Phillips Murrah announces 37 attorneys named to 2018 Best Lawyers list

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that 37 of our attorneys have been named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2018 list in Oklahoma City.

The Best Lawyers in America 2018

Jennifer Ivester Berry – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Real Estate Law

Douglas A. Branch – Securities / Capital Markets Law; Venture Capital Law

Elizabeth K. Brown – Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Michael D. Carter – Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Rodney L. Cook – Insurance Law

Bobby Dolatabadi – Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions Law

Jason A. Dunn – Commercial Litigation

Joshua L. Edwards – Real Estate Law

Marc Edwards – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Commercial Litigation; Government Relations Practice

Nicholle Jones Edwards – Family Law

Shannon K. Emmons – Commercial Litigation; Employment Law – Management; Employment Law – Individuals

Juston R. Givens – Commercial Litigation

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Construction Law; Land Use and Zoning Law; Real Estate Law

Terry L. Hawkins – Public Finance Law

Heather L. Hintz – Commercial Litigation

Timothy D. Kline – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Fred A. Leibrock – Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law; Litigation – Antitrust; Litigation – ERISA; Litigation – Real Estate

Candace Williams Lisle – Commercial Litigation

Mark Lovelace – Banking and Finance Law; Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships); Commercial Transactions / UCC Law

Melvin R. McVay, Jr. – Banking and Finance Law; Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Bankruptcy; Litigation – Real Estate

Andrew S. Mildren – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Government Relations Practice

Jennifer L. Miller – Commercial Litigation

Cindy H. Murray – Real Estate Law

Robert O. O’Bannon – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships); Tax Law

Martin G. Ozinga – Commercial Litigation

Donald A. Pape – Banking and Finance Law

Michael R. Perri – Commercial Litigation; Energy Law; Natural Resources Law; Oil and Gas Law

William S. Price – Government Relations Practice

Dawn M. Rahme – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Mary Holloway Richard – Health Care Law

Jim A. Roth – Energy Law; Energy Regulatory Law; Environmental Law; Government Relations Practice; Natural Resources Law

G. Calvin Sharpe – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Robert N. Sheets – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning; Litigation – Real Estate

Ellen K. Spiropoulos – Corporate Law

Lyndon W. Whitmire – Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Thomas G. Wolfe – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Raymond E. Zschiesche – Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Journal Record names Nikki Edwards to Fifty Making A Difference list

Nikki Edwards

The Journal Record will honor Phillips Murrah Director Nikki Edwards as one of fifty female business and community leaders in Oklahoma named to their “Making A Difference” list.

Olympic gold medalist Shannon Miller will be the keynote speaker at the 37th annual Woman of the Year gala set for Oct. 26 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

The Fifty Making A Difference list spotlights female business and community leaders, and honorees are chosen from hundreds nominations received across the state.

For more information, visit the Journal Record’s website.

Firm selects July Employees of the Month

Rosana Townsend and Monica Ball

Rosana Townsend, Legal Assistant, and Monica Ball, Accounting, are Phillips Murrah’s Employees of the Month for July 2017.

“Being chosen as Employee of the Month at Phillips Murrah was both a shock and an honor,” Rosana said. “I have the most wonderful co-workers anyone could ever ask for, both personally and professionally, so being chosen by them means so much.

“Phillips Murrah is my favorite place I have ever worked as they do so many special things for the staff and actually care about their employees, which is extremely rare.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“I am humbled and thrilled to receive this recognition from my peers,” Monica said. “Thank you all for making this such a great place to work for the past 13 years.”

In rare cases, the votes tallied end in a tie, and both winners receive the Employee of the Month honor.

“Rosana has a wonderful disposition and is uplifting while balancing work from a bunch of busy lawyers,” Executive Director Michelle Munda said. “Monica has a weird sense of humor and is a delight any time you engage her!

“Two truly upbeat, hard-working employees and we are lucky they choose to work here.”


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Attorney Cody Cooper elected Chair of OCBA Young Lawyers Division

Cody Cooper is an associate in the Intellectual Property Practice Group and represents individuals and companies in a wide range of intellectual property, patent, trademark and copyright matters. His practice also includes commercial litigation.

Phillips Murrah Attorney Cody J. Cooper will begin his term as Chair of the Oklahoma County Bar Association’s (OCBA) Young Lawyers Division (YLD) this September after being elected last year.

“Our focus is to keep young bar members engaged and perform community service,” Cody said. “My role will be to head the organization for the year, provide direction, and continue the success that we’ve had.”

The YLD is a division of OCBA for attorneys who have been in practice for 10 years or less. Cody has served on the YLD Board or Directors for four years.

“Cody will do a fabulous job as Chair of the Young Lawyers Division,” said Fred A. Leibrock, Phillips Murrah Director. “He is a natural leader and motivator who excels at helping groups set and achieve lofty goals, and I anticipate many more great things to come from the Division under his chairmanship.

