Phillips Murrah Director Jim Roth featured in OKC’s Slice magazine

Jim-Roth-slice-photo

Photo of Jim Roth that appeared in Slice magazine, by J. Christopher Little.

Jim Roth, a Director and Chair of the firm’s Clean Energy Practice Group, was featured in a Q&A article in Oklahoma City entertainment/lifestyle magazine, SLICE.

From the story:

Anyone who has ever met Jim Roth knows there’s much more beneath the surface of the Oklahoma City attorney and former state Corporation Commissioner. Roth, an attorney at Phillips Murrah Law Firm, is an ardent champion for the advancement of cleaner energy for our state and country. At the same time, he knows what time of night the karaoke is just getting good at Cookie’s.

See the full article, which published Feb. 2013, here.

 

Roth and Edwards Named as new Directors

Joshua L. Edwards and Jim A. Roth

Tom Wolfe, managing director at Oklahoma City law firm, Phillips Murrah, announces that attorneys Joshua L. Edwards and Jim A. Roth have been elected by the firm’s shareholders as new directors. Edwards and Roth’s appointments were made effective January 1, 2014, bringing the total number of directors in the firm to 29.

Mr. 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, with an emphasis in the healthcare and life sciences industries. His practice includes regularly advising healthcare leaders in an array of transactional and regulatory matters. Mr. Edwards assists clients in developing strategies for successfully closing business deals as well as maintaining compliance in an increasingly-complex and ever-changing regulatory environment.

Mr. Roth is a former Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner and Chair of the firm’s Clean Energy Practice Group. He represents a number of clients in their natural gas ventures as well as assisting them in the development of Oklahoma-based wind-energy farms and other new clean energy initiatives. Roth said, “I’m proud to be on the Phillips Murrah team because this firm is the best strategic partner to help clients achieve their success.” Mr. Roth is at the forefront of new clean-energy technologies and is an advocate for expanding these burgeoning industries in Oklahoma. As a frequent writer on the policy decisions at both the state and federal levels affecting new types of clean energy, he ensures clients are aware of future implications of their clean energy aspirations.

Phillips Murrah Attorneys Named to Oklahoma Super Lawyers

Phillips Murrah P.C._Logo_Color_emblemFourteen Phillips Murrah Attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2013 edition of Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers for their excellence in their respective practice areas. Another four attorneys 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 2013’s Super Lawyers:

  • Elizabeth K. Brown – Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Rodney L. Cook – PI Defense: Products
  • Nicholle Jones Edwards – Family Law
  • Thomas T. Elder – PI Defense: Products
  • Stephen W. Elliott – Bankruptcy
  • Shannon K. Emmons – Civil Litigation Defense
  • Sally A. Hasenfratz – Real Estate
  • John D. Hastie – Real Estate
  • Robert J. Haupt – Bankruptcy
  • Timothy D. Kline – Bankruptcy
  • Fred A. Leibrock – Business Litigation
  • Melvin, R. McVay, Jr. – Banking
  • Michael R. Perri – Business Litigation
  • G. Calvin Sharpe – PI Defense: Medical Malpractice
  • Lyndon W. Whitmire – PI Defense: Products
  • Thomas G. Wolfe – PI Defense: Products

The following Phillips Murrah attorneys are included in 2013’s Rising Stars:

  • Andrew R. Chilson – Bankruptcy
  • Patrick L. Hullum – Civil Litigation Defense
  • Jason M. Kreth – Banking
  • Dawn M. Rahme – Tax

Civil Litigator, Rodney Cook, Joins Phillips Murrah

Phillips Murrah, one of the state’s leading multidisciplinary business law firms, is pleased to announce that Rodney L. Cook, an experienced civil litigator and adjunct law professor, has joined the firm as an Of Counsel attorney.RLC

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 brings to Phillips Murrah an extensive civil litigation practice distinguished by his representation of national and international product manufacturers and insurers in personal injury, warranty, and property damage cases. He currently serves as lead counsel in Oklahoma, defending the interests of consumer products, trucking and auto vehicle manufacturers such as Helen of Troy, L.P., James R. Favor & Company, Navistar, Inc. (International Trucks), Daimler Trucks North America (Freightliner); PACCAR, Inc. (Peterbilt and Kenworth Trucks), Mack Trucks, Porsche Cars North America, BMW, Harley-Davidson, Volvo Trucks, and numerous other corporations.

“Rodney’s expertise as a litigator is exemplified by the caliber of clients that he represents; and his proven leadership capabilities will be an asset to our firm. His experience in trucking and automotive industries helps further our growth in areas where we already have strengths,” said Tom Wolfe, President and Managing Partner of Phillips Murrah.

For the 13 years prior to joining Phillips Murrah, Mr. Cook was a director in the Oklahoma City law firm of Jennings Cook & Teague.  Mr. Cook has been an adjunct law professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law since 2006. He received his bachelor’s and juris doctorate degrees from the University of Oklahoma.

Journal Record: Phillips Murrah adds oil, gas attorney

OKLAHOMA CITY – Melissa Gardner has joined Phillips Murrah’s Energy and Oil and Gas Practice Group.MRG

For six years Gardner was an attorney with Chesapeake Energy, where she prepared title opinions for oil and gas projects and performed reviews of land documents for mergers and acquisitions.

Gardner grew up in Empire, Okla., and is a graduate of Oklahoma State University. She received her law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2007.

Byrona Maule Named Board Chair for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma

Byrona J. Maule is a litigation attorney and co-chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group. She represents business clients in the full scope of labor and employment matters, ensuring their compliance before various state and federal regulatory boards.

Byrona J. Maule is a litigation attorney and co-chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group

[10/29/2013] Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma (BBBSOK) announces that Phillips Murrah attorney and shareholder, Byrona Maule, has been named chair of the organization’s board of directors. Maule, a dedicated volunteer with BBBSOK, has served as a Big Sister, and held leadership roles within the organization for more than 20 years. She was elected to chair the organization’s governing board for her dedication to serving the organization’s mission, and her proven leadership and business experience.

Maule first became involved, as a Big Sister, with the St. Louis, MO chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, in 1989, where she also served on the organization’s board of directors from 1990 to 1992. After relocating to Oklahoma in 1994, she rejoined Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma, and has since remained involved as a Big Sister and as a resource on various boards and committees.

Maule’s leadership and expertise will impact the organization by ensuring that financial and strategic goals are met and promising life-changing outcomes are provided for the more than 1,700 children served each year. She will focus on raising awareness, gaining increased financial support and recruiting strong and effective mentors.

“This organization changes the lives of children for the better, forever,” said Maule. “I can’t imagine anything more important than helping children have successful, productive lives!”

 

Cody Cooper Explains BYOD Policy

By D. Ray Tuttle
The Journal Record
Posted: 07:48 PM Thursday, October 24, 2013

TULSA – Companies seeking to cut costs are encouraging the workplace.

The idea that employees can bring their own devices is not that farfetched, said Cody J. Cooper, an attorney at Phillips Murrah PC.

“The idea is more prevalent,” Cooper said. “Technology is moving at a fast clip. And companies are allowing employees to choose what they want to use – a BlackBerry, iPhone or an Android.”

Cooper, who is in the litigation department, represents individuals and privately held and public companies in a range of civil matters.

“There are benefits to companies that offer the flexibility of bringing your own device,” Cooper said.

In fact, there is a trend toward bringing your own device, or BYOD, Cooper said.

“The cost advantage for companies is tremendous when you think about replacing an iPad every couple of years,” Cooper said. “It is much cheaper for companies to require the employees to use their devices. Companies have experimented and implemented policies requiring employees to use their own personal phones, computers and tablets in the scope of their employment rather than the employer providing these devices.”

