentum to shape a vision for the next chapter of our story. Under Dean Roth’s direction, the Oklahoma City University School of Law Alumni Association was re-established in 2018.


Sara Dupree joined the Norman based firm of Mary Westman Law as Of Counsel. Bryson J. Williams was named partner to the firm Munson & McMillin.

2018-2019 Alumni Association Board of Directors: Monica Ybarra ’14, Chair Brandi Haskins ’15, Chair – Elect

The Alumni Association offers opportunities to amplify your involvement and tailor your membership dues through the Directed Giving Program. For those who have not been involved with the law school since graduation, the Alumni Association is the ideal space to rediscover and nurture your ties to the school and fellow alumni. Through their Alumni Association membership, members have access to various discounts on products and services in the Oklahoma City area and across the United States.

By presenting your active membership card at participating businesses, using promotion codes when shopping online, and taking advantage of our service partners, members can save hundreds of dollars a year. Join your fellow alumni by becoming a member of the OCU Law Alumni Association. You can join at lawconnect.okcu.edu/join or by calling (405) 208-7100. Helping to lead this effort are fellow alumni who have volunteered their time to serve as the inaugural Board of Directors for the Alumni Association.

Allie Ah Loy ’12, Secretary Tami Hines ’14, Treasurer Susan Carns Curtiss ’06 A.J. Ferate ’06 Tripp Lopez ’18 Katherine Mazaheri ’07 Justin Meek ’06 The Honorable Trevor Pemberton ’08 Lindsey Pever ’18 Kara Smith ’02 Michael To ’07 Lori Walke ’09 Travis Weedn ’14

In Memoriam

2016 Elise Horne joined the Oklahoma City firm of Johnson Hanan Vosler Hawthorne & Snider.


Mary Mullen Phillips ’76

Kenneth A. Nash ’56

August 6, 1940 – July 21, 2018

August 23, 1930 – November 2, 2018

Linda M. Harris ’79

Kelly Kinser joined the firm of Crowe & Dunlevy in the Oklahoma City office.

Sidney D. Wise ’59

July 16, 1937 – December 12, 2018

Aimee Majoue joined the firm of Crowe & Dunlevy in the Oklahoma City office.


Kace Rodwell was a recipient of the 2018 Equal Justice Works Fellowship, one of the most prestigious and competitive postgraduate fellowships in the country. Please email your news to lawnews@okcu. edu with “Class Note” in the subject line. Be sure to include your graduation year. We welcome photos (high resolution) but due to space cannot guarantee publication.

May 20, 1929 – May 18, 2018



John Curtis Branch ’80

John A. Philbin ’61

October 1, 1934 – December 6, 2018

July 2, 1934 – February 8, 2019

Gary Lee Bloom ’81

Dora Roberts ’65

September 2, 1937 – October 22, 2017

November 30, 1939 – July 4, 2018

Eric G. Melders ’82 February 4, 1957 – October 17, 2018

1970s Robert O. Stiner, Jr. ’70 November 23, 1926 – August 30, 2018

Donald Lee Cooper ’71 December 24, 1938 – June 14, 2018

James Erman Briscoe ’72 May 5, 1942 – July 17, 2018

Linda S. Brown ’89 December 16, 1945 – May 6, 2019

1990s Rhoda J. Mull ’98 November 20, 1959 - July 16, 2018

Jerry Charles Blackburn ’75

2010s David Colin Buckles ’14

September 6, 1948 – August 2, 2017

November 16, 1980 – March 12, 2019

OCU Connect

Welcome to our Alumni Directory

The purpose of the OCU Law Alumni Association shall be to promote the general welfare and effectiveness of Oklahoma City University School of Law through strengthening the ties between former students of the School, stimulating the interest and activity of the alumni of the School, preserving and furthering the mission of the School, and participating in further development of the School.

Oklahoma City University School of Law welcomes you to visit our online portal, OCU Connect. Through the portal, you can view your giving history, update your contact information, and so much more! This portal allows our over 7,000 alumni across the globe to also access the brand-new online alumni directory. The online alumni directory offers a new opportunity for you to access, refer business to and receive referrals from your fellow alumni. The easiest way to stay connected is to become a member of our online alumni community. As a member of the online community, you will have exclusive access to the directory to find fellow alumni for easier correspondence. Visit lawconnect.okcu.edu today to sign up for your account!

Throughout the years, movies have proven to be a great way to communicate and educate society. This is especially true when it comes to more challenging or ever-changing topics like law. Legal movies have proven to be a great way to portray issues to the everyday American so that they have a greater understanding of our justice system. With each passing decade, we have also seen movies released pertaining to the politics of that era. We have created a list of 25 movies that dive into the politics, hot topics and the judgments that have changed the United States over the years. Our dedicated OCU Law faculty submitted their favorite movies for this list that they think every young lawyer should watch. Enjoy! On the Basis of Sex (2018) – This movie follows the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she fights for equal rights for both men and women. Philadelphia (1993) – A young, gay lawyer is fired by his firm when it is revealed that he has contracted AIDS. He knows he has a case against their homophobia and fights to fix what happened so future

lawyers won’t face the same trials. The Paper Chase (1973) – Follow the life of first-year law student, James T. Hart, as he experiences Harvard Law School. Hart faces many twists and turns during his law school journey and ends up falling for the daughter of his harshest teacher. Hart learns to balance love, friendships, and studies.

