Director’s Woman of the Year honor shared in hometown newspaper

Dawn Rahme

Dawn Rahme

Phillips Murrah Director Dawn Rahme was featured in an article in the Ponca City News noting her achievement as one of the Journal Record’s Women of the Year.

“Hard work, integrity and passion will guide me to success throughout my life,” Rahme said in the article. “Though my life has been much easier than his – thanks to him and my mother – my goal remains to follow his example in life: take pride in what I do and work hard to achieve success.”

Read more about the Woman of the Year honor given to Rahme and Phillips Murrah attorneys Sally Hasenfratz and Mary Holloway Richard here.

Firm selects October Employee of the Month

Margaret Petit

Margaret Petit, legal assistant, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for October 2016.

“It is a real honor to have received this award from my co-workers,” she said. “Just know that I believe that I am a good ‘team player’ because every member of my team/Phillips Murrah family is a Super Star and we all excel in service/skill. Thank you all for making me look good!”

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

“Margaret is an incredibly hard worker,” Director Jason M. Kreth said. “She always goes above and beyond what’s expected of her, often times anticipating things before I even ask for them.”


Top Workplaces shield for web 150

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.

Team of Phillips Murrah employees participate in Race for the Cure

Phillips Murrah's Rae White, Michelle Campney, and Nanette Morris stand with two friends at Race for the Cure.

Phillips Murrah’s Rae White, Michelle Campney, Nanette Morris and her family stand at Race for the Cure.

A group of Phillips Murrah employees joined together in late October to participate in a 5K for Race for the Cure at Bicentennial Park at the Civic Center Music Hall.

“My family and I have participated in the Race for the Cure for a number of years,” Paralegal Nanette Morris said. “We have had friends, luckily not any family members, that have been affected by breast cancer and have seen how devastating the disease can be.

“Other employees of Phillips Murrah have been touched by breast cancer in a number of ways and so asking the Firm to participate was an easy decision.”

Morris, along with A. Michelle Campney, Lisa McAlister, Rae White, and their families showed their support for the cause.

“Cancer, of all kinds, has affected my friends and family and I wanted to show my support by participating,” said White.

To learn more about Race for the Cure and to find ways to donate to the cause, visit the Susan G. Komen website here.

50 Making a Difference profile: Sally Hasenfratz, J.D.

From The Journal Record / by Jessica Mitchell
Published: November 3, 2016
Click to see full story – 50 Making a Difference profile: Sally Hasenfratz, J.D.

Sally A. Hasenfratz is a Director and a member of the Firm’s Real Estate, Tax and Family Wealth and Business Succession Practice Groups.

Attorney Sally Hasenfratz said her philosophy on life is simple.

“Work hard, do the right thing and act with integrity in all areas of life,” Hasenfratz said. “My parents live this philosophy and have always been great models for ‘walking the walk.’ I try to live my life, both professionally and personally, by this simple philosophy.”

The Kingfisher native earned her bachelor’s degree in finance and juris doctorate from the University of Oklahoma before going on to obtain her master’s degree in tax at Southern Methodist University.

Hasenfratz began her legal career as an associate with McDivitt & Casey before working five years with Gooding, Mulinix & Hardin. In 1997, she joined Andrews Davis Legg Bixler Milstein & Price and was shareholder and director. She joined Phillips Murrah PC in 2001 and today serves as shareholder and director of the Oklahoma City law firm.

Her practice focuses on transactional law with specialties in real estate law, mergers and acquisitions, law related to business organizations, and estate planning. She has a wide range of experience in all phases of real estate development, including acquisitions, financing, sales, leasing and management of real estate projects. Hasenfratz has been involved in complex public-private development projects statewide, including in OKC’s Bricktown and Tulsa’s Brady Arts District.

Hasenfratz is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association and American Bar Association. This year, she co-founded CREW-OKC, a local chapter of the national networking group Commercial Real Estate Women.

“I believe that professional women can bring significant capability to the commercial real estate industry if given the opportunity, and CREW will provide networking and ongoing education that will enhance those opportunities,” Hasenfratz said.

Julie Kriegel, sales associate with Wiggin Properties and co-founder of CREW-OKC Inc., describes Hasenfratz as a great team leader.

“Her ability to successfully collaborate with many different types of people sets her apart and makes her a vital part of our organization,” Kriegel said. “She has many different skill sets and is able to engage with other people to utilize their skills for the benefit of the greater goals. She is precise in her planning, and her talent to methodically work through the complex steps necessary to accomplish great things is extraordinary.”

