2021 Phillips Murrah Externship Program teaches law students career lessons

Externship group photo

From L: Phillips Murrah Attorney Lauren Barghols Hanna, Phillips Murrah Director Candace Williams Lisle, OU Law 2L and PM Externs Christopher Punto and Camille Burge pose together in the courtroom of Federal Judge Jodi Dishman during their Apr. 14 educational visit and tour.

In January 2021, Phillips Murrah initiated its inaugural Externship Program in partnership with the University of Oklahoma College of Law, continuing the Firm’s efforts to recruit talented and motivated future attorneys who reflect the diversity of our local community. The Externship Program is spearheaded by the Firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. The Program, chaired by Director Candace Williams Lisle, 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. The Externship Program exposes a diverse group of 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 3 hours of course credit.

This year, Phillips Murrah welcomed second-year OU Law students, Camille Burge and Christopher Punto. As externs, Burge and Punto were mentored by Phillips Murrah attorneys while learning about practice areas including litigation and appeals, labor and employment, business transactions, real estate, tax, family law, oil and gas, bankruptcy, municipal financing, energy and regulatory, administrative, estate planning, cannabis and liquor licensing, and workers compensation. The externs attended events including depositions, client meetings, a trial, and frequent lunch and learns.   They worked on a variety of research and writing projects and received feedback from their supervising attorneys. The externs also enjoyed a presentation by a Firm client about practicing law as Deputy General Counsel for a large public corporation.

A highlight of the program was a visit to the William J. Holloway Jr. United States Courthouse. Burge and Punto accompanied Lisle and Phillips Murrah Attorney Lauren Barghols Hanna to meetings with federal judges Hon. Bernard Jones, Hon. Patrick Wyrick, and Hon. Jodi Dishman. The federal judges offered advice, answered the externs’ questions, and Judge Dishman gave a tour of her courtroom.

“It was a unique opportunity for the externs to meet one-on-one with the federal judges, learn about their respective paths to the bench, and receive the benefit of their wisdom and advice,” Lisle said.

Below is a video interview with Burge and Punto discussing their courthouse visit as well as their experience participating in the 2021 Phillips Murrah Externship Program.

 

 

“We are very pleased with our inaugural externship program,” Lisle continued. “Through the interview process, we had the opportunity to meet a number of outstanding diverse students from OU Law School. Our externs, Camille and Chris, were talented, energetic, and enthusiastic. We were able to provide them with wonderful opportunities to learn about various areas of law practice from our talented practitioners, and to observe legal work in action. Our primary goal for the externship program was to develop relationships and collaborate with students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and we definitely achieved that goal with this program. We’re very excited to expand on our externship program in the future.”

Phillips Murrah continues to be a leader in gender equity in Oklahoma with 44% of Shareholders and 53% of all employees identifying as female. In 2020, Phillips Murrah was nationally recognized by Law360.com as “Ceiling Smashers.” Not only is Phillips Murrah a leader in the percentage of women attorneys, but more importantly, in women who have a seat at the table as equity partners and firm leaders,” Lisle said.

Through the Externship and other programs and initiatives, the Firm seeks to build on this success and further our team’s innovation, engagement, and creativity in our work.  As a six-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.

Steve Sherman joins Phillips Murrah’s legal team in Oklahoma office

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 4, 2021) – Phillips Murrah is proud to welcome Steve Sherman to the Firm’s legal team.

Steve Sherman is an Of Counsel attorney who concentrates his practice on business and real estate transactions, including business and real estate acquisitions, dispositions, leases, and land use.

Steve Sherman is an Of Counsel attorney who concentrates his practice on business and real estate transactions, including business and real estate acquisitions, dispositions, leases, and land use. Steve represents numerous national, regional, and local real estate owners, developers, landlords, and tenants, and he has been involved in some of the most notable transactions in Oklahoma City.

Steve’s skills and integrity have been recognized by his peers, having voted him to Super Lawyers of Oklahoma, and he has received the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell, having been named to the Bar Register of Pre-Eminent Lawyers, a distinction reserved for the top 1% of AV-rated lawyers, for the categories of real estate and commercial law.

He has lectured on numerous real estate-related topics including lease negotiations and enforcement, real estate purchase contracts, and the Fair Housing Act. Additionally, Steve has served on the boards or committees of various civic and corporate organizations over the years.

Steve is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with high distinction, and Santa Clara University where he earned his JD and MBA. He has been the Associate Municipal Judge for the City of Nichols Hills for over 20 years. He also served five terms as a Commissioner on the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission, for which he served as Vice-Chairman and Chairman multiple times.


CONTACT:

Phillips Murrah – Oklahoma City Office:
101 N. Robinson Ave., Thirteenth Floor
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Main: (405) 235-4100
Fax: (405) 235-4133

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Phillips Murrah supports Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance

Phillips Murrah is proud to sponsor the Cure FA Soirée hosted by The Gehr family on May 22 to benefit Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA).

The Firm’s sponsorship for the annual event is supported by Director Heather L. Hintz who has been active with the organization and this fundraising event since its inception four years ago.