“All of his colleagues at Phillips Murrah are proud of his election and we look forward to supporting him every way we can to make his tenure a great success.”

The YLD has several big events throughout the year, with the primary fundraising effort being for the Harvest Food Drive to benefit the Oklahoma Food Bank.

“We do several community service projects throughout the year, including a bowling tournament and typically a project involving renovating a school room or community center,” Cody said. “We’ve renovated schools in Oklahoma City in the past and recently did one for Salvation Army.”

In addition to this election, Cody recently received his patent license to officially serve as a Patent Attorney.

Learn more about the Oklahoma County Bar Association here.

Phillips Murrah Attorney Cody Cooper earns patent license

Cody Cooper is an associate in the Intellectual Property Practice Group and represents individuals and companies in a wide range of intellectual property, patent, trademark and copyright matters. His practice also includes commercial litigation.

Merging work life with personal interests is a tough feat to accomplish, but in 2015, Phillips Murrah Attorney Cody J. Cooper set in motion a two-year journey to make that a reality.

“I’ve always enjoyed science and looking at things to figure out how they work, and Intellectual Property is a great fit for that interest,” Cody said. “I like the idea of working hand-in-hand with inventors to help them along with the process, with the end goal of getting them a patent on their unique idea.

Intellectual Property is a perfect blend of law, science and entrepreneurship that perfectly aligns with my personal interests and passions.”

With this motivation in mind, Cody began the process of obtaining a license to become an official Patent Attorney.

“Everyone on the planet has had an idea at some point in their lives,” said Martin G. Ozinga, Of Counsel Attorney and Chair of the Firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. “There aren’t many practicing Patent Attorneys in Oklahoma, but there are plenty of folks who need one.”

Aside from personal gain, the designation of a Patent Attorney offers credibility and security for clients which isn’t afforded to those seeking patents on their own accord. However, the process for obtaining a patent license can be demanding, especially with a full-time legal workload.

In order to sit for the Patent Bar, candidates must have a scientific or technological background, typically in the form of an undergraduate degree in a science or engineering field, in addition to securing a law degree.

“I had accumulated undergraduate credits in chemical engineering, but I was short by 13 hours,” Cody said. “When I knew I wanted to pursue getting my patent license, I looked at the University of Central Oklahoma’s enrollment requirements and their course catalog to find classes that I could attend in the evenings after work.”

Because it had been several years since he took engineering courses in college, Cody tried to find a line of classes that qualified but from which he could start at the beginning. The best courses that worked for this were biology courses, he said.

Over the course of three semesters, Cody took four evening biology classes at UCO: biology, biology lab, microbiology and human anatomy with cadavers.

“During school, I had class two to three nights per week, and classes lasted two to three hours each night,” he said. “I also had homework, quizzes, tests and finals as part of these courses.”

Much like the standard college experience, he was in class with undergraduate students and had homework, regular tests and finals.

“When I was completing my third semester, I went to San Francisco and took a Patent Bar study course. The course was essentially a full-week course put on by the Practising Law Institute,” Cody said. “After I finished my last semester, I applied to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to take the Patent Bar and proceeded to take the exam.”

Cody spent a several hours most nights and weekends studying for the two months leading up to taking the Patent Bar. He passed on his first attempt, and as of July 2017 has officially obtained his Patent License and the ability to practice as a Patent Attorney.

Learn more about Phillips Murrah’s Patent, Copyright and Trademark Practice Group by visiting the Intellectual Property Practice Area page here.

Firm selects June Employee of the Month

Maribeth Mills, Paralegal, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for June 2017.

“I’ve always enjoyed the work I do, but it is like icing on a cake to get a nod from your co-workers,” she said.

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Maribeth’s work ethic and expertise are of the highest caliber,” Director Clayton D. Ketter said. “She takes great pride in her work and in expanding her legal knowledge and skills.

“We are very lucky to have her as a member of the Phillips Murrah team.”


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Phillips Murrah rowing team competes in Summer 2017 season

Molly Tipton, G. Calvin Sharpe, Melissa Gardner, Jennifer Miller, Tyler Sullivan, Monica Ball, Deann Aderholt, Sam Lincoln, and Deena Baker stand with their bronze medals after racing at the Stars and Stripes River Festival on June 24.

Phillips Murrah’s rowing team Law & Oarder completed the Summer 2017 season by placing third in the annual regatta competition.

The team competed on June 24 at the Stars and Stripes River Festival held at the OKC Boathouse District in the advanced league and achieved a 500-meter run of 2:02.

“Rowing is a team effort much like the work we do at Phillips Murrah,” said G. Calvin Sharpe, Director and Law & Oarder team leader. “Our team improved over the season, and we all worked together to have a great season that culminated Saturday night.”

In all six seasons the Firm’s rowing team has competed, team members consisted of both attorneys and staff members.

“I decided to join the rowing team because I wanted to try something that was completely new to me” Attorney Molly E. Tipton said. “Not only was it something I had never done, but I also had the opportunity spend time with people at Phillips Murrah that I don’t often see, which ended up being my favorite part!