California-based Robert Half International is a human resource consulting firm that offers accounting and finance staffing services.

Robert Half’s BYOD policy allows employees to use their devices of choice to access the company network, said spokeswoman Kellie Shadle.

A survey by Robert Half Technology in May 2012 found that only a third of 1,400 chief information officers allowed employees to use their personal smartphones, tablets, computers or other devices. Two-thirds of the CIOs said no to the idea, according to the survey.

Another staffing company, Tulsa-based Part-Time Pros, has not seen the issue come up, according to Brett Baker, Part-Time Pros chief operating officer.

Cooper, who published an article regarding the subject this month, said the notion has grown over the past few years because nearly everyone has a cellphone or iPad.

Cutting or avoiding costs is one consideration, Cooper said. Another is that employees enjoy the freedom to choose and use the technologies they already like compared to juggling a BlackBerry for work and an iPhone for friends and family, Cooper said.

“By using a personal device, employees tend to be connected and available more than with an employer-provided device,” Cooper said.

Of course, there are potential obstacles.

“What information is allowed, what is not allowed and who controls that data are just a few of the issues,” Cooper said.

Another issue is how a company might wipe the data from a phone in the event of a termination or the employee voluntarily leaving.

“Can an employer wipe a device?” Cooper said. ”It has to be spelled out in the policy.”

One trend is to allow employees access to company data via an application that requires a password. Then, in the event of a termination or the employee leaving, the company can simply revoke access, Cooper said.

At the same time, using apps is expensive, Cooper said.

“Companies have to take that into account,” Cooper said.

Bottom line, once a company decides the risks are worth it, it can stop purchasing smartphones or tablets for employees, Cooper said.

Elizabeth Brown Named to OIPA Board

Originally published in The Journal Record on Oct. 23, 2013.
Click to see Elizabeth K. Brown’s attorney profile


 

Elizabeth K. Brown’s practice is focused at a strategic level on serving her clients as outside counsel where she assists privately held companies in managing the many legal issues that arise in running a business.

Elizabeth K. Brown’s practice is focused at a strategic level on serving her clients as outside counsel where she assists privately held companies in managing the many legal issues that arise in running a business.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Elizabeth Kemp Brown, a shareholder with Phillips Murrah, has been appointed to the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association board.

In addition to being an attorney and shareholder at Phillips Murrah, Brown is CEO of Ada-based Gloria Corp., an oil and gas exploration and production company started by her father.

Knox, Bunting Join Phillips Murrah

OKLAHOMA CITY – Elizabeth Knox and John Bunting have joined Phillips Murrah as associate attorneys.

Knox’s practice focuses on commercial litigation with an emphasis on matters within the construction industry.

Knox was a legal intern at Riley & Dunlap in Fulton, Mo. She also served as a general legal intern for the University of Oklahoma Office of Legal Counsel as well as an extern for Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma. Knox graduated in 2013 from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and received her undergraduate degree in marketing and management from Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.

Bunting is a commercial litigator from Dallas.

Bunting worked for the Dallas law firm Haynes and Boone and was a summer intern at the Oklahoma City law firm Fellers, Snider, Blankenship, Bailey & Tippins.

Bunting graduated in 2010 from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and received his undergraduate degree in regional development from the University of Arizona.

29 Attorneys Selected for 2014 Edition of Best Lawyers

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, SEPTEMBER 11, 2013 — Phillips Murrah, one of Oklahoma’s largest law firms, announced today that 29 of its attorneys were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2014. Marc Edwards, Sally Hasenfratz, and Mel McVay, shareholders in the Firm, have been named “Lawyers of the Year” for Government Relations, Land Use and Zoning Law, and Litigation – Bankruptcy, respectively.  According to Best Lawyers, “Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year,” making this honor particularly significant.”

“Our attorneys are proud to be consistently recognized by peers for delivering outstanding legal service to our clients,” said Tom Wolfe, a 2014 Best Lawyer® selection and the Firm’s managing partner.

Among the Firm’s breadth of legal services, more than 20 practice areas are represented by the attorneys that have been honored as this year’s Best Lawyers®, including:  banking and finance law, energy and natural resources, real estate, and tax law.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Because Best Lawyers® is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which almost 50,000 leading attorneys cast nearly five million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel Magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

Phillips Murrah’s 29 attorneys included in The Best Lawyers in America© 2014 are listed by name; first year included, and recognized practice areas:

  • Marc Edwards (2010) – Administrative/Regulatory Law; Government Relations Practice
  • Andrew S. Mildren (2013) – Administrative/Regulatory Law; Government Relations Practice
  • J. Mark Lovelace (2011) – Banking and Finance Law
  • Donald A. Pape (2011) – Banking and Finance Law
  • Timothy D. Kline (1987) – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Thomas G. Wolfe (2008) – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
  • Shannon K. Emmons (2013) – Commercial Litigation
  • Juston R. Givens (2013) – Commercial Litigation
  • Fred A. Leibrock (2010) – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Antitrust; Litigation – ERISA; Litigation – Real Estate
  • Melvin R. McVay, Jr. (2011) – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Bankruptcy; Litigation – Real Estate
  • Michael R. Perri (2010) – Commercial Litigation; Energy Law; Natural Resources Law; Oil and Gas Law
  • Robert N. Sheets (2012) – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning; Litigation – Real Estate
  • Jennifer L. Miller (2013) – Commercial Litigation
  • Lyndon W. Whitmire (2013) – Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
  • Sally A. Hasenfratz (2009) – Construction Law; Land Use and Zoning Law; Real Estate Law
  • Jim Roth (2012) – Environmental Law; Government Relations Practice; Natural Resources Law
  • William S. Price (2013) – Government Relations Practice
  • Stephen W. Elliott (2014) – Litigation – Bankruptcy
  • Robert J. Haupt (2012) – Litigation – Bankruptcy; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning
  • John D. Hastie (1983) – Litigation – Real Estate; Real Estate Law
  • Elizabeth K. Brown (2008) – Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates
  • Robert O. O’Bannon (2008) – Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law
  • Dawn M. Rahme (2013) – Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law
  • Raymond E. Zschiesche (2013) – Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
  • G. Calvin Sharpe (2012) – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Terry L. Hawkins (2013) – Public Finance Law
  • Cindy H. Murray (2012) – Real Estate Law
  • Douglas A. Branch (2008) – Securities/Capital Markets Law; Venture Capital Law
  • Michael D. Carter (2012) – Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

About Phillips Murrah

Phillips Murrah is represented by more than 65 attorneys, 20 practice areas, and is one of Oklahoma’s leading business law firms. The Firm is recognized for providing multidisciplinary legal services in matters involving virtually all aspects of business law and litigation. Our attorneys are trusted legal advisors and strategic partners, focused on our clients’ objectives, and helping them achieve their goals.
For more information, visit: www.phillipsmurrah.com

###

Contact:
Peter Wyro, Director of Marketing
Phillips Murrah
405.552.2489 Direct

ABOTA Annual Banquet Features Honored Guests and Speaker

The 50th Floor of the Devon Tower was the setting for this year’s annual meeting and banquet of the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. This year’s featured speaker was the Honorable Timothy DeGuisti, U.S. District Judge of the Western District of Oklahoma. Tulsa County District Judge Jefferson Sellers was honored as Oklahoma’s Judge of the Year and Dan S. Folluo, of Rhodes, Hieronymus, Jones, Tucker and Gable was recognized for his service as Oklahoma Chapter President for 2012. Other notable guests in attendance were U.S. District Judges Lee West and Vicki Miles-LaGrange of the Western District and Judge Terry Kern of the Northern District Federal Court; Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Noma Gurich, Oklahoma Civil Court of Appeals Judges John Fisher and Robert Bell; Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge David Lewis; Oklahoma County District Judge Bryan Dixon; Oklahoma City University President and former Tenth Circuit Judge Robert Henry, and Dean Valarie Couch from The Oklahoma City University Law School. The evening was capped off by a vocal performance by several members of the Oklahoma City University School of Music.

