Attorney Monica Ybarra featured in The Journal Record

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Monica Y. Ybarra is a litigation attorney who represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of commercial litigation matters.

Phillips Murrah attorney Monica Y. Ybarra was featured in an article in The Journal Record titled, “Raising the bar: Law firm success includes developing talent, not just hiring the best.”

The article is about hiring practices within law firms:

OKLAHOMA CITY – Cultivating excellence at a law firm goes beyond hiring smart talent. Experts said developing legal leaders is about recruiting and molding well-rounded attorneys.

“The most successful firms that I’ve seen have exposed their associates to a variety of different aspects within the firm,” said Patrick Fuller, a former legal consultant. “It’s having a strong on-boarding process that incorporates the new attorney into the firm on a variety of different matters.”

The portion that features Monica is below:

Attorney Monica Ybarra, who was hired a year ago at Phillips Murrah, said she was drawn to the firm because of its size and culture.

“As a brand-new person coming out of law school who doesn’t know anything, that’s very attractive to me because I feel like I can learn from experts who know what they are doing,” Ybarra said.

Ybarra said she believes it’s important to work in an environment where she is able to learn from experts about many types of law and where she feels comfortable asking questions.

“Here I feel like everyone just works together as a team,” she said. “It wasn’t like that in other firms where I worked at.”

Ybarra said guidance from her supervising attorney has helped her progress and gain experience in her areas of interest.

Click here to see the entire article at JournalRecord.com.

Phillips Murrah’s Lisa McAlister wins COALA 2015 Paralegal of the Year

Lisa McAlister accepts the COALA 2015 Paralegal of the Year award from Judges Richard Ogden and Don Andrews.

Lisa McAlister accepts the COALA 2015 Paralegal of the Year award from Judges Richard Ogden and Don Andrews.

Central Oklahoma Association of Legal Assistants honored Phillips Murrah’s Lisa McAlister as their 2015 Paralegal of the Year.

“I am honored and humbled all at the same time to receive the Paralegal of the Year award,” Lisa said. “It’s team work at Phillips Murrah, and that’s what helps me do a great job. I love that I’m part of this team.”

Lisa is the first paralegal from Phillips Murrah to be recognized by COALA with this award.

“We are honored to have Lisa as a part of the Phillips Murrah family and to see her receive the Paralegal of the Year honor,” Tom Wolfe, Phillips Murrah President, said. “She has the dedication and an exemplary personality to make her truly deserving of this award.”

Lisa received the honor at COALA’s annual awards luncheon on June 12. COALA provides a strong network of support among legal assistants, and promotes the legal assistant in the legal community as an educated and experienced professional.

Also featured in The Journal Record.

Director wins Committee of the Year award from OCBA

Ray Zschiesche's practice is focused on complex state and federal litigation and appeals.

Ray Zschiesche’s practice is focused on complex state and federal litigation and appeals.

Director Ray Zschiesche received an award for Committee of the Year by the Oklahoma County Bar Association for his work as chairman of the Community Service Committee.

“Phillips Murrah is proud to have Ray as a representation of the firm,” President Tom Wolfe said. “He is rightly deserving of praise in accepting the Committee of the Year award given his selflessness in his work as chairman of the Community Service Committee.”

Ray was recently recognized in an Oklahoma Bar Journal article for the Community Service Committee’s continued annual holiday tradition of providing some holiday cheer to the less fortunate.

Ray received the award at OCBA’s Annual Awards Luncheon on June 12.

Phillips Murrah attorneys quoted in OCC, OG&E story in The Oklahoman

Oklahoma Corporation Commission judge says no to replacing OG&E’s Mustang plant in $1.1 billion compliance case

By Paul Monies, Published: June 9, 2015 – Read the entire story here.

William Humes

Bill Humes represents individuals and both publicly-owned and private companies in matters involving energy and environmental issues, state and federal regulatory practice, public policy concerns, and government relations.

Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. should be able to recover some costs related to environmental compliance, but should not get pre-approval to spend $400 million to replace its aging Mustang generating plant, an administrative law judge recommended Monday.

Corporation Commission Administrative Law Judge Ben Jackson said the utility also should explore adding wind energy, echoing a request by nearly all the parties in OG&E’s complex and lengthy case for environmental compliance and replacement generation.

In his 30-page report, Jackson recommended against any increase in rates at this time. But he said OG&E should be allowed to recover environmental costs already expended or under contract.

Jackson said other costs for environmental compliance should be decided in the utility’s next rate case, which is expected to be filed later this year.

Read the entire story here.
The last section of the story quotes Bill Humes and Jim Roth:

Reaction from intervening parties

Jim Roth copy

Jim Roth represents individuals and both publicly-owned and private companies in a range of business, energy and environmental issues, as well as a variety of public policy and regulatory matters.

Some of the parties involved in case were still studying the report Monday. Attorney Bill Humes, who represented The Wind Coalition, the Oklahoma Hospital Association and Oklahoma Cogeneration LLC, said at first glance the administrative law judge agreed with many of the recommendations of his clients.

“To disallow Mustang and to require more investigation into wind is exactly what our clients were looking for,” Humes said. “Everyone is sympathetic to OG&E’s need to comply with the EPA rules, but it has to be reasonable and the lowest cost. OGE’s plan was neither. It was a great plan for shareholders, but not for customers.”

Former Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth, who represented The Wind Coalition along with Humes, said he was glad the judge recommended additional wind power as a condition of the environmental compliance.

“It appears the judge’s recommendation takes to heart the unanimous request of all customer class parties that OG&E should be required to add low-cost, clean wind energy before any costs for extending their older coal plants should be considered.”

Phillips Murrah “Law & Oarder” rowing teams gear up for race day

PM rowing-oarsPhillips Murrah’s rowing teams, “Law & Oarder,” are on the home stretch as they prepare for their second annual corporate regatta.

This summer’s race will be held during the Stars & Stripes River Festival June 27th at the OKC Boathouse District. Corporate racing begins at 5 p.m.