"Paper Chase is great. There are whole scenes dedicated to the Socratic method and its scariness. The movie scares the pants off of 1Ls, who then get to school relieved to discover that it’s not actually that bad." Professor Paul Clark Anatomy of a Murder (1959) – Frederick Manion is arrested for the murder of a man who is accused of raping his wife. However, doctors are unable to find any medical evidence that she was raped. Lawyer Paul Biegler tries to defend Manion as best he can, but truth be told, the evidence is working against him. "Anatomy of a Murder is my favorite legal movie. It’s so realistic. James Stewart defends a guy charged with murder, and the whole case ends up turning on a fine point of black letter law that Stewart digs up after hours of legal research (i.e., hardly the glamour of Law & Order). There’s also a great scene where Stewart has to help his

client ‘massage’ his story without violating his ethical duties. I don’t want to give away the ending, but it’s also hyper realistic. If you want to know what the practice of law is actually like, there is no better film." - Professor Paul Clark

Alabama, they are quickly arrested for robbery and murder and are facing the death penalty. Bill’s cousin Vinny, who is an inexperienced lawyer, comes to their rescue to try to prove their innocence.

"There are actually some good lessons in 13th (2016) – Mass incarceration has been this movie about what not to do in a trial. an issue in America for the past 150 years. When he asks the witness to name the color This documentary of the defendants’ eyes dives into the 13th even though he is not Amendment and civil wearing his glasses, rights in America by he is able to say what showing prisons for color the eyes are what they really are. instantly because the To Kill a Mockingbird glasses are reading (1962) – Lawyer Atticus glasses. The lesson Finch is defending is that you should Tom Robinson in never ask questions fighting against the on cross examination accusation of raping unless you are pretty a white woman. In a certain you either know time where citizens are the answer they will racially divided, this give before you ask trial is monumental. the question, or you don’t care how they My Cousin Vinny answer." - Professor (1992) – Two NYU students, Bill Gambini Scott Hester and Stanley RothenA Time to Kill (1996) stein, decide to drive – Two men associated across the country to with the KKK rape Carl UCLA where they both Lee Hailey’s ten-yearreceived scholarships. old daughter, Tonya, in As they pass through Mississippi, and Hailey a small town in is determined to give


Top 25 Legal Movies

these two men what they deserve. As they are on their way to the court room, Hailey shoots and kills the two men. He is arrested and placed on trial for the two murders. "This is ‘jury nullification’ of the highest order, but as the biblical-sounding title suggests, sometimes there is a “higher law” than the law. The story before the trial is gripping. But then the trial scenes are a barn-burner. We get to see the defendant (Samuel L. Jackson) take the stand, and then the prosecutor (oily Kevin Spacey) goads him into saying: ‘Yes, they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell!’ (Only Samuel L. Jackson can deliver that line like that). Then, Matthew McConaughey saves the day with one of the all-time great closing arguments. Ultimately, the story is not about the trial, but about race in America, and it is a

hard-hitting, honest look, but ultimately hopeful." - Professor Anton Rupert A Civil Action (1998) – A group of four lawyers finds that a leather company may be responsible for the deaths of twelve people due to water contamination. What started as a small case has now grown into a much larger issue. As the case builds, the team begins to run out of resources and they begin to fight for more than just a case. "This movie is a little slower, a little duller than the others, but this is the ‘Anatomy’ of a civil action, and it is spectacular. It shows what civil practice is really like. My favorite scene is when the plaintiff lawyer, whose case depends on a ‘wing and a prayer,’ has turned down $10 million in settlement. The defense lawyer invites him over to talk, and they sit around the defense lawyer’s zillion-dollar French-designed desk. They exchange stories for a while,

and then the defense lawyer calls an end to the meeting. The plaintiff lawyer – who thought this meeting was about ‘How much more than $10 million do you want/ need?’ – asks why the defense lawyer called the meeting in the first place. He answers: ‘I just wanted to meet the guy who could turn down $10 million on this case.’" - Professor Anton Rupert RBG (2018) – Following the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, this documentary shows the issues of sex discrimination. It shows how Justice Ginsburg has changed the lives of many women around the United States. Judgment at Nuremburg (1961) – As World War II has ended, the Nazis are being judged for what they did during the war. In this trial, four Nazi judges are being tried for the crimes they committed. Erin Brockovich (2000) – Erin Brockovich is a failed lawyer,

single mother, and in need of a job. She begins investigating a case against the Pacific Gas & Electric Company where she finds that the company is illegally dumping toxic waste onto the land it is buying, and it is killing the residents in the community. She quickly turns into a key lawyer in one of America’s largest class action lawsuits. 12 Angry Men (1957) – Twelve jurors are in charge of determining whether or not a boy is guilty of murdering his father. As the jurors deliberate, their debate quickly turns into a forensics investigation based off of the evidence they have received. The conflict threatens to derail the delicate process that will decide one boy’s fate. The Pelican Brief (1993) – Two Supreme Court justices are assassinated and law student Darby Shaw creates a brief

making accusations that are more accurate than she had thought. She finds herself on the run, fleeing from those who mean her harm, dodging attempts on her life, and making the wrong right. The Children Act (2017) – High Court judge Fiona Maye is faced with making the decision in a case involving conflicting views of church and state. A young boy has a life-threatening disease that can only be cured by a blood transfusion, which goes against his religion.