Her work has earned Hasenfratz recognition by Super Lawyers for 10 consecutive years and by Best Lawyers in America for Real Estate for the past seven, including being chosen as Lawyer of the Year in select areas of commercial real estate for the past four years.

Hasenfratz’s community service includes serving on the board of the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund. She also is a former board member of Oklahoma City Beautiful, Ballet Oklahoma and Cimarron Alliance Foundation.

50 Making a Difference profile: Dawn Rahme, J.D.

From The Journal Record / by Jessica Mitchell
Published: November 3, 2016
Click to see full story – 50 Making a Difference profile: Dawn Rahme, J.D.

Dawn M. Rahme represents individuals and businesses in an array of transactional matters. The focus of her practice is assisting corporations, partnerships and individuals in general tax planning.

Inspired by her father’s success in overcoming challenges, Dawn Rahme is driven to work her hardest in the face of adversity.

Rahme’s father, at the age of 25, moved from Lebanon to the United States. Without money, an education, employment or knowledge of the English language, his chances of success were slim. However, he overcame the odds to build a successful business through hard work, perseverance, integrity and commitment.

“Hard work, integrity and passion will guide me to success throughout my life,” Rahme said. “Though my life has been much easier than his – thanks to him and my mother – my goal remains to follow his example in life: take pride in what I do and work hard to achieve success.”

Rahme earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tulsa in 1998 and her juris doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in 2001. She then went on to obtain her master of law in taxation at New York University School of Law.

She joined Phillips Murrah in 2004 and today is a shareholder and director of the Oklahoma City firm and serves on the firm’s executive committee.

She is a member of the firm’s tax, estate planning and corporate law practice groups, has been involved in several complex mergers and acquisitions, and frequently advises clients on the best structure to hold existing assets as well as effects of tax planning with limited partnerships and limited liability companies.

“I believe where Dawn truly sets herself apart from her peers is in her unique ability to evaluate complex transactions from a business perspective, in addition to the legal perspective one would expect,” said Robert O’Bannon, a director of Phillips Murrah. “Her proficiency in this arena is not due merely to her excellent analytical abilities, but because she has extensive professional experience.”

Phillips Murrah Director Thomas G. Wolfe describes Rahme as a natural leader.

“Her willingness to accept challenges and listen to input from her colleagues enables her to contribute thoughtful, well-reasoned approaches to help solve difficult problems,” Wolfe said.

Rahme’s civic involvement has included volunteering with Positive Tomorrows, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Oklahoma Family Network, Regional Food Bank and Susan G. Komen Foundation. She said she is proud of her work in co-founding Phillips Murrah’s Holiday Family project more than a decade ago.

“As lawyers, we are fortunate enough to provide for our families, but there are so many who cannot afford even the most basic necessities, let alone Christmas gifts,” she said. “It was – and still is – hard for me to imagine a child not experiencing the surprise of Christmas morning, the joy of running to the tree and finding a present waiting to be torn into.”

50 Making a Difference profile: Mary H. Richard, J.D.

From The Journal Record / by Jessica Mitchell
Published: November 3, 2016
Click to see full story – 50 Making a Difference profile: Mary H. Richard, J.D.

Mary 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.

For Mary Richard, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

“Life will do everything in its power to distract you and sway you from your path,” Richard said. “It is vital to have courage, foresight and conviction to take risks and embrace change – and for the next generation to see you live your life in this way.”

Richard, who has a master’s in public health and a law degree, took 10 years off from her successful legal career to raise her three children – Katherine, Andrew and Claire. When they were grown, she returned to full-time practice.

“Re-entering the workforce took some courage,” she said. “Regulations were nearly unrecognizable from the beginning of my career, technological advances meant playing in a different league, and the issues facing health care providers had become increasingly more important.”

Richard tackled the challenges to continue her dedication to health care law and to expand her practice to include mental health issues. Today, Richard is an attorney of counsel for Phillips Murrah PC and adjunct law professor at Oklahoma City University.

“Some of the most fulfilling work I do combines helping families, patients and their providers navigate the labyrinth of regulations surrounding mental health with the requisite skill and empathy,” Richard said. “For me, this has become more essential as mental health law has become more arcane.”

Richard’s dedication to the broader community is as obvious as was her dedication to her young family when the children were growing up, said U.S. District Judge Stephen P. Friot.