Below is a brief interview with Melissa Gardner, co-captain and organizer of the Phillips Murrah corporate rowing program. Melissa is also an attorney in the Energy & Natural Resources practice group.

Q: How long has Phillips Murrah been participating in this?

2014 trophy and medal

2014 trophy and medal

A: We started in the Fall 2014 season, so this is our second season.

Q: What was the first race like?

A: It was our first race and because of two more experienced rowers, we were actually thrown into a category higher than our overall experience level.  It was an exciting environment because around 50 of our co-workers and friends had joined us and were so enthusiastic that we could hear them cheering from the starting line.  I think our speed and agility surprised even those people in the boat. It’s crazy how much faster you row in an actual race. Our co-workers were shocked that we beat our next competitor by three boat lengths! In fact, when we got off the water, I got a lot of comments like “wow, you guys really do know how to row.”  It’s impressive what you can learn in one season of rowing together.

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The 2015 PM crew gets ready for practice.

Q: In your estimation, how has it helped our corporate culture here at the firm. One thing I noticed is that it is a great way to get attorneys and staff together into a cool team environment.

A: Yes, I agree that it’s helped blend attorneys and staff, but I will say that I think the best part was the race.  And the turn-out we had and the opportunity for all of the firm to join in a community-centric event and cheer on our own.  It joined everyone in a team, even those not rowing.

Q: What other teams compete in this? I assume there’s more levels than just novice, right?

A: Yes, a variety of categories: all men; all women; co-ed (4 of each); and open (at least 1 woman). And landlubber (first year); novice; intermediate; and experienced.  There are many corporations that I know participate…Devon, Chesapeake, MidFirst, St. Anthony’s, Mercy, OU Med Science, and lots of others I don’t know about.

 

 

 

PM attorney, distinguished BBBS advocate to attend national conference as Oklahoma State Governing Board Chair

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

Byrona J. Maule, Phillips Murrah Director and co-chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, will be attending the 2015 Big Brothers Big Sisters National Conference as Oklahoma’s State Governing Board Chair. The conference will be held in Philadelphia, PA on June 2-3, 2015.

Byrona is a passionate community advocate who has devoted much of her life to volunteerism and philanthropy. Her distinguished service to Big Brothers Big Sisters began in 1990, when she became a Big Sister to Vanessa—a relationship that enriched Byrona’s life in ways she never imagined. To date, she’s had three Little Sisters complete the program. Byrona joined the BBBS Oklahoma City Area Resource Board in 2007. Since then, her devotion has garnered awards, including:

  • Big Sister of the Year, Oklahoma City (2009)
  • Big Sister of the Year, State of Oklahoma (2009)
  • Champion of the Year, State of Oklahoma (2011)

Upon winning Champion of the Year, she said: “Being a Champion of Big Brothers Big Sisters is easy; these young ones are my passion and my servant mission. To be recognized for this passion is wonderful, but to help open the world to a child otherwise forgotten – to help that child grow into a successful, responsible, caring adult – that is the reward I carry in my heart for all time.”

Byrona was elected to the state of Oklahoma governing board in 2012. Most recently in 2013, she was elected chair of the Governing Board. Along with her husband, Marvin Meyer, she won the Big Couple Match for their current match with little brother Quintin.

The 2015 Big Brothers Big Sisters National Conference will provide opportunities for attendees to engage in peer designed workshops and events that will reignite the purpose and put renewed energy around all aspects of mission attainment. This two-day conference will be packed with dynamic keynote speakers, insightful panel discussions and plenty of opportunities for learning and networking.

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

For more information or to speak with Byrona about the conference and her work with BBBS of Oklahoma,
contact David Rhea at 405-606-4746 or jdrhea@phillipsmurrah.com.

PM attorney Mary Richard appointed vice chair of AHLA Behavioral Health Task Force

Mary Holloway Richard, Of Counsel to Phillips Murrah’s Healthcare Practice Group, has been appointed Vice Chair of the American Health Lawyers Association’s Behavioral Health Task Force.

AHLA-logo-bigRichard was formerly a co-chair of the Providers and Clinicians Committee of the Behavioral Health Task Force.

She has represented both institutional and non-institutional providers of health services, as well as patients and their families.  Her career has included work at hospitals, outpatient clinics, behavioral health facilities and rehabilitation facilities and clinics.

Richard will be participating in a panel discussion entitled “Hot Topics in Behavioral Health” at the AHLA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. in June, 2015.

The Behavior Health Task Force was established by the nationwide professional organization to provide education for attorneys about the legal issues that arise in the provision of services to behavioral health patients and to alcohol and drug treatment providers and patients.

Director Jim Roth featured in energy-related article in Politico

JimRoth

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

Phillips Murrah Director Jim Roth was featured as a source in an article by Politico writer Michael Grunwald.

The article, titled “Inside the war on coal: How Mike Bloomberg, red-state businesses, and a lot of Midwestern lawyers are changing American energy faster than you think,” focuses on the country’s coal usage and implications it has on the environment and politics.

From the article:

“They’re not burning bras. They’re fighting dollar to dollar,” says attorney Jim Roth, who represented a group of hospitals on Beyond Coal’s side in the Oklahoma case. “They’ve become masters at bringing financial arguments to environmental questions.”

Read the rest of the Politico article here.

Attorneys provide cheer for less fortunate through Oklahoma County Bar Association Community Service Committee

Originally published in the May 2015 edition of the Oklahoma Bar Journal

Since the last update, the Community Service Committee continued its annual holiday tradition of providing some holiday cheer to the less fortunate. For many years, members of the Committee have provided Christmas gifts to juvenile residents of Family Junction, a youth shelter that is part of Youth Services of Oklahoma County.

Family Junction houses juveniles who, due to circumstances beyond their control, are not able to live at home. These children are placed at Family Junction because their parents are incarcerated, have drug or alcohol problems or a myriad of other issues that prevent them from providing a safe environment for the children at home.