“I feel lucky to call these people my co-workers, my teammates and my friends!”

The team will continue their practices through the summer and into the fall, leading into the final regatta, which will be held in October.

“I absolutely love the opportunity Phillips Murrah has given us to get out there and work as a team outside of the office,” Legal Assistant Deena Baker said. “Even though we’ve been up against some pretty elite teams these last three seasons, it just gives us more to strive for in the end.

“Being on the corporate rowing team has personally given me something I never even dreamed of doing and plan to continue as long as I can!”


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence.

Deputy Consul General to the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston visits Phillips Murrah

Ryuji Iwasaki and Pat Hall at the law offices of Phillips Murrah P.C.

Phillips Murrah was honored to have Deputy Consul General to the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston, Ryuji Iwasaki (left), visit the Firm during his economic and cultural tour to Oklahoma.

Mr. Iwasaki is pictured here at the law offices of Phillips Murrah P.C., on Thursday, July 22, with long-time ally and consultant to the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston, Pat Hall (right). Mr. Hall has also been a lobbyist and legislative advocate for Phillips Murrah for many years.

Firm hosts Attorney General Mike Hunter for visit

Mike Hunter (pictured left), Oklahoma Attorney General, meets with Phillips Murrah attorneys and staff to discuss issues facing Oklahomans.

Phillips Murrah welcomed Mike Hunter, Oklahoma Attorney General, on June 16 to discuss issues his office faces with everyday Oklahomans.

“It was an honor to have Attorney General Mike Hunter as the Firm’s guest,” Director Elizabeth K. Brown said. “It was nice to hear firsthand about some of the issues being addressed by the Attorney General’s office.”

Hunter spoke about precautions Oklahomans should take during natural disasters to avoid insurance scams and ways his office is working to reduce prescription opioid abuse cases.

For more information on the Attorney General’s office, click here.

Directors volunteer at annual Westminster fundraiser

Marc and Nikki Edwards and Laurin and Nicholas Hickman attend a Westminster School event.

Nikki and Marc Edwards, Directors at Phillips Murrah, gave their time to help make WestxWestminster, an annual fundraising auction hosted by Westminster School, a success.

Arriving early to the April 1 event at the Bricktown Events Center, Nikki and Marc volunteered at the check-in table and worked a games table throughout the night.

“While I support many Oklahoma City and Oklahoma state causes, I’m always happy to lend my time and resources to this great cause and this top-notch school,” Nikki said.

The Edwards have an 8-year-old son who attends Westminster School in Oklahoma City.

At Phillips Murrah, Nikki heads up the Family law Practice Group where she provides objective, compassionate and experienced guidance in domestic matters that lead to separation or divorce and other family law-related matters. Marc, who leads the Firm’s Government Relations and Compliance Practice Group, represents business and public entities in a broad range of litigation, administrative proceedings and strategic legal matters, with an emphasis on public utility, public pension, governmental and administrative laws.

While not practicing law, the Edwards’ spend their free time volunteering, attending field trips, and supporting the school.

To learn ways to support Westminster, click here.

Firm selects May Employee of the Month

Barb Robertson

Barb Robertson, Legal Assistant, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for May 2017.

“What an honor to be chosen Employee of the Month,” she said. “Phillips Murrah has a lot of great employees, and it humbles me to be chosen for this honor by my friends.

“It is really great to be able to come to work each day and see my friends. It is just like college only better;  this time around I’m being paid!”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Barb works hard to keep everyone calm and focused at the 11th hour when things are going crazy,” said Jennifer Ivester Berry, Of Counsel Attorney. “She never hesitates to go above and beyond to help get the project completed.”


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Three Phillips Murrah attorneys listed in Chambers USA 2017

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce real estate attorneys John D. Hastie, Sally A. Hasenfratz, and Jennifer Ivester Berry have been selected for inclusion in Chambers & Partners’ Chambers USA 2017 guide.

Chambers researchers offered the following comments on each attorney:

John Hastie is singled out by interviewees as ‘the dean of real estate.’ He has longstanding experience working on real estate transactions encompassing property acquisitions, leasing and construction. Additionally, he assists clients on loan workouts and debt restructurings.”

Sally Hasenfratz is endorsed as a ‘class act to work with’ and someone who ‘makes you feel that you’re going to get through this!’ Her roster of work includes matters connected with properties such as shopping centers and condominiums, in addition to her skills in the tax law and financing areas.”

“Of Counsel Attorney Jennifer Ivester Berry’s real estate practice centers around advising on developments, acquisitions and leases. She is also regularly approached by energy companies to assist with the financing and construction of renewable energy facilities.”

Hastie has been listed annually in Chambers’ guides since 2003, and Hasenfratz and Berry have been listed since 2010. Phillips Murrah is selected as a Band 2 law firm.

Read more about Phillips Murrah’s inclusion here.