“Mary has recommitted herself to the practice of law with a level of energy and dedication that would be admirable in a 30-year old lawyer. The short of the matter is that Mary no longer has anything to prove, as a professional, a wife, a mother or a humanitarian, but she keeps on proving it.”

Richard has served in various leadership positions with the Mental Health Association Oklahoma, Oklahoma Health Lawyers Association and Oklahoma Bar Association Health Law Section and has been instrumental in establishing a webcast series on vulnerable populations that has focused on the mentally ill, the elderly, children and education for the disabled.

“Through my law practice, community service and adjunct professorship, I have had the opportunity to help correct, in some small measure, our state’s failures to provide adequate services to the mentally ill and those suffering from substance abuse disorders,” Richard said. “I believe strongly in educating lawyers, law students and families about the significant and increasingly complex legal issues facing mental health patients, their families, governmental units and health service providers.”

She and her husband, Dr. James M. Richard, live in Oklahoma City.

Phillips Murrah named among Best Law Firms in 36 practice areas

blf-badge-2017-web-117x117Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that our law firm has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 “Best Law Firms” for professional excellence for the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area in the following practice areas:

Tier 1

  • Administrative / Regulatory Law
  • Banking and Finance Law
  • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Government Relations Practice
  • Land Use & Zoning Law
  • Litigation – Banking & Finance
  • Litigation – Bankruptcy
  • Litigation – Land Use & Zoning
  • Litigation – Real Estate
  • Litigation – Tax
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
  • Real Estate Law
  • Tax Law
  • Trusts & Estates Law

Tier 2

  • Commercial Transactions / UCC Law
  • Employment Law – Individuals
  • Energy Law
  • Litigation – Antitrust
  • Litigation – ERISA
  • Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Tier 3

  • Business Organizations (including LLC’s and Partnerships)
  • Construction Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Family Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Litigation – Trusts & Estates
  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
  • Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Mergers & Acquisitions Law
  • Oil & Gas Law
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Public Finance Law
  • Securities / Capital Markets Law
  • Venture Capital Law

This list is for the Oklahoma City Metropolitan area. To be eligible for a ranking, a law firm must have a lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top four percent of practicing attorneys in the United States.

Earlier in the year, Phillips Murrah announced that 35 of our attorneys are recognized by Best Lawyers in America for 2017.

Firms included in the 2017 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence, quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise. The “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a combination of client feedback, information provided on the Law Firm Survey and the Law Firm Leaders Survey and Best Lawyers peer-review.

Firm selects September Employee of the Month

David Carter

David Carter, Lead Office Clerk, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for September 2016.

“It is an honor to be selected by my co-workers for this award, thank you,” he said. “The work atmosphere here while oft times busy is also team oriented with staff volunteering to assist one another with rush assignments.

“The Firm’s directors are beyond generous with the many perks given throughout the year. I’m blessed and grateful for the opportunity and experience of being an employee here at Phillips Murrah.”

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

“It’s no surprise David was chosen by his peers as Employee of the Month because he more than deserves the recognition,” Firm President Thomas G. Wolfe said. “He is a thoughtful, integral part of the Phillips Murrah family.”


Top Workplaces shield for web 150

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.

Two Phillips Murrah Directors given Super Lawyers top honors

Fred A. Leibrock and Shannon K. Emmons

Fred A. Leibrock and Shannon K. Emmons

We are proud to announce Directors Fred A. Leibrock and Shannon K. Emmons were selected for top honors in the 2016 Oklahoma Super Lawyers listing.

Leibrock is named to the Top 50 attorneys in the state, and Emmons is selected as one of the Top 25 Women in the 2016 Oklahoma Super Lawyers rankings.

Click here to see the other Phillips Murrah attorneys named as Super Lawyers this year.

Phillips Murrah attorneys selected as 2016 Super Lawyers

Phillips Murrah P.C._Logo_Color_emblemEighteen Phillips Murrah Attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2016 edition of Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers for their excellence in their respective practice areas. Four attorneys of them under the age of 40 were recognized as Rising Stars.

Super Lawyers is a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The Super Lawyers lists are published in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines across the country. Using the same patented process for selecting Super Lawyers, Rising Stars recognizes up and coming lawyers who are 40 years old or younger and have been in practice for 10 years or less.

The following Phillips Murrah attorneys are included in 2016’s Super Lawyers:

The following Phillips Murrah attorneys are included in 2016’s Oklahoma Rising Stars:

Director Jim Roth presents for Sierra Club

Director Jim Roth presenting at the Solar Summit for Sierra Club.