Members of the Committee received wish lists from the children and either purchased gifts from the wish list or donated money to be used for the purchase of gifts.

In December, the Committee sponsored a holiday pizza party for the children at the shelter, during which Committee members and OCBA staff provided the children with stockings containing candy and a small amount of cash for fast food treats.

Committee members Judge Patricia Parrish, Ray Zschiesche, Ken Stoner, Chance Pearson and Honorary member Sam Stoner with residents of Oak Hills.

The Committee also provided a holiday party for residents of the Oak Hills Nursing Home in Jones, Oklahoma. Oak Hills is a facility that cares for those who are destitute and cannot otherwise afford nursing care at other facilities. Committee members provided snacks, sparkling cider and reindeer antlers for residents to wear, and Judge Parrish arranged for John Hochgraefe and Steve Coleman, “The Elderly Brothers,” to perform oldies hits. Committee members visited and danced with the residents, and some residents even got up out of their wheelchairs to join in the dancing. Committee member Ken Stoner attended and brought nine year-olds Sam Stoner and Easton Chavez to join in the festivities. Sam and Easton brought an energy to the party and the dance floor that was much appreciated by the committee and residents, alike.

In February, the Committee collected donations to refurbish visitation rooms at the Juvenile Justice Center. DHS has a number of rooms at the Center, which are used to allow parents to have supervised visitation with their children. The funds collected by the Committee were used to purchase furniture and changing tables, to help provide a comfortable setting for these supervised visits. The refurbishing activities at the Center continue, and if anyone would like to make a tax-deductible donation to help with this work, checks can be made payable to Citizens For Juvenile Justice, a 501(C)(3) corporation, and dropped off at the OCBA office.

In March, the Committee provided Spring Break activities for the residents of Family Junction and in April the Committee provided plastic eggs filled with treats and dollar bills for an Easter egg hunt for the kids.

Committee members Chance Pearson, Monica Ybarra, Ray Zschiesche and Judge Patricia Parrish, Honorary member Taylor and guests Ivonne Molina and Travis Weedn with the Elderly Brothers at the Spring Fling party.

Committee members Chance Pearson, Monica Ybarra, Ray Zschiesche and Judge Patricia Parrish, Honorary member Taylor and guests Ivonne Molina and Travis Weedn with the Elderly Brothers at the Spring Fling party.

In April, the Committee hosted a Spring Fling party for the residents of Edwards Redeemer Nursing Center. Judge Parrish again arranged for the “Elderly Brothers” to entertain the residents with music and recruited her granddaughter, Taylor, to help with party preparations and dancing. All of the residents received straw hats and sunglasses so they can be in style for the summer, and all the cookies they could eat. Judging from the smiles on the faces of the residents and Committee members, the Spring Fling was a great success.

The Community Service Committee always welcomes new members to participate and make a small difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Anyone interested may contact Ray Zschiesche at (405) 235-4100 or Chance Pearson at (405) 239-6040.

Attorney mentors struggling student through tutoring program

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Attorney Dominic Williams with his Whiz Kid, Omar at a OKC Thunder game

When Omar failed the first grade and saw his friends move on, it became important to not only teach him the necessary information he needed to pass but to also not let him feel defeated.

“My biggest thing was to build confidence,” Phillips Murrah Associate Attorney Dominic Williams said. “I wanted him to feel good. I wanted him to feel like, ‘It doesn’t matter that I failed—I’m failing forward. I’m going to do something better because of this.’ ”

Dominic has been working with Omar through CityCare’s Whiz Kids program every Thursday for the past two school years.

“I know that passing the bar is not the sum of my own knowledge but rather people helping me along the way, so I need to give back. If I become a lawyer or if I become professional, that is not the end of the story. I cannot be focused on me.” – Dominic Williams

Whiz Kids is a one-on-one volunteer tutoring and mentoring program for elementary school students, targeting inner-city schools and students who are reading below grade level.

“I wanted to give my time and really give back because a lot of people didn’t have the same opportunities that I might have had,” Dominic said. “I want to present them with a different world.”

Mentors with their Whiz Kids on an outing

Mentors with their Whiz Kids on an outing

Tutors work in pairs to pick up their Whiz Kids from their homes and drive to a designated church to work with them on their problem areas. Whiz Kids is a faith-based program where kids are given lunch and bible study before working with their tutors for about an hour and a half.

“They bring their homework, their spelling words and their vocabulary words for the week,” he said. “We also work with them on reading. Usually, reading is their toughest, especially for Omar who comes from a Spanish-speaking household. We really work on trying to get him on track with English words and application of English translation.”

The one-on-one interaction Whiz Kids have with their mentors has a double benefit, allowing them to focus on the areas they need to improve while building a trusting relationship.

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Omar named “Star of the Week” at school

“It’s great to have someone to talk to the kids, because all they really want is attention,” Dominic said. “I talk to him about everything. He told me he was struggling with bullying. I gave him some advice and had an opportunity to meet the other kid with the teacher present and told him the importance of taking care of everyone and making sure you’re not singling out anyone because that wouldn’t feel good for you. And, as simple as that is, it actually helped out and they are best friends now.”

Thanks to the strides he has made, Omar will move on to the third grade in the coming school year.

“He has made significant changes in his reading, math and speech fluency testing scores,” Dominic said. “He is no longer considered to be academically at-risk.”

Those interested in volunteering or learning more about the Whiz Kids program can visit whizkidsok.org.

“The important to remember is that kids often need your help, they just don’t say it,” Dominic said. “Being focused on others is probably the most important thing anyone can be charged with.”

 

Phillips Murrah sponsors Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake event

Information Technology Director Sam Lincoln

Information Technology Director Sam Lincoln

Five teams of Phillips Murrah employees, families and friends showed off their bowling talents to celebrate the firm’s fundraising efforts toward Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake annual event.

Heritage Lanes welcomed Phillips Murrah for the firm’s night of bowling on May 14, made possible by donations from firm employees and members of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Phillips Murrah Director Byrona Maule spearheaded the campaign, raising $3,700.

