Page 1



Among Us Immigrant Lawyer p. 98 Teacher Walkout p. 79 Puerto Rico Relief p. 76



Our nation, state, city, and Oklahoma City University School of Law have experienced tremendous change in the past year. This issue of our law magazine highlights law school faculty, students, and alumni who are embracing change and charting a bold path forward. Their work is an example of the versatility and enduring value of a legal education. In their work, they tackle complex problems and bring diverse communities together. They are servant leaders deeply engaged in their communities and at the forefront of positive change in our world. In the State of the State article, Professors Andrew Spiropoulos, Art LeFrancios and Michael O’Shea delve into the many challenges and opportunities facing the State of Oklahoma. These faculty members do more than think about these issues – they take action. In addition to shaping the minds and careers of thousands of Oklahoma City University School of Law alumni, they have devoted their careers to improving the state and nation through service on numerous boards and commissions and have received accolades too numerous to list here. The School of Law is extremely proud of Oklahoma City’s Mayor David Holt '09. While in law school, he served as chief of staff for then Mayor Mick Cornett. I was honored to moderate a town hall discussion with David at the School of Law in March where he presented his vision for Oklahoma City. We are pleased that this issue of our law magazine includes a letter laying out David’s vision for the future of our great city.

Professor and Associate Dean for Admissions Laurie Jones’s article details her efforts leading a group of law students who are teaching a Street Law class to students at Southeast High School. The course provides students with basic information about legal and political issues and the skills to make positive change in their communities. The work of Dean Jones and the law students is particularly important at this time when the political discourse has become extremely divisive in our country. Some of the Southeast High School students may even be inspired to become Oklahoma City University School of Law students in the future! Dean Emeritus and Professor Valerie Couch’s article explores the complex issues surrounding Supreme Court Appointments. The School of Law is very pleased that Professor Couch will return to the law school after a yearlong sabbatical and begin teaching full-time this fall. These and other articles in this issue of OCU's law magazine are just a taste of the many ways that our students, faculty, and alumni are making positive contributions to their communities. I invite you to join us as we continue to be a force for productive change in the world around us. Interim Dean Lee F. Peoples Frederick Charles Hicks Professor of Law




Lauren Stradinger Director of Marketing & Communications


Stephen G. Butler Assistant Dean for Advancement & External Relations

Ally Rodriguez '14

Allison Rabon

Director of Alumni Relations

Special Events Coordinator


Lauren Stradinger Director of Marketing and Communications Dawn Harth Crank Creative, LLC Lee F. Peoples Interim Law Dean Ally Rodriguez '14 Director of Alumni Relations Laurie Jones Associate Dean for Admissions Valerie Couch Dean Emeritus Dimitry Gegenava Associate Professor from Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University

David Holt '09, Oklahoma City Mayor Betsy Shumaker Court of Clerk Rachel Pappy '08 Rod Polston '01 Braulio Gonzalez '14 Jeri Mills '20 Braxton Coil '19 Kace Rodwell '18 Lindsey Kanaly '10




Liam Proniewicz


Simon Hurst Ann Sherman Photography Josh Robinson Photography Danny Bollinger MAVS.com


6 Legal Briefs


20 In Memoriam


24 Legal Action


82 Alumni Profiles


91 Class Notes


108 Amicus Universitas


Admissions 405.208.5354, lawquestions@okcu.edu Advancement 405.208.7101, lawadvancement@okcu.edu Law Career Services 405.208.5332, hireoculaw@okcu.edu Chickasaw Nation Law Library 405.208.5271 Communications & Marketing 405.208.5197, lawnews@okcu.edu Oklahoma City University School of Law 800 N. Harvey Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 • 405.208.5337, law.okcu.edu Editorial contributions and submissions, including Letters to the Editor, are welcome. All submissions are subject to editing and are used at the Editor-in-Chief ’s discretion. LAW Magazine is a copyrighted publication of Oklahoma City University School of Law.


112 In Conclusion

This issue is dedicated to the men and women who have used their title of lawyer, their time, their energy and even their resources to make a difference in the lives of others. Bravo to the true superheroes who live among us.


Building on a Legacy

67 58

State of the State R O U N D TA B L E D I S C U S S I O N T. H . E . I R S = THEIRS

Did You Know?



Tax Reform

F O L D - O U T

52 In the Eye of the Constitutional Beholder: Justice Scalia's Death


Website Redesign Through an exhaustive 12-month effort that included

industry and competitive analyses, marketing analysis, extensive surveys, research and several other exercises designed to capture “our brand,� Oklahoma City University School of Law has undergone a transformation and will launch a new website this fall. Throughout the research process, information came to light on how current students and prospective students utilize the website. We have incorporated this feedback into the new website and hope to meet the needs of those who use our site every day. To learn more and to view our new website, visit law.okcu.edu. C

social media.pdf



4:23 PM


OCU Connect Launching this summer,


the online alumni directory will offer a new opportunity for you to access and research your fellow alumni. Sign up for your account at law. okcu.edu. Networking has never been easier!





Cover: Photography by Lasse Behnke. Concept by Lauren Stradinger.


Follow us @OCULaw

Reflections on outgoing president, Robert Henry

A President of the People BY DAWN H A RTH FR E E LA N C E WR I TE R

than a single click to unearth numerous and exceedingly thorough documentations of the impressive, and slightly intimidating, career trajectory of Robert Harland Henry, the public servant.


Equally easily accessible to the fingertips are long lists of the milestones reached, campus improvements initiated, and lasting contributions made under the leadership of Robert Harland Henry, the president.

“Robert has the intellect of Einstein, the wisdom of Socrates, and a loyalty to his beliefs and friends that has no limit.”

It’s the role he’s served since 2010 and one that will culminate in his retirement by the time you read this article. How then, the question became, do we pay adequate tribute to the man who, amid all the various responsibilities that fall under the infinite job description of a university president, helped lead the way in moving OCU School of Law to its spacious new midtown campus?


G E N E R A I N B O LT Banker, Civic Leader, Philanthropist

Harland Henry, the person. It was Jackie Robinson who declared, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” If those are the parameters by which President Henry’s success can be measured, his life on this campus has been very, very important.

As all good students of the law are inclined to do, we found ourselves drawn to exploring the other side of the story. We thought we’d get to know a little about Robert

“He’s a man who has lived a life full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” Lee Peoples, Interim Dean of OCU School of Law, says of Henry, “and in his time here, all of us were able to benefit from those experiences through the speakers he hosted and his passion



for education, the arts, and life in general.” Indeed, the guest book at the Wilson House, the campus president’s home, holds the signatures of many notable dignitaries – titles including Supreme Court Justice, Pulitzer Prize winner, Iranian ambassador, and Judge of the Court of Appeals among them. But also filling the pages are hundreds of non-boldface names — those whose presence may not generate front-page headlines but generated the interest of President Henry nonetheless. His well-known love of the arts, creativity, literature, and just a good dose of humor now and then inspired evenings at the Wilson House filled with passionate people, vibrant conversation, and imaginative menus — many inspired by Henry’s own love of cooking.

“Among his many virtues, Robert is a compellingly interesting teacher and a terrifically interested student.” – Art LeFrancois, Professor Emeritus

A walk through the campus reveals what will be the larger reminders of Henry’s time as president: a significantly improved landscape, an innovative new chemistry lab, a recently launched Physician’s Assistant program bustling with students, and of course, the new law school facility. Some of the initiatives, though, that remain closest to many students’ and faculty members’ hearts are the ones that don’t warrant press releases, but that proclaim a story all their own: that President Henry was a leader who was committed not only to excellent academics, but to personally ensuring campus life consists of more than hard work and books. He stopped at the bake sales, ate in the café, created the Hava Java card, planted more than 100 trees throughout the campus, expanded the Community Garden — even planting a variety of herbs and vegetables himself — and was a regular at student performances.

“Thank you, Robert, for living an important life by choosing to impact others’ lives. Specifically, thank you for the profound impact of believing in me and my abilities in a way I was not sure of for myself. The trust, confidence, and support you have given me set my life on a trajectory of success, believing that ‘If Robert thinks I can do this, then I can.’ ”

“His contributions to the University and the Oklahoma City community will benefit tomorrow’s leaders. His leadership approach is to work for what you love, to make good friends along the way, and to maintain steadfast perseverance for what is right. Those principles have made us a stronger institution and will be part of his rich and enduring legacy.” –

President Henry closed his inaugural speech in 2010 with what, in retrospect, will perhaps turn out to be the best possible description of his unique contribution to OCU: “We will focus on intellectual, moral, and spiritual development to prepare you students to become effective leaders in service to your communities. And besides all this, we are going to have a really good time.”

Casey Ross, University General Counsel

Thank you, President Henry, for a really good time.


TERESA ROSE COOK '93 Executive Director of the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma




The Oklahoma Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) presented a three-hour CLE ethics training on October 12th, 2017, titled Civility Matters. The program was co-chaired by Monty Bottom and Gary Homsey '74. A distinguished panel of lawyers and judges, including Chief Justice

... addressed strategies for achieving a more civil and enjoyable practice of law. of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, Douglas L. Combs '76, discussed the importance of civility in the practice of law. Panelists shared how the culture of incivility in the law manifests itself and addressed strategies for achieving a more civil and enjoyable practice of law while using video clips and real-life examples from the speakers’ lengthy careers.

Chief Justice Douglas Combs, Judge Don Andrews, Jim Gibbs & Emmanuel Edem




OCU Law students participating in Alternative Spring Break.


Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) promotes the study of Federal Indian Law and Tribal Law and giving back to our communities. In furtherance of these interests, NALSA partners with Oklahoma Indian Legal Services (OILS) each spring for an “alternative spring break.” This event allows law students the opportunity to provide a legal service directly to tribes and their members in Oklahoma and gain knowledge and experience in Indian Law. Students utilize part of their spring break to travel to a rural tribal community and assist OILS in interviewing and drafting estate planning documents. Each year, the event is hosted at a different location in Oklahoma with a different tribe. Over the last two years, NALSA has volunteered with the Choctaw Tribe in Idabel, OK, and the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, OK. This year, NALSA’s alternative spring break took place in Medicine Park for the Kiowa Tribe. Students receive training prior to the event. On the day of the wills clinic, they interview the tribal members and draft wills. OILS attorneys oversee the work the law students are doing to ensure accuracy and completeness.

The wills clinics offer a much-needed service in Indian Country, which stems from the complexity of Indian land. Wills serve great importance in reducing the problem with fractionation of trust or restricted land. Also, many rural tribal communities do not have access to services to aid their legal needs. The alternative spring break is geared toward alleviating that issue and going directly to the community to provide this service at no cost to the client.

giving rural Oklahoma Indian tribal communities access to legal aid services. Students leave with actual experience in drafting estate planning documents, client interviewing and knowledge in a distinct area of law, and clients leave with muchneeded legal help without the burden of cost and travel to obtain it. Additionally, law students learn a great deal about the culture of the host nation. In 2017, students played in a traditional Cherokee stickball game and toured the Cherokee Heritage Center. This year, law students toured the Kiowa Museum and the Wichita Wildlife Refuge, which was part of the original KiowaComanche-Apache reservation.





The innovative program called Capital City Connect launched in September of 2017 and featured six unique programs throughout the year. Each program focused on one of the school’s most active centers or certificate programs. The Capital City Connect programs were co-chaired by a faculty member and a distinguished practitioner with expertise in the relevant subject matter area. Alumni and local practitioners were invited to attend programs in their areas of expertise. The goal of each program was to connect secondand third-year law students with members of the practicing bar before graduation. The substantive content of each program focused on cutting-edge issues faced by lawyers in each practice area. Students gained insights into their potential practice area while networking and developing relationships with potential mentors.


State and Local Government

September 5th: Co-chaired by Professor Andrew Spiropoulos (Director of the Center for the Study of State Constitutional Law and Government) and Adjunct Professor Andy Lester (Spencer Fane).

Energy Law

October 5th: Co-chaired by Professor Eric Laity (Director of the Certificate in Energy and Natural Resources Law) and Adjunct Professor Jim Roth '94 (Phillips Murrah). 

Health Law

November 9th: Co-chaired by Professor Vicki MacDougall '77 (Director of the Health Law Certificate) and Adjunct Professor Mary Richard (Phillips Murrah).

Homeland Security Law

(including National Security Law and Cybersecurity Law) February 1st: Co-chaired by Professor Marc Blitz (Director of the Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law and Policy) and Senior Fellow for the Murrah Center and Adjunct Professor, Homer Pointer.

Wills, Trusts & Estates

March 6th: Co-chaired by Professor Carla Spivack and Adjunct Professor Christin Mugg '98.

Public Interest Law: Representing the Underserved

April 3rd: Co-chaired by Professor Shannon Roesler and Director of the Pro-Bono Eviction Assistance Project Richard Klinge.

... connect second- and third-year law students with members of the practicing bar ...

Law Students meet with alumni and local practioners at the program focused on energy law.





During the McAfee & Taft Distinguished Jurist in Residence lecture, Judge Robert E. Bacharach, Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, addressed the incorrect assumptions that some people make about how judges approach their roles from partisan perspectives. Judge Bacharach presented over how the role of the judge is to uniformly and constantly apply the law and how judges are neutral arbiters of disputes. They are guided by their knowledge of the law and a sense of right and wrong — not by their own political persuasions. This was a vitally important discussion to have in the current political climate where the rule of law and an independent judiciary are too often misunderstood and even attacked.

Judge Robert E. Bacharach Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

... dos and don’ts of appellate advocacy.

05 TENTH CIRCUIT By Betsy Shumaker, Court of Clerk

On February 13, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit visited Oklahoma City University School of Law and the J. William Conger courtroom to hold oral argument hearings in six appeals from three different federal district courts. Included on the docket were cases from the Western and Northern Districts of Oklahoma. It was the Court’s first visit to the campus since the law school moved downtown in 2015. The standing-room-only crowd of students and local attorneys along with people in overflow rooms watching through a live feed watched as the judges and arguing attorneys discussed and dissected the cases. The appeals, which were assigned to Judge Paul Kelly and Oklahoma City local Judge Robert E. Bacharach, were

submitted for consideration at the conclusion of the hearings. Later that day, former OCU President Robert Henry and circuit court clerk Betsy Shumaker presented a two-hour CLE at the law school for local counsel and students. In addition to covering a broad range of topics including local rules, best practices for briefing, and oral argument tips and pointers, the CLE also gave those in attendance the rare opportunity to hear directly from the OCU President and former circuit Chief Judge on the dos and don’ts of appellate advocacy. The smaller setting also provided an opportunity to ask questions about a wide range of appellate issues. Based on the feedback received, the day was a great success, and it won’t be long until the Circuit returns for an encore.

Judge Paul Kelly, Senior Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. IN BRIEF




ABA Appellate OCU Law had two ABA Appellate teams compete in the Portland regional in February 2018. The team of Alyssa Gillette and Aimee Majoue reached the final round and lost in a 2-1 decision, preventing them from advancing to the national competition. The team of Fallon Elliott, Adrienne Martinez, and Kat Bautista also reached the elimination rounds but did not advance to the final round. All the team members performed outstandingly. Adrienne Martinez was the fourth-highest scoring advocate in the regional, improving on her fifth-place finish in last year’s regional.

NALSA (Native American Law Student Association) OCU Law students Cheyenne Konarik, Daniel McClure, William Chance Rabon, and Kace Rodwell participated in the National Native American Law Student Association Moot Court competition in Phoenix, Arizona in March. The competition included 44 teams from schools across the country. Students researched and wrote appellate briefs on tribal courts’ jurisdiction in a breach of contract action against non-members and sovereign immunity for tribal corporations. OCU teams practiced diligently during January and February for oral arguments. All members indicated the experience was invaluable for future legal practice. Cheyenne Konarik and Chance Rabon, both 2Ls, plan to return for another opportunity to win the competition.

PAD (Phi Alpha Delta) The PAD Mock Trial Competition was held in Washington, D.C., on Feb 22 – 25, 2018. This was Vaught Chapter’s fifth time competing in the competition. It was the first time the team placed in the final round and was awarded a top 4 spot. The last two years the team received awards for Best Prosecution, as well as Best Witness. This year’s PAD team was comprised of the following students: Sheridan Fulkerson, Carly Ortel, Braxton Coil, Chase Grant, Katelyn King, Kayla Townsend, Dana Ashcraft, Peter Roller, Victoria Corrasco.

OCU Law’s ABA Appellate Team 10



Phillip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition

Thurgood Marshall

The Jessup problem, also known as the Compromis, is released every August and generally has four main issues the teams must address. The 2017-2018 Compromis covered the legitimacy of interstate arbitral awards, corruption of an interstate arbitral tribunal, nuclear proliferation, and acts of aggression both on the high seas as well as within the territorial sea. The team members addressed both sides of these issues through two 35-page briefs called “Memorials.” This year, OCU Law competed in the regional competition located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Debra Davis, Justin Kyle Davis, Robert Ferrell, Eric Holey and Elke Meeus were the students who competed on this year’s team. The regional competition lasts three days and consists of two practice rounds, two elimination rounds, and then semi-finals and finals for those teams who advance. Unfortunately, an ice storm in February kept the team from departing OKC on time, so they were obliged to forfeit the first two rounds but were able to compete after arriving in the last two rounds of competition. Students who competed on the Jessup Team say it was the best “real world” experience for those who want to be litigators and oral advocates.

After Regional success in the spring of 2017, Oklahoma City University School of Law’s John E. Green Black Law Student Association decided to field a team in the National Black Law Student Association Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition. In the fall of 2017, 2Ls Brenda Doroteo, Sydney Nelson, and Montrel Preston and 1L Anissa Paredes were selected from a large and competitive pool of applicants for a spot on the team. The team traveled to Dallas and competed in the Southwest Competition. They survived four rounds of competition and placed second in the region. The team competed at the national competition held in New York, New York, in March. The team placed sixth out of 19 teams. This was OCU Law’s third year to compete in the competition and the second time to advance to the national competition.

Photo: Clayton Jones Images


“You play ball like a GIRL!” Although a quote from arguably one of the best baseball movies to ever been created, The Sandlot, it still is quite applicable to the rivalry that is Powderpuff football at OCU Law. Powderpuff is open to second year and third year girls who want the opportunity to play a game of flag football under the lights at Taft Stadium. Honestly, it seems innocent enough. “Seems” being the key word. These girls don’t mess around. Given the opportunity to take out some aggression, play against and with your peers, and being coached by your male counterparts is a recipe for quite the memorable night. This year’s annual Powderpuff game was played on October 20, 2017.

with Sandlot rivalry Although at times it got a little competitive, all in all it was a great evening. Plus, we are all law students, what did you expect? Both teams were great sports, adrenaline was high, and bragging rights were on the line. The 2Ls, having never played together before, were a competitive opponent but fell short to the more experienced 3L girls. What a way for the 3L team to go out. I can assure you, both the 1L and 2L girls are already looking forward to Powderpuff 2018. IN BRIEF




Lauren Stradinger has experience in marketing and advertising on both the client and agency side. She not only has an extensive background in nonprofit and business-to-business marketing, but her professional career has included branding and positioning, market research, marketing plan development, and execution and consumer promotions. She holds a Google AdWords certification and has specialized in digital content creation, account management, SEO strategy, website design and development and other forms of digital marketing. She has worked in Sydney, Australia, as a Senior Account Manager for the web design company Whitehat Agency and worked in Wichita, Kansas, and Oklahoma City for ad agencies managing multiple client accounts. Lauren came on board in August 2017 as the new Director of Communications and Marketing.

Richard Klinge Director for the Housing Eviction Legal Assistance Program


Richard Klinge’s career has been primarily focused on commercial litigation in both state and federal courts. Additionally, he has served as General Counsel of TG&Y Stores, Co.

... 10 years at Catholic Charities litigating asylum, immigration matters and issues facing the poor.