Attorney Lauren Voth supports Metropolitan Library System through Literary Voices

Lauren Symcox Voth and author Lisa Scottoline

The Metropolitan Library System selected author Lisa Scottoline as the featured author for the 2017 Literary Voices event on April 11, and attorney Lauren Symcox Voth lent her time and support to make the event a success.

“The library system has been a large part of my life, since I was a kid,” Voth said. “My mom was the chair of the Literary Voices Committee in 2011-2012. I showed up to a meeting to introduce the committee to my first daughter who had just been born a few weeks earlier, and I ended up staying and joined the committee.”

Since then, Voth has been involved with the committee in various capacities.

“For the 2017 Literary Voices event, I assisted committee chairs Karen Delaney and Gail Huneryager with the decorations for the event, which is always very creative on a shoestring budget for this fundraiser,” she said.

Literary Voices began in 2003 and is an annual event to raise money for the Library Endowment Trust, which benefits the Metropolitan Library System.

“Authors provide great insight into their own background, experiences, and often what lead to their inspiration for many of their books,” Voth said. “The 2017 author was Lisa Scottoline, a former attorney who practiced employment law before jumping into being a full-time author.

“Lisa has written a variety of books, but her series about the female law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio and Rosato & Associates are probably her most successful. She has also written emotional thrillers and humorous non-fiction and was an exceptionally entertaining author this year.”

Past authors invited to the event include:

  • Sebastian Junger (2016)
  • P.J. O’Rourke (2015)
  • Khaled Hosseini (2014)
  • David McCullough (2013)
  • Mary Higgins Clark (2012)
  • Laura Bush (2011)
  • Harlan Coben (2010)
  • Ann Patchett (2009)
  • Scott Turow (2008)
  • Sue Grafton (2007)
  • Jane Seymour (2006)
  • Juan Williams (2005)
  • Dr. Beck Weathers (2004)
  • Dave Barry (2003)

Click here to learn more about the Metropolitan Library System’s Endowment Trust and how to get involved.

Phillips Murrah attorneys address wind energy impacts on real property

Jim Roth and C. Eric Davis are attorneys in the Energy and Natural Resources Practice Group at Phillips Murrah.

Phillips Murrah Director Jim Roth and attorney C. Eric Davis spoke about clean energy in Oklahoma at recent presentations hosted by the Oklahoma Bar Association.

The OBA’s Real Property Section hosted the Cleverdon Round Table event on May 18 in Oklahoma City and on May 19 in Tulsa.

The presentation outlined Oklahoma’s potential as a national leader in wind resources noting that Oklahoma generates the third most electricity from wind energy nationwide.

In discussing real property law impacts, Roth and Davis noted wind energy can be viewed as involving competing interests of landowners and how to respectively balance the rights of those landowners receiving compensation versus those out of proximity of wind facilities or turbines.

Roth presented in Oklahoma City, and Davis presented in Tulsa.

PM Attorney graduates Leadership OKC LOYAL Program

Monica Y. Ybarra

Every year, approximately two hundred of Oklahoma City’s rising stars vie for a chance to be a member of Leadership Oklahoma City’s Linking OKC’s Young Adult Leaders (LOYAL) Program.

Phillips Murrah Attorney Monica Y. Ybarra was selected to participate in this prestigious program as a member of LOYAL Class XII. The Firm is pleased to announce Ybarra graduated from the program last week and is officially part of the Leadership Oklahoma City family.

The LOYAL Program focuses on enhancing personal leadership skills and cultivating community leadership skills. During the seven-month program, participants have unique opportunities to learn leadership skills from Oklahoma’s most influential and accomplished business people, public servants, and non-profit managers.

“Participating in LOYAL has been one of my most rewarding Oklahoma experiences,” Ybarra said. “The program offered me a chance to increase my leadership intelligence and connect to the community in so many ways.

“This program is about so much more than networking—it’s about helping motivated individuals become the leaders of tomorrow.”

Participants gain insight into topics such as board skills, human resources, public speaking, non-profit finances, ethics, and much more. Additionally, Leadership Action Projects afford participants an opportunity to apply their skills and talents to tackle substantive issues in our community.

“At Phillips Murrah P.C. we take pride in being a strategic partner for our clients and for our community,” she said. “I am very fortunate to work for an organization that not only supports my efforts to become a better attorney but also a better Oklahoman.”

Ybarra is a litigation attorney who practices family law. She represents clients in all areas of domestic and family law matters including, divorce actions, custody matters, guardianships, prenuptial agreements, and paternity actions.

Other Phillips Murrah graduates of Leadership Oklahoma City programs include Jim Roth, Signature Program Class XXII, and G. Calvin Sharpe, Signature Program Class XXIII.

Firm selects April Employee of the Month

Tess Bromme

Tess Bromme, Accounting, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for April 2017.