“Bowl For Kids’ Sake is the single largest fund raiser 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,” Byrona said. “It was 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 BBBS campaign.

“I’ve been a Big Sister/volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters for the vast majority of the last twenty five years,” Byrona said. “The children I have mentored are bright, intelligent, caring people who just needed an additional adult in their lives to help them through the unfortunate challenges that underprivileged children face. After experiencing first-hand the changes that having a mentor can have on a child’s life, it’s become my passion to do everything in my power to help provide a mentor to every child who needs one – and that takes financial resources. “

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

Director Juston Givens featured in article on law firm diversity

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Juston R. Givens is a director and shareholder of the firm. Juston represents a diverse group of individuals and businesses covering a wide range of industries, from construction to agriculture to entertainment.

Phillips Murrah Director Juston Givens was featured in the Journal Record as a source in an article by journalist Molly M. Fleming.

Titled “Hot commodities: Tax, tribal law attorneys among most-desired legal specialties,” the cover story is about the difficulty in filling attorney positions for specialized fields.

From the article:

In Oklahoma City, Phillips Murrah recruiting head Juston R. Givens said the biggest specialty in which they have trouble hiring is corporate mergers and securities. But diversity in knowledge is important to his firm as well.

“It helps the legal industry any time you can add diverse backgrounds and communities,” he said.

Read the full article here.

Director Bob Sheets featured in article about nursing home arbitration

Robert N. Sheets is a commercial litigator, director and one of the firm’s founders. He represents construction and energy industry clients in a broad range of real estate, land use and business litigation matters.

Robert N. Sheets is a commercial litigator, director and one of the firm’s founders. He represents construction and energy industry clients in a broad range of real estate, land use and business litigation matters.

Phillips Murrah Director Bob Sheets featured in the media as a source in a story by Oklahoma Watch investigative journalist, M. Scott Carter.

The story, titled “Price of Admission to Nursing Homes: No Lawsuits,” is about nursing homes in Oklahoma that require arbitration agreements as part of the admission process.

From the article:

Oklahoma City attorney Robert Sheets, who specializes in business litigation, said arbitration agreements prevent most appeals from going to courts and can prove less expensive for both parties.

“The idea is to have a method of resolving disputes that is not as formal as the court and not as expensive,” he said. “The theory is there won’t be as much discovery, which can be more expensive, and once an arbitrator makes a decision, it’s usually final. There is no appeal.”

Originally published on the Oklahoma Watch website, the article was picked up by both Oklahoma metro’s daily newspapers and by the Norman-based NPR station. See below for links:

Oklahoma Watch 
The Oklahoman
Tulsa World
KGOU/NPR

Oklahoma Watch is a non-profit corporation that generates original content that is distributed by media partners around the state and through the Oklahoma Watch website and social media accounts. They collaborate with other news outlet and focus on data-driven journalism and other enterprising reporting that complements coverage in other Oklahoma and regional media.

 

PM attorneys publish Oklahoma Product Liability Law article in Bar Journal

By Chris Pearson, Thomas G. Wolfe, Lyndon Whitmire and Cody J. Cooper

Bar Journal CoverThe Oklahoma Bar Association published an update to an article “An Overview of Oklahoma Product Liability Law” in the April 18, 2015 edition of the Oklahoma Bar Journal.

 

SCHOLARLY ARTICLE: An Overview of Oklahoma Product Liability Law

Any discussion of Oklahoma product liability law must start where Oklahoma product liability law started, with the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s 1974 opinion in Kirkland v. General Motors Corp.

In Kirkland, the plaintiff was driving her friend’s new Buick Opel on Interstate 44 in Tulsa County.

It was alleged that the driver’s seat back suddenly collapsed, leaving her unable to control the car. As a result, her vehicle hit the highway median and then struck an oncoming vehicle head-on.

Approximately one month after the accident, General Motors (GM) issued a recall letter to all owners of Buick Opels concerning the “seat back adjustment mechanism.”

…read the article excerpt here.

Phillips Murrah President and Director, Tom Wolfe co-authored the original article with former colleague, Chris Pearson, who is now a partner at the Law Firm of Germer, Beaman & Brown in Austin.

The first update, which garnered a 2003 Maurice Merrill Golden Quill Award from the Oklahoma Bar Association, featured Phillips Murrah Litigation Practice Group Leader and Director, Lyndon Whitmire and Ruth Anderson Gates, who is now senior in-house counsel at Nissan North America Inc.

The article, now in its second update, includes contributions from Phillips Murrah Associate Attorney, Cody Cooper.

See the full magazine here: http://www.okbar.org/Portals/13/PDF/OBJ/2015/OBJ2015Apr18_merged.pdf

Phillips Murrah receives Service Provider of the Year award at ASA-OK Denim & Diamonds Gala

osaok awardOn Saturday, April 28th, the American Subcontractors Association of Oklahoma held their 2015 Denim & Diamonds Awards Gala at the Oklahoma History Center. The gala recognizes excellence in the construction industry through the ASA-OK awards.

Phillips Murrah was honored to receive the award for Service Provider of the Year. PM was one of 11 professional service firms nominated by the membership of ASA-OK for providing outstanding service to the members.

“The membership of ASA is made up of commercial construction businesses and companies,” explained David Walls, a Phillips Murrah attorney who represents developers, owners, vendors and contractors in every aspect of commercial construction. “This is the second year PM has been nominated, and the first year to win.”

Phillips Murrah Of Counsel attorney, David Walls receives the Service Provider of the Year award at the ASAOK Denim and Diamonda Awards Gala onApril 28, 2015.

David Walls, Of Counsel attorney at Phillips Murrah, receives the Service Provider of the Year award at the ASA-OK Denim & Diamonds Awards Gala on April 28, 2015.

 

In the news: Director Terry Hawkins hired to help with school 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 33 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 33 years experience in municipal finance projects.