Lauren Stradinger Director of Communications & Marketing




in Oklahoma City and for two other Oklahoma-based corporations. Prior to joining Oklahoma City University School of Law in January 2018, he spent ten years as Senior Director of Legal Services for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Inc. At Catholic Charities, he gained extensive experience in litigating asylum and other immigration-related matters in Federal Immigration Court and representing and addressing a wide variety of legal issues facing the poor, including landlord/tenant issues. We are excited to welcome Richard to OCU Law as the Director for the Housing Eviction Legal Assistance Program (HELP).



Megan Morrissey, a native of Pittsburgh, PA, has worked for several non-profit organizations and served in AmeriCorps with the New York State Dept. of Conservation as well as the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. After completing graduate school, she worked in the hospitality industry in New Zealand, Maine, and Washington before moving to OKC in 2017. Megan joined OCU Law as the Administrative Assistant for the Admissions Department in September of 2017.

Megan Morrissey Administrative Assistant for the Admissions Department


Oklahoma City University School of Law began conversations with judges and administrators of the Oklahoma County District Court earlier this year with the goal of offering some assistance to unrepresented individuals at the FED docket. The Oklahoma Bar Foundation generously funded a grant to create the Oklahoma City University School of Law Pro Bono Eviction Assistance Program. This program will provide assistance to people facing eviction, give them accurate and timely information about their procedural and substantive rights, and help them mitigate the potentially devastating consequences of eviction. The program will serve citizens and non-citizens without regard to their income. Volunteer OCU law students will be trained to provide assistance to individuals at the FED docket and will be supervised by the program’s part-time attorney director.

Work performed by OCU law students in the Pro Bono Eviction Assistance Program represents a portion of the more than 10,000 hours of pro-bono and volunteer hours completed by OCU law students each year.




10 REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA LAWYERS VISIT By Dr. Dimitry Gegenava, Ph.D.; Tbilisi, Georgia (Sakartvelo); Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University

In October of 2017, our group of lawyers from The Republic of Georgia ... cultural diversity (Sakartvelo) visited the United States. Our visit took us to Oklahoma makes us individual City through our participation in the and more interesting as Open World Program, sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center. partners and friends. We expected ordinary hosts but were surprised when we arrived in Oklahoma. It was a land full of emotional, sensational and extraordinary people. The U.S. Magistrate Judge Suzanne Mitchell, Judge Lisa K. Hammond, the Rotary Club and our beautiful host families did an amazing job The group from Georgia met with Vicki Behenna, the Executive Director for the Oklahoma Innocence Project showing us real American culture and hospitality. Senator Lankford and Ambassador O’Keefe were in attendance as special We visited Oklahoma City University guests at this event, and we felt that it was School of Law and met with Dean truly a great honor to discuss our future Peoples, Professor Gibson, Professor cooperation with these individuals. Clark and other faculty members. During our visit, our Georgian judges and the OCU Law faculty members discussed the differences between Georgian and American criminal procedures, litigation and legal systems. We enjoyed a tour of the law school and met with the staff of the Oklahoma Innocence Project. At the end of our visit, we attended a closing reception hosted by OCU President Robert Henry. Oklahoma




Despite the differences of our countries’ legal systems, the most important thing we learned during our visit is that we share the belief in human dignity and liberty, which is the basis of legal order. Our team recognized that cultural diversity makes us individuals and more interesting as partners and friends. We will always have great memories from our visit and look forward to hosting our American friends in Georgia.


Scott Rowland ’94 was named to the Court of Criminal Appeals by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin in November of 2017. He spent 11 years as first assistant district attorney for Oklahoma County. He has also served as general counsel to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control and is a former assistant to the Oklahoma attorney general, for whom he served as a white-collar crime prosecutor from 1994 to 1996. “It’s an extraordinary honor to be appointed,” Rowland said. “I love learning the law. I love writing about the law. I love applying the law. I look forward to doing that in a way that continues to serve Oklahoma. I’m humbled by Governor Fallin’s confidence in me. Although much of my career has been spent in trial and other litigation work, I’ve also spent much time studying the growth of the law through appellate court decisions. An appellate judge must protect our physical safety from crime and violence on the one hand and our

“Scott Rowland is knowledgeable in criminal law and has the right temperament and experience to be an appellate judge. He has proven in his more than 20 years as a public servant to be fair and respectful.” Governor Mary Fallin

sacred constitutional rights on the other. The indelible right of all to be safe in their homes and on the streets must be protected without abridging or sacrificing the constitutional rights of the accused. To have either of these without the other fails to serve a basic aim of our democracy.”





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


Excellence in Legal Ethics

Kelly S. Kinser OUTSTANDING GRADUATE AWARDS Oklahoma City University School of Law

J. William Conger Distinguished Student Award

Ashley N. McCord Oklahoma City University School of Law

Outstanding Graduate Award

Aimee L. Majoue OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARDS Dean’s Service Award

Outstanding Service to the School of Law

Kathryn L. Bautista Oklahoma City University Law Alumni Association

Award Service to the School of Law

Farrah Y. Burgess Oklahoma City University School of Law Outstanding Academic Performance Recipient will be announced when Spring 2018 grades have been received by the Registrar.




Oklahoma City University is excited to welcome Martha Burger as the 18th university president and first female president of the 114-year-old university. Martha is a former energy industry executive, most recently serving as senior vice president of human and corporate resources at Chesapeake Energy Corporation. Burger is co-founder of Amethyst Investments LLC and a member of the board of directors of Tapstone Energy. She has a long history with Oklahoma City University, receiving her MBA from OCU in 1992 and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2012. She has served on the OCU Board of Trustees since 2008 and chairs its audit and finance committee. “I look forward to serving the students, faculty and staff of Oklahoma City University,” Burger said. “I love this community we live in and am honored to have a role developing students as they become active, engaged and productive citizens with a heart for service.”


“I love this community we live in and am honored to have a role developing students as they become active, engaged and productive citizens with a heart for service.” Martha Burger, OCU's New President

President Robert Henry led Oklahoma City University until retiring on June 30. “I am pleased to be handing the reins to Martha Burger,” Henry said. “She has been an active trustee and a strong advocate for OCU for many years. I look forward to a bright future for the university.”



“ T H E S E PA R AT I O N O F P O W E R S A N D T H E P U B L I C ” Professor Josh Chafetz received his B.A. from Yale University, his doctorate in Politics from Oxford (where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar), and his J.D. from Yale Law School. Following law school, he clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.



Professor Chafetz’s lecture presented how most theories and discussions of the separation of powers focus entirely on the interactions among the branches of government. But he argues that much of what the branches are competing over is support from the public. Professor Chafetz’s presentation considered the tools with which the branches engage with the public in their struggles with one another, as well as the circumstances under which we might expect them to make use of those tools.

With the support of a sponsorship from INTEGRIS Health, OCU Law presented its fifth in a series of lectures focusing on the intersection of healthcare and law. Lori Andrews chaired the federal ethics advisory committee for the Human Genome Project and has been listed by the National Law Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.” She received her B.A. summa cum laude from Yale University and her J.D. from Yale Law School.







Professor Lori Andrews addressed three questions during her lecture: What genetic technologies will be available during our lifetimes, and how will the law respond? What are the impacts of genetics on individuals, relationships, and social institutions? And how can artists and novelists inform policymaking and the regulation of biotechnology? These questions helped attendees to think seriously about the ethical and social implications of new biotechnologies, and to consider the responsibilities that come with their use.





“J A M E S M A D I S O N A N D C O N S T I T U T I O N A L C O M P R O M I S E ” explored included the debates over how much power should be left to the states, how congressional seats were apportioned, voting, and most significantly, slavery and the bill of rights. Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention received the 2016 Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy, the James Bradford Biography Prize and was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize.


Professor Mary Bilder delivered the 2018 Quinlan Lecture at OCU Law. The lecture topic was “James Madison and Constitutional Compromise.” Bilder discussed the compromises made during the Constitutional Convention. Her remarks were based on research she conducted in writing the book published in 2015, Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention. Significant compromises she

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.




Joyce A. Mayer


July 21, 1969 - March 16, 2018

Michael K. Templeton ’82 May 26, 1951 - October 9, 2017


Meredith Edgar Hardgrave ’58 December 22, 1931 – March 24, 2018

Neal Kennedy

’82 August 31, 1945 – October 13, 2017

Carolyn Joan Furr


’82 September 19, 1946 – January 25, 2018

Donald Raymond Hackler ’60

Charles Joseph Migliorino ’84

August 3, 1929 - October 12, 2017

February 27, 1949 – May 3, 2017

Charley William Barton ’61

Matthew O. Morris ’89

February 17, 1932 – April 27, 2017

July 28, 1948 – January 15, 2018

Judge Leamon Freeman ’64


February 16, 1929 – July 17, 2017

Donald R. Philbin ’66 July 11, 1937 - October 6, 2017

The Honorable Patrick Henry Hayes, Jr. ’94 April 30, 1960 – May 29, 2018


Rodney “Rod” Eric Mulcahy ’97

William Wesley Choate ’73

April 3, 1972 - May 22, 2017

July 25, 1939 – June 22, 2017

Robert D. Craig

’73 August 30,1947 – July 9, 2017

Franklin Jay Kivel ’74 January 21, 1942 – May 20, 2017

Gerald C. Dennis

’75 July 27, 1947 – November 27, 2017

Herbert Allen Johnson Jr. ’76 March 1, 1936 – April 10, 2017

Richard L. Turner ’76 February 11, 1951 - June 4, 2017

Mark T. Koss

’79 April 24, 1954 – May 5, 2017


Seth C. Murphy

’11 June 5, 1986 – October 3, 2017

Justin Michael Blumer ’13 August 19, 1987 – May 17, 2018

James Brian Ward ’16 August 14, 1981 – May 13, 2018

A Letter from

David Holt ’09

Oklahoma City’s Mayor Let me begin by saying I am proud to be a graduate of OCU School of Law. This institution plays an important role in our community. The attorneys it produces go on to be leaders in our city. And the institution itself, especially after its relocation, is a center for enlightened conversations. OCU Law’s recent renaissance has tracked with a larger narrative in our city. Oklahoma City has unquestionably enjoyed a wave of momentum the last quarter century that other cities envy and study. But just because we have come so far, we cannot feel as if we are finished. There is much to do to create the city we truly want. First, we must continue our commitment to core services, like streets, public safety, transit and infrastructure. Fortunately, last year, Oklahoma City voters approved important investments in these areas, and we must make sure those promises are kept. Second, we must continue investing in our quality of life. The centerpiece of those investments has been the Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS)

LAST VACATION? The last year (spent

running for Mayor) was not very conducive to vacations, but we did manage a short getaway over Easter weekend to Scottsdale, AZ. It was sort of our post-election reward.

LAST SPLURGE? Probably that

vacation to Scottsdale!

LAST CONCERT? Oklahoma City’s Kings of Leon at Chesapeake Arena. LAST GIFT YOU RECEIVED? I feel like

I’m now at that age where no one knows what to get you, so they don’t. But my kids still give me handmade cards, and that’s the best gift there is. DO YOU HAVE A PET? Yes, Logan the dog. He came from the Bella Foundation on Land Run Day, 2017. My kids would also want me to mention Mustang the immortal Betta fish. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN OKC? This is

dangerous territory for a Mayor, but we have had a special place for Rococo in our lives for so many years, so I will go ahead and say it!

FAVORITE TV SHOW? If I were being

honest, the only TV I ever get to watch is Thunder games. And I watch a lot of them.


Kraft macaroni and cheese.


I would do if I had spare time.


David Holt speaks to Lee Peoples at OCU Law's “An Evening With The Mayor.”

program. MAPS is Oklahoma City’s visionary capital improvement program. We must have an inclusive conversation over the next year and develop a MAPS 4 initiative that meets the challenges we will face over the next decade and beyond. Third, we must work together to support public education. Cities and school districts are separate entities in Oklahoma, but we must work collaboratively together, along with business leaders, parents, and other civic champions to develop a vision for the future of public education in our city. We once shared the vision of MAPS for Kids, but that was 17 years ago. It is time again for us to come together and chart a course toward an education system of which we can be proud. And finally, we must incorporate the diversity of our city into our

"... all parts of the city must have a seat at the table where decisions are made, even if that means building a bigger table." D A V I D H O L T ' 0 9 OKC Mayor

decision-making process. Though many in our city rightfully feel as if we have experienced a renaissance, not all parts of the city feel that way. Not all parts of the city have always been a part of the conversation. And the city is rapidly changing. Sixty percent of young people under the age of 18 in Oklahoma City belong to a minority group. As we move forward, all parts of the city must have a seat at the table where decisions are made, even if that means building a bigger table. I ran for mayor on the theme of “One OKC,” and I meant it. I think our best days still lie ahead, but only if we work hard every day to set aside the things that divide us and find common purpose.

If we make progress in these areas over the next few years, our city will continue its job growth, its population growth, and we’ll continue building a place our kids and grandkids will want to call home. And at OCU Law, we’ll continue to grow as a learning destination of choice. I think attorneys and specifically graduates of OCU Law can play a critical role as we move forward. Please stay engaged with what we’re trying to do and be a thought leader in your own circles of influence. Our alma mater thrives when Oklahoma City thrives. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time at City Hall. I am always happy to hear from a fellow alumnus of OCU Law.

Legal Action AWA R D S






Searching Minds by Scanning Brains: Neuroscience Technology and Constitutional Privacy Protection (Palgrave Macmillan 2017)

Comparing the Laws of Privacy: Review of Ronald J. Krotoszynski, Privacy Revisited: A Global Perspective on the Right to Be Let Alone, 36 Criminal Justice Ethics 265 (2017)

Author of chapters in The Cambridge Handbook of Surveillance Law: Local Law Enforcement Video Surveillance: Rules, Technology, and Legal Implications in ed. Stephen E. Henderson and David Gray, Cambridge Handbook of Surveillance Law (Cambridge University Press 2017) P R E S E N TAT I O N S

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

Panelist, A Comparative and International Look at the Law of Cybercrime and Cyberwar, 2018 National Summit for Homeland Law, Oklahoma City University School of Law (April 2018)


Greg Eddington Legal Research and Writing Professor



B.B.A., University of Oklahoma J.D., University of Oklahoma LL.M., New York University

The Jurisdictional Boundary Between the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals: Blurred Lines, 69 OKLA. L. REV. 203 (2017)






Presented “Laboratories of Learning: A 2L Companion Course to Teach ASP Skills” with Jennifer Warren at the 2018 Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) Annual Conference

Presented “Using Science in the Classroom to Improve Learning (and to Improve Bar Pass Rates)” in the OCU Faculty Colloquia Series OT H E R

Steven Foster

Named Contributing 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


Kansas, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: the Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018) Kentucky, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: the Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018)


Louisiana, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: the Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (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



Acting pro bono, processed a successful application for a pardon from the Governor of California for a person, now living in Oklahoma, who had plead guilty to a crime that occurred in Los Angeles in 1989


Joined the American Law Institute’s Members Consultative Group on Restatement of the of American Indians

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



Why Negligence Per Se Should Be Abandoned, 20 N.Y.U. J. Legis. & Pub. Pol’y 247 (2017)

Barry L. Johnson Professor of Law B.A., Northwestern University J.D., University of Michigan





The Fifth Annual National Diversity Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair, Featured Keynote Speaker April 2018 Federal Public Defenders’ Office Western District of Oklahoma, Implicit Bias Trainer March 2018 Alpha Phi Sorority, Oklahoma City University, Inclusiveness and Sensitivity Training, Presenter and Discussion Leader February 2018


Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Oklahoma State Undergraduate Retreat, presenter January 2018

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., National Executive Board Meeting, Sisterhood and Inclusion Committee panelist January 2018 Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Baker Botts, CLE on Regulation FD and Insider Trading, Presenter December 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, What Can I Do? Morning Session Leader and Panel Moderator October 2017

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Oklahoma State Meeting, speaker October 2017

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., National Webinar, Finer Women Don’t Haze, Stand Up to Hazing: Sigmas and Zetas Together, panelist September 2017

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

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., National Webinar, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, panelist August 2017 OT H E R

Oklahoma City University Appointment, Title IX Advisory Board 2017 - present OCU Law School Graduation Hooder, May 2018 2018 OCU Law Review Award for Faculty Assistance Coached the OCU Law Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Team, placed at region and competed at the national competition 2017 - 2018 Law School Admissions Council Service, Finance and Legal Affairs Committee, Reappointed 2017 - present




“This book, Negligence Purpose, Elements, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State, illustrates the continued importance of the concept of foreseeability and its use in the law of the vast majority of jurisdictions, and that the position of the Restatement (Third) PEH is the arguable outlier. If this book also proves useful to the legal profession as both a basic research tool and also as a refresher on basic tort law, then Negligence Purpose, Elements, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State will be a successful publication. It will have attained its intended purposes.” Negligence Purpose, Elements, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State Professor Vicki Lawrence MacDougall, Editor in Chief and Author; Interim Dean and Professor Lee F. Peoples, Associate Editor and Author; Gregg W. Luther, Associate Editor, Author, OCU Law Alum ’92; Interim Law Library Director and Law Library Professor Jennifer Prilliman, Author

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



Guest Professor of Law at Zhengzhou University School of Law in Zhengzhou, China, during the month of July 2017. Taught a course on International Tax Law.


Editor-in-chief, Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018) Introduction: The Restatement (Third) and Foreseeability — “What Does It All Mean?”, Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Vicki Lawrence Macdougall, Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018)


District of Columbia, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018)

Massachusetts, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018) Rhode Island, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018) South Dakota, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018)

Vicki Lawrence MacDougall Professor of Law Director, Health Law Program B.A., University of Oklahoma J.D., Oklahoma City University

Vermont, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018)





Executive Editor, Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018) Michigan, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018) Missouri, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018) Minnesota, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018) Mississippi, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018) Montana, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018) Nebraska, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018) Virginia, Ch., Negligence Purpose, Element, and Evidence: The Role of Foreseeability in the Law of Each State (2018)

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


Presented “Laboratories of Learning: A 2L Companion Course to Teach ASP Skills” with Jennifer Warren at the 2018 Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) Annual Conference.


Presented “Using Science in the Classroom to Improve Learning (and to Improve Bar Pass Rates)” in the OCU Faculty Colloquia Series.


Retiring 30




Colorado in Negligence Purpose, Elements and Evidence (2018)


Florida in Negligence Purpose, Elements and Evidence (2018) Illinois in Negligence Purpose, Elements and Evidence (2018) OT H E R

Purple Sash Gala Sponsorship Chair for YWCA of Oklahoma County

Oklahoma Lawyers for Children, Volunteer Attorney

Jennifer Prilliman Law Library Professor Associate Director, Chickasaw Nation Law Library B.A., University of Central Oklahoma J.D., University of Oklahoma M.L.L.S., University of Oklahoma

2015 – Present

Home and School Association Executive Board, Rosary Catholic School

Immediate Past President for Mid America Association of Law Libraries Oklahoma Bar Association, Women in Law Committee Oklahoma Bar Association, Legislative Monitoring Committee Oklahoma Bar Association, Law Day Committee Oklahoma County Bar Association, Briefcase Committee

Oklahoma City University School of Law is pleased to share the developments in the lives and careers of several important faculty members who have been with the university for a combined 80 years. Professor Vicki Lawrence MacDougall took emeritus faculty status on June 30, 2018. Professor MacDougall taught at OCU Law for 40 years. She is a 1977 valedictorian graduate of the law school and was a founding member and editor of the Oklahoma City University Law Review. She served as the faculty advisor to the review for many years. Under her steady hand, productivity has increased, the quality of the publication has remained consistently high, and generations of student members have honed their writing and

leadership abilities. She founded the school’s Health Law Certificate and the annual Integris Lecture. Professor and Dean Emeritus Lawrence Hellman took emeritus status in December of 2017. Professor Hellman taught at OCU Law for 40 years. He served as Dean from 1998-2011. Under his leadership, the school made significant strides including gaining membership in the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and developed the school’s international programs with a particular emphasis on China. He oversaw the creation of experiential

and clinic programs including the Native American Wills Clinic, the Oklahoma Innocence Clinic and the Immigration Clinic. Dean Hellman’s work in this area yielded student and faculty exchanges, cooperative agreements, and an International Symposium on Sino-American Comparative Law. Professors MacDougall and Hellman will remain with the law school teaching courses, mentoring students, maintaining their faculty offices and will continue to be involved in the life of the law school.