The Ten Honorable Mentions The Insult Legally Blonde Amistad Jagged Edge Inherit the Wind A Man for All Seasons Adam’s Rib Lincoln Lawyer The Verdict Witness for the Prosecution

Setting Precedence Hardik Gandhi grew up in Toronto, Canada, during the early ’90s in the neighborhood of Jane and Finch. After graduating university with a degree in health science, he was looking for the next step in his career. A mentor advised him to consider going to law school to become an attorney, but he did not have the funds at the time to consider the opportunity. The mentor told Gandhi that if you knock on enough doors, one of them will open. As a result, Gandhi took the LSAT and, wanting to travel, he focused his law school applications to schools in the United States. He was a fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder and decided to take a shot at applying to Oklahoma City University School of Law. OCU Law made him a scholarship offer he could not refuse. Read his unique story of growing up - the following is a poem in which Hardik shares his story in his own words.

Clink... Clank, the sound of change. Had to be up by 4, to catch the 5 A.M. train. Empty fridge, cold floor, and an open oven kept us warm. Missed a meal? Might have to steal…Jamaican Patties by the subway platform. I’m talking about magnet schools; a dyslexic fool; or “he’s advanced,” as they explained it. But see, I didn’t know I was different till my teachers proclaimed it. Single mom, two jobs; better be careful after dark, Strange figures…carry triggers; 8 P.M.? Time to leave the park. A place where the crime rate, determines fate. Few options, so they carry weight. With hand gestures that translate, so the wrong turn could get you eight. During hungry nights, and winter storms. Stories from around the world kept us warm. A work ethic above the norm, and a women’s grit etched in bone. But I’m talking perfect scores, bad behavior. Oxymorons, and opposite flavors. Speaking code for comfort, a labored painter. Worrying about the audience I cater. 16, surrounded by pristine. Do they like me because my vocabulary is greater? But on the streets, I’m a stranger. A dichotomy in exchanges. Is it the manner I walk in? or the company I hang with? Or the weight of my wallet? or lack of, if I truthfully explained it…Working for minimum wages. Then figuring out, I can’t read out loud. The numbers and letters keep changing. Or how I can experience something once and completely retain it? Confused? Me too! Can someone explain it? But see, I’m duality personified. Where I sit? where I sleep? Are neighborhoods apart. Where I work? and where I eat? Hinges on the skills to outsmart. If these streets were an ocean; then I am surrounded by sharks. But if you look past the grim, the gloom, the dirty and the dark. Past the alleyways, corners, skyscrapers, and parks. To the symphony of cars, chatter and early morning starts. You’d find a mosaic of cultures, The perfect of art. And I’m talking 21, mom is gone, Toronto — the city never sleeps. From the old and wise, through immigrant eyes; “if you jump then you better leap.” To Far places, foreign friends. The highest peaks, and the coldest dens Southern traditions through a northern lens. Eastern roots, American stems. New adventures, old trends. I am not too sure where this journey ends. But one thing I know, I would do it all again.

What I mean is, none of this would have been possible without a scholarship. BY HA RD I K " HAR R I S O N" G A ND H I O CU LAW STUDE N T, C LA S S O F 2 0 19

Hardik Gandhi OCU Law Student Class of 2019

Anissa E. Paredes OCU Law Student Class of 2020

Giving Thanks As a little girl, I just knew when I grew up I would be a professional figure skater like Kristi Yamaguchi. But that dream fell by the wayside when I started watching the TV show called Law & Order. I was captivated and amazed by the prosecutor on the show. She was smart and could recite case law instantly off the top of her head. It was amazing. The way she handled herself in the courtroom opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on life. At that moment, I felt as if I knew what my life’s purpose was: to become a lawyer just like the lady on Law & Order. Now I knew this was a scripted television show, which is how she was able to recite the law so well, but that didn’t matter to me. It was how she held her own and demanded respect, and I wanted to be just like her. So, from that moment forward I dedicated myself to being a lawyer. I started actively reaching out to others and asking questions about law school and how I could make myself a worthy candidate for admission. Along the way, I participated in BY ANIS SA E . PA RED ES O CU L AW ST U D ENT, CLASS OF 2020

multiple programs, internships, fellowships, and a host of other activities to better prepare myself for law school. In 2016, I applied to law school for the first time, and when I didn’t get accepted into any of the schools I had applied to, I was devastated. For the first time in my life, I felt as if all my hard work was for nothing and maybe this law dream wasn’t for me. Instead of giving up, I decided to take that energy and use it to make myself a better law school candidate by raising my LSAT score over 10 points and strengthening my application and personal statement. This allowed me to obtain admission into OCU Law.

no idea how I was going to pay for it. Before this meeting, I was concerned that I would not be able to attend because it was so expensive. I was grateful, and I’m still grateful because this scholarship created a pathway to many opportunities I would have never gotten to experience. It has given me motivation to stay on top of my studies and to remain focused on the goal. It has brought me comfort in knowing that some of my expenses are paid for and has furthered my drive to be the lawyer I saw on Law & Order.

When I was first admitted into Oklahoma City University School of Law, I didn’t have a scholarship; nonetheless, my parents and I drove to Oklahoma City for a campus tour and a meeting with the Dean of Admissions. After the tour, we all sat down in the admissions suite, and Dean Jones said to me, “I was reviewing your file before you got here and I am impressed, so I am going to offer you a scholarship.” My heart fell out of my chest, and I started thanking her because I was so grateful. I had liked OCU, but I had

I’m a first-generation college graduate and the first one in my family to pursue a law degree. I am the first of a lot of things in my family, and it’s a lot of pressure, but it’s also another reason why receiving a scholarship means so much to me. I don’t know how I would have been able to finance law school without it. This scholarship has given me the means to pursue my life-long dream of becoming an attorney and making a difference in this world. Words truly cannot express the gratitude I have for receiving a scholarship. Instead, I’ll have to show how grateful I am by making a difference for others in the future.