ABOTA is a national organization whose membership includes judges and trial lawyers who are dedicated to professionalism, civility, and preservation of the civil jury trial system in America.

The Oklahoma Chapter’s elected officers for 2013 include G. Calvin Sharpe, President; William R. Grimm, President Elect; Gary Homsey, Treasurer; Jim Jennings, Secretary; and Monty Bottom, National Board Representative.

Newly admitted members for 2012 were Tulsa Attorney William Fiasco and Oklahoma City Attorney Kayce Gisinger. Oklahoma City Attorney Jim Jennings was elevated to the rank of “advocate” within the organization.

Those members of the bar who are interested in joining ABOTA in its quest to promote civility in the courtroom while preserving the right to jury trial are encouraged to visit ABOTA’s website at abota.org for a listing of qualifications for membership.

Law Shift

OCU Law School plans to move Downtown after purchasing the old Central High School building for $10 million

To remedy its problem, Devon constructed a $750 million headquarters Downtown. OCU Law found its answer in the former Central High School, which it purchased for $10 million in December. The law school currently occupies about 110,000 square feet in four buildings on the OCU campus. The new building has 177,296 square feet.

“For several years, the university and the law school have been looking for a location in the heart of Downtown Oklahoma City,” says OCU Law Dean Valerie Couch. “Just being all under one roof is going to be wonderful for us.”

In 2009, before Couch came on board, law-school officials eyed the former Fred Jones manufacturing plant at 900 W. Main. That deal did not come to fruition. In late 2012, the university made a purchase offer beating the Oklahoma City Public Schools to the punch to buy the old high school building at 800 N. Harvey. Their $10 million offer was accepted by the owner, American Farmers and Ranchers Mutual Insurance Co., and approved by OCU’s board of trustees.

The 1910 building was purchased by Southwestern Bell in the 1980s and converted to office space. It was once a school, and Couch says she can’t wait for it to be a place of education again.

“We will be returning this building to its original purpose,” she says.

OCU officials still are working out the logistics of the move, such as renovations from office space back to classroom space, and the addition of courtroom and clinic space, while also making it a venue for community and university meetings and events. Couch says renovations likely will cost around $6 million to $7 million. Farmers and Ranchers has the option to stay for two years, but the university is beginning its renovation plans.

“We’re in the process of trying to estimate that more carefully now that we have access to the building,” Couch says.

The law school will begin moving over the next two years. OCU President Robert Henry is not knocking on the current law school’s door with an eviction notice, but says opening up that space on the OCU campus will allow other departments to grow.

“Not only will relocating the law school give OCU a dynamic presence Downtown, it also provides us an opportunity to expand on-campus resources for undergraduates,” Henry says.

Couch says law students will benefit from being within walking distance of many law firms and courthouses, and in close proximity to the state Capitol.

“There is just such a density of opportunity in Downtown Oklahoma City,” she says.

Robert Haupt, director at the Downtown law firm Phillips Murrah PC and an OCU Law graduate, says the move just makes sense.

“It furthers the relationship and the connection between students, for example, future lawyers and the legal community,” he says. “And it works hand-in-hand in furthering the growth of the school and enhancement of the legal community.”

Phillips Murrah offers an extensive summer clerkship for second-year students, who spend the summer working full-time in all aspects of the firm. Haupt says many of its new hires come through that program from various law schools.

Couch says she is ready to call Downtown home in a building that’s a perfect fit.

“The key to our decision was this building is big enough to house everybody under one roof, there’s plenty of parking, and it’s located in the heart of Downtown,” she says. “It’s pretty rare to find that combination.”

U.S. News: Phillips Murrah has Strong Showing for Best Lawyers in America

29 Lawyers Selected for Best Lawyers 2013 Edition

(OKLAHOMA CITY) January 30, 2013 — Best Lawyers in America has named 29 attorneys from Phillips Murrah to its 2013 list.

Of these, nine are ranked for the first time: Shannon K. Emmons, Juston R. Givens, Terry L. Hawkins, Andrew S. Mildren, William S. Price, Dawn M. Rahme, Jennifer L. Miller, Lyndon W. Whitmire and Raymond E. Zschiesche.

“These results show another strong year for the firm,” said Tom Wolfe, Phillips Murrah’s president and managing partner. “The rankings attest to the level of skill we provide our clients.”

Best Lawyers is among the oldest and most respected peer-review publications in the legal profession. The 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America is based on more than 4.3 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by lawyers. These rankings help clients and lawyers from around the world find legal counsel in unfamiliar specialties and jurisdictions.

ABOUT THE FIRM: Phillips Murrah P.C. is one of Oklahoma City’s largest and most successful law firms. With 70 attorneys in diverse areas of practice, the firm effectively solves the increasingly complex legal problems that challenge its clients. phillipsmurrah.com

For more information, contact Amanda Morgan at (405) 552-2461.

U.S. News: Phillips Murrah One of Nation’s Best Firms

Firm Receives Nationals Nods in More Than 20 Practice Areas

(OKLAHOMA CITY) January 30, 2013 — Calling Oklahoma City home for more than 25 years, Phillips Murrah law firm announced today that is has been top-ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 11 areas of practice, including banking, litigation, government relations, real estate and tax law.

Being ranked as one of the “Best Law Firms” in America for 2013 in the national news magazine’s Money Issue is testament to the firm’s mantra of being more than lawyers but strategic partners to its clients.

“Our diverse and talented team of attorneys is what makes Phillips Murrah one of Oklahoma’s best—truly a homegrown success story,” said Tom Wolfe, the firm’s president and managing partner.

The Best Law Firms ranking is designed as a guide for referring lawyers and clients, from the country’s largest companies requiring corporate legal advice to individuals seeking counsel on personal legal issues.

Combining hard data with peer reviews and client assessments, the Best Law Firms rankings are considered one of the most thorough, accurate and helpful rankings of law firms ever developed, with its national first-tier rankings featured in U.S. News & World Report’s Money Issue.

The 2013 release of Best Law Firm rankings provides a comprehensive view of the U.S. legal profession—unprecedented in both the range of firms represented and in the range of data used to develop the rankings.

“The ‘Best Law Firms’ rankings are now in their third year, and the reaction to the rankings from the legal profession and from legal clients continues to be very gratifying,” says Steven Naifeh, president of Best Lawyers.

Achieving a high ranking is a special distinction that signals a unique combination of excellence and breadth of expertise. Presented in tiers, these rankings showcase more than 10,000 law firms, rated nationally and by metropolitan region.

The rankings in their entirety are posted online at http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com.

ABOUT THE FIRM: Founded in 1986, Phillips Murrah P.C. is one of Oklahoma City’s largest and most successful business law firms. With 70 attorneys in diverse areas of practice, the firm effectively solves the increasingly complex legal problems that challenge its clients. phillipsmurrah.com.

For more information, contact Amanda Morgan at (405) 552-2461.

Law Allows Franchises to Flourish in State

By M. Scott Carter | The Journal Record
January 22, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY – With more than 11,000 franchises, 131,000 workers and an economic impact of more than $10 billion, it can pay to operate a franchise in Oklahoma.