Director Jim Roth presenting at the Solar Summit for Sierra Club.

Jim Roth, Director and Chair of Phillips Murrah’s Clean Energy Practice Group, presented at the Solar Summit for the Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club on Saturday at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City’s Student Center.

“Jim Roth’s former role as a Corporation Commissioner and his current work on cases involving the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, along with his intelligence and his consummate people-skills, make him a perfect fit for helping to educate Oklahomans about the truth regarding solar energy,” said Johnson Bridgwater, Director of the Oklahoma Chapter of Sierra Club.

The summit is a non-partisan, public event aimed at developing discussion to help move Oklahoma from its current position at the bottom of solar-producing states to fulfill its projected capacity of becoming 6th in the nation in solar energy production, Bridgwater said.

“The summit was a great opportunity for Oklahomans to learn about our state’s native solar potential, the ability for citizens to take advantage of this free fuel source and what the energy future looks like,” Roth said.

Learn more about the Oklahoma Chapter of Sierra Club here.

Law & Oarder Rowing Team win at Regatta Festival

Phillips Murrah welcomes two new attorneys

hah-web-cutout

Attorney Hilary A. Hudson

Phillips Murrah is proud to welcome Hilary A. Hudson and Kendra M. Norman to our Firm.

Phillips Murrah welcomed Hudson to the Firm’s Litigation Practice Group as an associate attorney.

Hudson represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of civil litigation matters.

Kendra M. Norman

Attorney Kendra M. Norman

Norman has joined Phillips Murrah’s Transactional Practice Group as an associate attorney.

She represents individuals and businesses in a broad range of transactional matters.

Norman and Hudson are recent graduates of the University of Oklahoma School of Law.

Firm selects August Employee of the Month

Monica Ball

Monica Ball

Monica Ball, Accounting, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for August 2016.

“I am humbled and thrilled to receive this recognition from my peers,” she said. “Thank you all for making this such a great place to work for the past 12 years.”

“Monica 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.”

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


Top Workplaces shield for web 150

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.

Attorneys present at PLICO Healthcare Summit

Mary Holloway Richard

Mary Holloway Richard, Renee M. Brown, and Candace Williams Lisle at the PLICO EXPLORE Healthcare Summit on August 11, 2016.

Phillips Murrah attorneys Mary Holloway Richard and Candace Williams Lisle spoke on audits in the health care industry at the PLICO EXPLORE Healthcare Summit in Norman, OK on August 11.

They presented “Driving Success: Using Internal and Payor Audits to your Benefit” with Renee M. Brown, CMIS, ACS-EM, CHA and covered:

  • regulatory reviews
  • federal health care (Medicare) contractors and oversight
  • appeals
  • external audits
  • False Claims Act
  • Medicaid
  • compliance plans, and
  • commercial payors.

For more information about the PLICO EXPLORE Healthcare Summit, click here.

Journal Record names three attorneys Woman of the Year

woty-web-logo-2016The Journal Record will honor Phillips Murrah directors Sally A. Hasenfratz, Dawn M. Rahme, and attorney Mary Holloway Richard as those named on the 2016 Fifty Making A Difference list.

Judge Jane P. Wiseman will be the keynote speaker at the 2016 Journal Record Woman of the Year gala set for Nov. 2 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

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

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

Phillips Murrah announces 35 attorneys named to 2017 Best Lawyers list

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that 35 of our attorneys have been named to the 2017 Best Lawyers® list and seven of our attorneys are recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017 in Oklahoma City.

The Best Lawyers in America 2017

Douglas A. Branch – Venture Capital Law

Michael D. Carter – Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Shannon K. Emmons – Employment Law – Individuals

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Construction Law

Fred A. Leibrock – Litigation – Antitrust

G. Calvin Sharpe – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants

Thomas G. Wolfe – Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

2017 Best Lawyers

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

Bobby Dolatabadi – Mergers and Acquisitions Law

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

Nicholle Jones Edwards – Family Law

Stephen W. Elliott – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Shannon K. Emmons – Commercial Litigation; 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

John D. Hastie – Litigation – Real Estate; 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; 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)

Melvin R. McVay, Jr. – 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 – 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 – Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Jim A. Roth – Energy 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 – Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

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 – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Phillips Murrah sponsors Oklahoma Lawyers for Children Tennis Tournament

OLFC-Logo-Main-680x363Phillips Murrah is sponsoring this weekend’s Oklahoma Lawyers for Children David A. Kline Tennis Tournament, continuing a tradition of supporting the organization and honoring the father of one of the Firm’s Directors.