“I really enjoy working at Phillips Murrah,” she said. “The camaraderie is fantastic and everyone keeps me on my toes. I truly appreciate being recognized, and I hope I continue to make them proud.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Tess is a valued member of the Accounting Department and her contributions help to make the Firm run efficiently,” Controller Stephanie Oseland said. “She is a hardworking and positive person, and it is a pleasure to work with her. She deserves this honor.”


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Leadership in Law profile: Nicholle “Nikki” Jones Edwards

From The Journal Record
Published: April 26, 2017
Click to see full story – Leadership in Law profile: Nicholle “Nikki” Jones Edwards

Nicholle Jones Edwards’ practice focuses on family law, labor law and general civil litigation. Her family law practice includes litigation, complex custody issues and valuation issues.

As chair of Phillips Murrah’s Family Law Section, Nikki Jones Edwards manages a large portfolio of complex family law matters. Her practice encompasses all aspects of family law, including high-net-worth divorces, custody issues, valuation disputes, and guardianships. Additionally, she co-chairs the firm’s Business Development Committee. Edwards is passionate about her work with Positive Tomorrows, where she has served in various capacities for 20 years. She is active in several nonprofit, educational, and professional organizations and is frequently called upon to speak, present, and mentor. She considers serving as a mentor to the next generation of Oklahoma attorneys as her greatest professional accomplishment.

Title:
Shareholder

Education:
University of Oklahoma School of Law (J.D., 1997); University of Oklahoma (BBA, 1991)

Primary practice areas:
Family law, civil litigation, trial and appellate advocacy

Admitted to practice in what courts/states:
Oklahoma; U.S. District Courts, Northern and Western Districts of Oklahoma

Professional involvement:
Oklahoma Bar Association; Oklahoma County Bar Association, Community Service and Fee Grievance and Ethics committees; Ruth Bader Ginsburg American Inn of Court, master

Community involvement:
Positive Tomorrows (board member); Oklahoma Single Parent Scholarship Program (board member); OU Women and Gender Studies Program Advisory Board (founding member); Westminster School (volunteer)

Awards/honors:
Outstanding Master, Ruth Bader Ginsburg American Inn of Court; Recognition of Service from Positive Tomorrows and OU Women & Gender Studies program; two-time honoree of Leadership in Law Award; Oklahoma Super Lawyers; Best Lawyers

Hobbies:
Traveling; reading; and watching Thunder basketball and sporting events of her second-grade son, Sam

Firm hosts welcoming party for incoming summer law clerks

Firm selects March Employee of the Month

Rae White

Rae White, Legal Assistant, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for March 2017.

“I am blessed to work with such wonderful people, and I love my PM family,” White said. “This past year has really shown me how lucky I am to be a part this Firm.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Rae is an experienced and exceptionally talented legal assistant who is always upbeat and positive,” Director Fred A. Leibrock said. “She is a great contributor to the success of the Firm, and we are very lucky and pleased to have her as a member of the team.

“She is most deserving of being the Firm’s Employee of the Month.”


Phillips Murrah is the only law firm recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Phillips Murrah Insurance Defense Attorney discusses commercial trucking and e-discovery issues in AM Best Webinar

Kayce L. Gisinger is a litigation attorney at Phillips Murrah with extensive trial experience, which includes the defense of cases involving product liability, auto and trucking negligence, premises liability, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, employment law and general negligence.

Phillips Murrah Of Counsel Attorney, Kayce L. Gisinger, participated on Wednesday in a webcast panel discussion of insurance and claims experts, sponsored by A.M. Best, a global credit rating agency, data provider and news publisher that focuses on the insurance industry.

Titled “Pileup in Commercial Auto,” the webinar focused on the subject of difficulties in the highly competitive commercial automobile claims market. Subjects discussed were factors driving litigation and losses, how companies’ underwriting is changing, and how ride-hailing services and autonomous vehicles are poised to change the sector.

“It’s a great opportunity for those in the commercial auto industry to stay current on the critical issues they are facing in litigation today and learn proactive solutions,” Gisinger said. “The format allows for the analysis of questions and concerns claim’s handlers are dealing with on a daily basis.”

From a legal defense perspective, regarding how new, on-board vehicle technology is changing the transportation industry, Gisinger said:

“One of the immediate effects is going to be an increase in electronic discovery, which is becoming more invasive all the time from the defense standpoint. The downside of technology in terms of commercial vehicles is the expectation that all vehicles should be fully equipped and it opens us up more to electronic discovery. Plaintiffs’ counsel are demanding wholesale access to our clients’ and our carriers’ computer systems. I see that now with discovery disputes that are going on, and I’m sure it’s going to become more and more common as more technology is placed inside these vehicles.

Technology is used to increase the safety factor and also to monitor the drivers, which documents and makes more available evidence that can be used against us. The trend under the new requirements for commercial carriers, as well as the safety measures that companies are implementing, is really opening up the scope of discovery. It is also widening the issues that plaintiffs’ experts are talking about in terms of what’s available to us and why are we are not using it; the implication being that we don’t want to document it because we want to hide our practices and what our drivers are doing.”