In fact, according to Entrepreneur Magazine, five of the country’s top franchises make their home here, including Golf USA, Sonic, Express Personnel, Bonus Building Care and Camille’s Sidewalk Café.

It also helps that Oklahoma’s law are not as strict, too.

“Oklahoma is one of the states where there is less regulation,” said Beverly Vilardofsky, a director and shareholder with the Phillips Murrah law firm. “It’s a business opportunity state.”

The state’s franchise law isn’t near as strict as other states, Vilardofsky said.

“It’s aimed more at the franchiser than the franchisee,” she said.

However, even in a state with little regulation on franchises, there are certain disclosure requirements. Vilardofsky said state law requires a company selling franchises to issue a franchise disclosure document, known as an FDD, 10 days before a franchise agreement is signed.

That document, she said, spells out several things the prospective franchise owner should know before signing a contract.

“It outlines things such as what might be a typical payroll or the size of a territory,” she said. “It’s probably not going to be real, real specific, but will give you estimates instead.”

Vilardofsky said many times franchise agreements will include specific information about the location of the business and often a clause that allows the franchiser to repossess the franchise in case of a default.

“That’s a pretty standard clause across the United States,” she said. “They want to protect their goodwill.”

Other states, she said, have more stringent requirements.

“I don’t know if the lack of regulation offers more or less protection,” Vilardofsky said, “but I think it encourages more franchisers to come here.”

In addition to legal requirements, she said, many franchise applications include provisions that specify the amount of capital an owner must have and requirements for yearly payments.

“A lot of these businesses are paying a 5-, or 6- or 10-percent fee to use the franchise name,” she said, “but there are benefits such as goodwill and cooperative advertising. A lot of the success of the franchise is going to depend on the individual running that franchise.

Phillips Murrah launches immigration practice

(OKLAHOMA CITY) January 21, 2013 — Phillips Murrah P.C. (“Phillips Murrah”) announced today that Jasmine A. Majid has joined the firm to launch the firm’s immigration practice. Majid will practice from Phillips Murrah’s Oklahoma City office.

Prior to joining the firm, Majid worked in Washington, D.C. as director of agency liaison and policy analyst with federal agencies responsible for implementing immigration laws in the United States.

Majid is a recipient of the Meritorious Public Service Award from the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. Active on the national immigration policy scene, she has appeared on CNN, NBC and other media outlets to provide expert analysis of the increasingly complex issues surrounding the nation’s refugee and immigration laws.

A committed community advocate, Majid has worked to develop public projects such as successful pro bono and pro se legal and social service programs for immigrants in detention; free health care clinics for immigrant women; and protocol for handling pro bono representation for children trafficked into the U.S. and trapped in the quagmire of immigration policies and laws.

“Jasmine is a national player who understands the immigration system from the inside-out,” said Tom Wolfe, president and managing partner of Phillips Murrah. “Her diverse experience allows her to personalize the immigration debate and apply uncommon insight to the business and legal issues that challenge companies in today’s global economy.”

Born in Pakistan and raised in Enid, Oklahoma, Jasmine now resides in Edmond with her husband, Blake, and their twin children Juliette and Jorj.

ABOUT THE FIRM: Founded in 1986, Phillips Murrah has grown to become one of Oklahoma City's largest, most successful business law firms. With 70 attorneys in diverse areas of practice and the support of its affiliate lobbying group, the firm effectively solves the increasingly complex legal problems that challenge its clients.

Phillips Murrah Names Shareholders

OKLAHOMA CITY – Phillips Murrah has named Catherine L. Campbell, Jason A. Dunn, G. Calvin Sharpe and Kathryn D. Terry as shareholders. Campbell specializes in appellate practice in both state and federal courts of appeal. Dunn’s practice is primarily focused on defending clients in commercial litigation. Sharpe is a trial attorney who specializes in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury defense. Terry’s primary areas of practice are insurance coverage, labor and employment and civil rights defense. – Staff report

Lankford Opposes Carbon Tax

EDMOND — Congressman James Lankford will not support any effort to place a carbon tax on the backs of the American people, he said. A carbon tax is not a fair solution for Congress to use to pay down the national debt, Lankford told The Edmond Sun.

President Barack Obama signed a carbon tax bill in November that bars U.S. airlines from a European carbon emissions fee. Cap-and-trade legislation in 2009 came to a dead-end in the U.S. Senate after barely passing in the House. Many Republicans believe that the president will support a carbon tax in his second term.

“There are a number of descriptions for a carbon tax, none of which are mutually exclusive,” said Jim Roth, an attorney for the law firm of Phillips Murrah. A former corporation commissioner, Roth is a member of the firm’s Energy & Natural Resources practice group and is chairman of the Alternative “Green” Energy practice group. He is also president of A New Energy LLC, which consults on energy and environmental matters.

“There’s economy-wide carbon taxes where there’s a way to assess and ascertain the amount of carbon in a process or in an emission,” Roth said. “Then there’s a more specific carbon tax that is focused on a particular sector, or industries within sectors.”

A carbon tax can make those responsible for the greatest amount of pollution financially accountable, said Roth, D-Oklahoma City.

A carbon tax is a way to raise taxes without raising tax rates, Lankford said.

“It does the exact same thing; it raises the cost, and it hits especially hard those that are in poverty and senior adults that are on fixed incomes,” said Lankford, R-Edmond. Everything Americans purchase is energy related, whether it be in production or transportation, he said.

The poor cannot afford to pay more for electricity, gasoline and medicines because of a carbon tax, Lankford said. A carbon tax would inflate the price of plastics and fertilizers for farms, he said. All agricultural products would increase in cost. That does not help the economy, Lankford said.

“People who claim through fear language that a carbon tax will kill the economy are not being intellectually honest about the fact that we Americans are already paying for the devastating effects of unanswered climate change,” Roth said.

Roth said a targeted legal effort to assess penalties to polluters could attach those expenses to them and not allow them to pass it along to vulnerable socioeconomic groups.

“Here in Oklahoma, the largest polluters are our state’s coal plants,” Roth said. “So why should we allow a utility to suffer the cost of its decisions to pollute by passing those on in rates to seniors?”

Roth said the polluter’s health care cost to low income people could be saved if the Corporation Commission would tell the coal industry to clean up its act, and promote clean natural gas and Oklahoma wind.

Roth said $60 billion of relief for Hurricane Sandy is an example of Americans paying for climate change. The cost of freight on the Mississippi River is impacted by climate change, he said. Crops in Oklahoma were devastated by drought last year during America’s hottest year in recorded history, Roth said.

“I think it’s pretty clear that we need a solution for the effects that are impacting climate change and causing disaster,” Roth said.

Geological evidence and the ancient Ice Age is evidence that climate change has occurred on Earth long before the modern age adopted fossil fuels, Lankford said.

Roth said that 95 percent to 97 percent of the world’s scientists that study climate change agree climate change is real, Roth said. These scientists, including workers at NASA and members of the National Academy of Sciences, also agree that human pollution behavior contributes to climate change while accelerating its impact. They do not disagree that climate change has happened before, he added.

“I’m talking scientists that have actually gotten degrees and not politicians that are seeking talking points,” Roth said.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe has advocated for repealing funding of climate change and global warming related activities. Doing so would save $83 billion, Inhofe said. President Obama is using Environmental Protection Agency regulations to accomplish what the administration couldn’t with failure to pass cap-and-trade legislation, Inhofe has said.

Restricting all greenhouse gases in the United States would not reduce the C02 greenhouse gases worldwide, Inhofe told The Sun in 2011.

