Firm names April Employee of the Month

Donna Anderson

Legal Secretary Donna Anderson is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for April 2016.

“Being recognized as Employee of the Month for me is an honor that I will truly cherish,” Anderson said, whose work is focused on Family Law.

“You won’t find a more devoted, hard-working and patient employee than Donna,” said Nikki J. Edwards, Director and Family Law Practice Group Leader. “Clients in the middle of a divorce or custody matter are particularly sensitive to all that lies in the balance related to their financial condition, business solvency and best interests of their children. Donna often deals with these clients as the initial contact and provides a calming and reassuring voice.”

“In all of the years that I have been working in this particular area of law, I have truly enjoyed working with this great group of individuals,” she said. “Being able to share of the many ups and downs of dealing with this type of work is great therapy for the soul.  I hope that I can continue to be the person that inspires and motivates others to live, love and laugh!”

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.

Director Jim Roth featured in the Sunday Oklahoman cover story about tornado sirens

On Sunday, May 1, Phillips Murrah Director and Chair of the Firm’s Clean Energy Practice Group, Jim Roth, was featured in The Oklahoman newspaper. The story, by Silas Allen, was about The City of Oklahoma City’s new policy regarding tornado sirens. See below, and click on the link to see the full story at newsok.com.


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

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

Oklahoma City residents sound off over change in tornado siren policy

On Tuesday evening, as a round of heavy storms bore down on Oklahoma City, Jim Roth sat at home trying to get some work done.

Knowing severe weather was on the way, Roth, 47, kept an ear out for tornado sirens, figuring that he’d turn on his television if he heard one.

But when his power began to flicker, Roth, an Oklahoma City attorney and former Oklahoma Corporation Commission member, turned on the local news, just in time to see television crews report a possible tornado near Lake Aluma, less than a mile from his house. Even after that warning, though, Roth said he never heard a siren.

“I was just surprised that there was no audible siren in the area,” Roth said. “If anyone is reporting tornadoes on the ground, I would think that the public has a right to know.”

Click HERE to read the full story.

Phillips Murrah attorney Doug Branch featured in The Oklahoman

Phillips Murrah attorney, Douglas A. Branch, is featured in today’s Oklahoman newspaper regarding his career in biotechnology.

Doug is one of the prime movers in the diversification of the Oklahoma City economy to include biotech. He recently accepted the position of CEO of Biolytx Pharmaceuticals, and he continues his legal practice at Phillips Murrah as an of counsel attorney.

Below, read the story, or jump to it at newsok.com here.


Phillips Murrah attorney Doug Branch

Phillips Murrah attorney Doug Branch

Oklahoma’s 1980s oil problems leads to career in biotechnology for local lawyer

By Jim Stafford For The Oklahoman| April 26, 2016

A promising career as a securities lawyer awaited Doug Branch when he graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1982. Oklahoma was the heart of a booming energy economy with lots of oil and gas firms that needed legal work as they raised capital and dealt with regulators.

A couple of months later Penn Square Bank went belly up.

The Penn Square collapse set off a domino effect of bank failures that coincided with declining energy prices and ultimately cost the jobs of thousands of Oklahomans. By 1988, the law firm that Branch worked for was suffering along with the rest of the state.

“Our business was in the tank,” Branch said recently at the OU Research Park. “The law business in Oklahoma City was terrible, and I knew I had to change my practice.”

Fast-forward almost 30 years. Branch recently was named CEO of an up-and-coming biotechnology startup called Biolytx Pharmaceuticals Corp.

So how did a securities attorney who focuses on the energy industry make the transition to CEO of a life science company?

The evolution began in those dark days of the late 1980s. Branch committed himself to learning all he could about licensing and managing intellectual property and representing technology companies.

By 1988, the state Legislature had created the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST).

“I became familiar with OCAST,” he said. “My first technology project was working with a professor at OU in the engineering school who was developing superconducting thin films.”

That year Branch also began representing Sonic Corp., a relationship that continues in 2016 with Phillips Murrah, the Oklahoma City law firm where Branch was a partner until this year.

“I was so fortunate because if that engagement didn’t happen I would probably have been fired,” he said. “And it sustained me for the time that it took to develop my technology practice. Cliff Hudson, the CEO of Sonic, was general counsel then and he and I are still great friends.”

Immersion in biotech

Branch so completely immersed himself in technology that he joined the OCAST board in the early 1990s as its chairman. During his time on the board, the agency launched an ambitious plan to diversify the Oklahoma economy.