In recognition of the exciting new era of Oklahoma City University School of Law, the law school has launched the Sword & Gavel Society. The Sword & Gavel Society symbolizes the pursuit of justice and the fight to defend the rule of law, a uniquely American virtue that OCU Law works to instill in each of our students. Members are asked to make an annual commitment to the law school and can direct their gifts to the law school programs or funds of their choice. Membership in this giving society represents an investment in OCU Law and our students, the servant leaders and justice-seekers of tomorrow. Join the Sword & Gavel Society today by donating to OCU Law at any of the levels below: (Requested 3-year minimum commitment) • • • • •

Sword and Gavel $1,000 annually Silver Level $2,500 annually Gold Level $5,000 annually Platinum Level $10,000 annually Dean’s Level $20,000 annually

Benefits of the Sword & Gavel Society: Recognition – Founding members will be memorialized at the law school, will be recognized on the OCU Law website and at the law school, and will receive an exclusive plaque honoring their annual gifts. Access – Discounts to University events and exclusive invitations to OCU Law speakers and events. Information – Receive an annual letter from the Dean and a copy of In Brief, OCU Law’s magazine. For more information, please contact Stephen Butler at (405) 208.7100.




Planned Giving MAKE A LASTING INVESTMENT IN OUR FUTURE Unwavering commitment to students remains our top priority, and Oklahoma City University School of Law seeks your help to continue producing the next generation of great lawyers and servant leaders. All gifts, large or small, work together to support OCU School of Law. Planned giving encompasses a range of gift types that allow maximum impact. Each of these vehicles can help you make a meaningful gift to Oklahoma City University School of Law and possibly reduce your income tax liability. Gifts include appreciated stock, charitable bequests, retirement plan gifts, charitable lead trusts, gifts of real estate and other kinds of property, life income plans, and life insurance. If you would like more personalized information about planned giving, please contact OCU Law Advancement at lawadvancement@ okcu.edu or (405) 208-7100.

Why I Give

“Robert Henry is a great example of how commitment to higher education and public service can have a lasting positive impact on our community. This gift is intended to honor his inspirational legacy while offering opportunities for students for generations to come.” BILL ANOATUBBY Governor of the Chickasaw Nation

Chickasaw Nation $750,000 for the Robert H. Henry Scholarship This endowed scholarship in honor of President and Dean Emeritus Robert H. Henry and his longstanding friendship with the Chickasaw Nation will provide student support for generations to come.

Thank you for your involvement and continued support. Thank you for helping us train the next generation of leaders.

“Dean Roth’s vision of incorporating the law school with criminal justice reform will bring a strong academic approach to identifying and resolving issues revolving around intake at the county jail. The new program will also produce better lawyers who will understand human centered issues and the effects the criminal legal system has on social policy and outcomes.” TRICIA EVEREST Gaylord Foundation Trustee

Gaylord Foundation $310,000 for the Center for Criminal Justice This generous award provides seed money to launch the law school’s Center for Criminal Justice Center.




$250,000 for the Harrell Scholarship This anonymous gift made in honor of Professor Emeritus Alvin C. Harrell ’72 is awarded each semester to a student with an interest in commercial law, the area of law to which Professor Harrell provided a lifetime of scholarship and service.

“Oklahoma City University School of Law opened doors to fulfilling careers for us. In turn, this provided us with the opportunity to give back and to recognize our favorite professor.” ANONYMOUS

“Because OCU Law School gave me and my brother a chance to become lawyers, we are living great lives.” J. CHRISTOPHER MUNLEY ’94 & ROBERT (BOB) MUNLEY ’95 PARTNERS, MUNLEY & LAW

Inasmuch Foundation $50,000 for Housing Eviction Legal Assistance Program This grant supports our Housing Eviction Legal Assistance Program (HELP), through which volunteer law students, attorneys and paralegals provide information and legal assistance to lowincome, unrepresented individuals and families facing housing eviction proceedings on the Forcible Entry and Detainer dockets in Oklahoma County.


Christopher & Robert Munley $75,000 for the Munley Trial Advocacy Program This 3-year commitment to support our interschool moot court and mock trial competition teams has allowed us to increase the number of opportunities for students to develop their oral and written advocacy skills.

“Inasmuch Foundation funds the Housing Eviction Legal Assistance Program (HELP) at Oklahoma City University School of Law through grant funds in order to assist low-income and unrepresented individuals facing eviction. Inasmuch Foundation is committed to eradicating homelessness in Oklahoma City. Assisting individuals in avoiding eviction is an important piece of a successful outcome to a very complex problem. The Foundation is proud of the professors and students at OCU Law who commit their time to such a worthy endeavor.” SARAH ROBERTS Inasmuch Foundation Senior Program Officer



“The Oklahoma Bar Foundation Board of Trustees takes great care to ensure that it grants funds to programs that are wellrun and provide legal assistance to Oklahomans who are truly in need of such assistance. The OCU Law HELP program has exceeded all expectations, and has become a life-line to OKC area residents who have critical housing-related legal needs.”

Oklahoma Bar Foundation $50,000 for Housing Eviction Legal Assistance Program Similar to the Inasmuch Foundation grant, this is a renewal grant to support our Housing Eviction Legal Assistance Program (HELP). It will allow us to expand and increase our work in housing assistance and support more residents of Oklahoma County.