“Tsinena Bruno-Thompson is one of my very favorite people, and she has done a tremendous job as President/CEO of the Oklahoma Lawyers for Children generally and, specifically, with regard to their annual tennis tournaments,” Director Timothy D. Kline said. “My father, David A. Kline, was also exceedingly fond of Tsinena, and our family is very appreciative that his name has been associated with the OLFC’s tennis tournaments.  Additionally, we appreciate Phillips Murrah’s sponsorship of the children’s tournament for the benefit of young people in our community.”

The Firm’s attorneys have a history of representing children in the organization.

“My representation of many children over the years has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career,” Director Fred A. Leibrock said. “I believe that I have made a significant difference in many children’s lives, especially those who at the end of their case were adopted by loving families.

“The juvenile justice system is replete of many good and hardworking people.  However, they are overworked and as a result the system can be stacked against the kids.  Lawyers for Children provides volunteer lawyers with a great opportunity to level the playing field by providing an advocate’s voice to a child who really needs that voice.  So much of what we do in the practice of law is mundane, but nothing I have ever done in a Lawyers for Children case has been ordinary or routine.”

The reward for attorneys helping Oklahoma Lawyers for Children can come with its own personal reward.

PM attorney Rodney L. Cook to speak at Juvenile Justice Center

“I enjoyed the experience of helping children who needed representation in a difficult situation,” Attorney Rodney L. Cook said. “It was a privilege to use my legal skills to assist these children.  My representation of these juvenile clients allowed me to get to know them and their situations.  I was glad to be able to make their lives better by simply giving my time to help them get to a better family environment.”

Cook was given the opportunity to present at a seminar Oklahoma Lawyers for Children will hold on Aug. 16 at the Juvenile Justice Center

“I have been asked to discuss how to most favorably present clients at trial who have deficiencies,” Cook said. “Usually children are in the DHS/Court/Foster Children program because their parents have abused them or neglected them.  If the parents refuse to relinquish their parental rights, a trial occurs where the state seeks to terminate their rights.

“Public Defenders and contract lawyers are appointed or retained to defend the parents and represent them at trial.  These lawyers have a difficult time presenting their clients in the most favorable light as possible considering the parents’ many deficiencies.  I have been asked to talk to these lawyers about how I prepare and present my civil defense clients for trial testimony who have problems with their testimony, company documents or other deficiencies.  Perhaps some of the procedures and tactics that I employ in my preparation of such witnesses can help these attorneys in the preparation of their parent clients. ”

Cook will present on Tuesday at 9:30 AM at Judge Lisa T. Davis’ courtroom at the Juvenile Justice Center in Oklahoma City.


Video via www.olfc.org

Firm selects July Employee of the Month

Stacye Snow, accounts payable specialist, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for July 2016.

“Coming up on 19 years with Phillips Murrah, what else is there really left to say: a great place with great people, and I truly appreciate the recognition from my co-workers,” she said. “Thank you all so much.”

“I’m thrilled that Stacye was chosen as this month’s Employee of the Month,” Controller Stephanie Oseland said. “In her 19 years at the firm, she has proven herself as a loyal, dependable and diligent asset to the Firm.

“It is a true pleasure to be able to work with her.”

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


Top Workplaces shield for web 150

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.

Workouts a good option: Companies in financial hardship have alternative to bankruptcy

This article was published in OIPA Wellhead, a publication produced by Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and distributed to its membership.

Phillips Murrah Directors Elizabeth K. Brown, Stephen W. Elliott, and Melvin R. McVay, Jr. present at the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association Annual Meeting.

Phillips Murrah Directors Elizabeth K. Brown, Stephen W. Elliott, and Melvin R. McVay, Jr. present at the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association Annual Meeting.

OIPA board member Elizabeth Kemp Brown and her fellow attorneys from Phillips Murrah PC presented a panel at the Annual Meeting discussing workouts and bankruptcies in the oil and natural gas industry.

Phillips Murrah’s Melvin McVay, Stephen Elliott and Clayton Ketter joined Brown, who is also CEO of E&P company The Gloria Corporation, on the panel.

Bankruptcies in the oil and natural gas industry more than quadrupled from 2014 to 2015, totaling almost $35 billion.