Centers of Excellence in manufacturing, molecular medicine, and laser technology were developed at OU and Oklahoma State University. The Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance was created. Funding programs took off.

“OCAST invested big in those Centers of Excellence,” Branch said. “They were great investments, especially for the Oklahoma Health Center. It was a huge deal for biotechnology here.”

Branch’s involvement in biotechnology also began to expand. His clients have included high-profile startups such as Zymetx, Riley Genomics, Novazyme, Altheus Therapeutics and Cytovance Biologics, among others.

The construction and growth of the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park — now the OU Research Park — also added to the momentum, both for the biotech industry and for Branch.

“I opened up my office there in 2004 and it was called Biotech Law Associates,” he said. “I went to the annual BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization) show as a member. In fact, I went to the first BIO show at the Research Triangle Park as OCAST chairman probably in ’92 or ’93.”

Now company’s CEO

Through an association with William Hagstrom of Alpha Bio Partners, Branch became acquainted with OU professor Anne Pereira, Ph.D. Pereira had co-founded Biolytx Pharmaceuticals with Hagstrom based on her groundbreaking work in developing peptides that kill antibiotic resistant bacteria. That relationship eventually led him to his current position as CEO of the company.

“Our objectives are to develop our pipeline of peptides to the point where we can enter into collaborations with pharma companies to get through clinical trials,” Branch said. “That’s going to take time and a lot of money. It’s a great challenge, but it’s fascinating and exciting.”

As Branch looked back over the past three decades, he says he would never have predicted the rise of biotech here or his participation in the industry.

“This was inconceivable when I graduated from law school,” he said. “I mean, this industry didn’t even exist then. The notion that I would be involved in biotech, I couldn’t imagine ever doing anything like this. But I’m having the time of my life.”

Jim Stafford writes about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology.

Phillips Murrah attorney named to Mental Health Association Oklahoma’s Advisory Council

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.

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.

A new opportunity for Phillips Murrah Attorney Mary Holloway Richard will help her continue her work of increasing visibility of mental health issues in Oklahoma.

Richard has joined Mental Health Association Oklahoma’s Advisory Council based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Partnered with the Homeless Alliance, Mental Health Association Oklahoma has a variety of programs including youth wellness screenings, support groups and legal services. These programs focus on housing, education, advocacy, support, and recovery to those affected by mental disorders.

To learn more about Mental Health Association Oklahoma and the programs they provide, visit their website here.

Phillips Murrah launches AM@PM Breakfast Forum series

AM@PM Event Logo for web

Jason A. Dunn

Jason A. Dunn

Bright and early Thursday morning, April 21, Oklahoma City law firm Phillips Murrah launched a new learning series called AM@PM Breakfast Forum. The hour-long presentation was held at Vast on the 50th floor of OKC’s iconic Devon Tower.

Firm Directors Jason A. Dunn and Kathyrn D. Terry each talked to attendees for about 20 minutes.

Jason addressed key considerations for identifying and protecting trade secrets and other proprietary information. This included steps to identify what processes and data have value, how to identify and defend its value, and what types of measures need to be in place to protect it from dissemination or use by employees, customers and competitors.

Kathy Terry

Kathyrn D. Terry

Kathy talked about the use of restrictive covenants and non-competes, including partnership and operating agreements. She also addressed considerations of what types of restrictive covenants that should be in place in the event of dissolution or a buy-out, what written agreements and policies effectively restrict the solicitation of a business’ customers and employees by former employees and contractors, and policies regarding electronic devices and data.

The event included breakfast prepared by Vast and a networking opportunity following the presentations. There was also a drawing for a pair of Oklahoma City Thunder Playoffs tickets.

AM@PM will be an ongoing series that will cover a range of topics that are important to businesses and individuals who wish to stay at the forefront of their industries, protect their businesses and keep informed about the ever-changing legal and regulatory landscape.

For information about the next AM@PM event, please fill out the form below.


Phillips Murrah sponsors Big Brothers Big Sisters bowling event

Assistant Marketing Director Nathan Hatcher, Chelsea Linn, Nick Potter, Administrative Assistant Cristal Bazemore, and Legal Secretary Sherree Williams take a break from bowling at Phillips Murrah’s Bowling Night.

After months of fundraising, five teams of Phillips Murrah employees, families and friends celebrated the Firm’s community efforts at Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake annual event.

Dust Bowl welcomed Phillips Murrah for the Firm’s Bowling Night on April 7, organized by Phillips Murrah and Big Brothers Big Sisters staff.