“What it would do is to chase our jobs to other countries like China, India and Mexico where they don’t have any restrictions on emissions,” Inhofe said.

Lankford said consumer prices have steadily increased in the U.S. as a result of its environmental standards that are among the highest on earth. Due to more production and decreased cost of natural gas, the U.S. carbon emissions already meet the Kyoto Protocol benchmarks without the U.S. formally signing the document, Lankford said.

“In the rush to do ‘something’ about carbon, we should not crush our economy and punish people on fixed incomes who can least afford yet another hidden tax,” Lankford said.

Agencies, Car Dealer Receive Alternative Fuels Awards

Three state offices and a leading Oklahoma automotive dealership are recipients of the 2012 Zach D. Taylor Jr. Clean Cities Vision Awards for Regional Alternative Transportation Fuels Leadership. The awards were announced at the 11th Annual Central Oklahoma Clean Cities Awards Luncheon earlier this month at the Petroleum Club in downtown Oklahoma City.

The awards honor outstanding efforts to reduce dependence on imported petroleum, improve air quality, strengthen the local economy and enhance public awareness of alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies.

Jim Roth, chairman of the Alternative “Green” Energy practice group at the Phillips Murrah P.C. law firm, presented the keynote address. Roth discussed Oklahoma’s bountiful natural resources and its past, present and future as an energy producing state.

Alison Taylor, senior vice president, Middle Market Banking, at Chase Bank emceed the event, and Yvonne Anderson, special programs officer in charge of alternative fuels initiatives and Central Oklahoma Clean Cities coordinator at the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, presented the awards.

Receiving the 2012 Zach D. Taylor Jr. Clean Cities Vision Award in the Public Sector category were the Office of the Oklahoma Secretary of Energy, the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services Central Purchasing Division and the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services Fleet Management Division.

Carter Chevrolet Agency Inc. and affiliate OEM Systems LLC received the 2012 Zach D. Taylor Jr. Clean Cities Vision Award in the Private Sector category.

The state offices were honored for their collaborative work in developing the nation’s first multi-state, original equipment manufacturer, natural gas vehicle procurement. The endeavor was in response to objectives and strategies outlined in the Gov. Mary Fallin’s Oklahoma First Energy Plan. The plan calls for Oklahoma to lead a coordinated effort between states to reach a tipping point for OEM production of functional and affordable natural gas vehicles. It also calls for a strategic expansion of compressed natural gas and electric vehicle fueling and charging infrastructure.

Countless hours of interagency teamwork went into the development of the multi-state request for proposal followed by conference calls and meetings with state purchasing departments across the country, an introductory meeting for potential vendors and an online process for questions and answers. When the solicitation closed in September, agency personnel began assessing proposals. In October, Oklahoma and 27 other states awarded contracts for dedicated and bi-fuel natural gas cars, trucks and vans that cut the pre-solicitation cost differential of these vehicles by as much as 50 percent in some cases.

Accepting the 2012 Zach D. Taylor, Jr. Clean Cities Vision Award for Public Sector Alternative Transportation Fuels Leadership were Oklahoma Secretary of Energy C. Michael Ming; Oklahoma Deputy Secretary of Energy Jay Albert and Maressa Treat, administrative and legislative liaison for the Office of the Oklahoma Office of the Secretary of Energy. Accepting for the state’s Central Purchasing Division were Purchasing Director Scott Schlotthauer, and Laura Bybee, state purchasing officer. And, accepting the award from the state’s Fleet Management Division were Terry Zuniga, fleet director; Tom Bogdanowicz, deputy fleet director, and Peggy Beaty, Alternative Fuels Program administrator.

Carter Chevrolet Agency Inc. and its OEM Systems LLC affiliate were commended in February 2012 by Gov. Fallin in recognition of the company’s 2,000th natural gas vehicle conversion. OEM Systems LLC is recognized worldwide as a manufacturer and upfitter of van interior packages, truck equipment, ground support equipment, delivery vehicles, tactical vehicles, fire apparatus, transportation equipment and police and emergency rescue vehicles. In the fall of 2007, the company added compressed natural gas conversions to its vehicle upfitting services. Two years later the company had 400 CNG vehicle conversions under its belt and will surpass 3,000 CNG conversions as it enters 2013.

Carter Chevrolet, a General Motors sales leader, celebrated another OEM Systems success in October of this year. Ford Motor Company certified OEM Systems as a gaseous fuel Qualified Vehicle Modifier. This designation means Ford Motor Company successfully evaluated OEM Systems and its EPA-certified natural gas conversion equipment manufacturers on criteria such as engineering, the manufacturing process, quality control and adherence to Ford guidelines. More specifically, OEM Systems passed compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, conformance with Ford industry guidelines for vehicle conversion, facility inspection and review and commitment to continuous improvement. It also means new Ford vehicles modified by OEM Systems to operate on compressed natural gas maintain their original engine and powertrain warranties.

Carter Chevrolet Agency Inc. and OEM Systems LLC, an Oklahoma family owned business enterprise, is one of the largest volume natural gas vehicle conversion companies in North America.

Accepting the 2012 Zach D. Taylor, Jr. Clean Cities Vision Award in the Private Sector category on behalf of Carter Chevrolet and OEM Systems were Judith Carter, Lisha Oshman, John Luber, Taren and Randy Robinson, Blake Burge and Chad Kisinger.

The Central Oklahoma Clean Cities coalition is one of nearly 90 public-private partnerships in major U.S. cities affiliated with the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program. The mission of the coalitions is to reduce dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector, develop regional economic opportunities, and improve air quality. To find out more about the Clean Cities program, go to www.eere.energy.gov/cleancities. Learn more about the Central Oklahoma Clean Cities Coalition at www.okcleancities.org.

Environmentalists, Execs Ponder Paths of America’s Energy Policy

OKLAHOMA CITY– Energy executives say their industry is paralyzed; environmentalists wonder what happened to policies promising alternative energy. The next four years could shape the American energy landscape for decades.

On Friday, five of the best minds in energy in Oklahoma sat down to discuss how the election will affect our nation’s energy policy for generations to come.

Miles Tolbert, energy and environmental attorney and director at Crowe and Dunlevy law firm, joined Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO of Continental Resources; J. Larry Nichols, executive chairman of Devon Energy; Oklahoma Secretary of Energy Michael Ming; and environmental and energy attorney Jim Roth.

For those in the energy industry, the next four years are the best of times and the worst of times, Tolbert said.

Hamm said, and Nichols agreed, that for the first time in their lives, North America could achieve energy independence. That accomplishment is not just technologically remarkable; both consider it a patriotic feat.

If America stopped importing oil, U.S. troops would no longer have to die to protect energy resources in the Middle East, Hamm said.

But an increase in federal regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Fish and Wildlife Service stands in the way of drilling our way to freedom from Middle Eastern petroleum, the energy executives said. To add insult to injury, these executives believe some Americans are opposed to all fossil fuels at any cost. This future of solar and wind energy only isn’t realistic. All five experts want the administration to be realistic in developing an energy policy that won’t forsake the economy on behalf of the environment.

Not all regulations are bad, Nichols said. But the state has the most experience and the best ability to control environmental damage and safety hazards, he said, and while the president seems to be reluctantly embracing natural gas as a cleaner fuel, his actions and the actions of his administrative agencies will tell the true story.

At a crossroads

Part of the problem President Barack Obama has is that his political base is in favor of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. Keeping that political base happy when there’s a newfound abundance of fossil fuels available in the United States is a challenge, said Roth, an attorney with Phillips Murrah.