The full informative discussion is now available in the A.M. Best webinars archives. The website is free, but registration is required through the A.M. Best website member center.

Other panelists include Nathan Edmonds, Senior Partner at Secrest Wardle; Mark Vanneste, Partner at Secrest Wardle; and Andrew Gibbs, Partner at Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C.

Phillips Murrah is endorsed by A.M. Best as a Client Recommended Firm.

Jim Roth talks about Pres. Trump’s Energy Executive Order on Oklahoma News Report

On Friday, Phillips Murrah Director and Chair of the Firm’s Clean Energy Practice Group, Jim Roth, appeared on the television show Oklahoma News Report on OETA.

Roth spoke with reporter Bob Sands about President Trump’s energy-related executive order that initiates a review of former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants.

According to the ONR report, Oklahoma public utilities are moving forward on new renewable energy projects despite the President Trump’s order.

“Market dynamics are going to dictate the outcome, not political will,” Roth said on the news program. “We’re at a point, thankfully, in American ingenuity that renewable technologies have improved to point to where they are often the cheapest form of energy.”

From Oklahoma News Report:

The president’s executive order to the EPA to rewrite the Clean Power Plan doesn’t mean much according to Oklahoma utilities and energy experts. OG&E says it is on target already to meet the plans requirements and is now planning a new solar facility. Energy experts say renewables have already replaced coal in the amount of electricity being generated in Oklahoma. This story aired on the ONR on OETA-The Oklahoma Network. For more information, go to the ONR web site http://www.oeta.tv/programs/onr. For more about OETA-The Oklahoma Network, visit www.oeta.tv.

Click on the video player below to view an edited video featuring Roth’s segments on the news program:

 .

 

 

To see the full ONR news segment as it was broadcast on OETA, click here:

Director Jim Roth sourced in article about proposed task force to examine Oklahoma’s Corporation Commission

Jim A. Roth, Phillips Murrah

Jim Roth is a Director and Chair of the firm’s Clean Energy Practice.

Jim Roth, Phillips Murrah Director and Chair of the Firm’s Clean Energy Practice, was quoted in a Journal Record article by Sarah Terry-Cobo regarding a House Bill that seeks to create an 11-member task force to examine Oklahoma’s Corporation Commission is structure and funding.

Read Roth’s comments from the article below:

OKLAHOMA CITY –  Utilities, drillers, and telecommunications companies could have an opportunity to scrutinize one of their regulators.

State Rep. Weldon Watson said it’s time to take a closer look at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and give those directly affected by the agency a chance to suggest changes. But at least one industry trade group representative questioned the timing and the need to dig into the agency.

Jim Roth, clean energy practice group director at Phillips Murrah, said reviewing the agency is an excellent idea.

“This is overdue,” he said. “Does the agency have all it needs structurally to function in the modern era?”

The agency and its staff of about 400 do an incredible job for very little money, Roth said. Often, some of the best employees are hired by the industries they regulate, he said.

Roth was a commissioner, serving from 2007 to 2010. He said he assumes the bill was brought with the best intentions to help the agency and the state get it right.

However, the proposed task force should be broader, he said.

“I don’t see one member of the task force without a conflict to the industry,” Roth said. “It’s important that Oklahomans not employed by these companies should have a voice.”

Read the full article at the Journal Record.

Director commemorates 20 years of service for Positive Tomorrows

Nikki Edwards and Julie McDaniel

Twenty years ago, when Phillips Murrah Director Nikki Jones Edwards first set foot on the Positive Tomorrows campus, she was hooked. Two decades later, she’s still going strong and is now one of the organization’s biggest advocates.

“In law school, I thought I would graduate and work for the ACLU, or some other grassroots community organization, using my law degree to help the less fortunate or underserved in some way,” said Nikki, Chair of the Firm’s Family Law Practice Group. “Although I entered private practice, I still wanted to find ways to serve or advocate for the marginalized people in our community.” A friend introduced Nikki to Positive Tomorrows, and she was off and running.

Positive Tomorrows is Oklahoma’s only elementary school that serves homeless children. The school provides a unique blend of educational and social services to homeless children and families in hopes of providing quality education despite the unstable circumstances that homelessness can create.

In 1997, Nikki began volunteering at the school. At first, she tried to pace herself, coming into the school every month to read to the kindergarten classes. But it wasn’t long before she became a very familiar face around campus, eventually making weekly trips to the school to read. “It was the best part of my week,” she said.

NIkki Edwards, Nedra Funk, and Chris Batson Deason

Her drive and passion for the Positive Tomorrows mission did not go unnoticed. Nikki was invited to sit on the Board of Directors and she jumped at the opportunity. “I served on the Board for several years until my son, Sam, was born. I resigned from the Board to focus on Sam, but continued to support the organization through financial and in-kind donations and attending Positive Tomorrows-sponsored events.”