Phillips Murrah Director Terry Hawkins was featured in the Claremore Daily Progress newspaper in relation to $2.4 million in building bonds being issued to build and renovate schools and related projects.

In the story, “School board sets date for sale of building bonds,” reporter Mark Friedel wrote:

The $2.4 million in building bonds is part of the $42.645 million bond issue passed by school district voters in November 2007 for the construction of Catalayah Elementary and the new high school gymnasium, as well as Lantow Field additions and other renovations throughout the district.

The bonds will become due in the amount of $600,000 two years from their date and $600,000 annually each year following until paid.

Board members approved the employment of Terry L. Hawkins with Phillips Murrah P.C., of Oklahoma City, as bond counsel for the issuance of bonds.

You can see the whole story here: http://www.claremoreprogress.com/news/school-board-sets-date-for-sale-of-building-bonds/article_d853adf2-e382-11e4-a9fe-2f92207c5558.html

Phillips Murrah Director Jim Roth buzzes hair for St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Phillips Murrah Director Jim Roth

Phillips Murrah Director Jim Roth

Phillips Murrah Director Jim Roth went under the shears in Miami, Fla. on Saturday, April 11 to have his head shaved in support of St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Jim set a personal goal of raising $2,000 from his friends, which he far exceeded. He dedicated his campaign to Fletcher Vines, a child who lost his battle to cancer.

Jim said in a Facebook post:

“Thank You Generous Friends for your awesome help raising over $3200 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s efforts to cure childhood cancer. Because of you, I hit the barber today and did the Baldrick’s shave and you helped bring hope to children like my friend Fletcher and too many others! Thank you!”

Jim’s campaign has gone on to raise $3,705. Donations can still be made – click here to make a contribution to this worthy cause.

St. Baldrick’s works closely with leading pediatric oncologists to determine the most promising research to fund and create funding priorities to make the greatest impact for children with cancer. Read more on their website here.

Director and bankruptcy leader Tim Kline featured in The Oklahoman Q&A

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Click to see this on NewsOK.com

Although Phillips Murrah Director Tim Kline will recoil at the use of this descriptor, I (Marketing Director, Dave Rhea) am going to be so bold and reckless as to say he is legendary. As I listened to him review some of the highlights of his personal history, I felt like I was in the room with a great Oklahoma oral historian.

I found myself thinking on a couple of occasions, “too bad Tim doesn’t have a radio show.” But I guess he’s a little busy being one of the state’s preeminent bankruptcy attorneys. Oh well, I think he could have given Paul Harvey a run for him money.

Business reporter Paula Burkes, from The Oklahoman, was kind enough to stop by the firm recently to talk to Tim for one of the newspaper’s Executive Q&A features. It published Sunday, April 12 and gave people a glimpse into the storied life of a lawyer who has been practicing bankruptcy law since those infamous Penn Square days:


 

The morning of the 1982 Penn Square Bank collapse, Phillips Murrah Director Tim Kline — then a young general litigation attorney — was asked by his firm to call on Oklahoma City oilman Carl Swan, who was a director of the bank.

“It was the Monday following the July 4th weekend, and I was supposed to be off,” said Kline, who remembers he wasn’t too happy about the assignment.

In their meeting, Kline asked Swan if the bank was OK and Swan, in his notorious gruff manner, reported that it was; that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation agreed to capitalize millions more and give the bank more time, he said.

But when Kline arrived home and flipped on his TV, he learned the FDIC had pulled the plug on Penn Square Bank.

The infamous bankruptcy is what sparked a nearly 33-year career in bankruptcy law for Kline, whose late father and former Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. Kline Jr. served 14 years as a bankruptcy judge.

At the time of the collapse, Kline was helping his dad teach a bankruptcy law course at Oklahoma City University — largely on the 1978 Bankruptcy Reform Act, which the senior Kline had helped promote.

Tim Kline never intended to go into bankruptcy law but, following the oil bust, circumstances unfolded that way, he said. With so much demand for bankruptcy work, his dad left the bench and they formed Kline & Kline in February 1983, where they worked together for more than 25 years.

Kline in 2011 joined Phillips Murrah, where he continues to specialize in bankruptcy law.

From his offices on the 13th floor of the Corporate Tower, Kline, 65, sat down recently to talk about his life and career. This is an edited transcript:

Q: Tell us about your roots.

A: Of course, my father was an attorney and my mother was a homemaker. I’m the middle child of their three children. My brother is six years older and my sister is eight years younger. My father used to joke that he managed to raise three only children. But we were, and still are, close. In fact, we three and our mother, 94, all live within walking distance from one another on several hundred acres we bought in 1981 in the Jones Public Schools District in eastern Oklahoma County, 10 miles east of I-35, where we have dogs, chickens and horses. My brother-in-law raises cattle. When I was a bachelor, my home was like an overgrown cabin. But since Alyssa and I married, we’ve reinvented it three times. It’s three-storied and our second story overlooks a lake.

Q: Where did you go to school?

A: In elementary school, I was a Mayfair Chipmunk. We lived near 50th and May when Mayfair was a brand-new neighborhood. In the sixth- and seventh-grades, I attended Casady, after my brother was recruited there to play baseball. Once he graduated and went to OU on a baseball scholarship — and I lost my ride to school — I transferred to Putnam City, where I graduated. Growing up, I played baseball, football and basketball, but my siblings were far better athletes. My sister went to OCU on a tennis scholarship. I was into politics. At 7, I remember sitting up and crying when Adlai Stevenson lost; in 1960, I got to hear JFK speak in the municipal auditorium; and before I could vote, I was the Ward 1 campaign chairman for Eugene McCarthy. I also enjoyed speech, debate and plays. My favorite role was the lead my sophomore year in “Look Heavenward Angel.”

Q: What were some of your first jobs and first cars?