Phillips Murrah Director Byrona Maule spearheaded the campaign, which raised $5,437.

“Bowl For Kids’ Sake (BFKS) is the single largest fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters – it’s a great way to provide financial support for matches and the bowling party is a lot of fun,” Maule said. “It is an easy decision on my part to facilitate Phillips Murrah’s participation in BFKS! “

The firm hosts a series of events and raffle drawings to garner support for the campaign and raise money to help the organization.

“I’ve seen these results first hand, as one of my Little Sisters had parents who were incarcerated,” Maule said. “These types of results make it easy to commit to supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma.  I’m so glad that Phillips Murrah, through teamwork, was able to contribute.”

To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma or to make a donation, visit their website here.

Firm names March Employee of the Month

Legal Secretary Deena Baker is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for March 2016.

“It is an honor to be recognized by my co-workers as employee of the month,” Baker said. “I love it here at Phillips Murrah for many, many reasons, but the best is having great people to work for and with!”

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

“Not only is she great at her job, Deena also makes those around her better, and that is what makes her a great teammate and asset for Phillips Murrah,” said Phillips Murrah Director Juston Givens.


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.

Director helps organization transport at-risk pets across country

Director Heather Hintz with Ned, the dog she helped transport.

Director Heather Hintz with Ned, the dog she helped transport.

Free time is sparse for attorneys, but Phillips Murrah Director Heather Hintz uses hers to help animals travel across the country.

“I got involved in transports only recently, via my years-long involvement with animal welfare organizations, rescues, and spay/neuter campaigns,” Hintz said. “One of the animal welfare email lists I have subscribed to for a long time, cross-posted the need to move a deaf and blind dog named ‘Ned’ from Stephens County, Oklahoma to Portland, Oregon.”

Animals that require transport are typically dog and cat rescues that have special needs or can’t be placed where they are, or rescues that are about to be euthanized. Animal welfare networks, animal shelters, and volunteers arrange for the dog or cat to be moved to another place where someone has agreed to place the animal and provide surgery or other animal welfare-related needs, she said.

“In the case of ‘Ned,’ he was totally blind and deaf and couldn’t be placed—he was a special needs dog,” Hintz said. “Deaf Dogs of Oregon agreed to train him to respond to non-visual/non-verbal commands, find a home for him, and train the new owner as to how to deal with a deaf/blind dog.”

Various organizations function as transport organizations. Once a volunteer has been ‘vetted’ or recommended as trustworthy, that person gets on a transport list. When there is a need to move dogs or cats across the country to be re-homed, a very detailed route list is prepared by a transport coordinator, broken down into segments with start and stop times, she said.

Buster, a Jack Russell terrier, at a rest stop during a transport.

Buster, a Jack Russell Terrier, at a rest stop during a transport.

“I thought it would be a rewarding experience, so I signed up,” Hintz said. “I made arrangements with the person who would be dropping Ned with me, and we met at a fast food place. That driver handed me Ned’s papers, his water bowl and some treats, and Ned got into my car and I drove him to Wichita, Kansas.

“I had made arrangements with the person picking up in Wichita to meet at a certain rest stop – when I met her, Ned hopped in her car and they left to meet the next person.”

From conception to completion, the details of transporting animals are particular and sensitive to ensure the animals’ safety.

“If you happen to be on the route, you get the email saying ‘transport assistance needed’ showing all the segments, and you can sign up for a segment,” Hintz said. “It is very structured – you have to make arrangements ahead of time and at each hand-off, and both the person handing off and the person picking up need to notify the coordinator on the spot that the hand-off has been completed.

“The coordinator closely monitors the entire transport.”

Though there are many details and hours involved in making sure the task is completed, the overall mission is personally rewarding.

“It was an incredible experience,” Hintz said. “There were lots of people working together to get this done, giving up time out of their busy schedules, all to save one dog.”

Hintz assisted in another transport last summer involving four white German Shepherd puppies moving from Austin, Texas to Colorado, and an older Jack Russell Terrier moving from Texas to the Wisconsin Dells. The mission was special in that they were all picked up in Wichita by 2 different pilots who flew them to Colorado and Wisconsin, for no cost, as volunteers.

Those interested in contributing can get more info from Deaf Dogs of Oregon’s website here.

Attorney teaches Behavioral Health Law course at OCU

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.

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.

Phillips Murrah Attorney Mary Holloway Richard is teaching Behavioral Health Law at the Oklahoma City University School of Law this Spring semester.