RENEE DEMOSS Oklahoma Bar Foundation


Dean’s Circle Platinum

Dean’s Circle Silver

$10,000 - $24,999

$2,500 - $4,999




Crowe & Dunlevy

Brad Gungoll ’80

$25,000 - $99,999


Dean’s Circle Gold

McAfee & Taft, PC

$5,000 - $9,999

Dean’s Circle Bronze


$1,000 - $2,499

Debra McCormick ’89


Dennis ’78 and Chris Box

Angela Morrison ’90

Phillips Murrah, PC

Jeff Coil

Ralph ’74 and Sandy Sallusti

Laurie L. Jones

$250,000 - $499,999 —————— Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Inc.

—————— Herman and LaDonna Meinders

David Echols ’79

I give to OCU Law because I see the value it contributes to the community. The law school enables our graduates to help people with real problems, often in some of the most difficult or important moments of their lives. The better OCU Law is, the better the community is served. PAULA DALLEY Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law

Paula J. Dalley Sheryl and Lawrence Young ’90




Friend / Advocate $500 - $999 —————— Angela Ables ’75 Anonymous Art ’75 and Breda Bova Bob ’93 and Cheryl Stillwell Brent Stockwell Daniel and Andrea Morgan Eric Laity Gary ’84 and Dana Laverty Hamden ’82 and Robyn Baskin Henry A. Meyer III, P.L.L.C. James and Elizabeth Tolbert John and Claudia Holliman ’78 John Powers ’76 Judson and Helen Temple Law Office of Lindsey W. Andrews Lee and Ann Borden

Carrie E. Hixon ’05

Heidi M. Weingartner ’94

Charles ’64 and Yvonne Hunnicutt

Irving and Sandy Faught

Christine ’96 and Gary Reid Christopher Hill and Cheryl Wofford Hill ’01

James and Naomi Smith ’11 James and Sharon Rowan

Chuck Day ’81

James Dixon ’76

Cindy L. Richard ’92

Janet New

Claude Harris

Jason Coleman

Dan Burdett and Janis Love

Jay F. McCown, P.C.

David Dobson ’87

Jay G. Israel, P.C.

Dennis ’75 and Leslie Schaefer

John and Laurie Stansbury

DeWitt, Paruolo & Meek, PLLC

John Elliott ’04

Donald ’76 and Carole Hoeft

Jonathan ’84 and Diana

Dorothy J. Brown ’80

Joseph James ’94

Earle ’70 and Margaret Wagner

Josh ’13 and Sara Rummel

Geary ’75 and Barbara Ann Walke

Justin Brooks Charitable Fund

George ’75 and Lori Bradley Gerald L. Gamble Company, Inc.

Justin and Tanya Bryant ’04 Karen Eby Kathy Broad Keith Houser ’78

Greg and Chris Eddington

Kelly Monroe

Gunter Hensley, P.C.

Larry ’73 and Donna Spears Marcus Graham

Mary Ternes

Maria Pellman

Mazaheri Law Firm, PLLC

Marla R. Harrington ’90

Melvin and Jasmine Moran

Martha Thompson ’75

Michael ’09 and Stephanie Cooper

Martin Lopez ’18

Nancy Arroyo ’78 Pat Layden Law Firm, P.C. Robert ’99 and Shayla Hammeke Robert Strunin ’73 and Loren Dubin Timothy ’68 and Linda Larason Timothy Gatton ’10

Associate $100 - $499 —————— Amee Shaw Ann Michael ’92 Art and Betsy LeFrancois Bambi A. Hora ’98

My hope is my donations and involvement will inspire a new generation of alumni to do the same.

Marvin and Linda Resnick


Ryan ’08 and Rachel Webster

Barry ’81 and Renee Grissom Bob ’68 and Kay Lewis Brad ’13 and Larissa Madore


Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation P. Scott Buhlinger, PLLC Parker and Parker, Attys at Law Patty A. Whitecotton ’76

Steven and Vickey Cannady

Penny Oleson ’12 Philip ’01 and Stacie Hixon

Steven Barghols and Cathy Campbell

Philippa C. James ’92

Stuart Hene ’09

R. Pope Van Cleef ’77

Tara ’07 and Habib Tabatabaie

Richard ’65 and Rae Winzeler

The Honorable Noma Gurich and Mr. John Miley

Rita I. Geiger Robben & Associates, LLC


Thomas ’70 and Linda McCoy

Robert ’77 and Nancy Kemps

Tony Fitch and Leslie Wileman ’98

Roland ’06 and Jennifer Schafer

Vanhooser Law Firm PLLC

Stephen and Jennifer Prilliman

Carolyn Cuskey


Oklahoma Attorneys Mutual Insurance Company

Sharon G. Fore ’78

Carol North

OCU Law gave me the opportunity for success. With past and current leadership, I want to support the effort to give others that same opportunity.

Michael Decker ’78

Sam and Suzanne Fulkerson

Carla Holste ’85


James ’67 and Cheri Clark

Wiese Law Firm, PLC William ’64 and Janet Wantland William ’74 and Catherine Lange William and Lisa Bays ’91

Dean’s Level

Oklahoma Bar Association

David ’74 and Laura Beal

Paul and Ann Doolittle

David ’93 and Kathie Aelvoet


Pierce, Couch, Hendrickson, Baysinger & Green, L.L.P.