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



Evaluating Corporate Speech About Science, 106 GEO. L.J. 447 (2018)

“How should courts evaluate the truth or falsity of corporate speech about science? This question is critical to antifraud actions like the ongoing state investigations into whether ExxonMobil misrepresented scientific knowledge regarding global climate change. This Article is the first to offer an analytical approach to the question of whether corporate speech about science is misleading. The central argument is that courts should consider a number of context-specific factors in determining whether such speech is misleading. The Article concludes with a discussion of how the First Amendment would apply to commercial and corporate speech about science once the threshold question of misleadingness is resolved.� Evaluating Corporate Speech About Science Shannon Roesler





Taught Summer course on Comparative Law and Religion, The Hague, The Netherlands Gave speech on Structure of Oklahoma Government at the Leadership Exchange Academy Presented on recent Oklahoma Supreme Court tax power cases at the Capital City Connect luncheon at Oklahoma City University School of Law Presented paper on The Federalist, Faculty Workshop, Oklahoma City University School of Law and to panel of the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois OT H E R

Published essay Team Game: Building An Effective State Legislature


(adapted from book manuscript)

Wrote essay on proposed teacher pay reform for Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs website Writes a weekly column on state government and politics for Oklahoma City’s Journal Record newspaper

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




Practical. Relevant. Experiential. Blending legal content with innovative hands-on teaching strategies.

Street Law BY L AU R I E J O NE S A S S O C I ATE DE A N for A DM I S S I O N S

of the classroom, eighteen sets of teenaged eyes on her, third-year law student Lindsey Pever is a bit nervous yet eager to see if her carefully planned lesson will engage the high school class and teach the students the elements of contract formation. After instructing the class on the basics of offer, acceptance, and consideration, with discussion on if and when minors can enter into contracts and the legal implications and differences between written and oral contracts, she launches into her best game show host persona and leads the students in a review exercise styled “The Jenny Springer Show.”


This “show” requires the high school students to act out and consider various scenarios involving negotiations and transactions and then decide if a valid contract has been formed; candy and team-bragging rights are awarded for correct answers. The high school students’ understanding of the material is evident, and they leave class with knowledge of basic contract law and their rights and responsibilities as consumers. Lindsey leaves knowing that her lesson was a success and that the students gained knowledge that will serve them well as they mature into adulthood and take on the realities of life after high school. The Street Law class at Southeast High School is finished for the day. The original Street Law program began in Washington, D.C., in 1972, when a small group of Georgetown University law students created an experimental curriculum to teach District




of Columbia high school students about law and the legal system, with a focus on the practical application of the law to the high school students’ lives: thus, the name “Street Law.” Since then, Street Law programs have expanded throughout the United States and internationally. Currently, more than seventy domestic law schools and fifty law schools overseas participate in Street Law programs. Training on how to start a program has been offered in recent years to representatives from China, Korea, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, Latin America, and the Ukraine. Street Law courses are designed to empower young people around the world to be active, engaged citizens by equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to successfully participate in and create change in their communities.

actively engage the high school students and draw upon the law students’ creativity, knowledge of the law, organizational abilities, and public speaking and presentation skills. Student involvement is emphasized through the use of problems, case studies, role-plays, cooperative learning experiences, research, and competency-building activities that are designed to provide students with the ability to analyze, evaluate, and even resolve legal disputes. This practical law focus is a powerful vehicle for promoting civic learning.

“The students at Southeast High School are ambitious and well-informed about local and national issues. They are positioned to make a difference, and it has been a neat opportunity to work with them.”

Topics typically covered in AIMEE Street Law courses include an introduction to law and the legal system, criminal law and juvenile justice, consumer law, family law, individual rights and liberties, immigration law, and employment law. The approach is practical, relevant, and experiential, blending legal content with innovative hands-on teaching strategies that

Street Law was first offered at Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2018, although the idea for the course had been percolating for several years. Dean Emeritus Larry Hellman first mentioned Street Law in 2010, and creating such a course at OCU had been on my to-do list ever since.


The logistics of finding the right high school willing to partner with us and generating interest in and support for such a course fell into place after a conversation with Brandon Carey ’05, who was then the general counsel to Oklahoma City Public Schools. Brandon has an LLM in Constitutional Law from American

Left to Right: Luis Silva sits behind the bench at the Federal Courthouse. Professor Michael Gibson meets with Southeast High School students during their tour at OCU Law. Southeast High School student Lizbeth Valdez looks at a map of Oklahoma during a tour of the U.S. Marshal's office. IN BRIEF



University Washington College of Law, so I knew the idea of a Street Law course would pique his interest, and through his work for the school district, he’d know just the right high school for us to partner with for the course. He immediately suggested Southeast High School, an application school located about ten minutes south of the law school with a student body that is 95% Hispanic and Latino and a principal, Ms. Mylissa Hall, whom he anticipated would support the course and the idea of law students teaching in the high school classroom. Principal Hall enthusiastically welcomed the concept of Street Law, and several months later, the school district and the law school approved offering the course through their respective curriculum committees and governing bodies. We then coordinated the scheduling of the course for the high school and law students, selected textbooks and teachers for the course, developed a specific syllabus for the subject matter,

Southeast High School students along with their OCU Law Student Professors and Associate Dean for Admissions, Laurie Jones, before their tour of the Federal Courthouse.

“Street Law was an incredible experience. The practicality of a class that teaches students such invaluable information as to how to interpret a contract, understand a warranty, and develop a better understanding of immigration law, is beyond relevant and fundamental for these students. Looking back, I wish I would have had the opportunity to take a class like this in high school!” BRANDT STERLING '18




back into the role of educator, while some of the law students were initially a bit more cautious in front of the class. They drew upon their law school experience, their enthusiasm for the subject and students, and their colleagues’ ideas and collaboration to become masterful classroom teachers. During the semester, the law students had class sessions with expert educators, lawyers, and psychologists to prepare them to teach the substantive material to the high school students and to address any issues that may arise in the classroom. The only issues we’ve encountered thus far are that the high school students could use more sleep and their textbooks are twelve years out of date. To remedy the latter issue, the law students have decided to donate their Street Law textbooks, the current edition, to the high school for next semester’s class of high school students.

Our goals in offering Street Law were lofty but straightforward:

and advertised Street Law to students. Along the way, we sought support from community partners, and a generous grant from the Oklahoma County Bar Association helped fund a visit for the high school students to the law school and the federal courthouse. The inaugural spring semester Street Law class had eighteen high school students and twenty law students. A bit shy with each other at first, the two groups of students bonded and looked forward to the hours they spent together during the week. The high school teacher, Mr. Garron Park, was present while the law students taught and graciously shared his teaching strategies and resources with the law students. Two of the law students came from teaching backgrounds and moved comfortably


Empower high school students to be active, engaged citizens with the knowledge and skills they need to participate in and contribute to their communities

2 3 4

Develop [in law students] a habit of pro bono service to the community Serve as a review for third-year students on certain subjects tested on the bar exam Have law students serve as mentors and role models for high school students, thereby encouraging the high school students to pursue higher education and perhaps a career in law, particularly for those who come from historically underserved populations

As we strive to meet these goals, along the way we’ve had fun, learned a lot about ourselves and our community, tapped into our creativity, and formed enduring friendships and partnerships. Street Law allows OCU Law students another opportunity to be servant-leaders and to view the city as our campus.




... the willingness to engage and determination to defeat every physical, mental and moral adversary.

Even Fewer, Even Prouder BY DAWN H A RTH FR E E LA N C E WR I TE R


who seek to wear the honorable badge of United States Marine are unapologetically direct and pierce straight through to the most deeply patriotic fibers of the soul: “ours is a noble path and demanding journey, reserved for those with the willingness to engage and determination to defeat every physical, mental and moral adversary. Over fear and doubt, through fatigue and scrutiny — Marines win.” For those who aspire to the hard-won title of Officer, requirements are even more rigorous, margins even more narrow: less than 1% of Americans are actively serving in the military and less than 1% of those are officers. Which brings us to Oklahoma City University School of Law and two former students who are among that small percentage. Though their graduation dates are nearly ten years apart, Majors Tai Le '98 and Travis Covey '06 traveled similar paths to their goals and, ultimately, those paths crossed.

Both Le and Covey are Judge Advocates for the U.S. Marine Corps — a position achieved by those who prove they have the mental, moral and physical makeup to be a leader of Marines and who not only graduate from law school and pass the Bar exam, but complete Officer Candidates School, officer training at The Basic School, and training on the military justice system at the

The Marine Corps Judge Advocate circle is a small one, with around 500 currently on active duty nationwide. Naval Justice School. Only then will a candidate “prove to yourself and to our Corps that you have what it takes to win as a Marine Officer and Judge Advocate alongside the world’s greatest warriors.” Judge Advocates practice in many specialty areas of the law, but ultimately, their responsibility is to serve in both the defense and prosecution of



military law as provided by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Major Le’s journey to the Marine Corps began as the dream of a seven-year-old boy who witnessed Marines helping and defending the defenseless people of his native country, Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. “I knew this was the type of man I wanted to be,” Le said, “a warrior.” When Le was still a child, his family left to start over in the U.S. Determined to establish themselves in a country where they did not speak the language and knew very little about the culture, they gradually built a life in California through sheer grit and fortitude. The experience would shape Le into the man who, today, personifies the distinguished character of a U.S. Marine. Even though his ultimate goal was to be an officer, Le enlisted first as a soldier because he felt if he was going to eventually lead them, he needed to know what it felt like to be one of them. While serving, he enrolled in law school at OCU — a choice initially made because he had family in Oklahoma City. Through his time here, though, he developed a passion for the school and still volunteers today for the


Pro Se Docket, which provides real-life learning opportunities for students in their 2L and 3L years. He is a believer in the power of mentorship and after 17 years of service in the Marines, found himself with the opportunity to guide fellow OCU Law alumnus and then up-and-coming Judge Advocate, Covey. “I was very fortunate early in my career to have been mentored by many seasoned Judge Advocates. Major Le was one of those,” says Covey “I was serving as a Defense Counsel at Camp Pendleton, CA. Major Le was one of my Senior Defense Counsels, and he really helped me develop as an attorney.” The Marine Corps Judge Advocate circle is a small one, with around 500 currently on active duty nationwide. Though not all are personal acquaintances, they each share the understanding that their bond requires no formal introduction. For Le and Covey, the shared experience at OCU was an instant and deeper connection. Covey credits OCU’s trial advocacy and legal research and writing classes with preparing him for the Marines’ notoriously

Above Left: Travis Covey '06. Above Right: Battalion Commander’s Inspection, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego 1993. Opposite Page: Major Tai Le '98

Major Le’s journey to the Marine Corps began as the dream of a seven-year-old boy who witnessed Marines helping and defending the defenseless people of his native country, Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. fast-and-furious initiation period — the first day of which he was handed case files for four clients, and the next two years of which he maintained a constant stream of 25-50 active cases. “I would not have been prepared had it not been for the skills I started to develop at OCU Law,” says Covey, “The academics and faculty were foundational and have continued to benefit and shape my development.” No one chooses law school because it’s easy. But to choose military law — where job requirements include meeting the same rigorous physical fitness standards of active-duty soldiers, and possible deployment to combat zones at any given time — requires the kind of student who stands apart as truly exceptional in every capacity. Exactly the kind of student we’re proud to have the honor of calling our alumni. Majors Le and Covey, we salute you.

Building on a Legacy

Rozia McKinney-Foster '81 Larry Foster, II '08

Faith. Family. Community. These are the three tenants that Rozia McKinney-Foster lives by and passed down to her son, Larry. Northeast Oklahoma City has been home to them both for as long as they can remember. Whether they are volunteering at their shared alma mater, Douglas High School, or helping children or seniors at their church home, Progressive Baptist Church, they love giving back to the community where they were raised. From the young age of nine, Rozia knew she wanted to be an attorney. Due to her outstanding performance in academics, she was recruited by the most prestigious universities in the country and ultimately chose to attend Princeton University. “No one in my family had gone to college. But my mother told me I could do anything in this world I wanted to do.” After obtaining a degree in sociology, Rozia returned to Oklahoma to attend OCU Law School and fulfill




her career dream. She attended the law school’s evening program, which allowed her to raise her son Larry and graduate in 1981. Larry Foster grew up in the same home his mother did as a child. He went on to attend Washington University in St. Louis as a business major and played football for four years. “I always said I wouldn’t be a lawyer. I told my mom that I wanted to be a business man and hire her as my attorney.” But one of his college friends convinced him to take a class called Argumentation, and it opened his eyes to the possibilities of legal practice. “I looked around at all of these executives and thought, ‘You can be a business man and an attorney.’” When Larry returned home to attend OCU Law, his mother was thrilled. “I have always valued a legal education. I tell young people, if you get a legal education, it can prepare you to do almost anything,” said Rozia. Today, Rozia works as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and Larry owns his own private practice firm, Shalom Law Firm, PLLC.

“No one in my family had gone to college. But my mother told me I could do anything in this world I wanted to do.” R O Z I A M C K I N N E YFOSTER Class of ’81






Building on a Legacy

Jenna Brown began law school in 1997 when her son Nicholas was only three years old. She was a single mother who was entering the part-time program, while also working during the day as a child welfare worker. Nicholas vaguely remembers this time and recalls “a lot of reading and studying” from his mom and even having law books read to him as bedtime stories. Jenna graduated in 2002 and for the last 15 years has been working as a prosecutor at the District Attorney’s office in Canadian County. Little did Jenna know that all the late nights studying and hard work would encourage Nicholas to follow in her footsteps. Nicholas started at OCU Law in August 2017, with aspirations of becoming a patent attorney. He is currently working full-time for BC Steel Buildings while attending class part-time, just like his mom. “I thought full-time work and being a student part-time would be difficult, and I wasn’t sure if I could do it. But then I would think back to my childhood and that my mom did both while raising me. If she could do it, then I could.” Even though they attended law school in different buildings, Jenna in Sarkeys and Nicholas at the new building downtown, they shared many of the same




professors. One in particular has impacted them both, Professor Michael Gibson. “You don’t forget him. I have a clear memory of the first time we came to class, he memorized every person’s name! He treats you as an individual,” said Jenna. “He is really good at preparing you for life outside of school,” said Nicholas. It is because of professors like Gibson that Jenna knew Nicholas would be in good hands and was thrilled for him to carry on her legacy of attending OCU Law. “I am extremely proud of him. He loves it, and he is doing much better than I did.”

“I thought full-time work and being a student part-time would be difficult, and I wasn’t sure if I could do it. But then I would think back to my childhood and that my mom did both while raising me. If she could do it, then I could.” NICHOLAS O’SHAUGHNESSY Class of ’22

Jenna Brown '02 Nicholas O’Shaughnessy '22 IN BRIEF



Building on a Legacy

“I think a law degree is a stepping stone. It will get you to the next level. It will open doors for you. It will give you the opportunities that you never thought were possible” JIM & BRADLEY KLEPPER Classes of ’90 and ’00




Jim Klepper '90 Bradley Klepper '00 Jim and Bradley Klepper are a father and son duo who both chose to explore a career in the legal field later in life. Jim, a former pharmacist, and Bradley a former architect, both entered law school after deciding to make a career change. Today, they own and operate Interstate Trucker, LTD, a law firm that specializes in representing CDL truckers. “We cover everything that happens to a truck driver or a truck on the road. If our client has a truck on the highway and there is any trouble, we are there to help.” Due to the nature of the logistics business, they are licensed to practice in all 48 contiguous states. “We intentionally got certified in different states. We overlap in Oklahoma and that’s it,” says Jim. This flexibility has allowed the Kleppers to become not only one of the most premier trucking law firms in the state, but also in the country. Today, they have handled more than 350,000 defense cases since opening their doors in 1991. Pursuing a law degree at OCU Law brought an incredible career opportunity but also a second family of sorts. During Bradley’s third year in law school, he and his family were involved in a devastating car accident, causing his wife to spend three months in the


hospital. Knowing that he was juggling law school and being there for his family, members of the law school stepped up to help. “The first person at my house after the accident was Professor Dan Morgan with a casserole. The feeling of family I received from OCU Law was something I never imagined,” said Bradley. Looking back at the decision to enter the legal field, father and son feel it was the best decision for them. “I think a law degree is a stepping stone. It will get you to the next level. It will open doors for you. It will give you the opportunities that you never thought were possible.”



Building on a Legacy

Ron increased his college savings fund by the earnings from 116 peanut and gumball machines throughout the Norman area.

In his early days, Ron Fulkerson was known as a popular young entrepreneur who managed a variety of business enterprises.

He assisted his dad with an ice delivery route to homes in south OKC and earned money to buy his own truck, delivered newspapers twice a day, and established Ron’s Vending Company while a student at Capitol Hill High School. The business installed 25 cent peanut and gumball machines. “116 machines produced revenue to increase my college savings fund,” Ron said. “My machines were spread out in small cities within a 30-mile radius of Norman.”

His entrepreneurship endeavors didn’t stop there; he ran a Christmas tree lot in the winter, firework stands in the summer and worked as a lifeguard at a swimming pool. Hard work has always been important to him so, after earning his bachelor's degree in Economics and Business Administration, his wife said to him one day, “Why don’t you become a lawyer?” He loved the thought and signed up to attend OCU Law’s night classes. He completed his law degree in four years and, true to his entrepreneurial nature, started his own practice of law shortly after graduation. Ron’s example of hard work spilled over into future generations. His granddaughter, Sheridan, always knew she wanted to continue her education after obtaining her undergraduate degree, but it wasn’t until her junior year of college that she decided obtaining her J.D. was what she wanted to do. She said, “I went to undergrad at OCU, and I wanted nothing more than to attend law school there as well. It means the world for me to attend the same law school as my grandfather.” Ron is quick to mention the importance of carrying on the family legacy. “It was a big deal for me to have my youngest son Shawn become an attorney, and now it is an even bigger deal for me to have a third generation who will become an attorney.” Sheridan values her time spent at OCU Law and the memories she has made competing in mock trial competitions for Phi Alpha Delta in Washington, D.C. “I learned a lot from mock trial and really enjoyed the practical side of learning the law.” She plans to work in family law after graduation.




Building on a Legacy

Go Stars! Oklahoma City University pride runs deep through the veins of the King family.

Before Hayden King ’17 and Kaitlyn King ’19 decided to attend OCU Law, they already shared a love for the University. Their father received his MBA from the Meinders School of Business, their great-grandmother was a former music professor and a few cousins graduated from OCU. “Looking back and seeing that multiple generations of our family attended OCU is really special to us.” All through high school at Heritage Hall, Kaitlyn was known as “Little King” to her big brother Hayden. While growing up only three years apart from a sibling creates a natural competitiveness for some, the King siblings have nothing but support for one another. “I think we have been each other’s biggest support systems,” says Hayden. Their closeness in age only brought them closer together. Kaitlyn says, “I value Hayden’s input and enjoy his guidance.” When starting law school, she benefited from his knowledge on how to write a brief, which electives to pick and how

professors prefer to operate. Hayden views that sharing this information is his duty as a big brother. Hayden is now an associate at Wiggins Sewell & Ogletree, and Kaitlyn, a Hatton Sumners Scholar, will graduate next May with the career ambition of becoming a judge. When asked about their time at OCU Law, Kaitlyn stated, “One of the reasons I love OCU is since we are in the middle of the city, we have adjunct professors come in and teach us. Not only do we receive academic experience from the professors who are trained strictly in academia, but we get a good balance of practical experience as well.” And it is not just the academic and practical experience of OCU that they have cherished, it is being able to share this experience with one another. Hayden shared that, “Law school pushes you, but OCU Law prepares you to look at obstacles in a different way. You go through a transformation as a person, and I am so glad we could go through this together.”