“During the next few years, while she wasn’t on the board, she was definitely a friend of Positive Tomorrows,” said Susan Agel, Principal and President of the Board. “We heard from her regularly and she was always available to give advice and assist in other areas. I was saddened when she resigned from the board, but I knew she had made the right decision. I resolved to wait until she was ready and invited her back again.”

When Nikki rejoined the board two years ago, she also brought the Phillips Murrah family along with her.

“Phillips Murrah not only supports my efforts at Positive Tomorrows, but the Firm and our employees have become partners to the organization as well. Some of our attorneys volunteer at the school, and the Firm contributes to various projects throughout the year,” Nikki said.

Her dedication to this at-risk population is changing lives. “We work with a very difficult population with every strike against them,” said Agel. “Our lasting legacy is to introduce a different life to children who are growing up in very difficult circumstances.”

Nikki attributes her motivation to serve to her upbringing, giving credit to her mother, Rita.

“My mom, who was one of my biggest role models, was a psychotherapist and she dedicated countless hours to volunteering and training volunteers in the area of domestic violence abuse prevention,” she said.

Nikki uses her mother’s example as a template to tackle a different community problem—homelessness. Applying the same tenacity and commitment as her mother, Nikki has been an advocate, supporter and friend to Positive Tomorrows for two decades. “Homelessness can be never-ending. It has the potential to be a vicious cycle, repeated by these kids because they emulate their parents’ actions,” she said, adding that Positive Tomorrows is part of the solution.

Kindergarten students working dress up for Dr. Seuss Day in a classroom at Positive Tomorrows.

“A professor once told me that education is the lone equalizer, and I could not agree more,” she said. “These children know that Positive Tomorrows is a safe, nurturing and calming place where they can actually learn. Public schools simply cannot provide the same holistic environment of family services and education. Public schools aren’t equipped to handle a child who is falling asleep in class because she was awake all night at the homeless shelter or was displaced in the middle of the night because her family was kicked out of a relative’s home.”

Research has shown that working with homeless children in this kind of environment can have a long-term impact on the success of a child and his or her family, Agel said. “We want children to feel a sense of control over their destiny and that’s one thing that is often lacking for people in poverty,” she said.

In addition to assisting homeless families and educating homeless children, Agel said, “Our role is to help teach the general public about poverty, in general, and homelessness in particular.”

Recently, Positive Tomorrows launched a fundraising campaign to expand the reach of their message and allow the school to provide services to more children.

“We are in the beginning stages of implementing a capital campaign to raise $10.2 million, which would allow us to double our capacity from 74 to 140 students,” Agel said. “So far this school year, we have turned away 88 students due to a lack of space and resources.”

“The new school will have space for a special education classroom and designated space for music and art, as well as a gym for PE classes. The new building will also include a severe weather safe room, which we currently do not have,” she said.

The organization plans to build the school on the NorthCare campus in Oklahoma City.

“The campus is shaping up to be a center for family and child social-emotional health, and we expect some strong programs to develop out of that partnership,” Agel said. “We’re also hearing that other nonprofits are exploring the location and we’re excited about these possibilities for future partnerships.”

Although Nikki’s commitment to Positive Tomorrows spans two decades, she’s already looking forward to the next twenty years. “I’m excited to see what’s in store for our next phase. Our capital campaign is underway, and I have no doubt that our community will rally to support Positive Tomorrows as it has done for many years.”



To learn ways to get involved with Positive Tomorrows, please visit their website here.

Mary Holloway Richard sourced in article investigating hospital merger

Mary Holloway Richard is recognized as one of pioneers in health care law in Oklahoma. She has represented institutional and non-institutional providers of health services, as well as patients and their families.

Mary Holloway Richard, Phillips Murrah Of Counsel Attorney and leader of the Firm’s Health Care Practice, was quoted in a Journal Record article by Sarah Terry-Cobo regarding an attempted merger by OU Medical System and how best to financially achieve that mission.

Read Richard’s comments from the article below:

OKLAHOMA CITY – When it comes to complicated relationships, sometimes it just takes the right partner. After a failed hospital merger was announced Monday, OU Medical System could still find its better half.

But making that match probably won’t be easy, said industry observers. Health care attorney Mary Holloway Richard said a potential partner needs the business expertise as well as the financial backing to purchase a large teaching hospital.

Richard said teaching hospitals have historically had higher costs than non-academic hospitals.

A potential partner has to evaluate the economic feasibility, regardless of whether parties are considering an outright acquisition or a joint venture, she said.

“Will it fit in with your overall business model?” Richard said. “(A teaching hospital) is a complex system, so how you incorporate that complex system into an existing system requires mastery of both the business model and the financial feasibility, as well as recognition of the compliance issues at play.”

Read the full article at the Journal Record.

Attorneys Hilary Hudson, Kendra Norman inducted into Order of the Coif

Kendra M. Norman and Hilary A. Hudson after being inducted into Order of the Coif.