The Keystone XL pipeline controversy is a perfect example of that crossroads, Nichols said. Labor unions were in favor of building the pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, but environmentalists put pressure on the administration to delay the permit to cross international borders.

“He punted on that,” Nichols said. “He endangered our relationship with China, and now Canada is actively working with China to build a pipeline (to supply that market).”

The next four years will show how sincere Obama is about the all-of-the-above approach to energy policy, Ming said. As new supplies of oil and gas came on-line in the last few years, producers helped keep the Oklahoma economy above water, he said.

“Our policy is that the greenest thing we can do is take the energy we have and make it better,” Ming said.

Drilling a single well deeper and longer can tap more resources underground with less effects to the surface, he said.

State knows best

Energy executives and state officials see new federal regulations as unnecessary and burdensome. New air quality rules will limit smog-forming pollution and hazardous chemicals emitted by power plants, drilling operations and oil tank farms.

Roth said that the EPA doesn’t have the resources to regulate Oklahoma operations to the level of that by state agencies.

Nichols said the federal agency doesn’t have the decades of expertise, either. Hamm agreed, saying the first state rules on underground injection in oil and gas drilling were created in 1913.

In the absence of environmental harm or safety risks, more regulations only hinder the oil and gas industry, Nichols said. He said some regulations are necessary; a fly-by-night operator that doesn’t follow basic safety or environmental standards gives the entire industry a bad reputation.

However, there are some instances in which the state intervenes in the market, Roth said. Without the state supporting Oklahoma Natural Gas building compressed natural gas stations in rural areas, the alternative-fuel stations likely wouldn’t get built at all. There isn’t enough demand for a business such as OnCue or Love’s to invest in a CNG station. But on a national level, Hamm and Nichols agreed that government policies promoting natural gas exports are unnecessary.

LNG boon?

Nichols said it isn’t a good idea to interfere with the free market, especially when it comes to exports. Ten years ago, dozens of terminals were built on the coasts to import liquefied natural gas. But as advances in technology increased natural gas supplies in the U.S., the Energy Department is now considering ways to export that commodity. There are 20 billion cubic feet per day of capacity to import natural gas, and those terminals are mothballed.

Nichols said he doesn’t think the U.S. will ever export much natural gas. But industry needs the ability to do so, to have a safety valve of sorts.

“I would not invest a penny in LNG export plants,” he said.

Lost benchmark

On Friday, the oil terminal in Cushing lost its status as the benchmark for West Texas Intermediate. There has been a bottleneck at Cushing, due in part to a lack of pipeline infrastructure. The oversupply and excess storage led to a depressed price for WTI crude, $22 less than Brent crude. That price differential means a $100 million loss to Oklahoma each year, Ming said.

Losing the benchmark is unfortunate, Hamm said, but could also create a positive effect for Oklahoma. Because there isn’t pipeline infrastructure for Continental to send its vast supplies of Bakken crude oil from North Dakota, the company is shipping the commodity by rail to markets on the East and West coasts.

Industry insiders say the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline from Cushing to Gulf Coast refineries, now under construction, will provide a crucial link.

“You need sufficient takeaway capacity,” Hamm said. “If you don’t have that, there is a chance to destroy the market.”

Hamm said another type of crude will be the new benchmark.

“The Bakken will become a premium benchmark before it reaches 1 million barrels per day of production,” he said.

What Hamm dubbed the BKN has the best oil in the world, he said – a higher grade with fewer impurities that is ideal for the gasoline and diesel refinery markets. Because producers are taking their products to higher-priced markets, that could improve gross production tax receipts, he said.

Rhetoric and reality

The difference between the rhetoric among politicians in the nation’s capital and the reality of how the energy industry evolved in the last several decades is obvious to Hamm and Nichols.

Obama taking credit for the increase in natural gas drilling in the last several years is disingenuous, Nichols said.

Hamm said the president’s attitude toward the energy industry is caustic.

Ming said that while it is encouraging to hear the president talk about developing fossil fuels in the U.S., he wants to see the policy to back it up.

Hamm and Nichols agree that there is hope for the future. New drilling technology will produce what they estimate is more than a hundred years’ worth of energy supply.

“There is a case for optimism in America,” Hamm said. “For people who oppose fossil fuels, there is still a lot of supply left.”

Nichols said that every president since Richard Nixon has promised to achieve energy independence in their term of office.

“All my life I snickered at that,” he said, “but with the technology we have, for the first time in my life I think it is possible, at least for North America.”

But Obama’s attitude toward fossil fuel projects is hostile, from new coal-fired power plants to the Keystone XL pipeline, Nichols said. New air quality regulations threaten these developments from becoming a reality. To Oklahoma’s energy experts, these regulations are slowing the progress of U.S. energy independence.

Ming said that local experts don’t get recognized for their contribution to the path to energy independence. In an April Fortune Magazine article listing the 12 greatest entrepreneurs, Bill Gates of Microsoft and the late Steve Jobs of Apple made the list.

“There was no Aubrey McClendon (of Chesapeake Energy), no Harold Hamm, no Larry Nichols,” Ming said. “There were no people who literally changed the energy supply in America. That hasn’t’t been recognized.”

The president is in a political bind: He promised an alternative-energy future to his base, but it is impossible to get rid of fossil fuels overnight without bringing the country to a near-grinding halt. Our economy is built around fossil fuels, and these resources are necessary to transition to a less-polluting future.

Ming’s idea to make the oil and gas more efficient and have less effects on the environment is a good way to get to that bridge. He is hoping that Oklahoma and its energy experts can lead the rest of the country there.

G. Calvin Sharpe Named to Red Earth Board

OKLAHOMA CITY – Lou C. Kerr has been re-elected chairman of the board of Red Earth Inc.

Other new officers elected to the board of directors include Janet Dyke, president; Leslie Blair, president-elect; G. Calvin Sharpe, past president; Shannon Edwards, secretary; John Jameson, treasurer; and Kimber Shoop, member at large.

Kerr is a founder of the Red Earth Festival and was honored as the 2005 Red Earth Ambassador of the Year. As an active leader in the community and state, she has committed her time and expertise to numerous organizations that correspond with her beliefs and expectations. She has served as vice president of The Kerr Foundation since 1985. In 1999, she became president and in 2004 her title became president and chairwoman.

Dyke, of Tuttle, is associate director of AT&T Business Solutions Project Management Office. She will serve a two-year term as president.

Blair, a native of Frederick, is public information officer for the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.

Sharpe, Oklahoma City, is an attorney with Phillips Murrah.

Edwards, of Edmond, is an appeals magistrate for U.S. Department of the Interior, Southern Plains Region. She maintains a law practice in Oklahoma City.

Jameson, of Davis, is chairman of the board of Jameson Management, a provider of dental practice management systems.

Shoop, of Edmond, is senior counsel for Oklahoma Gas & Electric.

Elected to the serve on the Red Earth board of directors were Leslie Diane Taylor, Ada, and Jay Scambler, Norman.

Named to the Red Earth advisory board were Cherokee Chief Bill John Baker, Seminole Principal Chief Leonard Harjo, Muscogee Creek Principal Chief George Tiger and artist Harvey Pratt, Cheyenne.

Johnson Speaks at Conference

OKLAHOMA CITY – Eric L. Johnson, a consumer financial services attorney with Phillips Murrah, was a presenter at the 2012 Innovate AutoStar Users Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

Entitled “Caught in a Compliance Riptide and Dragged out to Sea,” Johnson’s presentation focused on the latest developments in federal and state consumer credit law compliance, including the recent activities of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.