A: As a youth, I worked at the municipal ball park. My sophomore year in high school, I threw the first papers of the now-defunct Oklahoma Journal. By the summer of my senior year, I graduated to writing obits and writing some Friday night football stories. My freshman year of college, I was awarded a scholarship to UCO. My father told me if I took it, he’d get me a car, though it wasn’t a very nice car. It was a used light blue Ford Fairlane. When I was a junior, and doing well in school at OU, he bought me a purple Plymouth Road Runner.

Q: Did you always plan on being an attorney?

A: There was a time I considered becoming a philosophy teacher. At OU, I studied under the legendary J. Clayton Feaver and considered getting a Ph.D. in philosophy. I’d earned a graduate minor in it, along with a bachelor’s and master’s in polisci. But instead, I wound up taking the law school entrance exam. I like the problem solving in law, and helping people where they have a practical need. During law school, I interned with the U.S. Attorneys office and worked at the Redlands Racket Club and OKC Tennis Center. I got to play tennis with Colin Robertson. Before my father and I opened our own firm, I clerked for over three years for U.S. federal judge Luther Bohanon. He liked having me in the courtroom with him, so I got to see a lot of good lawyers at work in big trials. I worked the next three years for the firm of Jimmy Linn, a west Texas litigator who was a heavy hitter on the national level.

Q: What do you like about practicing bankruptcy law?

A: My work is really about avoiding bankruptcy as such. Whether I represent the debtor, creditor or a trustee, I try to bring together parties who are in financial stress and help them clarify what common interests are involved and how to maximize financial recovery. My goal is to do the most for the most people in the most efficient manner possible. Of course, like in all things in life, it takes two to tango. Sometimes, people aren’t cooperative and we have to go to a Plan B scenario and invoke legal remedies and be as confrontational as necessary. I’m as nice as the other side will allow.

Q: How did you meet your wife?

A: Alyssa is a native Canadian. We met at Christmastime 1976, when I went to British Columbia to visit relatives and friends, but then she was only a punk teenager. Her family and I kept in touch over the years and in the summer of ’85, she called to say she and her folks were going to Seattle and would I like to meet them there. She was 23; I was 36. I spent a couple days in Seattle, but had to fly back to Albuquerque for a big case. Three weeks later, I flew to British Columbia, where we wed and spent our honeymoon. She was shocked that it was 100 degrees in Oklahoma City, when our flight arrived home at 11 p.m. on Sept. 1. The next morning, she joked about getting an annulment. But this August, we will have been married 30 years. Alyssa earned an education degree at UCO and taught elementary school, before she had our daughters whom she home schools. After the girls were born, Alyssa’s parents moved to Oklahoma City. We’ve lost her mother, but her father lives in a retirement community. He’s 94 and was over for Easter.

You can view the whole story here: http://newsok.com/executive-qa-penn-square-bank-collapse-sparks-counselors-career-in-bankruptcy-law/article/5409410

 

Firm supports Positive Tomorrows at Cork & Canvas event

Phillips Murrah Directors Marc and Nicholle Jones Edwards.

Phillips Murrah Directors Marc and Nicholle Jones Edwards.

Phillips Murrah sponsored Positive Tomorrows’ annual Cork & Canvas on Thursday, April 2 at the Oklahoma City Farmers’ Public Market.

Positive Tomorrows is Oklahoma’s only elementary school specifically serving homeless children and their families and prides itself on educating at-risk children by dedicating attention to their unique educational and social service needs.

The event includes an evening of food, drinks, silent and live auctions featuring art by Positive Tomorrows’ students, and live entertainment, and typically attracts more than 500 philanthropic leaders from the community.

Learn more about Positive Tomorrows here.

Phillips Murrah celebrates Grand Opening of OCU Law School

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OKC mayor Mick Cornett speaks to the crowd in McLaughlin Hall.

On Friday, Mar. 27, Oklahoma City University School of Law held their grand opening ceremony in downtown Oklahoma City.

On hand for the event were Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett, Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, host of ABC’s hit show, The Bachelor/OCU Law alumnus Chris Harrison and others were on hand to welcome OCU to the Central Business District.

Phillips Murrah was excited to be a part of the grand opening events all week and we are proud to boast of Directors who are also OCU Law grads:

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Phillips Murrah Directors and OCU Law graduates Juston Givens and Jennifer Miller were in attendance at the Grand Opening ceremony.

Phillips Murrah is also proud to support the school and their great program as well as to have a new media-enabled conference room named for our firm.

We are excited about the beautiful restoration project and and eager to witness what the new location of the OCU School of Law adds to the vibrant downtown OKC culture. As mayor Cornett alluded to in his presentation, it is every metro central business district’s dream to have such an addition of bright, young, energetic people circulating through the shops and restaurants during the day.

Oklahoma City University School of Law is housed in the Central High School building located at NW 8 and Harvey, about 200 feet north of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

In the news: Phillips Murrah President quoted in NewsOK clean energy article

Tom Wolfe is a trial attorney and commercial litigator whose practice is focused on complex business cases including product liability, oil and gas, mass tort and class action defense. Tom is also the president and managing partner at Phillips Murrah.

Tom Wolfe is a trial attorney and commercial litigator whose practice is focused on complex business cases including product liability, oil and gas, mass tort and class action defense. Tom is also the president and managing partner at Phillips Murrah.

Phillips Murrah President and Director, Tom Wolfe, is quoted in The Oklahoman regarding the Kingfisher wind project.

NewsOK: Kingfisher wind project pauses some construction as Texas oil company questions locations

by Paul Monies, Published: March 25, 2015

KINGFISHER — Apex Clean Energy has agreed to pause construction on part of its Kingfisher wind farm until more details can be shared with a Texas oil company concerned about the project affecting one of its top areas of exploration.

Newfield Exploration Mid-Continent Inc. pulled its request for an emergency temporary restraining order after attorneys for the company worked out a 15-day “stand-down” with Apex attorneys Tuesday afternoon at the Kingfisher County Courthouse.

(Later in story)

Tom Wolfe, an attorney with the Phillips Murrah law firm who represented Apex, said the 15-day stand-down covered five of the sections where Newfield was concerned about its oil and gas infrastructure being affected by underground electricity collection cables, lines needed to connect the turbines.

