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

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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

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.

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

Monica thumb

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Cody Cooper Explains BYOD Policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of course, there are potential obstacles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Brown Named to OIPA Board

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


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

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

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

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

Knox, Bunting Join Phillips Murrah

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

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

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

Bunting is a commercial litigator from Dallas.

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

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

29 Attorneys Selected for 2014 Edition of Best Lawyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Phillips Murrah

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


Peter Wyro, Director of Marketing
Phillips Murrah
405.552.2489 Direct

ABOTA Annual Banquet Features Honored Guests and Speaker

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

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

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

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

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

Law Shift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29 Lawyers Selected for Best Lawyers 2013 Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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