Johnson is a 1994 graduate of the Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Kline named director of bankruptcy and creditors’ rights certification board

American Board of Certification of Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Names 2012 Board Members

Staff Report

[ FEBRUARY 2, 2012 – TULSA, Okla. ] – Mac D. Finlayson of Morrel Saffa Craige in Tulsa has been elected president-elect and general counsel for 2012 by the American Board of Certification of Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Attorneys.

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Phillips Murrah law firm forms new partnership

By M. Scott Carter

[ SEPTEMBER 15, 2011 – OKLAHOMA CITY ] The Oklahoma City law firm of Phillips Murrah P.C. is 25 percent bigger today – thanks to a new partnership with the Kline, Kline, Elliott and Bryant firm and other new additions.

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Leadership in Law profile: Dawn M. Rahme

From The Journal Record
Published: April 30, 2010
Click to see full story – Leadership in Law profile: Dawn M. Rahme

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 Rahme has seen countless stories of success accomplished through hard work, but the one that inspires her the most is that of her own father. At 25, he moved from Lebanon to the United States, with neither a high school education nor knowledge of the English language. Without money, education or employment, his chances of success were slim.

Yet he overcame the odds.

“Through hard work, perseverance, integrity and commitment, my father became an extraordinary successful man – in every aspect of the word. He came from humble beginnings, and this drove him to provide more for his family than he was ever able to have,” Rahme said.

“Along with my mother, he taught us to appreciate what we have and to work hard for what we need. … Though my life has been much easier than his – thanks to him and my mother – my goal remains to follow his example of life: take pride in what I do and work hard to achieve success,” she said.

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 masters of law in taxation at New York University School of Law.

Today she is a shareholder and director of Phillips Murrah in Oklahoma City. She is a member of the firm’s tax, estate planning and corporate law practice groups and 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. Rahme’s practice also includes the area of estate planning. In addition to drafting all types of estate planning documents, such as wills, trusts, advance directives and powers of attorney, she also utilized a number of sophisticated wealth transfer tax planning techniques in her practice, including sales to grantor trusts and valuation discount planning.

For her experience in tax law, Rahme was named an Oklahoma Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine.

Rahme is a member of the American Bar Association, Oklahoma Bar Association and Oklahoma County Bar Association, where she serves on the board of its Young Lawyer Division. She also has presented seminars on Oklahoma’s sales and use tax for Lorman Educational Services.

Her civic involvement includes serving on the board of Positive Tomorrows, a private, tuition-free school for Oklahoma City homeless children, kindergarten through fifth grade. She also volunteers her time with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Oklahoma Family Network, Regional Food Bank and Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Education:

LL.M, New York University, 2002

J.D., University of Oklahoma, 2001

B.B.A., University of Tulsa, 1998

 

Primary practice areas:

Business, corporate, estate planning and probate, mergers and acquisitions, tax

 

Admitted to practice in:

Oklahoma, 2001

U.S. District Court, Western District of Oklahoma, 2001

U.S. Tax Court, 2001

 

Hobbies:

Spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and snow skiing

Leadership in Law profile: Ray E. Zschiesche

From The Journal Record
Published: April 30, 2010
Click to see full story – Leadership in Law profile: Ray E. Zschiesche

Ray E. Zschiesche’s practice is focused on complex state and federal litigation with extensive experience defending insurance companies, class actions mass tort and lender liability.

Advocating and defending a position on a particular issue was something Ray Zschiesche always enjoyed, and after participating on his high school debate team, he made up his mind to pursue a career in the legal profession.

Zschiesche has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Oklahoma State University and a juris doctorate with distinction from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

The Oklahoma City native began his career as an attorney with Miller & Associates before joining a predecessor of Phillips Murrah in 1989. Today he is a shareholder and director in the firm’s litigation department and a member of its commercial law practice group. He represents individuals and both privately held and public companies in a wide range of complex litigation matters.

Zschiesche’s law practice centers on complex state and federal litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. In addition to extensive insurance defense experience, he has successfully defended cases involving class actions, mass tort liability, lender liability, fraud and bad faith. He also represents clients in pre-suit negotiations, mediation and arbitration.

His work in the legal field helped earn Zschiesche the George J. Fagin Municipal Law Endowment Award.

“Preparation is the key to success in litigation. You can be the best orator on the planet, but without proper preparation you won’t have much to say,” Zschiesche said.

Honesty and communication are also core factors in practicing law, he advised others entering the field.

“Other than dishonesty, nothing will sully your reputation in the legal community faster than others’ inability to rely on your word. Finally, communicate with your client. Lack of communication is the source of most problems between lawyers and clients.”

Zschiesche is a member of the Oklahoma County Bar Association, Oklahoma Bar Association, and American Bar Association and is active with the Defense Research Institute and the Community Service Committee of the Oklahoma County Bar Association.

He also is active in the community, serving as a board member of the Payne Education Center and executive council of the Jim Thorpe Association. In addition, he volunteers with the St. Baldrick Foundation, which raises money to fund grants for research concerning childhood cancer. Zschiesche was among this year’s group of volunteers to solicit donations and in exchange have their heads shaved at a scheduled event. He is also a volunteer attorney with Oklahoma Lawyers for Children.

“I try to affiliate myself with civic groups that aid children, particularly children who are disadvantaged physically, socially or economically,” Zschiesche said. “I have a special place in my heart for kids who are disadvantaged or labeled as ‘different’ by their peers.”

Education:

Oklahoma State University (B.S., 1982)

University of Oklahoma (J.D., with distinction, 1985)

Primary practice areas:

Commercial litigation

Admitted to practice in:

Oklahoma – 1985

Spouse:

Dana

Children:

Andrew 18; Allison 16

Hobbies:

Golf, spending time with family

Leadership in Law profile: Fred A. Leibrock

From The Journal Record
Published: April 30, 2010
Click to see full story – Leadership in Law profile: Fred A. Leibrock

Fred A. Leibrock is an experienced trial lawyer who has tried dozens of jury trials and has served as lead counsel in a number of significant cases involving complex, multi-jurisdiction issues.

Fred A. Leibrock is an experienced trial attorney who has first-chaired dozens of jury trials. He is a shareholder and director in Phillips Murrah’s Litigation Department. He primarily represents both privately held and public companies in a wide range of complex litigation matters, with an emphasis on multi-jurisdiction litigation. His trial experience is diverse and includes the defense and prosecution of cases involving real estate, insurance, election law, fraud, professional malpractice, personal injury, anti-competitive activity, racketeering, employment, lender liability and product liability.

In addition, Leibrock serves as a mediator and an arbitrator, receiving his training at the Center for Dispute Resolution in Boulder, Colo.

Leibrock said he always had some interest in the law, but it wasn’t until his junior year at Texas Christian University that he knew he wanted to become a lawyer. The reason – Tarrant County District Judge Tom Wabash’s constitutional law class.

“He approached the course with great vigor and taught us much about the intellectual, historical, political and practical application aspects of the law. Shortly after the semester commenced, I was hooked,” he said.

Leibrock earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from TCU in 1987. He graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law with honors in 1990. While in law school, he served as staff editor of the Oklahoma City University Law Review.

Prior to joining Phillips Murrah in 1999, Leibrock was a partner at Noland, Upton & Leibrock. Born and raised in Mexico City, Leibrock is fully bilingual in English and Spanish.

Leibrock has participated as a barrister in the Ruth Bader Ginsburg American Inn of Court and as a pupil in the William J. Holloway American Inn of Court. He is named in Oklahoma Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America.

He is a member of the American Bar Association, Oklahoma Bar Association and Oklahoma County Bar Association.

Leibrock’s philosophy is to “live by the Golden Rule and pay attention to the effects that your actions have on the life of others.”