Bankruptcy is usually not the best choice for a company facing financial trouble, Ketter said.

“Before jumping into that you want to see if you can do an out-of-court workout,” he said.

Bankruptcy is the last resort for both borrowers and lenders, McVay said.

A consensual workout agreement is an agreement between parties to renegotiate the loan and stay away from bankruptcy. Workout measures can include extending the term of a loan, extending payments, or partial payments.

A workout allows the parties to have much more control, McVay said, and avoids public scrutiny and the stigma that is attached to bankruptcy.

“You file bankruptcy, and everything about your company is an open book,” McVay said. “The good, the bad and the ugly.”

He urged business owners to be proactive if the company is entering hard times.

Elliott said recent cases have seen a change to how bankruptcies have worked.

“Historically, secured creditors come in and assert their positions and everybody below them gets nothing,” he said. “That’s not what’s happening. What they’re generally doing is restructuring their debt, cutting in existing equity and leaving trade participants and trade creditors pretty much alone.

“It seems to be a realization that they can maximize value by keeping the industry participants and the relationships with them intact.”

Ketter said of the around 35 oil and natural gas bankruptcies that have been filed this year, few were filed in Oklahoma, even if the company was Oklahoma-based.

“You would think, a company that is headquartered in Oklahoma, has a lot of creditors in Oklahoma or even Texas, how is it that they can go to Delaware or the southern district of New York and file?” Ketter said. “The venue requirements under the bankruptcy code are pretty broad. They allow you to be creative in where you end up filing.”

The biggest cases tend to hire national counsel, Elliott said, and they practice more frequently in Delaware and New York and Texas than they do in Oklahoma.

“I think there’s also a perception that the courts in Delaware and New York may be more sophisticated,” Elliott said. “I personally don’t buy that. And if any of you were involved in the SEM Group case, you received decisions out of the Delaware judge that I don’t think were very compatible with your view of the world. So I think home filing would probably be a lot better for some of these folks than they realize.”

Brown said when dealing with a company that is having financial difficulties, reviewing existing contracts is vital.

“Make sure you have your ducks in a row,” she said. “Review back over those agreements … If you’ve done an acquisition, you need to make sure you have your assignments in hand, and you need to make sure those assignments have been actually executed and recorded.”  Take steps like making sure any liens are filed, and any other documents signed and recorded, so you understand your position, she said.  Brown said when providing services or products to a company with financial problems, options are to get a deposit, get a pre-payment or personal guarantee from the owner before providing additional products and services.

“It’s a good idea to evaluate where you are and then try to make sure that you’ve got your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed, and you’ll be in a much better position to be paid if the company ends up going into bankruptcy,” she said.

Firm employees welcome Westbrook after contract negotiations

syo chk

Stephanie Oseland, Accounting Controller, is pictured smiling in the crowd just behind Russell Westbrook at his conference. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

IMG_8416

Rae White, Lisa McAlister, and Michelle Munda get a good spot to better see Russell Westbrook as he arrives.

Russell Westbrook made an appearance at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Aug. 4 to celebrate the extension of his contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder and to celebrate what Mayor Mick Cornett proclaimed Russell Westbrook Day.

Representatives from the Thunder put out a call to the public letting them know he would be at the arena to greet fans.

Although hot out, a group of Phillips Murrah employees made their way to join the crowd outside of the arena and waited to welcome him before he participated in a press conference.

Read more about the event and Westbrook’s contract renegotiation and see more pictures at NewsOK.com

Upon arriving, Westbrook took a moment to thank everyone who showed up for showing their support.

Watch a brief video of Westbrook addressing his fans below:

Phillips Murrah attorneys author update to commercial lending law reference book

IMG_8390

The two volumes “Commercial Lending Law, Second Edition: A Jurisdiction-by-Jurisdiction Guide to U.S. and Canadian Law” updated by Phillips Murrah attorneys pictured next to the previous edition.

A group of Phillips Murrah attorneys contributed to updating and creating a new edition of “Commercial Lending Law, Second Edition: A Jurisdiction-by-Jurisdiction Guide to U.S. and Canadian Law,” published by the American Bar Association.

The book is meant to be a resource for attorneys who help clients across different jurisdictions.

“A lot of the law impacting commercial lending varies from state to state, sometimes significantly,” said J. Mark Lovelace, Phillips Murrah Director. “The two volumes have separate chapters on local law and practice recommendations for each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, plus a chapter for Quebec and a combined chapter for the other Canadian provinces.