Hayden King '17 Kaitlyn King '19 50



“One of the reasons I love OCU is since we are in the middle of the city, we have adjunct professors come in and teach us. Not only do we receive academic experience from the professors who are trained strictly in academia, but we get a good balance of practical experience as well.” K A I T L Y N K I N G Class of ’19

in the


of the

by Valerie Couch Dean Emeritus & Professor of Law

Constitutional Beholder

Justice Scalia’s Death

and the Constitutional Controversy that Followed


ustice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly on February 13, 2016, creating a vacancy on the Supreme Court during the final year of President Obama’s second term of office. This event shocked the country and created a bitter divide over the selection of his successor. For a time, Justice Scalia’s death and its aftermath gripped our political system and appeared to threaten a serious constitutional showdown. I, like everyone else, was caught up in the maelstrom. But with time and study, I have come to view this dramatic dust-up as a reminder that the U.S. Constitution is not a self-sustaining political document. Standing alone, the Constitution does not protect the institutions it creates. That protection can be accomplished only by the men and women we elect to protect and serve our country.

The Facts Let’s review the basic facts: Within hours of Justice Scalia’s death, the majority leader in the Senate declared that the Senate would hold no confirmation hearings for any Supreme Court nominee put forth by President Obama. The Senate’s “advice and consent” proceedings contemplated by the

Constitution for Supreme Court nominees would be withheld for the remainder of the President’s term of office. Despite this declaration, President Obama promptly nominated to the Supreme Court on March 16, 2016, a circuit judge and former federal prosecutor (well known for his prosecutorial work in the Oklahoma City bombing) who in 1997 had received Senate confirmation for appointment to the prestigious D.C. Court of Appeals with bipartisan support on a vote of 76 to 23. Judge Merrick Garland had received a unanimous well-qualified rating from the ABA, the highest rating possible. His work on the D.C. Circuit and as chief judge had created a thorough record of his judicial decisions and temperament. And he had impeccable credentials and experience. Nine months remained in President Obama’s term of office. A stalemate ensued. Judge Garland proceeded to visit with Senators in anticipation of a confirmation hearing, and the Republican majority leader in the Senate continued to promise that no such hearing would be held. Politicians on both sides of the aisle expressed outrage and self-righteousness. Sound and fury filled the halls of Congress and mesmerized the media. Legal


scholars were divided. Wasn’t the Senate majority violating its constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent to a sitting President’s Supreme Court nomination? Citizens across the political spectrum were either resolute or furious or both. And as events unfolded, the Senate steadfastly refused to hold a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Merrick Garland. Republican Donald Trump won the presidency in November 2016, and the nomination of Merrick Garland lapsed, making way for the nomination, Senate confirmation and presidential appointment of Judge (now Justice) Neil Gorsuch. Two tumultuous years have passed that by comparison may make this crisis look Lilliputian in proportion. Still, it’s worth looking again at this constitutional question. Let’s see what the text of the Constitution, its history and the norms surrounding the appointment of Supreme Court justices tell us about these events. I have come around to the view that although the Senate majority did not act wisely to protect the independence of the Supreme Court, neither did it act in contravention of any rule governing the appointment proceedings. The Constitution begs for attention to constitutional values but ultimately bends to politics.



The Framework Let’s first look at the overarching framework of our democratic structure. The U.S. Constitution creates three branches of federal government — the executive, legislative and judicial branches — each with distinct and co-equal responsibilities. That framework is fundamental to all constitutional construction. Of importance here, the members of two branches — the executive and legislative — are politically elected. The members of the third branch — the Supreme Court and other inferior federal courts — are appointed and serve lifelong tenure during “good behavior.” Although impeachable for serious misconduct, the appointed members of the judicial branch serve independently of political parties and political elections. The political independence of the judicial branch has proven to be a brilliantly effective feature of our democracy — providing constitutional checks and balances on executive and legislative functions. The independent judicial branch creates a constant touchstone to the Constitution and keeps our democracy in balance so long as judicial independence is respected and protected. The members of all three branches take an oath to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution as the supreme law of our country.

The Text Next, let’s review the text of the specific constitutional provision governing the appointment process for Supreme Court justices. Article 2, Section 2, addresses the President’s treaty-making power



and the President’s appointment power: [The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

Although the President “shall nominate, and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... judges of the supreme Court,” no mandatory language attaches to the Advice and Consent of the Senate. Can the Senate unilaterally block the President’s constitutional duty to nominate and appoint judges of the Supreme Court by withholding Advice and Consent proceedings?

Apparently so! The majority leader of the Senate was in fact able to do so, and the President had no apparent recourse. The stalemate became a checkmate. In contrast to the Appointments Clause, other provisions of the Constitution provide recourse when one branch attempts to block another by default. In Article 1, Section 7, governing the President’s power to approve or veto legislation, the Presentment Clause creates a time limit on the President’s action and a

... neither the specific text of the appointments clause nor the Senate’s own rules compels the Senate to act in any particular way or within any particular time period in response to a President’s nomination to the Supreme Court. IN BRIEF

consented to the appointment. The framers knew how to create a default remedy, specifically considered it, and chose not to do so in the Appointments Clause.

default remedy: If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sunday excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if [the President] had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Accordingly, in most cases if the President withholds his approval or veto of a bill, the mere passage of time means the bill becomes Law “as if he had signed it.” Notably, during the framers’ drafting of the Constitution, James Madison proposed a similar default remedy for the Appointments Clause but was unsuccessful in having his proposed language adopted.1 In this context, the Senate’s failure to hold a confirmation hearing on a presidential nomination cannot reasonably be interpreted to allow the President to appoint the nominee “as if ” the Senate had

Conceivably, a majority in the Senate could categorically block all Supreme Court nominations of a President by withholding advice and consent proceedings, regardless of the qualifications of the nominee. Indeed, days before the 2016 presidential election, two Senators (John McCain and Ted Cruz) threatened to do just that if Hillary Clinton were elected. [See Amber Phillips, Ted Cruz is Right: Senate Republicans Could Block Clinton Supreme Court Nominees Indefinitely, Wash. Post: The Fix (Oct. 27, 2016); Sabrina Siddiqui, Republican Senators Vow to Block Any Clinton Supreme Court Nominee Forever, Guardian (Nov. 2, 2016)]. The constitutional crisis that such a sustained partisan political effort would create is different in kind from a single act of obstruction. Such a tactic could fairly be said to jeopardize the very existence of the judiciary as the third branch of our federal government. That such a threat was made, though, in the context of Merrick Garland’s nomination reveals the danger of the Senate’s actions as precedent. Digging further for rules that might apply, we find that the Constitution expressly gives the Senate the power to establish its own rules of procedure (Article 1, Section 5). Consequently, the Senate can control the advice and consent proceedings of the Senate through its own rules. The majority’s procedural control is one of the significant consequences of elections. The Senate’s current


rules do not require the Senate to act on a nomination within a set period of time. In short, neither the specific text of the appointments clause nor the Senate’s own rules compels the Senate to act in any particular way or within any particular time period in response to a President’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

History and Constitutional Norms What about the history and customs that have shaped the Supreme Court? Do historical precedents and norms compel the Senate to act promptly to provide advice and consent proceedings on a Supreme Court nomination? Studying the work of several legal scholars provides some perspectives but no clear answer. In essence, the work of scholars and historians demonstrates how rarely a Supreme Court vacancy has arisen in a presidential election year. Not enough analogous situations have arisen to create a constitutional norm or custom. And the historical record is not of great use when you realize that the Senate’s advice and consent proceedings have evolved and varied through the 200 years of our country’s existence.2 The Senate’s practice, however, of withholding advice and consent for nominees to lower court judgeships in presidential election years is quite common. Many nominees to federal district and circuit court positions in recent years have seen their chances for Senate confirmation diminish as the last year of a president’s term unfolds. Their fates are often determined by who wins the presidential election. Some scholars,



recognizing that withholding advice and consent proceedings for lower court nominees, regardless of the nominee’s merit, may be unwarranted and unwise, observe nevertheless that it has become a norm. Whether that norm can be used to justify withholding advice and consent from a Supreme Court nominee depends on how you view the role of the Supreme Court in the structural constitutional scheme. In my opinion, to equate the Supreme Court nominees with those to lower courts is to dangerously diminish the critical constitutional role the Supreme Court plays in our republic. When searching for answers about the Constitution, we often turn to The Federalist Papers. Alexander Hamilton explained there that the purpose of advice and consent is to prevent unfit characters from being appointed: “To what purpose then require the cooperation of the Senate? . . . [Senate concurrence] would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity. In addition to this, it would be an efficacious source of stability in the administration. ” The Federalist No. 76 at 482-83 (A. Hamilton) (B. Wright ed. 1961).

Hamilton does not remotely suggest that the Senate’s advice and consent role could properly be withheld to achieve partisan political advantage on the Supreme Court, untethered from the merits of the nominee. Rather, the benefit of including such a check on the president is to ensure a stable



process wherein the Senate has a voice in either confirming or denying a nomination based on the person’s fitness for the job.

two players is not an apt analogy for a system designed to function with three coequal players. Better to use the image of rowing.

Also useful here is Hamilton’s adamant language about the independence of the courts:

Picture three earnest rowers evenly spaced in a boat moving through rough water, each with important and distinct responsibilities. One member of the crew does not take the oars but is instead assigned to keep careful watch for the lanes of water most likely to keep the boat upright and moving forward. His designated responsibility is not only to correct the course when needed but also to communicate clearly to the other two, shouting colorful words of encouragement and direction to each of them as the two oarsmen strenuously row the boat. When functioning well, the oarsmen row with equal strength and coordinate their power to keep the boat moving forward. The oarsmen respect the independent duty of their third crew member and do what they can to keep him poised and positioned to see the water clearly and call the lanes.

“The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution. By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority; such, for instance, as that it shall pass no bills of attainder, no ex post facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice in no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.” The Federalist No. 78 at 491-92 (A. Hamilton) (B. Wright ed. 1961) (emphasis added).

The Supreme Court has a distinctive role in our democracy, and the public’s perception of its role as independent player is now unfortunately undermined by a highly politicized confirmation process. The constitutional ideal of “complete independence” is difficult to hold in mind when the very visible process of selection makes the Supreme Court look like a pawn in a chess game.

Searching for an Image

In an ideal world, we would be unable to imagine the Merrick Garland scenario in terms of a chess game. A board game with


Then, imagine the danger — the two oarsmen start doing everything in their power to make the third crew member sit only on one end of the boat or another. They push and pull him, scooch him out of place with their feet, and punch and shove with their oars. They rock the boat and distract him from the job of lookout. They soon are rocking wildly out of balance and in mortal jeopardy of overturning the boat. You can imagine the horror of the people on the shore watching this drama. They hardly know how to jump in and help such a dysfunctional crew, but they know they must. We

When functioning well ... the oarsmen respect the independent duty of their third crew member and do what they can to keep him poised and positioned to see the water clearly and call the lanes.

Then, imagine the danger — the two oarsmen start doing everything in their power to make the third crew member sit only on one end of the boat ... punch and shove ... rock the boat and distract him from the job of lookout. the People are in danger of losing the crucial advantage of having a vigilant independent player in our midst. To me, the image aptly serves here to alert us to what we have to lose — the “peculiarly essential” independence of the Supreme Court.

My Take Away Constitutional scholars and historians hold differing views about what happened to Merrick

Garland. After studying this tumultuous event, I conclude that the Senate majority’s refusal to provide Advice and Consent proceedings did not violate any specific rule or provision. The Senate majority indeed had the political power to have its way by withholding its cooperation in the nomination and appointment process. But did the action threaten to harm the constitutional structure designed to protect the independence of the Supreme

Court? Yes, without doubt. History teaches that both Republicans and Democrats have used similar tactics for perceived political gain in foolish and reckless disregard of their duty to protect the independence of the Supreme Court. The remedy is perhaps elusive in this toxic political environment but ultimately lies in our citizens electing representatives who will faithfully protect and defend the Constitutional structure essential to our democracy.

1 See Adam J. White, Toward the Framers’ Understanding of “Advice and Consent”: A Historical and Textual Inquiry, 29 Harv. J. L. & Pub. Pol’y 103, 141-47 (2005). 2 For more historical details and in-depth scholarship, I recommend the following articles: Vincent J. Samar, Politicizing the Supreme Court, 41 So. Ill. U. L. Rev. 1 (2016); Jonathan H. Adler, The Senate Has No Constitutional Obligation to Consider Nominees, 24 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 15 (2016); Carl Tobias, Confirming Supreme Court Justices in an Election Year, 94 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1089 (2017); and Adam J. White, Toward the Framers’ Understanding of “Advice and Consent”: A Historical and Textual Inquiry, supra.

T.H.E. IRS =



& R ACH E L PA P PY ’0 8

Understanding Tax Reform


... popular topics to champion in almost any group. These conversations usually revolve around a handful of common themes: Wasteful government spending, paying too much in taxes, taxes not funding enough public good, tax code disproportionately benefiting/ hurting one group compared to another, and every so often, there’s that person who wants “TAX REFORM,” “TAX CUTS,” “TAX OVERHAUL”

you to believe they understand the law better than everyone else, and they cite the Supreme Court decision which held the Income Tax Act of 1894 to be unconstitutional. (This decision was later superseded by the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.) As riveting as these conversations can be, as tax attorneys, we never get too heated over our preferred path forward because we understand that even the best tax policy is placed in the hands of our precarious political system. Accordingly, we analyze tax policy under the following premise – the anticipated effects of taxing theories, once implemented in our current system, are often subject to sudden upheaval with each round of elections, which often creates long-term market uncertainty, and often prevents the desired endresult from coming to fruition. Tax policy is a delicate balance of code that attempts to incentivize and discourage various behaviors within a wide variety of groups, preferably over an extended period of time to recognize the maximum aggregate result. For this reason, tax policy relies on an accurate assessment of how macroeconomic and microeconomic changes to the current marketplace will result in the desired ripple effect up and down the far reaches of our economy. This assessment relies on a calculation of how different players in the economy will react to the changes. Although every individual business, employee, or family will not uniformly move in one direction or another, a great assessment would be one that most closely predicts the net aggregate response. In recent years, there has been much talk about running the government like a business. The fervor for this model seems bolstered by the belief that there is a great deal of waste in the government. In contrast, private sector businesses are typically strategic and efficient. Business plans are often mapped out by individuals with experience in the field who typically possess a deep understanding of reasons for failure and success in the industry. This expertise is utilized when analyzing how to achieve a stated objective. Furthermore, most businesses can nimbly change course and exercise a great deal of flexibility over how they must adjust their plans. This may include updating their original timeline and adding additional resources as needed.

This is much different from the process the government employs in accomplishing an objective. For starters, politicians are not knowledgeable in every subject area they are called on to take legislative action. This is where experts, lobbyists, colleagues, and the public play a crucial role in educating our elected officials before they must vote on legislation that encompasses a vast swath of topics such as cyber security, climate change, healthcare, criminal justice reform, unemployment, income inequality, regulatory reform, the energy sector, mental health, the opioid crisis, infrastructure, manufacturing, student loans, wall street reform, trade policy, global conflicts, immigration, etc. As an example, when it comes to tax reform, this burden is placed on the shoulders of our elected officials with very little education provided on the various schools of thought surrounding progressive, proportional, or regressive tax policies, macro or microeconomics and their effect on gross domestic product (GDP), or the successes or failures of previous legislative action. Often these officials receive summaries and assessments from a wide variety of sources, including their own office, that both support and oppose the bill.

“In recent years, there has been much talk about running the government like a business. The fervor for this model seems bolstered by the belief that there is a great deal of waste in the government. In contrast, private sector businesses are typically strategic and efficient.� IN BRIEF



“... sometimes the public’s lack of patience may kill the best laid plans.”

Moreover, sometimes the public’s lack of patience may kill the best laid plans. For example, changes to tax law could be composed in a clear manner with a well-developed strategy on steering the country in a direction that will stimulate the economy, reduce income inequality, reduce unemployment, and ensure stability, security, and progress for the country over the course of the next ten years. However, since Presidential term limits were enacted in 1951, we have only had one political party hold the Office of the President for more than eight years, and only once. (Reagan’s two terms followed by Bush’s one term.) This repeated change to the political party in power, by design, turns the tide of the policies in place, and we hypothesize the taxing theory may be overturned before it has a chance to succeed. We used the example of ten years, in the paragraph above, based on the terms of the Budget Reconciliation Act which has been a vehicle for change through the last few presidencies. Under the Budget Reconciliation Act, substantial changes to current law are permitted, so long as the changes comply with certain budgetary constraints which typically requires the changes expire after ten years. The changes to the tax code under George W. Bush




were made through the Budget Reconciliation Act, as well as Bill Clinton’s welfare reform, and Barack Obama’s budgetary amendments to the Affordable Care Act. Likewise, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was also passed under the Budget Reconciliation Act and accordingly the drafters faced the difficult decision of which tax cuts to select for expiration: the individual taxpayer cuts or the business tax cuts. The optics of giving preferential treatment to the businesses over the individual taxpayers may be devastating, however, permanence is a critical element to employing a tax policy that the marketplace embraces with a feeling of certainty. In the end, the TCJA scheduled many of the individual tax cuts to expire after ten years in order to provide permanence for the business tax cuts and encourage future tax planning, investments, and other economic decision-making by the business community. We will be watching for growth in our GDP, as well as for the reinvestment of the tax savings as evidenced by increases in hiring, salary raises, bonuses, and business spending on research, development, technology, expansion, and a variety of other investment decisions. We are hopeful, that as the business community adjusts to the newfound tax relief, the TCJA will provide a continued rate of growth for our robust economy.

State of the State

Professors Square Off at a Round Table

Andrew Spiropoulos

Linda Cavanaugh

Michael O'Shea

Art LeFrancois

Professor of Law


Professor of Law

Professor of Law

Nearly every law student, practicing lawyer, or person loosely considered to be in any field of law has fallen victim to the stereotype; the one that assumes if you want to go to law school, you must like to argue. There are few certainties in the field of law, but one of them is this: it is not about arguing.