As part of that, he is a child advocate and frequently represents abused children. He has served as an officer and director of the Child Abuse Response & Evaluation Center in Oklahoma City and received the Center’s Distinguished Service Award in 2008. He serves as the center’s general counsel. Leibrock is a volunteer for child advocacy organizations, including Oklahoma Lawyers for Children. He also is a member and president of the school board of Oakdale Public Schools.

Education:

J.D. with honors, Oklahoma City University, 1990

B.A., Texas Christian University, 1987

Primary practice areas:

Litigation and trial practice

Admitted to practice in:

Oklahoma, 1990

Texas, 2008

U.S. District Court, Northern and Eastern districts of Texas, 2008

U.S. District Court, Northern, Eastern and Western districts of Oklahoma, 1990

U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit, 1990

U.S. Supreme Court, 1995

Spouse:

Susan

Children:

Carmen, 13; Atticus, 11; and Keegan, 8

Hobbies:

Spending time with family, attending kids’ activities, riding road bikes

Leadership in Law profile: Jim A. Roth, Phillips Murrah PC

From The Journal Record
Published: May 1, 2009
Click to see full story – Leadership in Law profile: Jim A. Roth, Phillips Murrah PC

Jim A. Roth, Phillips Murrah

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

“If you chase the buck, you will never have enough. If you pursue what interests you and races your heart, then you will find fulfillment and have plenty,” Jim Roth advises others entering the legal profession.

Earlier this year, Roth re-entered private practice after 15 years of public service. He is an attorney of counsel for Phillips Murrah’s alternative energy and regulatory practice groups and represents individuals and both publicly owned and private companies in a wide range of business, energy and environmental matters.

“We Oklahomans, and our fellow Americans around this region and country, need to explore every natural resource blessing we have and move our businesses in the direction of meeting energy demand, while also being good stewards of Mother Earth,” Roth said. “My personal goal is to grow our state’s full promise (for its people, its energy, its economy and its environment) by helping Phillips Murrah to be the leader bringing focus to Oklahoma’s future.”

From June 2007 through January 2009, Roth served out an appointment by Gov. Brad Henry to a vacancy on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. He served as an Oklahoma County commissioner from January 2003 to May 2007. He was a chief deputy and attorney for a previous commissioner and the Oklahoma County clerk’s office for eight years.  Before that Jim was in private practice.

A graduate of Kansas State University, Roth received his law degree from Oklahoma City University in 1994. He is a member of the Oklahoma and Kansas bar associations. He is a former president of the National Association of Civil County Attorneys and former board member of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.

Roth, a devoted community advocate, also is a former president of The Winds House – an AIDS support program. He is a member of several civic clubs and previously served on the board of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

“I believe our democracy requires participation from all of us regardless of our views or perspectives. We are a stronger nation and our collective community is better off if people get involved and work towards a more perfect union,” Roth said.

His honors include a national award from The National Association of Counties for his initiatives helping senior citizens. In 2006, he received the Equality Award from Oklahoma’s Cimarron Alliance Group, representing the gay and lesbian community, and an Oklahoma County Friend of Education award for his work helping schools.

Education:
Kansas State University (B.A., Political Science/Pre-Law, 1991)
Oklahoma City University (J.D., 1994)
Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (Graduate, 2004)
United States Air War College’s National Security Forum (Graduate, 2004)
The Institute of Public Utilities, Michigan State University (Graduate, 2007)

Primary practice areas:
Business, energy and natural resources, regulatory

Admitted to practice in:
1994, Kansas
1995, Oklahoma

Hobbies:
Travel, running/working out, politics, spending time with family and friends

Nine named to Best Lawyers in America 2009

Originally published in The Journal Record on Oct. 14, 2008.


Elizabeth K. Brown’s practice is focused at a strategic level on serving her clients as outside counsel where she assists privately held companies in managing the many legal issues that arise in running a business.

Elizabeth K. Brown’s practice is focused at a strategic level on serving her clients as outside counsel where she assists privately held companies in managing the many legal issues that arise in running a business.

OCTOBER 14, 2008 – The Best Lawyers in America 2009 listed nine attorneys with Phillips Murrah P.C. as the best in the United States: Douglas A. Branch, securities law and venture capital law; Elizabeth K. Brown, trusts and estates; Lloyd T. Hardin, Jr. and John D. Hastie, real estate law; Sally A. Hasenfratz, construction law; James A. McCaffrey and Fred H. Miller, banking law; Robert O. O’Bannon, tax law; and Thomas G. Wolfe, commercial litigation.

 

Oklahoma City attorneys listed in Best Lawyers in America

OCTOBER 14, 2008 – Nine Oklahoma City attorneys practicing at Phillips Murrah P.C. have been named to The Best Lawyers in America 2009, a global publication that ranks and identifies the best attorneys in the United States.

Phillips Murrah lawyers receiving the honor are:

  • Douglas A. Branch, Securities Law and Venture Capital Law
  • Elizabeth K. Brown, Trusts and Estates
  • Lloyd T. Hardin, Jr., Real Estate Law
  • Sally A. Hasenfratz, Construction Law
  • John D. Hastie, Real Estate Law
  • James A. McCaffrey, Banking Law
  • Fred H. Miller, Banking Law
  • Robert O. O’Bannon, Tax Law
  • Thomas G. Wolfe, Commercial Litigation

Best Lawyers is regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence in the U.S. by the legal profession and the business community. The purpose of the publication is to help lawyers and clients find legal counsel in unfamiliar jurisdictions and practices.

Best Lawyers conducts an exhaustive peer review survey that has been developed and refined over more than 25 years. The current edition of Best Lawyers is based on more than two million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers. The 2009 edition of The Best Lawyers in Americaâ, a copyright of Woodward/White, Inc. of Aiken, S.C., will be published in December.

Edwards honored by The Oklahoma Academy

August 31, 2008 – The Tulsa World reports that Marc Edwards was honored by The Oklahoma Academy for his dedication to furthering the state’s goals. Academy Chairman, Steve Turnbo, said recipients of this honor “represent the best of the best when it comes to invovled board members…They go above and beyond a volunteer mindset, and strive to improve the quality of life in Oklahoma by diligently communicating and promoting the Academy’s public policy work.

Academy honors three contributors

Staff Reporters, The Tulsa World

The 15th annual salute honors an educator, a lawyer and a businessman.

The Oklahoma Academy recently honored three key contributors at its 15th annual Academy Salute in Tulsa.

The awards were presented to former Tulsa Technology Center superintendent Gene Callahan, Oklahoma City attorney Marc Edwards and Oklahoma City businessman Greg Main.

“These gentlemen represent the best of the best when it comes to involved board members,” Academy Chairman Steve Turnbo said. “They go above and beyond a volunteer mindset, and strive to improve the quality of life in Oklahoma by diligently communicating and promoting the Academy’s public policy work.”

Callahan retired in July as Tulsa Tech’s superintendent, a position he held for 20 years.

He also served more than 40 years as a teacher and supervisor in public schools.

Edwards, who works at Phillips McFall, received his law degree from the University of Tulsa and has practiced law for more than 20 years. He also was an assistant attorney general for five years.

Main recently retired after six years as CEO and president of i2E, a private nonprofit corporation focused on wealth creation. He previously served as Oklahoma’s secretary of commerce and spent a decade in the venture capital business.

The organization’s annual fundraiser also featured former Gov. Frank Keating, political analyst Mike Turpen and comedy group Capitol Steps.

The Oklahoma Academy is a private, nonpartisan statewide organization whose vision is to empower Oklahomans to improve their quality of life through effective public policy development and implementation.