Phillips Murrah is proud to announce the participants and expanded law school partnerships in its second-year Diversity Externship Program. For 2022, the Firm is partnering with University of Oklahoma College of Law and Oklahoma City University School of Law to make the program’s opportunities more widely available. This year, Phillips Murrah also doubled the number of participating 2L law school students. The Phillips Murrah externs for 2022 are: Justine Ellis (OU Law), Jonathan Garcia (OCU Law), RJ Hester (OCU Law), and Christy Montenegro (OCU Law).
Phillips Murrah initiated its Externship Program in January 2021 as a part of the Firm’s efforts to foster diversity and inclusion within the Firm and in the legal community at large. The Program exposes students to the everyday practice of law, cultivates relationships, and provides mentorship and opportunities to enhance legal skills. Participating students gain legal experience while working at Phillips Murrah’s Oklahoma City office and receive course credit.
The Externship Program is spearheaded by the Firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, chaired by Director Candace Williams Lisle. The program is designed in alignment with Phillips Murrah’s goal to create a workplace culture that is open to all needs, perspectives, contributions, experiences, and backgrounds.
“I got into law because I have always been fascinated by it,” said Ellis, who would like to eventually practice family law. “This fascination made me realize the inequities between the law and people, because not everyone understands how the law works. So, I chose law in order to be that bridge of understanding for people.”
“I came into the law because I want to be a voice for my community,” said Garcia, who plans to pursue immigration law. “I come from a small city in Texas next to the border with Mexico, where the closest lawyer was probably 120 miles away. I grew up seeing the need for legal services around me. This ultimately sparked my interest in the law.”
“Deep down, I knew that I wanted to achieve more and continue to advance my education to put myself in a different lifelong career path,” said Montenegro. “I am the youngest from my immediate family and the first one to achieve this level of education, so I want to be an example to our future generations. I also want to be an example to the Hispanic community, especially Hispanic girls, that it is possible to overcome any barriers to reach our goals.”
“I’m just a kid from Arlington, Texas whose mom told him I could be anything I wanted to be, and I was dumb enough to believe her,” said Hester, who added that he wants to explore various areas of legal practice to see what he likes. “I expect to learn and experience what it is like to work at a larger law firm that focuses in many different areas of practice. I have experience with smaller firms that focus on one type of law, but I’m excited to see how all the different practice areas intertwine at times.”
Through the Externship and other programs and initiatives, Phillips Murrah seeks to further our team’s innovation, engagement, and creativity in our work. As a seven-time-consecutive recipient of the Top Work Place in Oklahoma honor, an award chosen annually by employees of Oklahoma businesses, the Firm is confident in our ability to grow and continue making Phillips Murrah a fulfilling place for all current and future employees.
Click to find out more about Phillips Murrah’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and activities.