The late Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Warren Burger said in 1980: “Lawyers must be legal architects, engineers, builders, and from time to time, inventors as well. We must continue to see our role as problem solvers, harmonizers, and peacemakers. The healers — not the promoters — of conflict.” In the spirit of peacemaking, problem solving, and — okay — a little good-spirited fun, we invited three of our own to sit down with longtime Oklahoma City journalist Linda Cavanaugh and discuss five hot-but-





ton topics. What unfolded was, well, inarguably thought-provoking. ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION OCCURRED 3/30/18. EDITED FOR LENGTH

LC: We have a lot to talk about today gentlemen, so let’s begin with education, because currently that's the topic on the minds of many people in Oklahoma. But the question is, does the recent legislation that passed take care of the situation? AS: I think the question ought to be, how do we improve student achievement rather than education. The truth is actually, we've had a massive increase in education spending. During Governor Fallin's tenure, state appropriations for education have gone up 200 million dollars even before this year. And I don't think you hear that in the debate. You hear exactly the opposite, which unfortunately is simply not true. The truth is, we've spent a lot more, and we've gotten very little. We've massively expanded education spending in this country, and this state, and we have had flat achievement, no change whatsoever in how students do. What's going to happen is that we're adding 450 million dollars in new spending to education because of the current bill on the table. Teachers will be happier, the adults will be happier, and it will have no effect whatsoever on what the actual problem is. The actual problem is that we have to innovate. The Reading Sufficiency Act, where we actually told students that if at the end of third grade you cannot read, you're not going to THE ACTUAL be able to go on to fourth PROBLEM IS grade, we've actually seen T H AT W E H AV E the effects from this reform. TO I N N OVAT E . Students have worked harder, they increasingly Andrew Spiropoulos passed, and their scores have increased, and reading skills have improved. That's the kind of thing we need to do. Will this new bill help teachers? Absolutely, teachers will be happier, teachers will be better off, they'll have better salaries. But I don't think we're necessarily going to compete any better with neighboring states, because I don’t feel we understand the problem. North Texas is the most productive, the most growing area of the country. Yes, we're losing teachers, and yes they're making more by moving south, but that's true for every occupation in Oklahoma, because we're right next to the country's largest generator of economic




growth. They beat and compete with us at will in this market. I'm supportive of the teacher pay raise even if I'm not supportive of how we financed it, although I think actually all things considered, it wasn't that bad. It's good to put it at the level it's supposed to be, but it's not going to deal with the real problem in any way, shape or form. It's just simply a way to get through this political crisis. LC: A lot of people point to the number of superintendents we have in the state of Oklahoma. High paid positions in districts where the student population really does not demand that type of position. Thoughts on that? AL: I don't know that that will make profound differences in terms of our school funding. But it is certainly a good idea, and it's something that needs to be done. AS: I agree. LC: Then what will make a difference to make our students compete nationally, and internationally anymore? Because as you said, we are in the lower percentage of student achievement. A lot of our kids graduate and can't even read. AL: I don't have any magic policy prescription for this one. I think a problem resides in families with parents who too often have low expectations, or a lack of interest in what their kids are doing in school, and a greater interest in their children's athletic achievements. This is a statewide issue, and not unique to Oklahoma. AS: I think that's right. MO: I think that's right too, although I’d express the cultural issues differently. The challenge of education in Oklahoma has a lot in common with the basic challenge of state governance today in relatively conservative and traditional states, and it's that this is an age of institutional failure. People rightly distrust institutions, and yet we still need them. It's particularly difficult at the state level, because of a lot of administrative bloat and the things that make parents and taxpayers skeptical about public schools are shaped by decisions made at the federal level, and state legislators can't directly act on those levels. AS: I think this is one of the reasons why we're in such an interesting political moment. Legislators are always unpopular, but this is epic. What this is really

MO: I wonder if there's a connection with the lack of localism. If there's more local control, that can be a basis for getting people more involved in schools and other institutions, because they can actually change the things they care about.

about is that everyone's unhappy. If you believe that we need to invest more in public education, you're unhappy for obvious reasons. We’ve had to tighten our belts, and education has taken less of a hit than everybody else, but it's taken one. But as Michael said, the other side's mad too. LC: You mentioned the family involvement. Have we lost individual responsibility? For instance, I was reading that they offered remedial classes during the summer for kids who needed it. Of the approximately 1600 kids in one district who could attend, only 200 did. Now where is the individual responsibility for getting your kids to school and working with them on homework at home? AL: That claim strikes me as a bit global in terms of individual responsibility. But I think I get what you're suggesting, and ultimately, I do think that the premise of your question is consistent with my comments regarding family responsibility, family concern, and family care. I'd want to look more closely at relevant data. There may be other reasons, including transportation opportunities and job responsibilities. There might be a number of families in Oklahoma who are really hard pressed to do the kind of thing you suggest. LC: Final comment?

AS: I think that's exactly right, because it's very difficult, as Art said, to deal with these cultural and family issues. There are certain things that public policy can't do, right? Part of the debate, and the reason it's so sterile, is that people say, "This is about poverty," which is true. But this is also about family issues and social dysfunction. They say, "We have to fix those issues, and we have to have a massive increase in spending." The problem, though, is that those problems are too big to be solved by public policy. What we can do is help those families who are poor, but actually have intact families and care about education. Make sure they have a place they can go, and that excellent schools are accessible to them. I think we should spend more money on education, but we need to do it in a way that is targeted — not just throwing money at the problem. LC: Could the answer be vouchers?

MO: Possibly. Those programs have promise, but there's also a lot of people who are understandably concerned about it being a foot in the door for the government into private schools in particular, and a lot of the strength of private schools is in responsiveness and the ability to shape their own community. It's only reasonable to expect, if you take the state's money, the I WONDER IF THERE'S A state's going to want to have some say in what you do with CONNECTION WITH THE it. The impulse behind it, giving LACK OF LOCALISM. people more options, is a good IF THERE'S MORE LOCAL one, as long as it's coupled with the ability to actually make deciC O N T R O L , T H AT CA N B E sions that matter for the school A BASIS FOR GETTING receiving the money. P E O P L E M O R E I N V O LV E D IN SCHOOLS AND OTHER



LC: As we're talking about education, with the current political situation, and the stories in the news, we have to talk about the shootings in schools, and what can be done. Are there constitutional ways to protect our kids, in your opinion? AL: To be sure. I don't want to



reject your question at all, but under the Fourth Amendment, we can certainly have magnetometers, and have kids pass through those to see if they have weapons. We can obviously lock doors, we can arm teachers and custodians, and everybody within a 100-mile radius of the school, and we can do all of that constitutionally. Well, maybe not the last one. I suppose some of those measures would indeed reduce the likelihood of a school shooting. More seriously, we can certainly harden our schools if we should choose to make that investment. MO: Colleges and universities in many states have been experimenting in recent years with letting staff and faculty, and sometimes students, who are licensed concealed carriers, to do so at school. I think that's worth exploring at the state level. At the same time, the horrible mass murder in Florida that put all of this on our collective attention was produced by this cascading series of failures of basic law enforcement. For example, the murderer made documented death threats to people long before this shooting but was never arrested. If he had a felony record, he would have had a harder time being armed and able to do this. Schools are also handicapped in their ability to intervene in dangerous cases like this because there's so much skeptical federal scrutiny of school disciplinary policies. It also takes us to the larger cultural context. Some people are now calling for not selling rifles to anyone under 21. But there are lots of older Americans who clearly remember when riflery clubs were commonplace in public high schools. The late Justice Antonin Scalia used to talk about how he often took his rifle with him on the subway ride to school, and events like mass shootings were unheard of. There may be a connection with the rise of fatherlessness today. There's clearly a larger failure of the culture to provide community and meaning to a lot of people, that's also at work in these horrifying events. AS: What these shooters did is inexcusable obviously, and they need to be punished to the full extent of the law. But it is coming out that there was real cruelty among the students at this school, and there's a lot of cruelty in our society. LC: Does social media play a role in this? AS: Oh absolutely. I have a 14-year-old, and an 11-year-old, and I see it particularly with the 14-yearold. It used to be that you might have heard later that




you didn't get invited to a party, but now you find out because someone posts during the party. MO: We keep circling back to the question: what can public policy do to heal cultural damage? AS: The answer can't be nothing. MO: I agree with that, too. AL: We do have an acute firearm violence problem OKLAHOMANS in Oklahoma. If you look at states like Texas, Florida, REPORT and Nevada, where some of THERE ARE these really terrible mass G U N S AT killings have occurred, those states rank better than HOME. Oklahoma does in terms of Michael O'Shea firearm violence. There may be some of these difficult-toget-at issues that we've been talking about, which really are not easy to analyze through data. I could be wrong about this Mike, but I think there’s not a huge number, comparatively, of Oklahomans who own guns. ... 40% OF

MO: The statistic I'm familiar with is that it’s about 40% of Oklahomans report there are guns at home. AL: OK. In 2016, we had over 750 gun deaths. The great majority, as is nearly always the case, were suicides, but there were a fair number of homicides as well. It's a problem. I don't know that I have a policy prescription for it, given our Second Amendment. My thought on gun violence generally is, it's too late. This problem is an American problem. From my perspective, it's a problem. We are very well armed, and I don't see how we can disarm ourselves. I don't know that the answer is going to be a gun policy answer. MO: Both homicide and suicide are serious problems, but they're very different public policy problems. There are different things you're going to do to try and solve them. There are essentially gun-free societies that have higher suicide rates than the United States does. AL: But not higher homicide rates. MO: And there are highly gun-restrictive jurisdictions in the United States that have much higher homicide rates than places like New Hampshire, where pretty much anything goes in terms of gun laws. The suicide issue, though, is sadly very relevant in some of the northern states and the more rural states. There

could be serious efforts at compromising on gun legislation. The efforts would have to be introduced at the national level, and again we come to the state versus federal problem. Again, people are now talking about restricting access to guns based on age; trying to prevent people from buying any rifle until they're 21. Yet the Boy Scouts of America have been taking young teenage kids and safely and positively training them to shoot rifles for generations. A law that says, "When you turn 18, you can't go buy the same rifle that you used to get your .22 merit badge in the Boy Scouts," is an attempt to stifle the gun culture. That's culture war. That is not violence reduction. The “shall-issue” concealed handgun carry permit statutes have been one of the most successful state regulatory measures of the past few generations in the United States. The results are in; the program works. The large majority of U.S. states make concealed carry permits available on a pretty straightforward basis to adults who have a clean record, go through a background check, and take some training. There's no reason for states like New York, and New Jersey, and California to remain holdouts on concealed carry. LC: Final thoughts?

AS: I think that the approach Michael laid out is what we need to do. I'm not talking about a specific policy, but about how we create public policy in general. I think we need to find ways in which both sides benefit and compromise. I think that's part of the cultural problems we've had in society. We've lost, to some degree, our ability to do that. We're so tribal that we will not sit down and make deals with each other. Deals require you to respect the other side, and give them something that they value. AL: I would only add, I don't know how sensible it is to declare, ab initio, something like raising an age limitation to be a sort of cultural war against gun culture. I'd be interested in data, which I haven't seen, about folks between the ages of 18 and 21 and gun violence. MO: That's sensible. LC: Gentlemen, another problem that we have to talk about in Oklahoma, because it drains our state funds, is prison reform. How do we fix this problem, where we're incarcerating so many, including those who are mentally ill? Where do we start? AL: I would suggest that we start by looking at data. Oklahoma lawmakers, and district attorneys who are very powerful on this issue, have been profoundly uninterested in seriously looking at data. The last I checked, Oklahoma incarcerates 149 out of every 100,000 women. The national average is 57, so that gives you some sense of the scale of difference. It’s huge. People have made jokes — they will say, "We just have a lot of mean women." But the choice of the word, "mean" is interesting, because that suggests that we have violent women who are committing crimes. That's not the right word, because so many people in prison in Oklahoma, perhaps especially women, tend not to be there because they're accused of doing something mean. They're far too often there because they've done something like possessing drugs. This is a huge problem in terms ... OKLAHOMA of our incarcerating men and women. I N CA R C E R AT E S We have unremit149 OUT OF EVERY tingly unforgiving 100,000 WOMEN. policies regarding incarceration. Those T H E N AT I O N A L policies end up also AVERAGE IS 57 ... disproportionately incarcerating people Art LeFrancois




a billion dollars a year. And there have been recent requests to up that by another billion. LC: Yet you talked about the state questions that voters passed, and we still can't get those put into actual practice. AL: It seems to me that people on the left of the political spectrum, like me, and people on the right of the political spectrum really are in agreement about this. It's odd that we can't get our act together in the state house more effectively than we have. of color. And we had two state questions last year, 780 and 781, that were passed by a good majority of Oklahoma voters, and were designed to scale down some felony drug possession issues to make those crimes misdemeanors. We're having a harder time than we ought to actually putting that legislation on the ground. But even if we do that really effectively, it will be a small dent in our ever escalating prison population. This is an issue where there are direct public policy and legal answers that we have yet to enact. LC: How do we change this? What do we do? AL: Change the law, change prosecutorial practices, bring maybe some notions of, I don't even want to say ... YOU forgiveness, but understanding and redemption to our TA L K E D criminal justice policies. It's ABOUT almost as though we want to T H E STAT E define ourselves by excluding others. It's an odd thing that QUESTIONS we do in a state that’s considT H AT ered to be a Bible belt state. I VOTERS would've thought that would PASSED, lead us to believe in people a bit more. It's kind of a global AND WE answer, but I think it's a real STILL one. If we didn't sentence CAN'T GET misdemeanants and felons to disproportionately long THOSE terms, and then make them PUT INTO serve a disproportionately ACTUAL long proportion of those PRACTICE. terms, that would go a long way to relieving this incredLinda ible pressure on our prison Cavanaugh system, where we spend half




AS: I agree with everything Art said, and it is strange that this is the one issue in which I think there is no disagreement on the background data. I think we're all on the same side about what's happening: that it's bad and it needs to change. AL: I think there are about 64,000 people in the Department of Corrections system right now. Something like 34,000 of them are outside prison walls, so they're on probation, on parole, or in diversionary programs. One of the things historically that we've not done a great job of in Oklahoma, in terms of our drug courts, is we have been surprised when people who are in drug courts act like addicts. Then we tend to come down on them in very rigorous, robust, hard ways, so that some people are actually disadvantaged by entering drug court because of the penalties that they ultimately end up paying. LC: Great thoughts, gentlemen. Let's move on to our next topic and talk about same sex marriage. AS: This is really several issues combined. The Supreme Court has settled on the issue of same sex marriage, so that states cannot ban it. The question then becomes, with people whose religious views lead them to disagree on moral grounds: will we protect their right to dissent? The Supreme Court says that the right to marry the person you love is protected by the due process clause, and I think we need to accept that. But I think if we look at this in the spirit of equal respect, people should have a right to disagree with each other about these issues. I think these issues can be resolved. AL: I think this is a really tough question, Linda, at least it is for me. In 1975, Oklahoma passed a statute defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and there have been legislative resolutions and a constitutional amendment to the same effect. So there's been a lot of legislation, and a lot of legisla-

tive energy spent on this issue. There are all kinds of vulnerabilities that LGBTQ people still have in Oklahoma. Professor and Judge Robert Bork said a long time ago something about how outlawing private acts of discrimination is a principle of unsurpassed ugliness. That's not the case for me. I can think of lots of principles that surpass that in ugliness, but that might just be me — particularly considering the three of us. I continue to be uncomfortable with this

AL: It's easy for me to imagine a religion that makes invidious discriminations based on race since they have been a reality in American history. AS: But also, the energy for both an abolitionism and for the Civil Rights movement came from the majority of Christians who saw slavery and segregation as being wrong. MO: There's no ambiguity about what side big business, for example, has come down on again and again with these types of sexual orientation laws. AL: Sorry — because it's unnecessary, or because it's objectionable in principle? I'm just wondering. I'm not sure I'm completely getting you in that laws should not get involved because we already have that big guy … MO: These laws operate in a larger political context that's already very charged. If you want to prevent the powerful from coercing dissenters in American life, there's a stronger case that the states should adopt laws that prohibit political discrimination in employment, which some other states already have. AS: Well, you really have two ways to resolve this issue, and I think we're going to go to the second. One way of handling this is not to have these laws at all, and you don't need the exemption laws, which would mean people should be able to discriminate in favor of hiring people who are gay and lesbian. AL: Right. But there's a radical asymmetry of numbers and power there.

potentially very large umbrella where I get to, as a citizen, exercise my right to be ugly to others. As a person, I am uncomfortable with the idea that I get to discriminate based on race. I see LGBTQ issues in a very similar light, so it's a hard one for me, and I'm nervous about the capaciousness of the umbrella of religious liberty. AS: But that's the problem, right? I’m not saying that I don't respect that point of view, but if we're making an analogy between racial bigotry and practicing religious faith, that's where we run into problems.

AS: Absolutely, I agree. Which is part of the reason I think it's not the way we're going. The second way that could work, is that you have the kinds of anti-discrimination laws that you're talking about. We have very few in Oklahoma. When you bring left and right together, you have the anti-discrimination provision, but you couple it with strong religious ... IF WE'RE exemptions to that law. The cultural war happens GOING TO HAVE when you do the anti-disL AW I N V O LV E D, crimination provision IT HAS TO but reject the religious exemption provisions. PROTECT BOTH SIDES FOR IT TO WORK. Andrew Spiropoulos


AL: Yet the cultural war goes on in the absence of any legislation at all. AS: And that's why I think



the libertarian model is ultimately being rejected. Nobody's happy with doing this through private society. We all want law involved in this. My point is that if we're going to have law involved, it has to protect both sides for it to work. I don't think it's good enough to have the Supreme Court do it through the constitution, because ultimately those protections will be weak. I'd much rather have these exemptions in statutory law, because I think they'll be stronger and more concrete. AL: I worry about the infinitude of exemptions that can be cast. AS: That's part of it. But it has to be a process of negotiation and compromise. We haven't even started that in Oklahoma yet because we don't even have anti-discrimination provisions in any meaningful measure. LC: Thank you. Switching topics, Oklahoma has had three years of budget shortfalls, and we can't seem to get a legislature that will get into the meat of the problem here in Oklahoma and present us with viable budgets. How do we get to that point, and what has been the hold up? AS: The problem is actually over. We have a $300 million dollar increase this year in appropriable funds. The state Board of Equalization did a good job of hiding the fact that we had this huge increase, but if you look at the underlying revenue numbers for the 2019 fiscal year, they're actually really good. I think the argument is that we need more revenue and more stable and increased revenue sources so that we don't have this happen again. But while I want a more stable revenue picture, I don't want more government because I think that hurts and undermines our economy. At the end of the day it's a dispute about how much government you want. LC: Is there a need for more oversight by individuals, by government agencies, by the people in charge of that departments? I mean when you have agencies that have overspent their budget by $300 and some million dollars in unaccountable funds, who's wrong? AL: I think about more than oversight Linda. Maybe foresight. Just planning long-term pension obligations for example. Oklahoma's not in the trouble that some states are, but that's not saying very much. If we could have a longer kind of temporal horizon when we make major revenue decisions in Oklahoma government, I think that might be helpful, but I'm no




expert in our state budget. I do think I have more faith than Andy does both in government and its ability to do things the right way. Historically in Oklahoma, we have been distrustful, as Mike suggested earlier, of large organizations, entities in general, and certainly the government, including the state government. I'm a little bit nervous about hamstringing ourselves H I S T O R I C A L LY in terms of our inability, absent any kind of legisIN OKLAHOMA, lative super majority, to WE HAVE BEEN increase taxes. DISTRUSTFUL ... OF LARGE O R G A N I Z AT I O N S, ENTITIES IN GENERAL, AND C E R TA I N LY T H E G O V E R N M E N T, INCLUDING T H E STAT E

LC: You talked about the super majority, and that of course is tied to state question 640, which requires, as I understand, a 75% majority to pass some of this new legislation regarding revenues. Does state question 640 need to be readdressed?

AL: In my world it does. I suspect Andy has a Art LeFrancois much different answer. For me, it's an unhealthy check on the ability of government to be flexible and do stuff. I think for Andy it's a super wholesome check on the government's ability to get even worse and spend more money on doing what it's already doing poorly, but I'll let Andy speak for himself. G O V E R N M E N T.

AS: I think that's fair. I'm not sure I would have drafted it the way it was drafted originally, but I will point out that I think part of the reason we've had problems with it over the past three years is because of the legislators not using it correctly. The point of 640 is actually to send these issues to the vote of the people, which can be done on a simple majority vote. Had they sent the tobacco tax to the people three years ago, you would've had three years of revenue because the people, according to the polls, overwhelmingly support it. It would've passed, and you would've had part of the crisis solved already. I am reluctant to amend 640 when we're actually not using it correctly. AL: Why is that?

