Attorney mentors struggling student through tutoring program


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.


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

“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


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

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:

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:

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

kline paper

Click to see this on

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:


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


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:


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

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:

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


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 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.


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.

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.

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Director named to national board

Originally published in The Journal Record on Nov. 5, 2014.
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.

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

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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.

Phillips Murrah adds health services attorney

Mary Holloway Richard, Phillips Murrah attorney

Mary Holloway Richard

OKLAHOMA CITY – Mary Holloway Richard has joined Phillips Murrah’s Healthcare team as an of counsel attorney.

Richard represents 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.

Prior to joining Phillips Murrah, Richard served as in-house counsel for Integris Health.

Phillips Murrah adds two attorneys to Energy group

Dominic - Hume Cutout

Dominic D. Williams, William L. Humes

OKLAHOMA CITY – William L. Humes has joined Phillips Murrah’s Energy and Natural Resources team as an of counsel attorney.

Humes brings to his law practice over 21 years of experience serving the citizens of Oklahoma as an Assistant Attorney General in the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office. In his role with the firm, he represents individuals and both publicly-owned and private companies in a wide range of regulatory and public policy matters.

Phillips Murrah also added Dominic D. Williams to the Energy and Natural Resources team as an associate attorney.

Working primarily in Clean Energy, Williams represents privately-held and public companies in a wide range of transactional and civil litigation matters.

Phillips Murrah adds new attorney

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Monica Y. Ybarra

OKLAHOMA CITY – Monica Y. Ybarra has joined Phillips Murrah’s Litigation Practice group as an associate attorney.

Ybarra represents individuals and privately-held and public companies in a wide range of commercial litigation matters.

Phillips Murrah welcomes oil and gas title attorney

Zac Bradt

Zac Bradt

OKLAHOMA CITY – Zachary K. Bradt has joined Phillips Murrah’s Energy & Natural Resources team as an associate attorney.

Bradt 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, Bradt worked as an in-house title attorney for Chesapeake Energy.

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


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.