The course will cover a broad spectrum of behavior health topics including: basic mental illness diagnoses, licensure laws related to behavioral health providers of all types, reimbursement and financing issues, liability concepts related to the dangerous patient, consent and release of information, social and community responses to mental illness and substance abuse disorders and current policy and regulatory developments in the field, Richard said.

In conjunction with the American Health Lawyers Association’s Behavioral Health Task Force of which she is Vice Chair, Richard plans to bring in speakers from across the state and give the class better exposure to the subject matter, to the larger context of the healthcare industry and to people who work in the field, she said.

This class follows Richard’s Fall course which was a survey and introductory course to Health Law.

Attorney joins Vatterott College Program Advisory Board

Gretchen M. Latham’s practice focuses on representing creditors in foreclosure, bankruptcy, collection and replevin cases.

Gretchen M. Latham’s practice focuses on representing creditors in foreclosure, bankruptcy, collection and replevin cases.

Phillips Murrah Attorney Gretchen M. Latham will join the Vatterott College (OKC Campus) Program Advisory Board for Business and Paralegal Studies on Feb. 23.

Latham’s duties will require her input on requirements for the Paralegal Studies Program so future graduates are assured success upon entering the legal field.

Attorney appointed adjunct professor of OCU School of Law

Rodney L. Cook is experienced in all areas of tort litigation with special emphasis in the practice areas of product liability, warranty, insurance and fraternity law.

Rodney L. Cook is experienced in all areas of tort litigation with special emphasis in the practice areas of product liability, warranty, insurance and fraternity law.

Phillips Murrah Attorney Rodney L. Cook has been appointed as an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University School of Law where he will be teaching Pretrial Litigation this semester.

He continues to serve as an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law where he has taught Civil Pretrial Litigation for ten years.

 

Phillips Murrah names four new Directors and Shareholders

Directors Melissa R. Gardner, Clayton D. Ketter, Patrick L. Hullum, and Bobby Dolatabadi.

Directors Melissa R. Gardner, Clayton D. Ketter, Patrick L. Hullum, and Bobby Dolatabadi.

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that we have expanded our group of Directors from 31 to 35, promoting Attorneys Bobby Dolatabadi, Melissa R. Gardner, Patrick L. Hullum, and Clayton D. Ketter to Shareholders.

Dolatabadi an experienced real estate attorney who represents his clients in a multitude of real estate transactions including acquisitions, divestitures, leasing, development and land-use.

Gardner represents both privately-owned and public companies in a wide variety of oil and gas matters, with a strong emphasis on oil and gas title examination.

Hullum a litigation attorney who represents individuals and public and private companies in a wide range of complex litigation matters and specializes in business litigation.

Ketter is a litigator whose practice involves a wide range of business litigation in both federal and state court, including extensive experience in financial restructurings and bankruptcy matters.

Phillips Murrah elects new member to Executive Committee

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.

Dawn M. Rahme represents individuals and businesses in an array of transactional matters.

The Phillips Murrah Board of Directors has elected Director Dawn M. Rahme to the Firm’s Executive Committee.

Rahme previously served as a Practice Group Leader for the Firm’s Transactional Practice Group.

Rahme represents individuals and businesses in an array of transactional matters focusing on assisting corporations, partnerships and individuals in general tax planning.

Phillips Murrah appoints Director as new Practice Group Leader

Josh_Edwards copy

Joshua L. Edwards is a corporate attorney who represents clients in a broad range of commercial transactions.

Phillips Murrah Director Joshua L. Edwards has been named as the Practice Group Leader of the Firm’s Transactional Practice Group.

Edwards is a corporate attorney who represents clients in a broad range of commercial transactions, including private securities offerings and venture capital financings, mergers and acquisitions, real estate transactions, and commercial finance.

Edwards joins Director Lyndon W. Whitmire, who is the Litigation Practice Group Leader.

Phillips Murrah recognized as a Top Workplace by The Oklahoman

Top Workplaces finalOn Sunday, The Oklahoman Newspaper published their annual list of Oklahoma’s Top Workplaces. Phillips Murrah takes pride in our healthy, positive workplace, and the Firm is honored to be on the 2015 list.

“We are excited to be recognized as having one of Oklahoma’s Top Workplaces,” said Phillips Murrah President and Managing Partner, Tom Wolfe. “We do a lot of serious, complex work at our Firm, and we strive to make sure to provide a positive, balanced atmosphere for our attorneys and staff.”