Phillips Murrah Attorneys Hilary A. Hudson and Kendra M. Norman were inducted into the Order of the Coif at the University of Oklahoma College of Law’s Order of the Owl Dinner on March 6 at the Oklahoma Memorial Union.

“I’m very proud to be selected as a member of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Order of the Coif. It is such an honor, and I’m very excited about this achievement,” Norman said. “Being selected as a member of the Order of the Coif means always knowing that I did my best throughout law school.”

The Order of the Coif is a national law school honorary society founded to encourage scholarship and to advance the ethical standards of the profession. The Oklahoma chapter, chartered in 1925, may elect each fall from the graduating class — which includes all those graduating during the fall, spring and summer terms — those graduates who rank in the top 10 percent academically.

Each candidate elected to membership must be thought worthy of the honor in the opinion of the voting members of the Oklahoma chapter, according to the OU College of Law’s website.

“It’s a terrific honor to be inducted into The Order of the Coif,” Hudson said. “Law school was a rewarding experience, but it was also grueling.

“When you begin law school, you have no idea how your grades will turn out, so you just work as hard as you can and hope for the best. It’s great to have something like membership with The Order of the Coif to look to and remember what I accomplished. The induction is also a perfect opportunity to spend time with professors and peers and hear about the wonderful things the other inductees are accomplishing as new attorneys.”

Learn more about the Order of the Owl event here.

Firm selects February Employee of the Month

Curt Bauer

Curt Bauer, File Room Manager, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for February 2017.

“I don’t work or do any of what I do to get Employee of the Month or to get recognized. I do it because it is my job and I believe in what I do,” he said. “With that said, it is always nice to be recognized by your peers, and it helps a lot toward keeping up the daily grind.

“I love this firm’s progressive, proactive thinking, and the fact that we, as a group, always want to be better this year than we were last year. It is an honor to work here!”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Curt is so very thorough and conscientious that you know you are in good hands when you ask him to do something,” Executive Director Michelle Munda said. “He’s extremely dedicated to his job and the Firm, and makes sure we know that he will do whatever is required in every situation, whether it’s something really big or really small.  We are very lucky to have him working here!”


Phillips Murrah is the only law firm recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Phillips Murrah supports Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2017 campaigns

The beginning of Spring marks the beginning of Phillips Murrah’s sponsorship campaign for Big Brother Big Sister of Oklahoma’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake event.

The Firm kicked off its annual campaign with a Thunder ticket raffle, garnering $1,600 in donations, as the organization’s Taste of OKC event concluded Feb. 4.

Phillips Murrah served as a table sponsor for Taste of OKC, one of the marquee fundraising events for BBBSOK, at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center. The night was filled with great food from top restaurants in Oklahoma, a silent and a live auction, and then capped off with dancing to the music of My So Called Band.

Over 550 guests attended the event, which exceeded the goals and expectations the organization set, said Byrona J. Maule, Phillips Murrah Director and Member of the Board of Directors for BBBSOK.

“Every year the Taste of OKC gets better and better – in fact, the last two years the event has sold out,” she said. “Between being a table sponsor and auctioning items that guests of Phillips Murrah purchased, Phillips Murrah contributed over $9,000 to the success of the event – enough to make and support six matches for a year!”

BBBS is the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network striving to make meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country.

“I’ve been involved with BBBS for over 25 years, and I’ve had four matches that spanned that time,” Maule said. “The time I have spent with my Littles has been the most rewarding and challenging times in my life.

“I’ve helped these Littles learn their multiplication tables, write essays, develop artistic and musical talents, and experience things for the first time like an OU football game, a Thunder basketball game, flying, and so many other firsts.  There is no way to put a value on this time, because the time you spend with your Little is invaluable.”

For more information on Big Brothers Big Sisters, click here.

Director Jim Roth to moderate Energy Roundtable discussion

Phillips Murrah Director Jim Roth will take the helm as moderator for an upcoming roundtable discussion on Oklahoma’s energy future.

Oklahoma City University School of Law will host the Energy Roundtable at 11:45 a.m. on March 9.

Steve Dixon, President and CEO of Tapstone Energy, will be the speaker for the discussion alongside panelists including Mike Teague, Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment; Michael Ming, General Manager at GE Global Research Oil and Gas Technology Center; and Dana Murphy, Oklahoma Corporation Commission Chairwoman.

“With Oklahoma companies expanding their drilling budgets in Oklahoma, re-employing people and getting back to work around exciting new formations such as the SCOOP and STACK, this is an opportunity to learn what it all means and why there is reason for optimism,” said Roth, Chair of the Firm’s Clean Energy Practice Group. “Oklahoma posted its first GDP gain in four quarters, and just last week Oklahoma added more rigs than any other state in America.”

Roth began his role as OCU Law’s Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester and is co-organizer of the roundtable.

This is the first open forum on energy hosted by OCU Law. Registration is $20, and lunch is included. Register online here.