Each chapter follows the same format, he said. Most attorneys who represent commercial lenders will at least occasionally deal with the laws of other jurisdictions.

“This guide will provide an excellent first place to start,” Lovelace said. “It doesn’t take the place of consulting an attorney in that other jurisdiction, but the book provides helpful initial answers and should give the attorney a good idea of the local issues to be considered.”

Phillips Murrah’s attorneys were provided a template developed by Brian Hulse, with the Davis Write Tremaine Firm in Seattle, along with the other original editors of the book to update it for the new edition.

“The 2016 book expanded significantly on the original 2009 edition, and that was the first time we worked with Brian,” Lovelace said. “Josh Edwards and I also worked with Brian on a separate book published by the ABA in 2013 called The Law of Guaranties, A Jurisdiction-by-Jurisdiction Guide to U.S. and Canadian Law.  He has been a tremendous resource and working partner for us.”

The 2016 update on commercial lending law captures changes in relevant law and practice in Oklahoma, but more significantly covers numerous additional issues that the editors wanted to cover this time around, he said.

“The 2009 chapter was our base, and Monica Ybarra provided research and a first draft on most of the new areas to be covered in the update,” Lovelace said. “John Hastie had contributed significant portions to the 2009 chapter, particularly on real estate lending and foreclosure law, and these required a relatively minor amount of updating.

“I wrote and edited a number of sections, but Josh served as the primary editor of our 2016 chapter, with assistance from Erica Halley, and it’s more than fair to say he brought it all together.”

As a result, the new edition had contributions from attorneys at Phillips Murrah with experience ranging from one year to almost 50 years in practice, he said.

For more information on “Commercial Lending Law, Second Edition: A Jurisdiction-by-Jurisdiction Guide to U.S. and Canadian Law” and how to purchase it, click here.

Phillips Murrah Director named as Secretary of Positive Tomorrows

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.

Phillips Murrah Director Nicholle Jones Edwards was appointed Secretary of Positive Tomorrows, an organization aimed at helping homeless children in Oklahoma, on July 1.

“Positive Tomorrows is my favorite charity and non-profit organization,” Edwards said. “As the only elementary school designated for homeless children in Oklahoma, it serves as a safe harbor for kids who struggle to have any normalcy or consistency.”

Edwards also currently serves at the Board Governance Chair hoping to further the organization’s mission.

“These are kids who may not see a meal until the one they receive the next day at school, may not have any clothing except that on their bodies the day they enroll at Positive Tomorrows, and who don’t know the quiet respite of the same bed each night,” she said. “Simply stated, this place is their sanctuary.

“All of this is part of the overall mission, of which the primary focus is for the Positive Tomorrows kiddos to receive a top-notch education.”

Learn more about Positive Tomorrows and how you can get involved here.

Firm selects June Employee of the Month

Pat Murano

Legal Secretary Pat Murano is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for June 2016.

“Phillips Murrah really is like a big family – we all look out for one another and help when we can,” Murano said. “This year the firm greatly improved the look of our work environment with beautiful artwork and updates.”

“Pat not only excels in her work, but she is also a thoughtful coworker,” Phillips Murrah Director Dawn Rahme said. “She’s been a great asset to the Phillips Murrah family.”

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


Top Workplaces shield for web 150

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 attorneys volunteer for Cavett Kids Foundation

Monica Y. Ybarra, OCBA Community Service Committee Vice Chair, with attorney Ashley Schovanec

Attorney Monica Y. Ybarra, OCBA Community Service Committee Vice Chair, with attorney Ashley Schovanec.

Phillips Murrah attorneys Nicholle Jones Edwards, Kayce L. Gisinger, Monica Y. Ybarra, and Ashley M. Schovanec were on site at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center on July 6 to lend a helping hand to the children heading to Camp Cavett.

“Monica, who is on the Oklahoma County Bar Association’s Community Service Committee, let the Phillips Murrah attorneys know that volunteers were needed to help with the Camp Cavett camp check-in,” Schovanec said. “On Wednesday morning, Nikki, Monica, Kayce and I helped do things like pass out camp T-shirts, help with luggage, and pass out luggage tags to help the camp check-in process go smoothly.”

Chance Pearson, OCBA Community Service Committee Chair, with Director Nicholle Jones Edwards, Jenna and Claudette Greenway, Cavett Kids Board Member.