Phillips Murrah is the only Law Firm on the Oklahoma’s Top Workplaces list.

To learn more about the workplace culture at Phillips Murrah, visit our Careers pagehttp://phillipsmurrah.com/careers.

NEWSOK: HOW THE TOP WORKPLACES WERE DETERMINED

This is excerpted from an article written by Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics:

To create the 2015 Top Workplaces list, The Oklahoman partnered with Philadelphia-based WorkplaceDynamics, a research firm that specializes in employee surveys and workplace improvement.

Read more about the methodology here. Below is a quick rundown of how surveys were presented:
Top Workplaces paper

The employee survey included 22 questions measuring seven different factors. Three My Job factors measured how employees feel about their day-to-day job:

My Work: training, work/life balance

My Manager: cares about concerns, helps employees to learn and grow

My Pay & Benefits: Three OrgHealth factors measured whether or not employees are working together toward a common goal:

Direction: where the company is headed, its values, and its leaders

Execution: how the company will get to where it wants to go

Connection: feeling appreciated and work is meaningful

Lastly, the survey measures Engagement, which includes retention, motivation, and referral.

rowing pic from Top Workplaces

From The Oklahoman 2015 Top Workplaces special section published Dec. 6, 2015. (from left:) Marketing Director Dave Rhea, Legal Secretary Deena Baker, Billing Specialist Monica Ball, Director Jennifer L. Miller and Director Jason Kreth compete in the Corporate Regatta at the Oklahoma Regatta Festival on Oct. 2, 2015.

Firm hosts annual Christmas Party

Phillips Murrah welcomes attorney to litigation team

Kayce L. Gisinger is a litigation attorney with extensive trial experience, which began at the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office where she tried over 100 jury trials.

Kayce L. Gisinger is a litigation attorney with extensive trial experience, which began at the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office where she tried over 100 jury trials.

Kayce L. Gisinger has joined Phillips Murrah’s Litigation Practice Group as an of counsel attorney.

In her role with the firm, Gisinger defends clients in cases involving product liability, auto and trucking negligence, premises liability, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, employment law and general negligence.

Prior to joining the firm, Gisinger worked at Abowitz Timberlake & Dahnke. She has tried over 100 jury trials and has been a frequent speaker for more than 20 years on the topics of trial techniques and tactics.

Construction diverts traffic to Phillips Murrah offices

UPDATE: Due to the progress of Project 180, access to roads in the downtown OKC Central Business District changes very often. This may affect how to get to our parking garage, located on Harvey Ave, just south of Park Ave. For the latest information about how to access Phillips Murrah Client Parking, please click here.

Parking Map Icon 2

 


Downtown construction on the intersection of Park Avenue and Harvey Avenue will shift incoming traffic throughout the week.

Construction is currently in Phase 2 of completion, so access to Phillips Murrah client parking is limited to access only from Harvey Avenue (see graphic above).

Client parking will remain fully accessible throughout the duration of the construction project, which is slated to be completed by Nov. 22 (dependent on weather).

 

 

 

Phillips Murrah attorneys support i2E 2015 BrewFest

Attorneys Monica Ybarra, Dawn Rahme, and Erica Halley at Brewfest

Attorneys Monica Ybarra, Dawn Rahme, and Erica Halley at Brewfest.

Hundreds of patrons filled the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark on Nov. 5 to support i2E’s (Innovation to Enterprise) annual OKBio BrewFest.

“The intellectual activity surrounding the annual i2E BrewFest channels the exciting physical changes in downtown Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Health Center, Bricktown, Deep Deuce and the state,” Attorney Mary Holloway Richard said. “Where else can you find entrepreneurs mingling to discuss their business plans and dreams with one another and with support professionals like the Phillips Murrah team that supports technical businesses as they establish themselves and expand?”

“From conversations with a graduate student physiologist focusing on lessening the impact of retinitis pigmentosa to discussions with an OCU Botany professor and a young distiller known for his marketing genius who is expanding into new markets—all this on a beautiful fall evening at the ballpark.  Helping clients achieve their business goals in research, health care, product development is a exciting as it gets.”

Lauren Branch and her husband Phillips Murrah Director Doug Branch.

Lauren Branch and her husband Phillips Murrah Director Doug Branch at Brewfest.

The event featured samples from 23 of Oklahoma’s local craft beer, wine and spirits producers.

“OKBio BrewFest is an annual fall event to shine a spotlight on bio in Oklahoma and provide support for OKBio, which among other things provides BIO International scholarships to Oklahomans every year,” said i2E President Scott Meacham in an article about BrewFest.