AS: Well, that's a really good question, because I think legislative leaders are making mistakes. It can't be that they don't want to be on the record for voting to send the tobacco tax to the ballot, because a majority of their people have voted for the actual tax multiple times. I don't understand any of it, I don't understand the politics of it, I don't understand the policy of it. But I think things worked really well in the legislature for quite a long time. LC: So what happened? AS: From my point of view, two things happened. One, the new generation of legislative leaders are inexperienced. They came in after term limits. They don't know how the institution works. It's not their fault, they just don't have enough experience to run the body, and worse than that, none of their members do. Because of term limits, they have no incentive to work together. Why would you learn a job when you can only keep it, at best, for 12 years? I think Governor Fallin, as a leader, worked well at the beginning of her administration, in part because the economy was better, but I also think her style is not to be aggressive and push people to do things. She worked well with experienced legislative leadership

who knew what they were doing and could bring things to her. I think she had a hard time adjusting to legislative leaders who didn't understand the job as well. Consequently, I think she's been much more aggressive in the last year. But it took a long time for her to get to the point where she realized that things had changed and she needed to push things harder. AL: It's an irony that the state constitution kind of memorializes the will of the people, and it does so in a number of ways. We have all this stuff about the people’s will, and their direct ability to make law, and then you have 640 on top of that, which is about the people’s direct ability to make law in terms of revenue generation. I just don't get why it is that the legislature would refuse. LC: All right. Gentlemen, anything else? Thank you very much. Well done. Well done, indeed. What we heard was not only a conversation that inspired greater thinking and embodied respect for opposing beliefs, but an affirmation of what continues to set our school apart: a student body and faculty who embrace "diversity of experience and viewpoint" as both a core value of our mission ... and a deeply personal conviction.

To view highlights from the discussion, visit facebook.com/oculaw.



Maria, a category 4 hurricane, had made landfall in Puerto Rico, and we were heartbroken, shocked and scared. My friends and I still hadn’t heard from our families, and we were seeing the jaw-dropping images on the news coverage. “We” are a group of transplanted Puerto Ricans that I have known for years, some since childhood. This includes JJ Barea, Dallas Mavericks’ point guard, whom I became friends with in high school, Viviana Ortiz Barea (JJ’s wife), who happens to be a former Miss Puerto Rico, Carlos Rosado, owner of the Arsenal Dallas Volleyball Club, a friend of mine since I was five years old, and Lorenzo Prats and Zach Kamheih, who are both multifamily apartment construction superintendents. These individuals make up what I consider my second family, my Dallas family. These individuals helped make what I am about to describe a reality. But please know that there are many more who helped, donated, and worked long and hard hours to help provide assistance to those who needed it most.





Left: Loading the plane in Dallas, bound to Puerto Rico. Shown is the entire group mentioned in the article. Right: Joined by Puerto Ricans living in Dallas are Zach Kamheih, Braulio Gonzalez, Lorenzo Prats and JJ Barea.

As we watched, we all felt a duty to do anything and everything in our power to help our home, even if we were thousands of miles away. JJ Barea got the ball rolling when he decided to use his platform as an NBA player to begin a fundraising campaign. Viviana, his wife, immediately began contacting various

online fundraising platforms and crafting a message to not only raise funds but inspire our fellow Puerto Ricans in the US to join our efforts in assisting our home. As the fundraising campaign was getting off the ground, Carlos and his team at Arsenal began collecting donations of the most


needed articles in the immediate aftermath of hurricane Maria. They organized multiple donation centers and events assisted by members of the club and their families. Additionally, the “Puerto Rican� army in the DFW Metroplex got to work collecting enough goods to fill multiple 18-wheeler



“It looked like a bomb had exploded.”

trailers of donations. The efforts were truly overwhelming and emotional. At the same time, Mr. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, offered JJ any assistance we needed. JJ asked if it would be possible to use the team plane to transport all the donated goods to Puerto Rico, some 2,123 miles away. Mr. Cuban did not flinch, and within five minutes, he put JJ in touch with the crew that operates the Dallas Mavericks’ Boeing 757 airplane. All we needed now was the approval from the government to land in Puerto Rico, which was declared a disaster zone. After three days and nights of nonstop work, being driven by pure will and determination, the first flight departed for Puerto Rico at 5 a.m. on September 25, 2017. Over the next couple of weeks, the Dallas Mavericks’ plane embarked on a total of five flights, delivering over 100,000 lbs of bottled water, canned goods, first aid supplies, and other necessities to Puerto Rico. These were hectic and long days, loading the plane late into the night, and taking off at dawn on the five-hour flight, unloading in Puerto Rico, and then making the flight back to Dallas, all in the same day. The JJ Barea Foundation, which has been JJ’s main philanthropic effort, promotes the sport of basketball and rebuilds basketball

No bright colors, only bare trees, dirty water and just an overall dull appearance to the normally beautiful breathtaking picture.



courts in public schools in Puerto Rico to give back to the island’s community. The foundation was in charge of receiving and ensuring all aid would go to those who needed it most. The foundation is currently still involved in multiple projects that will continue to assist Puerto Ricans back home. The hardest part of this experience was landing in Puerto Rico for the first time. Usually, any Puerto Rican returning home looks forward to the beautiful clash of colors as you begin the decent into San Juan airport. The lush green from the mountains clashes with the bright blue ocean, which is all complemented by the color of the sand and the sun. On this occasion, this was not the case. Puerto Rico looked dead. No bright colors, only bare trees, dirty water and just an overall dull appearance to the normally


beautiful breathtaking picture. JJ has the best quote describing the scene: “It looked like a bomb had exploded.” Because of the actions of too many people to name, Puerto Rico is doing better today. However, six months after hurricane Maria made landfall, roughly 30% of the island is still without electric power, and the situation is still a humanitarian crisis. I say this not for any political reasons but because there is still much work to be done. If any of my fellow Oklahoma City University School of Law alumni can do anything to help, I ask that you please contact me, and we thank you. The JJ Barea Foundation is still working hard every day to make the situation in Puerto Rico better. For more information and how to help, email the JJ Barea Foundation at jjbareafoundation@gmail.com.

Oklahoma Education

Teacher Walkout BY LI N D S EY K A N A LY '10 ATTO RN E Y

Becki Murphy Francy was fed up with the lack of support teachers were receiving from state officials during the teacher walkout Spring of 2018 and decided as an attorney she was in the unique position to use her skill set to help.

BECKI MADE A REQUEST on the Girl AttorneyÂŽ Facebook group asking for at least 100 girl attorneys to show up to the Capitol and support the teachers. Susan Carns Curtiss '06, Founder and CEO of Girl AttorneyÂŽ, began this group in the summer of 2016 to support other women in their professional and personal lives after several years of navigating the maledominated jungle of practicing law. As girl attorneys, we are used to an uphill battle to be recognized as an equal. This battle at the Capitol was no different.

Girl attorneys from across the state joined forces to support our clients, our teachers. This was personal. These were our children's

teachers that needed our help. Becki placed our elected officials on notice in a post that was shared over 11,500 times, and in a span of four to five days, we did what we do best; we went to work. We researched bills, created talking points with pros and cons, and made appointments with elected officials to discuss the issues. We demanded our elected representatives be able to speak intelligently about the merits and potential pitfalls of each proposal. We also expected a representative who was ideologically opposed to a particular proposal to be prepared to present a detailed

alternative. If a representative was unwilling to participate in discussing properly funding education, then we would work to find a replacement and work to get someone in office willing to do what is right. We weren’t coming to advocate for one side or the other on any particular bill; we came to negotiate a solution and to find a middle ground. It was the morning of April 9th, 2018, and we gathered at the Oklahoma Bar Association. As more and more arrived, I began to realize we were quickly exceeding 200 girl attorneys. We were ready to show our teachers what they

meant to us. After all, we wouldn’t be where we are now if it weren’t for the terrific teachers that cultivated us through the years. As we proceeded toward the Capitol, we saw signs thanking the “Women in Black.” The crowd created a path that led right up to the entrance of the Capitol (a place that I could not enter on three different occasions the week prior due to capacity limitations). Teachers cried, high-fived, hugged, and cheered as we marched our way through. I was moved to tears thanking each one of them because they were the heroes, not us. They showed our children how much their future meant to them. Over the course of the day, we participated in meetings with at least 26 Republicans

As we proceeded toward the Capitol, we saw signs thanking the “Women in Black.”

and 14 Democrats. We met with over 2,000 teachers to hear their concerns and advise where we could. Later that evening, members of Girl AttorneyÂŽ met to discuss the vision for the future of this movement. Interdisciplinary committees were formed to address several core issues, which

can be found at See You Monday on Facebook. We are still talking to legislators every single day. There is not a single solution to the problems plaguing education in Oklahoma; there are many, and the girl attorneys are working to identify each of them. You may not see us


marching in the street, but you better believe, we are there, we see you, we hear your cries, and we are committed to ensuring the children of Oklahoma receive the funding they so desperately need. We will not stop until this is achieved.




Alumni Profile

I believe that I



Why did you decide to go to law school? Was it a particular experience or passion that guided you? I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be lawyer. I admired the practice of law and, as I got older, I felt confident that working in the field would consistently challenge me to be better with each case/ matter that I handled. The fact that a law degree could be used in a wide range of fields was also attractive to me.

Tell us what it was like to work for Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. as Corporate Counsel and about your current position at Atlantic Casualty Insurance Company. What does your everyday look like? For Hobby Lobby, I handled a variety of different matters. In the beginning of my time at Hobby Lobby, I spent most of my days negotiating commercial contracts, mainly real estate leases. Negotiating, I believe, is one of my strong suits. I enjoy the back and forth and the satisfaction that comes when you are able to achieve the desired result for the client.


Class of 2012

at Hobby Lobby, the General Counsel approached me about the need for counsel in the company's risk management department. I accepted the position and became Senior Counsel for Risk Management. My role in risk management was broad but primarily involved handling personal injury cases resultant from the store operations as well as motor vehicle accidents, which involved Hobby Lobby's fleet vehicles and tractor-trailers. I also advised regarding employment matters and assisted in the redrafting of company documents such as policy and procedure manuals as well as employee handbooks, etc. In 2016, I married the love of my life and relocated to North Carolina to be with him. I am now counsel for Atlantic Casualty Insurance Company (ACIC).

Due to my background in insurance, shortly after I began

As current counsel for ACIC, which is an excess and surplus lines commercial insurance company, I handle personal injury and construction defect cases resultant from the activities of the named insureds. I also handle insurance coverage lawsuits wherein declaratory judgments are sought to determine rights and responsibilities under the



"The nationwide can ATTORNEYÂŽ do all things GIRL throughmeans Christ Community who that strengthens women attorneys have4:13) a me. (Philippians place, matter I'mno convinced where they are that if God be from, who they for me, who can know, or where be against me? they are in their(Romans career, 8:31) to network directly Biblical principles withhelp otherguide women my attorneys who... steps want to support, encourage, and challenge one another."

respective policies. Finally, I conduct legal research to advise company executives regarding the status of the law in certain areas and make recommendations accordingly.

What do you enjoy most about being a corporate counsel? As corporate counsel, I enjoy the variety. On one day I could be asked to research the status of the law in Georgia on punitive damages, the next day I could be

asked to advise on how to handle an EEOC or even insurance department complaint, and the following day I could be asked to come up with a litigation strategy to assist bringing a complex case to resolution. I get to become knowledgeable in a wide array of matters, and I am consistently challenged to find the right answers and to provide clear, concise and defensible advice to my client(s). As a young

lawyer, I believe it is critical to keep learning and keep growing so that you are always sharp and never complacent. This way, you provide your best service.

What inspires you? My faith. I believe that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I believe that no weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17). I'm convinced that if God be for me, who can be against

"Keep your skills sharp. Never stop learning. Never stop growing. Learning doesn't stop after law school. Stay upto-date on relevant case law, read the bar journal, identify a mentor and actually spend time with them, asking them questions." me? (Romans 8:31). These and so many other biblical principles help guide my steps and keep me encouraged on a daily basis.

What advice would you give a young lawyer starting out in their career? Keep your skills sharp. Never stop learning. Never stop growing. Learning doesn't stop after law school. Stay up-to-date on relevant case law, read the bar journal, identify a mentor and actually spend time with them, asking them questions. Also, make connections whenever you can; you never know where your next job offer will come from.

What are some interesting facts about you that we may or may not already know? I'm obsessed with Shark Tank. There's no such thing as too much coffee.


Previous Page: Youngest son Jayden Percy. Top: Oldest son Braeden Percy. Bottom: Brandi and her grandmother Annie Grant.

Alumni Profile


Theopolis Holeman

Class of 2012

Why did you decide to go to law school? Was it a particular experience or passion that guided you? I always had an affinity for the practice of law. I took a leap of faith while working in the I.T. Department at Devon and decided to go to law school. I came to the conclusion that having a technical background combined with legal training would help to create a niche for myself. A mentor of mine told me that I “needed to take risks in order to grow.� Thankfully it worked out.

What do you think makes a good leader? Aside from being technically astute and consistently honing your craft, I think servant leadership is the foundation of any great leader. Those who are willing to be selfless, accountable, and are able to exhibit humility. Individuals who are able to inspire others to consistently want to do better, to aim higher. Those are some examples of great characteristics of an effective leader.

You are involved with many different civic and philanthropic organizations. Why do you think it is important to give back to your community?

Chad with his two brothers, Chris and Chandler, and their late father Theopolis Holeman. Right: Chad was awarded the Top FUNraiser Award for the Oklahoma City region for this year’s Bowl-a-thon for Junior Achievement.

I believe we are all called to give back to our communities to make them better places and to lend support to those in need. For me, it’s a nondiscretionary requirement. Whether you give back financially or with your time or your talents, it’s extremely important.

Tell us about your work with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I participated in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Man & Woman of the Year” campaign in 2015. My dear friend Sammye Cravens, who at the time was battling Lymphoma, asked me to participate. I accepted the invitation because (1) I lost my Dad to a blood cancer in 2013 after a courageous fight, (2) Sammye asked me, and (3) I researched the work LLS was doing to combat blood cancers. I was amazed at the impact LLS had, and I wanted to join the fight to raise money and awareness to eradicate this disease. The reality

is blood cancers affect all families in one way or another. I want to do anything I can to help. To that end, I now serve on the board of directors for the LLS Oklahoma City region.

Tell us about your work with Junior Achievement of Oklahoma. What is so meaningful about this organization? Junior Achievement (JA) is an outstanding organization I’ve been blessed to have been affiliated with for the past nine years. JA’s mission is to educate children K-12 about financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness skills. I’ve taught in classrooms at different elementary, middle and high schools over the years. Students at all levels have been very engaging in those classroom sessions, asking questions and thinking about their futures in different and dynamic ways. I believe that preparing our youth for the future is vitally important, and JA’s curriculum and materials help to provide


practical applications to theoretical principles kids learn in school.

You have worked for Devon Energy for the past 16 years. Tell us about your time there and how things have changed for you with the evolving oil and gas industry. I feel extremely blessed to have worked at Devon for the past 16 years. I have worked with some great people over the years, and Devon has afforded me the opportunity to grow professionally and personally. My role has changed as a result of the multitude of technological advancements that have and continue to take place in our industry.

I think servant leadership is the foundation of any great leader. OKLAHOMA CITY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW


Alumni Profile


Carns Curtiss

Why did you decide to go to law school? Was it a particular experience or passion that guided you? In the Spring of 2002, I served as a juror in an Oklahoma County bad faith insurance trial. The trial was a week and a half long, so I had pretty decent exposure to what trial work looks like — from the jury box. I was fascinated, and a few months later I set up a meeting with the judge who presided over the case, Judge Nancy Coats, in hopes of finding out more about what I could expect to have ahead of me if I, too, chose to become an attorney. Following that meeting with the judge, still interested and looking for more time in the courthouse to be exposed to the practice of law, I reached out to Judge Coats again and offered to make her coffee and sweep her floors. Judge Coats let me know that she already had folks who did those things for her – but, she was nice enough to invite me to come “volunteer” at her office instead. As a volunteer a couple of times a week for about a year, I had the opportunity to read pleadings, observe oral arguments, watch more jury trials, see several bench trials, and help get the current Mental Health Court launched. I



Class of 2006

definitely got a much broader view of what the practice of law looks like – though still, particularly, litigation. It’s really no surprise that when I finally graduated law school, I started a career in the courtroom.

You started Girl Attorney® in 2010. Tell us where the idea of Girl Attorney® came from and a little more about it. In the fall of 2010, I had recently begun working at a large law office in Oklahoma City. My job responsibilities included vetting cases for possible representation. For the convenience of those I connected with by phone, I developed a habit of ending those conversations with, “Here’s my name and my direct line, but also, if you lose this information – just call back, and ask for ‘the girl attorney.’” I was the only female attorney that worked at that office, so – no matter who answered the phone – the caller would easily find their way back to me. A few years later (having tried, as lead/solo counsel, more than a dozen jury trials by then), while attending a trial lawyers’ conference, I noticed I was one of no more than five women there – out of well over 100 lawyers.


"The nationwide GIRL ATTORNEY® Community means that women attorneys have a place, no matter where they are from, who they know, or where they are in their career, to network directly with other women attorneys who want to support, encourage, and challenge one another."

What’s more, over the course of that multi-day conference, I was repeatedly mistaken for someone’s spouse. There I was – with my people  – but, simply for being female, I was also virtually unrecognizable to them. On the last day of the conference, from my back-corner-of-the-largeconference-room seat, I  thought about the role of my femininity in this male-dominated field. Naturally (for me), my mind wandered to the possibility that there was  some  source of solace to be found online. So, I searched

that mean to you, and what does it mean for all women attorneys? The nationwide GIRL ATTORNEY® Community [of many Facebook Groups, and the home-offFacebook website] means that women attorneys have a place, no matter where they are from, who they know, or where they are in their career, to network directly with other women attorneys who want to support, encourage, and challenge one another. For me, it means I am in awe of the responsibility I have been given to be a good steward of these networking spaces. It also means, for me, that the most important thing I accomplish with my law degree may be the decision to start a Facebook Group for 47 of my attorney girlfriends. A likelihood that makes me laugh … and also makes me proud, and really really not want to mess it up.

Have you read any good books lately that inspired you? Yes! I recently finished a couple of books that have inspired me in different ways. the internet, and was surprised to find – I could not find anything. I found stories and articles about working women in general, and working female attorneys specifically – some books, sure; but I did not find a community. Before I got up from my seat that day I searched for – and bought – girlattorney.com. Still, another few years went by before, and it wasn’t until the summer of 2016, that the first GIRL ATTORNEY® Facebook Group was launched. With thousands of members within

just a few weeks’ time, the “home off of Facebook” (the actual website: www.girlattorney.com) was launched the following spring, on March 15, 2017 (a.k.a. Justice Ginsburg’s birthday). To date, we have approximately twenty active state groups, connecting more than 16,000 women from across the country. Every state, in fact, has its own unique group ready to go, though some are still waiting for the group to be launched.

Girl Attorney® started here in Oklahoma, but is now nationwide. What does


Sisters In Law tells the story of both Justice O’Connor's and Ginsberg’s path to the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as their somewhat-unlikely friendship. There were a couple of takeaways that I found compelling: first, the way in which Justice Ginsberg laid the groundwork for equality for women through the law. In many ways, it was by first arguing that men should not be treated differently in the law because of their gender: fascinating, and brilliant. Secondly, I was quite surprised to learn that O’Connor was both pro-life, but



also supportive of Roe v. Wade. I’d never heard about it, and it is a set of positions that we rarely hear of as being congruent — yet, this founding-female leader, has modeled for us that both can be true for one person. Again, encouraging and compelling.

Tell us about your law practice and how you started your own firm. My law firm is a full-service Personal Injury litigation practice. I like to say, I got here via the scenic route (ha!)… I started my career as in-house defense counsel for Farmers Insurance Company. After three years, and twelve jury trials, I began to question if my opportunity to go to law school was really for the purpose of, as I put it then, “saving an insurance company money.” While I have never questioned the legitimacy of the defense attorney role in the legal community, and I believed I was fortunate to be able to learn it from some of the best in the business, I was not finding the personal level of meaningfulness in my work there — that I sought to gain from my career. About that time, a plaintiffs’ firm reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in switching to that side of the same work. Well, yes. For the next three years, I worked at that law firm. Again, I was fortunate to work with such highly-skilled and wonderful people. After several years, then, I took the dive and became my own boss. In all seriousness, it was a role that I had said for years I would never have. “I want to be able to simply show up and do the work – I do NOT want to keep the lights on.” It seemed too intimidating, too risky. But



one day, more or less, I took the plunge — and have, more or less, absolutely loved having my own firm ever since.