David Donchin


Randy Calvert ’90

Bill Mee

Reji and Rachel Pappy

Gaylord Foundation

Ron ’80 and Debbie Barnes ’83

Inasmuch Foundation

Steven ’83 and Carol Goetzinger

J. Christopher Munley ’94 and Maria Yager Munley

Steven ’85 and Dawn Camp

$20,000 Annually

John and Cecelia Norman Kirkpatrick Foundation, Inc. Nick ’09 and Susan Harroz

Eric Holey ’18 Garfield County Bar Association Gary ’74 and Sue Homsey George Proctor ’76 and Nancy Dumoff Harry Goldman ’77 and Jettie Person Health Partners Investments, LLC Hiram ’02 and Robbie Sasser

Silver Level

Irwin and Kelley Steinhorn

$2,500 Annually

J.R. ’73 and Patsy Homsey

Oklahoma Bar Foundation


Jerry Bass ’91

Oklahoma County Bar Foundation

Bill ’77 and Mary Ann Corum

Jim Ditmars and Cathy Christensen ’86

Robert ’95 and Bernadine Munley

Bob ’83 and Carol Naifeh

Joe ’74 and Sherry Crosthwait

The Chickasaw Nation

Crowe & Dunlevy

Joe and Valerie Couch

Hall, Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden & Nelson, P.C.

Joel and Nikki Miliband ’90

Platinum Level

John and Janet Hudson

John Coyle

$10,000 Annually

McAfee & Taft, PC


Niles Jackson ’75 and Barbara Thornton

AT&T - Oklahoma City

Phil ’77 and Cathy Busey

Cullen ’99 and Bonnie Thomas

Reggie N. Whitten

Hatton W. Sumners Foundation, Inc.

Robert Abernathy ’92

Joe ’84 and Vickey Dancey ’83

Sandy S. Chang, Esq. ’08 and Fonda B. Wu

Phillips Murrah, PC

Tami Hines ’14

Robert ’00 and Sarah Haupt

Tom Jones ’76 and Dr. Leslie Tregillus

Justin ’06 and Becky Meek Kalani and Alexandra Ah Loy ’12 Larry and Gay Hellman Larry and Rozia Foster ’81

Tom Quinn ’74 and Tommy Thompson Watson Family Foundation/Carly Maderer ’10

John and Jane Crain

LegalShield Lori ’09 and Collin Walke ’08 Lydia Y. Green ’03 Michael Gibson Michael Kaplan’75

Sword & Gavel

Patricia R. Demps ’79

$1,000 Annually

Robert ’74 and Marty Margo


Sarah J. Glick ’01

Aimee Majoue ’18

Scott and Vicki Behenna ’84

Andy ’07 and Jennifer Schroeder

Stan Basler

Bill Paul

Stephen and Gabrielle Butler

Bob ’79 and Chimene Burke

Susan C. Curtiss ’06

Brandon ’04 and Joanna Long

Suzanne Hayden ’84

Casey R. Ross ’03

Thomas Conklin

Cheryl Burns

Timothy Foley ’92

George Milner ’92

Christina Murray

Tom Wolfe

Jim Roth ’94 and Phillip Koszarek

Chuck and Renate Wiggin

Valliance Bank

Keri Norris ’97 and Ty Norris

Conner & Winters, LLP

William ’76 and Leslie Ackerman

Gold Level $5,000 Annually —————— Bill ’65 and Pam Shdeed DeWitt, Paruolo and Meek Emmanuel ’82 and Irene Edem Frank S. and Julia M. Ladner Family Foundation, Inc.




Courtney K. Warmington

Emmanuel E. Edem

Kelli J. Stump

Alumni Association Founding Members

Dan M. Stroup

Eric W. Holey

Kelly S. Kinser

David F. Holt

Erin L. O’Roke

Kendra M. Robben Lewis

David O. Beal

Fred A. Leibrock

Kenneth R. Friesenhahn

Deborah B. Barnes

Garvin A. Isaacs

Keri C. Norris

Debra W. McCormick

Gary B. Homsey

Kevin D. Gordon

Gay L. Hellman

Kevin L. Sellers


Dennis R. Box Derrick T. DeWitt

George E. Proctor

Kim A. Tran

Donna J. Jackson

George R. Milner

Kyle D. Murphy

Earnest C. Cash

Gerald A. Geiger

Eli J. Hellman

Gerald L. Gamble

Elizabeth L. Hay

Hamden H. Baskin

Emma J. Payne

Harry H. Goldman

Adam C. Hall Aimee L. Majoue Alexandra G. Ah Loy Allison C. McGrew Alvin C. Harrell Amie R. Colclazier

Hayden R. King

Amy D. White

Hiram S. Sasser

Andrew H. Garrett

J. Angela Ables

Andrew R. Schroeder

J. Bradley Klepper

Angela R. Morrison

J. Christopher Munley

Anna M. Eischen April Coffin April Quiroz Ashley A. Murphy Barry G. Stafford Benjamin R. Grubb Beth Muckala Blair T. Naifeh Bob G. Burke Bradley A. Gungoll Brandi Haskins Brandon P. Long Brian L. Cramer Bryson J. Williams C. Alan Kennington C. Mark Stratton C. Sean Spivey Caleb Muckala Carly R. Maderer Casey R. Ross Cathy M. Christensen Chance L. Deaton Charles D. Neal Charles E. Gale Chelsea C. Smith Christin V. Mugg Christopher D. Jones

James D. Jordan

Simply put, my OCU Law degree changed my life and took my career to the next level. When I give back, I know it helps other professionals shape their future and positively impacts our city.