Other event sponsors include Crowe & Dunlevy, Foundation HealthCare, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Oklahoma Gazette, Hall Estill, Caisson Biotech, Hit Design, VWR International, McAfee & Taft, Dunlap Codding, and Woodland & Associates.

Read more about BrewFest here.

Phillips Murrah director serves as panelist for faith, climate change discussion

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

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

Phillips Murrah Director and Chair of the firm’s Clean Energy Practice Group, Jim Roth, will serve as a panelist for “An Evening of Listening: Climate Change is Real,” a panel discussion moderated by The Rev. Tim Luschen of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church.

“Jim asked if I would be interested in having a conversation with others about climate change and the writing of Pope Francis and how we might bring this conversation to the wider public here in OKC,” Luschen said. “I sat in on a couple of table discussions and we decided with the support of Dean Lindstrom from St. Paul’s to use one of their Nights of Listening to focus on climate change, especially as it involves people of faith.”

Other panelists will be Pat Hoerth with Turtle Rock Farm and The Rev. Deborah Meinke, Cimarron Presbytery clerk. The discussion will be hosted at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, 127 NW 7, and is open to the public.

Read more about the event and how Oklahoma’s faith community is addressing climate change at NewsOK.com.

Phillips Murrah attorney presents at Oklahoma City Association of Professional Landmen meeting

Attorney Melissa Gardner presents at a OCAPL November meeting.

Attorney Melissa Gardner presents at an OCAPL November meeting.

Phillips Murrah attorney Melissa R. Gardner gave a presentation on ways bankruptcy proceedings affect oil and gas companies on Nov. 2 at the Oklahoma City Association of Professional Landmen‘s monthly meeting.

“I tried to point out things that could be useful if your company is considering bankruptcy and what you might do if your company is in a contractual relationship with a party that files for bankruptcy,” Gardner said.

The OCAPL is comprised of land professionals and leaders in the oil and gas industry.

For more information on OCAPL and the presentation, click here.

Phillips Murrah recognized as Best Law Firm in 32 practice areas

2016 Best Law Firm
Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that our law firm has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 “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

Tier 2

  • Commercial Transactions / UCC Law
  • Energy Law
  • Litigation – Antitrust
  • Litigation – ERISA
  • Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Trusts & Estates Law
  • Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Tier 3

  • Construction Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Family Law
  • Litigation – Trusts & Estates
  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
  • 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 U.S. Earlier in the year, Phillips Murrah announced that 35 of our attorneys are recognized by Best Lawyers in America for 2016.

Firms included in the 2016 “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.

 

 

 

Phillips Murrah attorneys judge Calvert Moot Court competition

Attorneys Robert Campbell, Cody Cooper, and Kayce Gisinger volunteer to judge OU College of Law’s Calvert Moot Court competition.

Phillips Murrah attorneys Robert Campbell, Cody Cooper, and Kayce Gisinger are flipping the script by judging in the University of Oklahoma College of Law’s Calvert Moot Court competition this week.

During the annual competition, second and third year law students compete as teams against one another in a series of rounds and those with the best records advance to the finals. Each attorney volunteered to act as a judge for preliminary rounds of competition.

“The students did an excellent job and their hard work and preparation definitely showed through their presentation and analysis of complex constitutional issues,” Cooper said. “I really enjoy getting to go back to the school and volunteer to help the law students because it is an opportunity to help students develop and also lets me take an objective look at what presentation methods are persuasive and effective so that I can carry those observations over into my own practice.”

This year the competition revolves around the case of Kansas v. Carr, No. 14-450, pending in the U.S. Supreme Court.  The arguments are centered around the appropriate weight given to mitigating circumstances in a capital sentencing, said Leann Farha, a student at OU College of Law who helped organize the teams for the competition.

“One of the most valuable aspects of a competition is the participation of the judges,” she said. “The judges in each round provide feedback that will not only help students during the competition, but will also impact their future legal careers.”

The prizes are as follows: $500 each for the winning team, $250 each for the first runner-up, and $100 for the best individual speaker, said Mitch McGrew, External Relations Director for the Board of Advocates at OU College of Law.

The final round of the competition will take place at noon on Friday, October 30 in OU’s Bell Courtroom for those interested in attending.

To follow along and get more information about the competition, visit the OU Board of Advocates Facebook page here or follow them on Twitter here.

 

 

Attorney Mary Holloway Richard moderates webcast for OBA

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.

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.