Chance Pearson, OCBA Community Service Committee Chair, with Director Nicholle Jones Edwards, Jenna and Claudette Greenway, Cavett Kids Board Member.

The Cavett Kids Foundation serves hundreds of children with various life-threatening and chronic illnesses every year.

“Among other things, the Cavett Foundation provides a unique summer camp experience that meets the medical needs of its campers without distracting from the fun of summer camp,” Ybarra said.

Phillips Murrah attorneys, along with other volunteers from the Oklahoma County Bar Association’s Community Service Committee, assisted campers and their families through the check-in process and saw the kids off to camp.

“Just because a child suffers from a life-threatening or chronic illness doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the opportunity to go to summer camp,” Schovanec said. “What a heartwarming sight it was to see the look on each of the kids’ faces as they walked (or ran) to the summer camp check-in stations.”

To learn how to get involved and volunteer with Cavett Kids, click here.

Phillips Murrah attorney graduates OBA Leadership Academy

Cody J. Cooper is an attorney whose practice is concentrated in commercial litigation, product liability, and intellectual property.

Attorney Cody J. Cooper became one of 18 participants to graduate from the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Leadership Academy in June.

“This class was an excellent opportunity to meet and engage with other attorneys actively engaged in or seeking to engage in leadership roles throughout our community and the Bar Association,” Cooper said. “It introduced us to different leadership styles to help us development our own sense of leadership.”

Participants were selected from a pool of applicants spanning the state to receive training in leadership, motivation and communication.

“The Academy also introduced us to different leadership opportunities both within and outside of the Bar Association and encouraged our involvement in the Bar Association and our communities,” Cooper said. “We were able to interact with experienced lawyers, judges and community leaders in order to discuss their roles in leadership throughout the state.”

Cooper was admitted to the Academy in Sept. 2015.

Director Kathryn Terry speaks at Alpha Phi 71st Biennial Convention

The emphasis of Kathryn D. Terry’s litigation practice is in the areas of insurance coverage, labor and employment law and civil rights defense.

The emphasis of Kathryn D. Terry’s litigation practice is in the areas of insurance coverage, labor and employment law and civil rights defense.

Director Kathryn D. Terry rejoined her sorority sisters for the Alpha Phi 71st Biennial Convention from June 22-26 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Terry, who serves as President of the board for the Alpha Phi house association at the University of Oklahoma, offered her guidance by speaking to the more than 400 Alpha Phi women from across the country who attended the convention.

“Sorority houses are happening places and face incredibly unique labor, employment and risk management issues,” Terry said. “As a labor and insurance attorney, and President of the house board, my professional life and Alpha Phi meet at a crossroad.

“I provided guidance and worked with Alpha Phi alumnae from all over the country to more effectively meet the needs of our collegiate women by managing labor, employment and wage issues for sorority houses, as well as liability and risk management challenges that the managers and owners of sorority houses encounter as part of their routine – and often not so routine – operations.”

Alpha Phi International is a sisterhood with chapters at 170 college and universities in the United States and Canada.

 

Oklahoma City real estate attorney Sally Hasenfratz featured in The Oklahoman

crew-okc-logo-choice-smallerOklahoma City real estate attorney and Phillips Murrah Director, Sally A. Hasenfratz, was featured in the business section of The Oklahoman newspaper on Saturday, July 2.

Oklahoma real estate attorney Sally Hasenfratz

Sally A. Hasenfratz is a Director and a member of the Firm’s Real Estate, Tax and Family Wealth and Business Succession Practice Groups. She represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of transactional matters.

The article, written by real estate editor Richard Mize, is also available online at NewsOK.com and features a video interview about the formation of CREW OKC. Hasenfratz co-founded the organization with Julie Kriegel, vice president at Wiggin Properties, and she will serve at the first president.

CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network is a national organization. Hasenfratz and Kriegel successfully initiated the local Oklahoma City chapter and assembled a board of influencers, including Jane Jenkins, president and CEO of Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. and Cathy O’Connor, president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City Inc.

From the story:

“Sally and I met and we hand-picked who we thought would be the best people to be on the board of directors,” Kriegel said. “We spent most of last summer and fall taking them to lunch and recruiting all of them, so we have this terrific board of directors.”

Hasenfratz said it was worth the effort.

“We’re pretty proud of the board members. We’ve got a stellar group,” she said.

Read the whole story and see Richard’s video here.

See the original story about the CREW OKC local chapter by clicking here.