In return for the stand-down, Wolfe said Newfield agreed to drop its claim that Apex didn’t provide adequate notice of construction plans under a 2011 state law requiring notice to owners of mineral rights of new wind or solar projects.

Read the full story here on newsok.com.

Phillips Murrah congratulates music venue The Criterion on groundbreaking

The Criterion

Greater OKC Chamber CEO Roy WIlliams congratulates The Criterion on the day of their groundbreaking.

Phillips Murrah Director and Shareholder, Juston R. Givens, expresses congratulations to his clients as they break ground on The Criterion, a world-class music venue being constructed downtown Oklahoma City.

“It’s great that there is a dedicated live music venue of this quality and calibur coming to Bricktown,” Givens said. “I’m extremely proud of these guys and this project.”

NewsChannel 4 reporter Lacey Lett had this story on March 4 announcing the beginning of construction:

From NewsChannel4: It’s just a mound of dirt now, but by the beginning of next year, the land at 500 E. Sheridan will be a music venue with 4,000 capacity enhancing the scene.

Ronnye Farmer and Philip Randolph run three Oklahoma venues, including a red dirt music venue, the Wormy Dog Saloon. Now, they’re adding The Criterion to their list.

“We want something that we could do that would hold more people that we could expand to all genres of music,” Ronnye Farmer, co-owner of The Criterion said.

The construction started Wednesday in east Bricktown to build a $6 million dollar, 39,000 square foot attraction specifically for music and paid for with both private and public funds.

“From start to finish, this has been designed for the experience of music, and it’s not a building that’s been retrofitted into a music hall as an afterthought,” Matt Maley, the developer of Alliance Investments, said.

See the full story here: http://kfor.com/2015/03/04/new-6-million-music-venue-breaks-ground-in-bricktown/

The exterior is designed to pay homage to its namesake, the original 1921 Criterion Theatre that was destroyed in the mid-1970s by the Urban Renewal Authority.

The Criterion’s exterior is designed to pay homage to its namesake, the original 1921-built Criterion Theatre, which was razed in the mid-1970s by the Urban Renewal Authority.

Phillips Murrah welcomes two attorneys

SMR, SJE

Scott M. Rayburn and Sidney J. Earnheart

OKLAHOMA CITY – Scott M. Rayburn has joined Phillips Murrah’s Transactional Practice Group as an of counsel attorney.

Rayburn’s practice will be focused on business transactions, entity formation and structure, and capital raising and formation.

He will also be representing clients in negotiating and structuring acquisitions and divestitures, private equity financing, contractual matters and other issues faced in general business and corporate affairs.

For 12 years prior to joining Phillips Murrah, Rayburn was General Counsel at Canaan Resources, an Oklahoma City based natural gas company.

Phillips Murrah also added Sidney J. Earnheart to the firm’s Energy & Natural Resources team as an associate attorney.

Earnheart 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.

Prior to joining Phillips Murrah, Earnheart worked as an attorney in Houston, Texas for a law firm that specializes in matters related to oil and gas.

Phillips Murrah announces new Directors for 2015

2015 Phillips Murrah new directors

From L: Nicholle Jones Edwards, Jennifer L. Miller, Jason M. Kreth and Candace Williams Lisle

Tom Wolfe, managing director at Oklahoma City law firm, Phillips Murrah, announced that attorneys Nicholle Jones Edwards, Jennifer L. Miller, Jason M. Kreth and Candace Williams Lisle have been elected by the firm’s shareholders as new directors. Their appointments were made effective January 1, 2015, bringing the total number of directors in the firm to 32.

Edwards’ law practice focuses on family law, general civil litigation and appellate matters. Her family law practice includes litigation, complex custody issues and valuation issues.

Miller practices in the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group representing both employers and employees in a variety of discrimination and employment disputes. Her practice also involves the representation of national and international corporations in intellectual property disputes.

Kreth is a commercial litigator who represents financial institutions, handling matters such as foreclosures, bankruptcy and lender liability litigation. He also represents clients in a range of real property disputes.

Lisle is a litigation attorney with an emphasis in the representation of financial institutions in mortgage and commercial loan litigation and lender liability.

From the President: Emulate The Reading Man

By Jim Webb
OCBA President

We are already smack dab in the middle of the 2014 holidays. Wow. Regardless of your background and experience, most would agree this is a time of reflection, a time of renewal, a time of giving. As OCBA members, we are, in part, “dedicated to serving… [our] community in order to foster the highest ideals of the legal profession [and] to better the quality of life in Oklahoma County.” The best gifts are ones of service, and we need not look very far to see an example of a fabulous giver.

Carver Mark Twain Head Start Program is on Main Street, just east of Villa. The program is designed for 3-4 year old kids who live below the poverty level. As you might expect, the 30 to 40 kids come from all kinds of backgrounds and have all kinds of needs, both academic and social. The goal, according to the program’s Site Director, Carla Price, is to give these kids everything they need to be prepared for kindergarten.

Bob Sheets

Bob Sheets

Enter “The Reading Man,” as he is very affectionately called by these precious preschoolers. Every month, our very own Bob Sheets leaves his high-rise downtown office and successful law practice at Phillips Murrah and enters the world of Carver Mark Twain Head Start. Bob leads the charge for the “Reading Buddies” program, in which he and others (including OCBA staffer Pam Bennett) read books aloud to the kids.

Bob gets down on the floor and sits “crisscrossapplesauce” with the kids, refusing to sit in what they call the “big people chair.” Bob shares a healthy snack (typically baby carrots and fruit) with the kids and invariably tells them the story behind whatever colorful tie he is wearing that particular day. They love his ties. But they love the interaction with Bob so much more. According to many studies, that type of interaction with adults is pivotally important to literacy success as these kids grow.

Last but not least, Bob and his colleagues provide every single one of the kids with two books.