Phillips Murrah Health Care Attorney Mary Holloway Richard hosted a webcast October 28 for the Health Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association.

“The presentation is entitled ‘Representing Vulnerable Populations: Behavioral Health Patients and Families,’ Richard said. “The webcast covers psychiatric diagnoses, emergency detention and involuntary admissions, confidentiality of information and other topics which will be useful to attorneys across the state called upon to represent behavioral health patients and their families.”

Richard served as moderator and presenter along with Judge Don Andrews, District Judge Oklahoma County formerly assigned to the Mental Health docket; Dr. Britta Ostermeyer, chairman Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine; and Dewayne Moore, general counsel of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

The presentation was offered for Continuing Legal Education credit and will be made available by the OBA here.

 

Phillips Murrah serves as local counsel for Google Fiber in OKC

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Jill Szuchmacher, director of expansion for Google Fiber, stands by on the rooftop terrace of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, as Mayor Mick Cornett announces Google Fiber may be coming to OKC.

Phillips Murrah is excited to serve as local counsel for Google Fiber and to help this great company explore bringing fiber to OKC.

Local coverage:

Oklahoman: Google Fiber takes a look at Oklahoma City

Journal Record: Rapid expansion: Google Fiber looks at OKC

KGOU Radio: Google Fiber Exploring Adding Service to Oklahoma City

KFOR-NBC: City leaders looking to bring Google Fiber to Oklahoma City

KWTV-CBS: Google Fiber Could Be On Its Way to OKC

KOCO-ABC: Officials working to bring Google Fiber to Oklahoma City

KOKH-FOX: Google exploring possibilities of bringing Google Fiber to Oklahoma City

Director named to OSU Foundation Board of Governors

Terry L. Hawkins is a Director of the Firm and is Chair of the Public Finance Practice Group where he has more than 35 years experience in municipal finance projects.

Terry L. Hawkins is a Director of the Firm and is Chair of the Public Finance Practice Group where he has more than 35 years experience in municipal finance projects.

Phillips Murrah Director Terry Hawkins was appointed to the Board of Governors of Oklahoma State University Foundation in October for a six-year term.

To be appointed to the Board of Governors of the OSU Foundation, candidates have to be nominated by someone currently serving on the board.  Typically, nominees have been involved in raising funds for the foundation or assisting Oklahoma State University in its academic efforts.  A nominee must be approved by the Board of Trustees, which is the governing board of the Foundation.

“Over the years, I have served as bond counsel on over a dozen bond financings for various projects on the OSU campuses,” Hawkins said. “In addition, my wife Brenda and I established an endowed scholarship in memory of our son Andrew, who graduated from OSU in 2007.”

The foundation’s primary purpose is to raise funds for OSU, invest these funds prudently and maximize the support given to OSU by its alumni and current and prospective donors. These funds are critical for OSU as it fulfills its land grant mission to provide access to education for students, by providing scholarships, he said.

The OSU Foundation started in 1961 with one officer raising a few thousand dollars and growing to now exceeding $1 billion in total donations.

“As OSU’s needs have broadened, so has the fundraising mission of the foundation,” Hawkins said. “Gifts through the Foundation have provided hundreds of millions of dollars for buildings, scholarships, graduate fellowships, laboratory and classroom equipment, endowed faculty positions, lectureships and many other University programs.”

To learn more about the OSU Foundation or to contribute, visit osugiving.com.

Jim Roth speaks at Society of Environmental Journalists 25th annual conference

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Congratulations to Director Jim Roth for his efforts at this year’s Society of Environmental Journalists 25th Annual Conference, titled Environmental Journalism 2015 – Weather, Water, Energy: News in Every Neighborhood.

Jim spoke during Saturday’s lunch session on the topic of “Our Energy Future.”

“Oklahoma is a microcosm of energy rights and energy fights across the nation. Utilities are eager to add more renewable energy, but struggle with transmission power. They’re also grappling with the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which might make coal-fired plants uneconomical. The state is home to several independent oil and gas drillers, known for pioneering horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing methods that have fueled the recent boom. As towns push back on the industry’s right to drill in or near city limits, states are considering preempting the municipal bans. We’ll explore Oklahoma as both a microcosm and a driver of energy use nationally with experts from all sectors.” – Session explanation, SEJ.org

The moderator was Erin Ailworth, a Houston-based energy reporter for The Wall Street Journal

In addition to Jim, the session featured speakers, Denise Bode, Attorney and Principal, Cornerstone Government Affairs and Kyle Isakower, Vice President, Regulatory and Economic Policy, American Petroleum Institute.