Cindy H. Truong Collin Walke


Connie Calvert


Jana L. Knott Jane F. Wheeler Jay D. Evans Jay M. Mitchel Jay W. Barnett Jeffrey Hay Jennifer L. Berry Jerome G. Carlson Jerry Bass Jerry L. Colclazier Jim A. Roth Jim C. Klepper Jodi C. Cole Joe R. Homsey Joe S. Rolston Joel D. Bieber John D. Cowan John W. Coyle Joseph A. Ausmus Joseph S. Carson Justin D. Meek Juston R. Givens Kali D. Funderburke Kara I. Smith Katherine R. Mazaheri Katie N. Wagner Kay L. Van Wey Kayce L. Gisinger

Courtney C. Blau


Jamie R. Andrews

Kayla J. Cawood


I give to help provide future generations of lawyers with the tools they need to best serve our community. A little can go a long way towards keeping our curriculum competitive during a time of constant innovation. SHANNON BELL ’18

Lance C. Cook

Michael A. Wolf

Robert C. Margo

Susan A. Arnold

Larry Foster

Michael C. Flanagan

Robert D. Gray

Susan C. Curtiss

Larry M. Spears

Michael Kaplan

Robert E. Parker

Suzanne C. Hayden

Lawrence K. Hellman

Michael Kraycinovich

Robert J. Haupt

T. W. Shannon

Leah M. Avey

Michael To

Robert K. Campbell

Tami J. Hines

Leonard I. Pataki

Milissa R. Tipton-Dunkins

Robert N. Naifeh

Thomas H. Conklin

Leslie P. Hellman

Monica L. Coleman

Robert O. O’Bannon

Thomas M. Jones

Linda J. Byford

Monica Y. Ybarra

Robert S. Abernathy

Timothy E. Foley

Lindsay Archer

Nicholas G. Farha

Robert T. Nguyen

Timothy E. Mills

Lindsey A. Pever

Nicholas Harroz

Robert W. Munley

Timothy H. Gatton

Lindsey J. Vanhooser Sherwood

Nikki P. Miliband

Ronald C. Griffin

Tina A. Hughes

Niles L. Jackson

Ronald M. Barnes

Tom Quinn

Patricia A. Podolec

Rose A. Barber

Travis E. Harrison

Patricia R. Demps

Rozia M. McKinney-Foster

Travis N. Weedn

Patrick T. Layden

Ruey A. Newsom

Trevor S. Pemberton

Paul C. Laird

Sandy S. Chang

Valerie K. Couch

Pete Gelvin

Sarah E. Hance

Vicki Behenna

Phil Busey

Sarah J. Glick

William Ackerman

Pierce W. Winters

Sean R. McDivitt

William C. Mee

R. Cullen Thomas

Shane McLaury

William C. Wantland

R. Daniel Alcorn

Shannon S. Bell

William H. Sanford

Ralph A. Sallusti

Sheryl N. Young

William R. Corum

Randall K. Calvert

Shiny Rachel Pappy

William Shdeed

Rick Bragga

Steven J. Goetzinger

Yvonne Kauger

Rick M. Bozarth

Steven S. Camp

Lindsey M. Rames Lori M. Walke Lorinda G. Holloway Lydia Y. Green M. Joe Crosthwait Martin G. Ozinga Martin J. Lopez Mary C. Coulson-James Mary E. Stafford Mary P. Westman Mary R. Daniel Matt B. Mickle Matt Finley

Thank you Two words that can’t begin to describe how grateful we are for your involvement and continued support. Thank you for helping us train the next generation.

If you would like to join the growing list of alumni, faculty, staff, students, friends and community partners who are investing in Oklahoma City University School of Law, we invite you to make a gift today. Visit law.okcu.edu/alumni-giving or call (405) 208-7100 to make your donation.

Prospective students attending High Ideals

G. T. Bynum, the 40th mayor of Tulsa, addresses OCU Law alumni at the 2018 OBA Alumni Luncheon in Tulsa

Jonna D. Kauger Kirschner and Justice Yvonne Kauger ’69 during OCU’s Holiday Reception

De’Marchoe Carpenter and Perry Lott speaking at the Oklahoma Innocence Project’s Meet and Greet event

Award winners at the Alumni Awards Dinner. Sharon Gentry with Riggs Abney – Law Firm Mark of Distinction, Monica Ybarra ’14 – Outstanding Young Alumna, Elaine Turner ’89 – Community & Public Service Award, Justice James Winchester ’77 – Marian P. Opala Lifetime Achievement in Law Award

Law students having a great time with Professor Paul Clark at the Back to School Bash

Dean Jim Roth ’94, Tulsa Mayor G. T. Bynum, OCU Law alumni and student OBA and OBF scholarship recipients at the 2018 OBA Alumni Luncheon Fun was had by all who attended our Back to School Bash in August!