What are some interesting facts about you that we may or may not already know? The verdict for the case in which I was a juror, and which led me to law school, became a landmark bad faith case in Oklahoma — Badillo v. MidCentury. It was a 2.1 million dollar verdict for the plaintiff, and I talked the ninth (last) person into signing the verdict form. It seemed deliberations were at a standstill (8 plaintiff – 4 defendant). It was suggested that


those of us who’d said we wanted a plaintiff ’s verdict explain how we came to our decision. After I spoke, that last-signing juror pointed at me, and said, “What she said, I’ll sign.” Now, here’s the really interesting fact… Mr. Paul Middleton, my eventual boss at the Farmers Insurance Company had given testimony for hours in that trial (and, yes, they did know before they hired me!). Also, in yet another unexpected career twist, I’m currently litigation co-counsel with Mr. Badillo’s counsel in that case for which I was a juror, Mr. Mark Bialick. My life in the law has truly come full circle.


Class Notes 1965



William Brown recently retired after 52 years as a member of the State Bar of Texas and from the practice of nuclear energy law with the federal government, which included a detail to the White House for a little over two years heading a committee of the National Security Council.

Thomas Mirabile returned from Dalain, China, where he was teaching at the medical school. He is still practicing law in Wheaton, Illinois, and is on the faculty of the Masters of Public Health program at Benedictine University.

Robert Black joined the Oklahoma City-based law firm Miller & Johnson as a trial attorney.

1972 Gerald Taylor retired from the Fort Gibson School Board after 27 years.

1973 Pete White will be inducted into the Oklahoma City Community College Alumni Hall of Fame in November. He also received the “Pathmaker Award” from the Oklahoma City/ County Historical Society.

1979 Andy Benton was elected chair of the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). He also announced his intent to conclude his presidency at Pepperdine University at the end of the 20182019 academic year. David W. Echols was appointed to the Oklahoma City Community College Board of Regents.

1980 Renee Demoss was named to the Best Lawyers in America list.

1982 Walter Jenny was elected to a fouryear term on the Virginia Democratic Party's State Central Committee and the 9th Congressional District Committee. Gayle L. Barrett was ranked as a Senior Statesman in Chamber & Partners' 2018 USA Directory.

1984 Howard Pallotta took a position as Senior Counsel at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Carolyn Thompson of Edmond received the Alma Wilson Award for an OBA member making a significant contribution to improving the lives of Oklahoma children.


Jon Downward was elected as the Bank of Sullivan chairman of the board.

1985 Steven S. Camp joined the Banking & Finance team for Husch Blackwell’s Texas offices.

1986 Connor L. Helms opened Helms Law Firm in Oklahoma City.

1987 David Dobson was elected to the board of directors of the Andrews Davis Law Firm.

1988 Kayce Gisinger was promoted to director and shareholder for Phillips Murrah law firm in OKC.



1989 Dr. R. Darryl Fisher, retired surgeon, received the East Central University’s Distinguished Service Award for 2018.

1990 Maria Paris Newill was named one of the top workers’ compensation attorneys in the Delaware Today Top Lawyers survey. Nikki P. Miliband was named the Orange County Bar Association President.

1991 Christina Melton Crain received the Dallas Business Journal’s 2017 Women in Business award.

1992 Beverly Ann Palmer was a recipient of the 2017 Mona Salyer Lambird Spotlight Award. Kevin P. Freeman joined Electrical Consultants Inc. in their corporate offices in Billings, Montana, as their first in-house counsel.

1993 Jim Banowsky joined the AmpThink technology company as general counsel.

1994 Eric L. Johnson was selected for inclusion in the 2018 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. He was also named a 2018 "Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation - Banking and Finance.


Scott Rowland was appointed to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. Tom Bates became the interim commissioner for the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Michael J. LaBrie a nine-time honoree, was honored as a top-ranked lawyer in the field of intellectual property law by the 2018 Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.

1995 Scott D. Meaders was appointed as a Comanche County district judge. April Collins was sworn in as a special judge for the 7th Administrative Court for the State of Oklahoma.

1996 Michael McGurk established a new firm in McAllen, TX, named McGurk Cordova Nixon. Keith Tracy announced the formation of Keith Tracy PLLC. Laura Corbin was appointed as associate district judge for Johnston County, OK. Michael Vogt was an inductee for the Affton Education Hall of Fame in Missouri.


1997 Sarah Miller joined the Tulsa office of Hall Estill and was selected as a member of the 2018 Direct Women Board Institute class.

1999 Patricia A. Rogers was recognized for her work in the field of healthcare law for the seventh time by the 2018 Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.

2000 Norma L. Garcia, Associate General Counsel - International Legal Affairs for RentA-Center, Inc., was the recipient of this year’s Dallas Hispanic Bar Association’s (DHBA) 2017 Corporate Counsel Diversity Award.

2001 Niki Lindsey was one of the featured speakers for the Chickasaw Historical Society “Ittafama Ithana” Conference in Sulphur, OK. Judge Cindy Truong was a recipient of the 2017 Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Diversity Award from the Oklahoma Bar Foundation.

2002 Jason Lowe was presented with the Outstanding Service to the Public Award at the 2017 OBA Annual Meeting.


Lindsey Kanaly was named to the OK Gazette's 2017 40 Under 40 Class. Kara Smith was a recipient of the 2017 Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Diversity Award from the Oklahoma Bar Foundation.

2004 Brandon Long was elected President–Elect of the Southwest Benefits Association and named a “Notable Practitioner” in the field of employment law by the 2018 Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.

2005 Rebecca Rigdon was named town attorney of New Milford, Connecticut. Amy Howe was selected for Oklahoma Magazine’s 2018 class of 40 Under 40.

2006 Kim A. Tran joined the law firm of Fellers Snider and was awarded the Oklahoma Super Lawyers Rising Stars Award for 2016-17. Lori Rook, partner and managing member of Ozarks Elder Law in Springfield, Missouri, was featured in the Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s “Up & Coming” section.

Tamya Cox was a recipient of the 2017 Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Diversity Award from the Oklahoma Bar Foundation.

2007 Carrie Vaughn rejoined the Oklahoma City law firm of Spencer Fane. Lloyd Brent Palmer opened a branch office of his Ada law firm, Palmer Law PLC, in Coalgate, OK.

2008 Bryon J. Will was presented with the OBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for service to the profession. Trevor Pemberton was appointed to fill the Office 13 district judge vacancy in Oklahoma County. Reginald Smith completed the London Marathon in April 2018.

2009 Kelly M. Parker became a shareholder of the Oklahoma Citybased law firm Lamun Mock Cunnyngham & Davis PC. Lori Walke was a keynote speaker for the Oklahoma Conference of Churches’ 35th Annual Day at the Legislature. David Holt was elected Mayor of Oklahoma City.

2010 Todd A. Murray joined the Oklahoma Citybased firm Jennings Teague PC.

Reid McCain was elected as the Harrison County Criminal District Attorney in Texas. John P. Cannon opened Cannon Law Firm, PLLC, a firm focusing on criminal defense and family law in Edmond, OK. Kari Hoffhines was promoted to director at the law firm of Crowe & Dunlevy. Allen Huton was promoted to director at the law firm of Crowe & Dunlevy. John Cannon recently opened Cannon Law Firm, PLLC, specializing in criminal defense and family law.

2011 Sonya Carrillo became Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lorenzo Banks was selected as a member of the Oklahoma City LOYAL XIII class. Jeffrey Graham joined the newly created Haupt Law Firm PC, founded by alumnus Robert Haupt. Lysbeth George was selected for Oklahoma Magazine’s 2018 class of 40 Under 40.

2012 Tiece Dempsey was presented with the OBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for service to the profession.

Mackenzie Smith joined the OKC firm McAfee & Taft.

2013 Lauren Brown was selected for Oklahoma Magazine’s 2018 class of 40 Under 40. John Kim was hired as title manager for Prairie Oil & Gas.

2014 April Coffin became a partner at Gum, Puckett & Mackechnie, LLP. Travis Weedn was selected as a member of the Oklahoma City LOYAL XIII class. Kyle Domnick was named a partner at Hodgden Law Firm in Woodward, OK.

2015 James J. Biscone was selected as a Next Generation Under 30 award recipient. Travis Brown was selected as a Next Generation Under 30 award recipient.

Aubrey Weaver joined the Oklahoma City office of Gungoll Jackson. Kristin Richards was selected for Oklahoma Magazine’s 2018 class of 40 Under 40. Jesse Gordon joined Farzaneh Law Firm.

2018 Aimee (Phillips) Majoue will publish “A Practical Guide to Ending Homelessness” in the spring 2018 edition of the Seattle Journal for Social Justice. She will begin work this fall in the litigation department of Crowe and Dunlevy.

Bria Hanlon was selected as a Next Generation Under 30 award recipient.

2016 Telana McCullough was selected as a Next Generation Under 30 award recipient and a member of the Oklahoma City LOYAL XIII class.

2017 Katie Wagner joined the OKC firm of Hall Estill.

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.

Russell Lissuzoo joined the OKC firm McAfee & Taft.




Alumni Profile

Dorothy Lawson

Class of 1967

Tell us about your career. Immediately after graduation from law school, I practiced law (solo) for 5 ½ years – focusing on financial planning and probate. I also had a contract with Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities to handle all their adoption cases. I first worked in Texas implementing the Medicare and disability law. This meant calling on hospitals, clinics, doctors and local social security offices about this law and what they must do to implement the law. My territory was the central and eastern part of Texas. Then I moved on to become the attorney advisor for the Chief Administrator Judge in our region located in Dallas. Afterwards, I became the training officer for the eastern half of the U.S., training in all the major cities from Oklahoma and Texas to Manhattan Island, NY, and in between, I was then stationed in Oklahoma City while doing these duties.

I continued to perform these duties and reviewing claims cases on appeals in Oklahoma City and supervising staff writers who wrote decisions for all the judges. My work over the 50 years was so varied that it is hard for me to write all the assignments I had.

You have traveled to 100 foreign countries. Do you have a favorite, and why? Of course, USA comes first – but we are talking about foreign countries. I loved all of them. Each has something to offer. But I would say it is the British Isles. They speak our language – only it is so proper and concise – I just love to hear them talk. The first time I was there, I saw all the British out walking their dogs, morning and evening, and I just love dogs. Also, in the little villages, each home had a flower garden. The villages were so cute!

"I find it fascinating how each country had their own law they were guided by, which is so different from ours. Traveling is such a learning process." 94



With your travels you have witnessed and encountered different cultures across the globe. What do you take away from these experiences? I love visiting homes, castles, cathedrals and churches in all the countries I visit. I was awed by what was built decades ago. They did not have the tools and assets we have today, yet they built these magnificent structures. We learn so much by seeing other parts of the world and how they lived. I noted what the land looked like, what they wore, what

they ate, what work they did and how they entertained themselves. I find it fascinating how each country had their own law they were guided by, which is so different from ours. Traveling is such a learning process.

What are some interesting facts about you that we may or may not already know? I love houses with long front porches – also back porches – they look so inviting – telling you to please come in and chat. I love both domestic and wild animals. I want to save them all. My favorite are dogs and elephants.

What has been your favorite moment from your career as an attorney? Going to law school was exciting to me – it was something new to

learn. But I believe as a career lawyer, I got my most enjoyment training new lawyers coming into our agency and seeing them grow in knowledge and stature. One other comes to mind when I represented our agency on an appeal to the Circuit court sitting in Denver, Colorado. I lost! But that was very exciting to be before those judges of the 10th Circuit.

We hear that you have a wheat farming operation here in Oklahoma. Tell us about how that got started and what you enjoy most about it. I was born on a farm and loved farming activities of all types. I have seen my family struggle through the Great Depression, through storms and not having modern tools to work with – yet they hung on for the better times

Oklahoma County Bar honoring those who had been lawyers for 50 years. Right: Dorothy with friends at the OSU vs. OU football game at St. Ann’s Retirement Center.

which eventually came. My daddy always said, “The farm feeds the world – they cannot do without us.” I admire farmers and their love of their land. I love my farm. My mother and daddy encouraged me to invest in farm land. I bought my first farm while in law school, and the lawyer handling the sale brought the abstract up to me to decide if the seller had a good deed. I now own/rent four farms and love to go out and see them at planting and harvesting time. One of the farms that I own is known as a “Centennial Farm” – meaning it has been in the same family for 100 years and the same family has owned or operated it for 100 years. It was homesteaded by my grandfather, now owned by me and farmed by my cousin.

Alumni Profile

Marlo Lyons

Class of 2002

"... a good leader listens, makes timely decisions, knows how to delegate, empowers others to own their domains, inspires others to be creative and innovative at the same time ..." Tell me about yourself. Where are you from originally? Where did you go to college and what was your major? I’m originally from NJ. I went to The George Washington University in D.C. and received a B.A. in Political Communication. This goes to show that your degree is not always your future.

Why did you decide to go to law school? Was it a particular experience or passion that guided you?


much longer TV news would be around since people were getting news online. So, shortly after I accepted a job at KWTV as a Consumer Investigative Reporter, I applied to OCU’s evening law school program. Fortunately, Griffin Communications was very supportive.

You attended law school at night while working as a fulltime television news reporter. What was that like?

I always thought about going to law school, but it wasn’t until I was terminated from a TV news job that I realized I needed a backup career. The internet was taking off, and I wasn’t sure how

I went to work at 8:30 am and appeared on the 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. news with consumer stories. Some nights after class ended at 9 p.m., I would meet the live truck for a 10 p.m. live shot with an investigative story. Since I was working all



day and in school all night, I only studied on the weekends. I used vacation days for exams. So, it felt insane! But looking back now, we had students who were working full-time and going to night law school and had little children at home. As a parent now, I have great admiration for those students who made it through.

What do you think makes a good leader? I could write a book on this. In short, a good leader listens, makes timely decisions, knows how to delegate, empowers others to own their domains, inspires others to be creative and innovative at the same time, and communicates often with confidence.

Streaming devices for your TV are the hottest item right now. What is it like working in this industry for Roku, Inc.? It is incredibly invigorating to work at Roku, because we are the leader in (Over-the-top) OTT with a fraction of the manpower and resources of our biggest competitors (Amazon, Apple & Google). I wake up excited to go to work every day, because I work in a “disruptive” company which is at the forefront of the streaming industry, and we continue to increase our lead over our competitors because our products are the best.

You previously worked for Viacom, a company that includes MTV, TV Land, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and so much more. What was your day-to-day like? At Viacom, I ran the Production Risk Team. So, we conducted background checks, psychological evaluations and medical checks on all of the reality participants. We also handled child labor, immigration, foreign travel

and worked with the safety and security teams. It was great cocktail party conversation. I know all the intimate details of the casts of Teen Mom, Real World, Catfish, Jersey Shore and Are You the One? Before that, I vetted the casts of The Apprentice, Real Housewives, etc. at NBC. I wish I kept a journal.

Tell us about your work with the Holocaust Victims’ Reparation Program. How did you get involved and what impact did that have on you? Volunteering has always been important to me. At Bet Tzedek, I helped a Holocaust Survivor apply for reparations, pensions and other benefits from Germany for the horrors bestowed upon him during the Holocaust. This man had to recount details of how he survived Auschwitz and a Death March to Wodzislaw Slaski. He was applying for reparations so he could afford to take his grandchildren to Disneyland. This was one of the most profound experiences in my life.

What are some interesting facts about you that we may or may not already know?

I am actually on my 8th career. I have been a TV news associate producer, TV News reporter in 5 states, an operations attorney for an insurance company, an entertainment lawyer managing reality show diligence and production risk, a screenwriter, a movie producer, a certified executive and career coach, and an HR Business Partner. Some I was successful in, and some I failed in. But I tried my best in all. Soon I will be an author as I am writing a book on reinventing yourself. I think I have some expertise in that area.

What has been your favorite moment being an attorney? Helping the president of MTV tell an A-list singer she couldn’t open the show by flying in an unmanned drone (remote controlled from the ground) over a stadium of people at the MTV Music Awards because it was illegal. I helped him position it in such a way that would keep the singer from pulling out of the show entirely. She performed and rocked the house in five costume changes.

Marlo with Roku Creative Team

Alumni Profile


Rubio MacWright

Tell me about yourself. Where are you from originally? Where did you go to college and what was your major? I was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. I was on my second year of law school when, at age 19, I had to leave the country and start a new life in Florida. Two years later, I graduated from college with a BFA (bachelor in fine arts) and, in looking to expand my understanding of the law and this country, law school seemed like the next step. My art and my law have always been connected; I make art about issues I find in the law, and I approach my law practice in a very creative “out of the box” way. They work with and for each other.

Why did you decide to go to law school? Was it a particular experience or passion that guided you? My parents are both attorneys, their passion and success has been a fountain of inspiration throughout my life. Their careers were always part of our family life. Their ambition allowed us to travel all over the world as kids; that simple act solidified the notion of achieving dreams when you believe in yourself.



Class of 2006

"Knowing I couldn’t truly bring change in my country given its reality gives me so much fuel to fight for my dreams in this country, because the roadblocks here don’t necessarily imply death." Unequivocally, I have always been very passionate about equality and protecting people’s freedoms. I felt like I lived in a prison in Colombia, always fearing for my life coupled with the impotence felt as a result of our corrupt legal system. Knowing I couldn’t truly bring change in my country given its reality gives me so much fuel to fight for my dreams in this country, because the roadblocks here don’t necessarily imply death. Fighting for freedom and those that are so invisible, in whichever way I can, has been my compass throughout my life and it continues to be.

You are an accomplished artist whose work highlights many pressing issues such as immigration, refugees, activism and so much more. What drives you to create this work, and what do you hope others take from it?


My experience has always dictated the work either as a lawyer or as an artist, both living in synchronicity. Given my focus on freedoms, I highlight a lot of the problems in our legal system, especially our criminal and immigration law system. I am so proud of this young nation, but there are so many very serious issues that must be addressed, and sometimes elucidating those with conversations and words doesn’t cut it. This is where there is no question that art is much more effective at evoking feelings and hopefully awakening the audience into caring about these issues.

Over the last few years, we have seen an uprising in women speaking up and taking a stand for their equal rights through events like marches and movements like #MeToo. What does this time

fought for our rightful place in the workplace, but industries and our laws have not adapted to our needs. We’ve had enough, we will no longer be complacent about this, which means, if a workplace is not up to date with flex schedule or a decent maternity leave policy or transparency in salary, we keep looking and/or we move on, because we know our worth. The movement has been inspiring on so many levels, as we discover the power of numbers and coming together, but also the power of where we spend our money. So for instance, this year, along with a group of women, we vowed to support mostly female and minority run businesses, because that is a tangible way to support each other as we fight for others to catch up.

Tell us about your work with immigration law and how being an immigrant yourself has impacted your work. Immigration law is so incredibly rewarding and hard to work in, because of its complexity and how much discretionary power judges and officers have.

mean to you as a working mother? It’s been somewhat reassuring to observe people finally “waking up” and realizing how all these issues intersect each other. How when a young immigrant student that has grown up with your kids is

deported, it affects not only that boy but your kids and the community as a whole. So much is expected from women these days, when you add motherhood into the mix, the formula becomes exponentially more complicated. The movement is showing the world that, as women, we have


It has been difficult to accept regulations that make no sense throughout my career, but it is now even more challenging, given how so many policies are being dismantled and bringing panic to the entire system. One branch of the government doesn’t know what the other one is doing. Our immigration laws have not significantly changed since the '60s, and therefore, have not adapted to the many changes since, such as globalization, technology, refugee crisis, family reunification, the list goes on.



The most troubling thing of all is how execution of these laws and regulations is determined by the Executive Branch, which in turn just produces instability and inconsistency in an area that affects so many people. It’s very frustrating, but I have hope that change is coming. Having to go through the system myself really gives me a unique perspective into the situation people are going through, making me more sympathetic to others' situations and sometimes more effective while fighting for my clients. It is incredibly rewarding when you can navigate the system and give your clients good results, because it is life changing and sometimes a matter of life or death for people that are allowed to stay in this country.