Every visit. Every month. Year after year. For many of these kids, the books they receive from “The Reading Man” are the only physical items that are “theirs.” For this group of children, that is extremely important.

What Bob does is the very definition of servant leadership. It’s the very definition of giving. It’s the very definition of what we should be about as the OCBA. Carla Price summed it up by saying, “Bob is quite the winner in our book.” Bob’s work should inspire us all, not just in this holiday season, but year-round. On behalf of the hundreds of kids who have been positively impacted over the years, I say, “Thank you, thank you, Reading Man.”

Switching gears a bit, the Honorable Geary Walke took me up on my request to share ideas for expanding the membership and reach of the OCBA. As a result, we have the perfect gift for you to give another lawyer in Oklahoma County for the holidays. The price is right – completely free.

Between now and January 15, every member of the OCBA can nominate a single (as in 1 — not necessarily unmarried) attorney to become a new member of the OCBA, and the new member’s dues will be completely waived for the first year. As you think of whom to nominate, I would encourage you to think of lawyers from all different types of practice, including government, in-house, and the like. All you need to do is call the OCBA office (236-8421) and leave the name and address of your nominee. Our staff will take it from there by mailing him or her a new membership packet. Thanks to Judge Walke for this great idea. Keep the new ideas flowing, folks. My door is always open. Please email me at jim.webb@chk.com or call me at 935-9594. Happy Holidays and let’s look forward to a productive, fun 2015 together!

 

Published in the December 2014 edition of OCBA Briefcase

Firm adopts family for Oklahoma Family Network

Attorneys at Phillips Murrah wrapped gifts for Oklahoma Family Network.

From left: Bobby Dolatabadi, Jennifer Miller, Dave Rhea, Dawn Rahme, Melissa Gardner, Liz Mobley, Josh Edwards and Monice Ybarra.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorneys at Phillips Murrah hosted a gift wrapping party on Dec. 18 to wrap donations for the Oklahoma Family Network. The firm raised $4,000 for the 2014 holiday season.

“The attorneys and legal professionals at Phillips Murrah recognize that community service and philanthropy are important components of our profession and we seek out opportunities that would allow us to make a positive impact on our local community,” said Monica Y. Ybarra, attorney at Phillips Murrah. “Our partnership with the Oklahoma Family Network is a great way to have a direct impact in the lives of Oklahoma families dealing with special health care needs and disabilities. Through OFN, we are able to connect with families in need and provide much-needed essential items…as well a little fun!”

The Oklahoma Family Network serves families whose members are critically ill or have other health issues or disabilities. Phillips Murrah has raised funds to buy gifts for families and provide funds to OFN for emergency medical bills, food shopping, utility payments, etc. for years.

“This event is a fulfilling opportunity for the whole firm to get involved and go beyond the practice of law to help struggling Oklahoma families that do not have the means to celebrate Christmas,” said Cody J. Cooper, attorney at Phillips Murrah. “By giving gifts to families in need, the families are able to celebrate Christmas when they wouldn’t otherwise and the parents get peace of mind knowing that their children will have presents under the tree. It helps them take focus away from their struggles, even if only for a day.”

Phillips Murrah adds two attorneys

From The Journal Record:

OKLAHOMA CITY – Jennifer Ivester Berry has joined Phillips Murrah’s Transactional Practice Group as an of counsel attorney.

JIB, ADW

Jennifer Berry and Amy White

In her role with the firm, Berry counsels developers, commercial and institutional lenders and others involved in the purchase, sale, construction, leasing and financing of commercial real estate.

Prior to joining Phillips Murrah, Berry was a director for the Oklahoma City law firm of Crowe & Dunlevy and served as an adjunct professor at her alma mater, the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where she taught real estate development law in 2014.

Phillips Murrah also added Amy D. White to the firm’s Litigation Practice Group as an of counsel attorney. White brings 12 years of trial experience focused on representing business and commercial interests. She specializes in product liability, patent litigation, and appellate work.

White’s state and federal practice is focused on business and commercial litigation, with specific experience in the area of product liability defense, especially cases involving tractors and other machinery.

Prior to joining the firm, White worked for McAfee & Taft.

http://journalrecord.com/2014/11/05/phillips-murrah-adds-two-attorneys/

Phillips Murrah sponsors 2014 i2E Brewfest

From left: Martin G. Ozinga and Douglas A. Branch

 

OKLAHOMA CITY – More than a dozen beer brewers and suppliers showcased their products at i2E’s (Innovation to Enterprise) third annual OKBio BrewFest on Nov. 6 at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

“Every year Brewfest gives us a unique opportunity to connect with leaders in the Oklahoma bioscience and technology communities in an enjoyable, casual setting,” said Douglas A. Branch, director at Phillips Murrah. “I’m proud that our Firm is able to sponsor this event and foster these relationships.”

Patrons at Brewfest were treated to selections from Prairie Wolf Spirits, Put a Cork in It Bricktown Winery, TapWerks, Scissortail Distilling, and many others.

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

See this story about at newsok.com.

Director named to national board

Originally published in The Journal Record on Nov. 5, 2014.
Click to see Elizabeth K. Brown’s attorney profile


Liz_Brown

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.

The National Stripper Well Association named Phillips Murrah Director Elizabeth K. Brown to the board of directors.

Brown was named to the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association board of directors in June 2013 and is a member of Phillips Murrah’s Tax and Private Wealth and Energy & Natural Resources Practice Groups.

Phillips Murrah adds new attorney

Chuck Lundeen 149x177

Charles E. Lundeen

OKLAHOMA CITY – Charles E. Lundeen has joined Phillips Murrah’s Transactional Practice Group as an of counsel attorney.

Lundeen represents privately-held and public oil and gas companies focusing mainly on title preparation, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, due diligence, and other related matters.

Prior to joining Phillips Murrah, Lundeen served as Director of Land for American Energy Partners, Senior Manager of Land for Devon Energy Corporation, and Land Manager and General Counsel for The GHK Companies.