Bill Shdeed ’65, Lynann Sterk-Brooks, Pam Shdeed, OCU President Martha Burger and Ray Potts ’65 enjoy an evening reception for Dean Roth in September

Students in the Financing the Start Up class taught by Adjunct Professor Irving Faught before their mock “Shark Tank” presentations

Dean Jim Roth ’94 during his Investiture Ceremony in March

Judge Deborah B. Barnes ’83 was the keynote speaker at the 2019 Law Review Banquet

Students attending the 2019 Law Review Banquet

Bill ’77 and Mary Ann Corum during OCU’s Holiday Reception

Lance McDaniel, Tom McDaniel, Dean Mark Parker and Brenda McDaniel attending Dean Roth’s Investiture Ceremony

The incoming 1L class of 2018/19 during orientation

OCU Law students being sworn in to the Bar after passing the July 2018 Oklahoma Bar Exam

2019 Graduating Class

"Gratitude is all too often lost in the chaos of life. As law students, much of our time and energy is focused on our future careers and success. However, if we look back at the past few years of our education, there is much to be grateful for. Grateful for the knowledge, experience, and connections that we have gained. I can only imagine the future impact that our law school experience will have on our lives, in our law school, and in the legal profession. For that I am grateful.” — Garrett Lam, Class of 2019 2018-2019 Student Bar Association President OCU Law students study on the Homsey Plaza

Alex Pedraza ’18 and Chad Hantak ’18 pose for a photo after being sworn in to the Bar at the Oklahoma State Capitol

The American Dream

Roy Adams by

OCU Law Student, Class of 2021

April 4, 2003, is a date that is engraved in my memory forever. It is the day that the United States military stormed Baghdad. I was 14 years old when U.S. tanks, fighter jets, and Apache helicopters swarmed the land and the sky. Most people were scared because they had never seen anything like this before, but not me. When I saw the Americans for the first time, I felt like I physically saw hope. People in my neighborhood hesitated to engage the Marines because of fear they may be shot; people did not know how on edge the Marines might be. For me, however, it was a different story. I sought out the Marines. I went out of my way to talk and hang out with them. The trust I was able to build and my relationship to them made me hungry to learn everything I could from them. I would spend twelve hours a day discussing the religious, political, and social life of the Middle East. We would compare and contrast the cultures of the U.S. and Iraq. The Marines loved that. On November 11, 2007, when I turned 18 years old, my life drastically changed. I was officially hired as a linguist on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq. But that title came with a hefty consequence: I was labeled a traitor and apostate for providing aid to the Americans. Death threats were common. I became so desensitized to death threats to a point when I heard one, I would think, “I’ve heard this one before.” The threats escalated until one day, at 3 a.m. a group of unidentified men wearing masks and civilian clothes armed with silencer weapons stormed my family’s apartment in Baghdad looking for the “spy.” Fortunately, when the death squad stormed the apartment, I was across the country in the Fallujah camp. However, the attempts did not stop. Death squad operatives saw me patrolling the streets with the Marines. I would later survive two kidnapping attempts and a suicide bomber who targeted the whole unit, but missed me by only a few yards. If it was not for the wall between the bomber and me, I would have been BBQed. When I was rolling with the Marines through the Iraqi streets, they always asked me, “Hey Roy, do you know what life is like in the U.S.?” “No,” I replied. Then, they started to talk to me about the American culture: food, alcohol, girls, and how a dog was man’s best friend. Everything they said to me about the United States, even if it was a lie (like Americans do not like to party), I believed. I did not know that life could be so exciting. I had never seen anything to make me think that a better life was possible. Growing up in a war-torn country, where death and violence surge the streets, was challenging. It was a constant battle for survival, and it felt like I was carrying my life in the palm of my hand without knowing when I would get tired and put my hand down.

I had dreams of what life could be, and those dreams were so far out of my league. Little did I know the war would bring me closer to realizing that a life in the United States was attainable, but not without true struggle and sacrifice. Even if that sacrifice meant giving up your life for a higher cause, I was prepared. I never thought even in my wildest dreams that I would be living in the land of the free and home of the brave looking out of my bedroom window of my family’s house in sunny California. May 27, 2009, was the date I first set foot on American soil. It was a moment I will never forget. When I landed at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, it was something out of a Pixar movie. The city was alive. High buildings, clean streets, groomed and well-kept grass and trees, and electricity, which I almost never saw in Iraq, was constant and never cut out. No one cared what I looked like or where I came from. It was unbelievable. No one knew that I came from the other side of the globe, where war was at its peak. People were living their lives as if no major war had ever happened and it was shocking. During the first five months of my arrival, I enrolled in a community college in Nebraska. I was eager and ecstatic to turn my life around. After spending two years at the community college, I transferred to the University of Nebraska where I obtained my undergraduate degree. I had no friends initially, but I had a fire within me to learn more. I sought more. I talked to Isaac, my older brother, about what I should do after undergrad. Together, we assessed the costs and benefits of pursuing higher education and its return on investment. Isaac was always encouraging and supportive of my ideas, and we decided that higher education was the winning ticket. So, I decided to earn a master’s degree. For some reason, I was still not content. I discussed my dream about pursing a law degree with one of my undergrad professors who identified with me on a personal level, and I went to him for every issue I was facing. So, here I am in law school surrounded by a new family that shares common interests. A law degree will give me the leverage to empower people that have been in my shoes. It will give me the voice to empower the voiceless and to show that the law serves those who are brushed aside. One day, after graduation, I will be able to give back to this community; the community that took me under her wing and allowed me the opportunity to grow and be the man that I am today. What I want you to know from my story is that I pulled victory out of the jaws of defeat, and I believe you can, too. Whatever issues or obstacles you are facing right now, I want you to remember as my favorite motivational speaker Les Brown said, “Hard times have come to pass. They did not come to stay.” Stay true to yourself and keep a positive attitude. It will get a you long way.

Opposite Page, Top to Bottom: Roy with brother in 1997 standing in front of the Babylonian gates; Roy in 2008 Fallujah giving candy to local children; Roy in 2004 at 14 years old with Sergeant Donahue

Profile for Oklahoma City University School of Law

2019 In Brief Law Magazine  

2019 In Brief Law Magazine  

Profile for oculaw