What advice would you give a young lawyer starting out in their career? Many young lawyers don’t realize how versatile a law degree can be and how many career paths you can follow here. Your career doesn’t necessarily have to be linear or constant; you can find a way to follow your heart and passions and make that degree serve you so that you can find what works in your life at that moment. Finding a mentor was very useful for me, because there are many “life” issues you will have to deal with your clients that you won’t be prepared to handle. A mentor can guide you and be helpful in bouncing ideas off. My last nugget is to cherish your friendships from law school as they will follow you for life! Eight kids later, my study group still gets together for vacations, except now we get to actually hang out without quizzing each other. "Mother's Crossing"

What has been your favorite moment being an attorney? That’s a hard one; there are so many. The one that really solidified my love for the power of law happened before becoming an attorney. My first summer, after my first year of law school, I was an intern at the Texas Civil Rights Project in San Juan, Texas. One of my jobs was helping a pregnant woman with her immigration status as she escaped her abusive husband. When her case was approved and she was able to leave her husband, she told me she had named her daughter “Carolina” because she wanted her daughter to fight for others the way that I had fought for them. The stories that make me proud and invigorate me are those where I was able to empower women and girls to find a better future.

Top: MacWright teaching a "Know Your Rights therapeutic art class" to immigrant mothers at Brooklyn Clay studio located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Bottom: FLUX 2010 in Castleberry Hill, Atlanta in October 2010.





Visionary $500,000 - $999,999


Dean's Circle Platinum

Catherine Quinlan Eric T. Laity


$10,000 - $24,999

Fonda B. Wu and Sandy S. Chang '08

The Chickasaw Nation


Keri Coleman Norris '97

Carly Maderer '10

Mickey '76 and Sydney Homsey


Crowe & Dunlevy

$100,000 - $249,999

John W. & Cecelia A. Norman Family Foundation

—————— E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation

Cullen '99 and Bonnie Thomas

Laurnic Enterprises Inc Oklahoma Bar Foundation, Inc. Tom Quinn '74

Benefactor $25,000 - $99,999 ——————

Dean's Circle Gold $5,000 - $9,999



Gary '74 and Sue Homsey

Bill Mee

Oklahoma City Community Foundation

Andrew K. Benton '79 Bradley A. Gungoll '80

Nancy B. Anthony Oklahoma County Bar Foundation Paul '87 and Ann Doolittle Phillips Murrah, PC Pierce, Couch, Hendrickson, Baysinger & Green, L.L.P.

It is my pleasure to donate to OCU Law School as my law degree has provided me a profitable lifestyle and a profession that I am very


Steven Goetzinger '83 The Honorable Niles L. Jackson '75 and Barbara J. Thornton

Dean's Circle Silver $2,500 - $4,999 ——————

about. I am blessed to love what I do and I hope that future graduates have the same passion and want to give back to the foundation of the profession they have chosen. RUT H RUHL ’9 3

Frank S. and Julia M. Ladner Family Foundation, Inc.

diversity The reason we give is to promote

at OCU Law, to give back and to provide opportunities to students who otherwise might not have the access to a higher education in law. SA N DY C HA N G ’08 & FO N DA WU

Bill '65 and Pam Shdeed Emmanuel '82 and Irene Edem George R. Milner '92 Kevin D. Gordon

Ann M. Shaw

Robert '83 and Carol Naifeh

Art G. LeFrancois

Thomas M. Jones '76

Barry and Melissa Johnson

Dean's Circle Bronze

Caleb J. '04 and Elisabeth E. Muckala '06 Casey R. Ross '03 David '93 and Kathie Aelvoet

$1,000 - $2,499

David B. Donchin


David O. Beal '74

Alvin '72 and Beverly Harrell

Dennis '78 and Chris Box

Andy and Ellen Spiropoulos

Donald W. MacPherson '78




Doug '79 and Rhonda Buckles

Susan Carns Curtiss '06

Kenneth Nash '56

George E. Proctor '76

The Honorable Jerry D. Bass '91

Keren McLendon

The Honorable Lydia Y. Green '03

Larry and Rozia Foster '81

Thomas Conklin '02

Marilyn D. Coulson

Timothy E. Foley '92

Michael '09 and Stephanie Cooper

Glede '01 and Teresa Holman Hamden H. Baskin '82 Health Partners Investments, LLC Hiram S. Sasser, III '02 Irwin H. Steinhorn James and Elizabeth Tolbert Jay M. Mitchel '05 Jim Ditmars and Cathy Christensen '86

KMD Construction LLC

Von Creel

OCULBA Master Tenant, LLC

Friend / Advocate

Sarah J. Glick '01 Tami Hines '14

$500 - $999

Wiese Law Firm, PLC

Joe and Valerie Couch


John and Janet Hudson

Angela Ables '75

Laurie Jones

Art '75 and Breda Bova

Lawrence and Gay Hellman

Bill and Rachel Thetford

Lawrence and Sheryl Young

Bill Paul


Linda J. Byford '03

Brent Stockwell

$100 - $499

Melvin and Jasmine Moran

Claudia Holliman '78


Michael P. O'Shea

Dick and Leah Beale

Amanda Cornmesser '03

Michael T. Gibson

Earnest C. Cash '74

Amee Shaw

Nikki P. Miliband '90

Edward and Marie Lyons

Angela R. Morrison '90

Patricia R. Demps '79

Garvin A. Isaacs '74

Bambi A. Hora '98

Peter and Judith Dillon

Gary and Dana Laverty '84

Barry G. Stafford '06

Paula Dalley

Joe '84 and Vickey Dancy '83

Robert C. Margo '74

Jonathan L. Downard '84

Stan Basler

Kendra M. Robben Lewis '07

William '76 and Leslie Ackerman

I would not be the person I am today nor the professional I am soon to become without the support of others. My heart is full of

gratitude for those who have not only supported me spiritually, mentally, and emotionally but also financially. Thank you for your part in my amazing journey. FAR R AH BUR GE SS ’ 18

Brook Arbeitman Carl '74 and Beverly Ann Young Carol J. North Carolyn Cuskey Cheryl Morgan

I contribute to the Oklahoma City University School of Law because I support its commitment to teaching, scholarship and academic excellence. My hope is that my giving acts as an

example to all former students, alumni and future graduates who should recognize the opportunities that were given to them by the Oklahoma City University School of Law.


Gary Waite '80 and Ruth Grant

Chuck Day '81

Greg and Chris Eddington

Cindy L. Richard '92

Gretchen P. Hoover '79

Claude and Linda Harris Dallas E. Ferguson Dan Burdett and Janis Love Daniel and Andrea Morgan Danny and Brooke Henderson '17

Heidi M. Weingartner '94 Howard F. Israel '76 Irving L. Faught Jan Meadows '79 Jane F. Wheeler '77 Janet F. Beard

David Hensley '05

Jay D. Evans '08

Dennis '75 and Leslie Schaefer

Jay F. McCown '73

Donald '76 and Carol Hoeft

Jay G. Israel '74

Donna Jackson '88

Jennifer S. Prilliman

Dorothy J. Brown '80

Jerry and Jackie Bendorf

Earle D. Wagner '70

Jim A. Roth '94

Ed Barth

Jim and Sharon Rowan

Fred '77 and Kathy Kempf

Jim Elsworth

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 or call (405) 208-7101 to make your donation.



Christin V. Mugg '98


Jim K. Goodman

Linda C. Resnick

Thomas McCoy '70

John '78 and Karen Severe

Lindsey J. Vanhooser '09

John and Marsha Greiner

Lindsey M. Rames '08

Timothy '68 and Linda Larason

John Elliott '04

Little Law Firm, PLLC

John Powers '76

Malcolm M. Savage '98

John Stansbury

Marla R. Harrington '90

John W. Teeter

Micahel A. Wolf

Vicki '84 and Scott Behenna

Joseph B. Wheeler '67

Michael L. Decker '78

Vicki L. MacDougall '77

Joseph James '94

Michael W. Blevins '72

Vincent C. Nealey '73

Josh and Sara Rummel '13

Nancy L. Dawson

William and Lisa Bays '91

Joyce Ann Michael '92

Nancy Vollertsen

William C. Wantland '64

Judson L. Temple

Nicole Kuhns

Justin and Tanya Bryant '04

P. Scott Buhlinger

Karen Eby

Pat Layden '87


Patty A. Whitecotton '76

$25 - $99

Paulette Schroeder


Philip and Mary Catherine Smothermon '02

Allie '74 and Janet Peoples

Kenneth and Summer Pedersen '03

Philip D. Hixon '01

Allison Rabon

Kenneth Stoner

Phyllis J. Stough Portia A. Clark

Amanda J. Cochran-McCall '09

Karen Howick '78 Kathryn S. Broad Keith Houser '78

Lange and Lange Larry and Dawn Wiese '95

Ralph A. Sallusti '74

Timothy H. Gatton '10 Trinity American Lutheran Church

Avery N. Crossman, Esq. '93

Robert '01 and Vanmai Nguyen '02

Lee Peoples and Emma Rolls

Robert '77 and Nancy Kemps

Dusty and Ande Burchfield '13

Leslie M. Wileman '98

Robert A. Hammeke '99

Gary and Francys Derrick

Robert J. Strunin '73

Gayla J. DeGiusti

Robert L. Lewis '68

Howard Josephson '77

Robert P. Van Cleef '77

James '67 and Cheri Clark

Roland P. Schafer

James T. Smith

The opportunities allotted to me at Oklahoma City University School of Law have reached far

beyond my expectations and were only made possible by the generosity of all of our donors.


David Farris

Ronald L. Crane '74

Kathleen Obrien-Blair

Samuel Fulkerson and The Honorable Suzanne Mitchell

Kelly S. Monroe Kenneth P. McDaniel '92

Stephen Booth '74

Lavaughn Carey

Stuart Hene '09

Nancy A. WinansGarrison '87

Suzanne Hayden '84


Anna M. Eischen '00

Lee '89 and Darlene Ivy '84

It’s not only a privilege, but it is my

to give back to the educational institution that has contributed to where I am today. Giving back not only ensures that the next generation of lawyers are fully prepared and equipped to meet the challenges of the legal profession, but it also allows OCU Law to continue in the rich legacy of preparing our future leaders in law. JUD GE LYDI A GR E E N ’03

Ted Kavrukov '77

Paul '80 and Julie Lacy

Scott Gronlund

The Honorable Kenneth '72 and Janice Dickerson

Pete Gelvin '79 Phyllis E. Feibus '75

Shannon M. Roesler

The Honorable Noma D. Gurich and John Miley

Ramona K. Freels

The Honorable Philippa C. James '92

Ronald A. Dall '63

The Honorable '78 Douglas and Pam Golden

Sandy Pantlik

Vickey J. Cannady

Rita I. Geiger

Stephen E. DiNovis '78 Steve Wismann '83

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. IN BRIEF



A move from working for attorneys to becoming one

Scholarship Perspective BY J E R I M I L LS C LA S S O F 2 0 2 0

of attending law school and one day becoming an attorney. Upon graduating from college, I worked at a small law firm in Dallas for two years. During those two years, my experience helped solidify my passion, and I decided it was time to chase my dream and become the attorney instead of working for one. Juggling work and studying for the LSAT was not an easy task, but I knew the hard work would pay off. After taking the LSAT twice, I applied to several law schools in Texas and Oklahoma. Growing up in Austin, Texas, I never imagined that I would become an Oklahoma resident. But I chose to attend OCU Law over other schools because of the generous scholarship that was offered to me. It was hard to step away from a paycheck to continue my education, but looking back now, I wouldn’t change a thing, and that is all thanks to OCU Law. GROWING UP, I ALWAYS DREAMED

My first trip to Oklahoma City was the day I moved here, just one week before classes began. After a long day of moving, my parents and I drove downtown to check out the school I had essentially blindly

committed to. Although my decision to attend OCU Law was somewhat spontaneous, it was immediately affirmed when I first saw the OCU Law building. OCU Law is located in a beautiful, historic building in the heart of Oklahoma City. Not to mention, the school is within walking distance from the county and federal courthouses. OCU Law is also located close to a variety of fun restaurants and one of Oklahoma City’s best social scenes. These amenities provide a nice getaway for students on the occasional and rare study break. More importantly, what’s inside the OCU Law building has allowed me to focus and concentrate on my studies. The law school relocated from OCU’s main campus to the current downtown location in 2015. Because the building is isolated from the main campus, it is quiet and occupied by only faculty, staff, and fellow law students. On each of the five floors, there are places for both group and individual study. The building is accessible to students 24/7, so naturally OCU Law has become my second home.

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.

These gifts include appreciated stock, charitable bequests, retirement plan gifts, charitable lead trusts, gifts or real estate and other kids of property, life income plans, and life insurance.

Planned giving encompasses a range of gift types that allow your giving for 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.

If you would like more personalized information about planned giving, please contact OCU Law Advancement at lawadvancement@okcu.edu or (405) 208 -7101.

“The scholarship at OCU opened the doors of countless opportunities for me and turned my dream into a reality.” In addition to the ideal location and features of the building, the faculty and staff at OCU Law are genuinely invested and care about the future of each student. From my professors to the staff at the career center and library, I received guidance and support that truly helped me survive my 1L year. When I accepted the scholarship from OCU Law, I thought I was just receiving a bargain on the expensive law school price tag. What I did not realize was that I was joining something even greater—a program over 100 years old in the midst of rebranding. Although already established, OCU Law strives to provide an even better experience for its students. The new building and recent implementation of BAR prep resources are just a few examples of how OCU is enacting meaningful changes to its program. These recent changes will further strengthen the education and experience offered at OCU Law, and I am excited to be a part of the process. OCU Law gives students and alumni a school to be proud of. The scholarship at OCU opened the doors of countless opportunities for me and turned my dream into a reality, and I am thankful that I was invited to join such a remarkable group and program. Although I never imagined leaving Texas, the scholarship opportunity led me right where I needed to be — OCU Law.




David Holt '09 with former OCU President Robert Henry at the Night with the Mayor event at OCU Law.

David Holt '09 being sworn in as the Mayor of Oklahoma City on April 10, 2018.

Law students showing their gratitude during the donor thank you event.

Interim Dean Lee Peoples and Scott Rowland '94 at the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Swearing in ceremony.

Brian Taylor '18, and his uncle, Todd Taylor, at the annual Alumni Awards Luncheon on November 1, 2017.

OBF board member Kara Smith '02, Brian Taylor '18, Abigail Wilburn '18, Elke Meeus '20, Aimee Majoue '18, OBA board member Jimmy Oliver '10, speaker Jim Roth '94 and Interim Dean Lee Peoples at the annual Alumni Awards Luncheon on November 1, 2017.

OCU Law students studying on the Gary & Sue Homsey Plaza.

Law students in Professor LeFrancois' class.

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

Prospective students attending High Ideals. Circle below: OCU Law faculty and staff Toni Bourlon, Allison Rabon, Steven Foster '08, Lauren Stradinger, Jennifer Prilliman and Susan Urban ran in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

Stephen Butler Assistant Dean for Advancement, Executive Board Member Cathy Christensen '86, Judge Robert Bell and Laurie Bell attending the annual High Ideals event.

Interim Dean Lee Peoples, J.R. Homsey '73 and Allie Peoples '74 at the Dean’s Donor Holiday Reception.

Bob Anthony, Nancy Anthony, Taylor Tytanic and Adjunct Professor Chris Tytanic attend the Dean’s Donor Holiday Reception. The incoming 1L class of 2017/18 during orientation.

"No matter where our law degrees take us, it’s people that lie at the heart of what we do and what we’re about. It’s a passion for people and a desire to make people's lives better that underlies everything we have done, are doing, and ever will do.” — Martin (Tripp) Lopez, Class of 2018 2017-2018 Student Bar Association President

Anthony Hendricks, Associate at Crowe & Dunlevy, Marc Blitz, OCU Law Professor and Homer Pointer, Senior Fellow, Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law & Policy and Former Assistant General Counsel at the FBI, at the National Summit on Homeland Security Law.

2018 Graduating Class

OCU Law graduates take the oath at the OBA Swearing In ceremony.

Alisha Sebastian '17 and family at the OBA Swearing In ceremony. Kristin Richards '17 signs the Roll of Attorneys at the OBA Swearing In ceremony.


Jim Roth


... do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God. Thinking back to your time as a student, what made you choose OCU Law? As a kid growing up in Kansas City, I wasn’t very familiar with Oklahoma, but during my site visit to OCU Law School, the recruiter assured me that OCU could teach me critical thinking and “the theory of law,” in addition to the practice of law. I was exploring law schools throughout the Midwest but am forever grateful for that recruiter promising to broaden my horizons. I was curious then and am even more curious now thanks to OCU. Plus, my Dad told me to move south because the people are friendlier.

As you know, you will become OCU’s second alumnus to become Dean. Why did you apply to be Dean of OCU Law? OCU Law School changed the trajectory of my life by instilling new values like “servant leadership.” I have always admired that OCU is committed to helping create lawyers with a consciousness and a solemn responsibility for upholding the rule of law and for ‘doing good’ in the broader community. We educate lawyers from communities large and small, in all types of legal roles. Each day they are confronted with every aspect of American life. I well recall as a law student in the Gold Star Building in the early 1990s that every day I would walk past a framed picture of a lawyer defending widows and orphans, and it conveyed a lasting message to me: to walk the walk as a lawyer and do good things for those in need. That’s the OCU I am excited to serve.

What role do you see OCU Law playing in Oklahoma City’s and the State’s legal communities? My hope is that OCU Law School, through its vision, hard work and its location becomes the beating heart at the center of our City and our State. And even beyond the legal community, where I hope we expand our very important, close ties, I believe we have a role to assume, a beating pulse or vibe, if you will, of the broader economy and social fabric of this community. I believe that OCU is uniquely situated to do these things for all communities for many years to come.

What are you looking forward to most about being the new Dean of the law school? Learning from Students. Last spring when I had the chance to serve as the inaugural “Distinguished Practitioner in Residence,” I thoroughly loved interacting with 11 fascinating, curious, thoughtful, diverse and purposeful students in my Energy Regulation course. They asked great questions, they advocated strongly for things they believe and they don’t take things at face value. There is an inspiring curiosity there. I hope they learned from me at least half as much as I learned from them.

What do you love most about the community of Oklahoma City? The belief that the best idea should win the day and anyone is eligible to push that idea. Perhaps it is because we are a relatively young city and state, or perhaps it’s because

of our state’s very unique birth, but I think our DNA includes a strong dose of jumping in, rolling up one’s sleeves and getting to work to make things better. We have struggled together and we have succeeded together, and those experiences bind people to a common purpose. I think older communities can get stale, where a few folks in positions of power essentially strangle the exuberance and inspiration that can come from a larger variety of people from all walks of life, creating momentum together. I love that Oklahoma Citians can come together and create momentum for good.

Tell us something we don’t know about you? How about two things (one my Mom will approve of mentioning and one she may not)? I am a huge animal lover and even started college in preveterinary medicine. Today, I serve on the Central Oklahoma Humane Society Board and my husband and I have 3 dogs, 14 chickens, 11 fainting goats and a rescue donkey named Dawthy. But most of my friends may already know that. Perhaps the most meaningful part of my life that few know specifically much about, is that I strive to live my life as Micah 6:8 suggests: “What does the Lord require of you, but to Do Justice, Love Kindness and Walk Humbly with your God.” It’s actually tattooed on my right foot and leg so I see it every day in my life walk. I bet you didn’t know that, huh?

Oklahoma City University School of Law 800 North Harvey Avenue Oklahoma City, OK 73102

This issue is dedicated to the men and women who have used their title of lawyer, their time, their energy and even their resources to make a difference in the lives of others. Bravo to the true superheroes who live among us.

Profile for Oklahoma City University School of Law

2018 In Brief Law Magazine  

2018 In Brief Law Magazine  

Profile for oculaw