Phillips Murrah rowing team, Law & Oarder, completes 2015 season

Phillips Murrah rowing team on the course

Phillips Murrah’s corporate rowing team, Law & Oarder, was featured on the cover of the Saturday, Oklahoman on Oct. 3.

rowing group

Getting ready for the race, Oct 2 at the Oklahoma Boathouse District. From left: Nathan Hatcher, Debra Tyler, Jennifer Miller, Jason Kreth, Dave Rhea, Melissa Gardner, G. Calvin Sharpe.

The Phillips Murrah rowing team, Law & Oarder, completed the 2015 season on Friday with a solid, 500-meter run of 1:52.818.

“It has been amazing to see how wholeheartedly the firm supports our team,” said Phillips Murrah attorney and L&O team leader, Melissa Gardner. “I definitely think rowing is an outlet to build relationships outside of those you’d normally build in the firm.”

Over the two seasons during the summer of 2015, the rowing team has consisted of Firm Shareholders, attorneys, non-attorney directors in marketing and IT, legal secretaries and accountants.

“Rowing gives me a sense of commitment and accountability to our team and it brings our ‘work family’ together in a vastly different environment,” said Marketing Director, Dave Rhea. “It’s a very interesting activity. This is my first year, and I am hooked.”

PM rowing tshirts for 2015

PM rowing t shirts for 2015

“Plus, I think the regattas are a great way for the firm to build morale,” Melissa added. “As someone who started at the firm within the last two years, it was a great way to speed up relationship building within the firm – both with those who are on the team and all those who are just interested!”

G rowing

Practice: G. Calvin and Monica Ball preparing to “put foot to strip.”

“Having the opportunity to be a part of the Phillips Murrah rowing team has been an awesome experience,” said Deena Baker, a Legal Secretary at Phillips Murrah. “I have accomplished something I never dreamed of even attempting, but was determined to try after watching last October’s race!  Had the time of my life and am ready to jump back in next year!”

You can see more coverage about the regatta in The Oklahoman – Oklahoma Regatta Festival: Premier fall rowing event keeps growing by Ed Godfrey.

 

Softball tournament raises money for director’s charity

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The Police Department Rookies and the Fire Department Recruits started out the Matt Terry Memorial Softball Tournament with the first head-to-head match-up.

Phillips Murrah Director Kathy Terry hosted the third annual Matt Terry Memorial Softball Tournament on Sunday, September 27 in memory of her late husband, a much-loved figure at the Edmond Police Department who passed away unexpectedly on October 2, 2013.

Sixteen co-ed teams, including the police department, the fire department, News 9, Oklahoma Christian, Edmond Memorial High School, and local businesses, took to the diamond.

“Starting off it was the Police Department Rookies vs. the Fire Recruits,” Terry said. “Mid-morning, the Rookies played the reigning champs at Edmond Police Department, the Dingers, while the Recruits went head-to-head with the Fire Department veterans.”

In the end, the Dingers were unseated and a new champion arose – a community team of friends and alums of Edmond Memorial High School.

“We raised over $12,500 for the Matt Terry Memorial Fund, a non-profit that supports law enforcement officers and families in times of unusual need or tragedy,” Terry said. “In 2014, we raised over $15,000 for the Oklahoma chapter of the American Heart Association.”

Four presenting sponsors, including Philips Murrah, OU Medical Center Edmond, Homeland, and the Edmond law firm of Nelson Terry Morton DeWitt Paruolo & Wood have lead the way each year with donations and support, she said.

“Every year, Eagle Rub BBQ serves up pulled pork and MOB Grill throws down onion burgers without so much as even a penny to cover costs,” Terry said. “Dance Party Productions provides the music and the DJ – also totally for free.”

Other local businesses, including BancFirst of Edmond, the Oklahoman, Crest Foods, Sarah Lee, Everything Barbeque, R Meyers of Nichols Hills, Jewels by Simpson, Weathers TV and more made contributions of money, raffle and auction items, and their time and support to contribute to the day.

 

 

Phillips Murrah welcomes two new attorneys

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Erica K. Halley and Ashley M. Schovanec have joined the firm as associate attorneys.

Erica K. Halley has joined Phillips Murrah’s Transactional Practice Group as an associate attorney.

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

Phillips Murrah also welcomed Ashley M. Schovanec to the firm’s Litigation Practice Group as an associate attorney.

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

Halley and Schovanec are recent graduates of the University of Oklahoma School of Law.