“I’ve supported the cause because of the enthusiasm, courage, and resilience of Michael Gehr, and the determination of the Gehr family to find a cure for FA,” Hintz said.

Friedreich’s ataxia is a hereditary disease causing progressive nervous system damage and impairing movement, among other afflictions, and new treatments are being studied in hopes of finding a cure.

The event will include live performances, dinner, and a silent auction and will be hosted at the Hilton Garden Inn in Edmond, OK. Registration can be found here and is open to the public.

To learn more about FARA click here.

Phillips Murrah Paying it Forward campaign benefits Partners in Public Health in May

Phillips Murrah Paying It Forward Header Graphic

Phillips Murrah Presents: Paying It Forward

Amplifying the message of one non-profit each month for a year

[Paying It Forward] In Dec. 2020, Phillips Murrah partnered with Oklahoma NPR radio station KGOU to sponsor broadcast announcements each month that shine a light on a selected non-profit organization. Our aim is to amplify each beneficiary organizations’ needs and goals, and to help increase awareness, drive volunteer quality and quantity, assist in fundraising support, and improve capacity to deliver service to the community.

Our beneficiary in May is Partners in Public Health, an organization that is critical to fighting COVID-19 in our community.  #PIFOKC


May Beneficiary

Partners in Public Health

PIF Partners in Public Health logo

Partners in Public Health, supporting the work of the Oklahoma City County Health Department and its health partners, is committed to improving the health and well being of our community, starting with the most frequently overlooked communities. Partners in Public Health believes that a flourishing and thriving city starts with public health. Their mission is to mobilize resources, share best practices, and encourage open collaboration between public and private organizations and policy makers to ensure a healthier community.

Contact Partners in Public Health: https://www.partnersinpublichealth.com/

DONATE to Partners in Public Health at this link: DONATE 

Partners in Public Health on Social Media:

Facebook logo icon Instagram logo icon Twitter logo icon


Previous Beneficiaries

April 2021: CASA of Oklahoma County
March 2021: The Homeless Alliance
February 2021: Mental Health Association Oklahoma
January 2021: Positive Tomorrows
December 2020: Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

Firm sponsors Make-A-Wish Pickleball Tournament

Phillips Murrah is sponsoring Make-A-Wish Foundation‘s inaugural Pickle N Wishes Pickleball Tournament on May 2.

make a wish foundation logoThe tournament will be hosted by Make-A-Wish Oklahoma’s Wish Young Professionals Council of Oklahoma City, of which Attorney Phoebe B. Mitchell serves on the Board of Directors.

“I have really enjoyed serving on the Make-A-Wish Young Professionals board,” Mitchell said. “Make-A-Wish is a very special organization whose mission is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

“Funds raised through Make-A-Wish go directly to giving children fighting serious illnesses their own personal experience of a lifetime. When a child’s wish is granted, it gives them hope, strength, and happiness during what can be the most difficult time for the child and their family. Make-A-Wish is important to me because I love to see our community give back to one of its most needy populations—children fighting life-threatening illnesses.”

Mitchell was recently recognized by Make-A-Wish Oklahoma as their Volunteer Rookie of the Month for March.

The event will be hosted in Oklahoma City at Chicken N Pickle, 8400 N Oklahoma Ave, and registration is still open on Make-A-Wish’s website here.

Phillips Murrah Paying it Forward campaign benefits CASA of Oklahoma County in April

Phillips Murrah Paying It Forward Header Graphic

Phillips Murrah Presents: Paying It Forward

Amplifying the message of one non-profit each month for a year

[Paying It Forward] In Dec. 2020, Phillips Murrah partnered with Oklahoma NPR radio station KGOU to sponsor broadcast announcements each month that shine a light on a selected non-profit organization. Our aim is to amplify each beneficiary organizations’ needs and goals, and to help increase awareness, drive volunteer quality and quantity, assist in fundraising support, and improve capacity to deliver service to the community.

Our beneficiary in April is CASA of Oklahoma, an organization that is critical to the wellbeing of our community.  #PIFOKC


April Beneficiary

CASA of Oklahoma County 

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Oklahoma County provides trained volunteers to be champions for the individualized best interests of children in foster care.

CASA provides a trained caring adult to advocate for the best interest of children who have been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. CASA volunteers get to know the children and communicate with all parties in the case and people in the child’s life in order to provide complete information and sound recommendations to the court. As “the eyes and ears” of the judge, the CASA volunteer offers a neutral, third-party opinion to the court, one that is unbiased and child-focused.

Contact The Homeless Alliance: https://okcountycasa.org

DONATE to CASA at this link: https://okcountycasa.org/support/

CASA on Social Media:

Facebook logo icon Instagram logo icon Twitter logo icon YouTube logo icon


Previous Beneficiaries

March 2021: The Homeless Alliance
February 2021: Mental Health Association Oklahoma
January 2021: Positive Tomorrows
December 2020: Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

PM Director Fred Leibrock earns CIPP/US Information Privacy Professional designation

graphic of gears with cyber security terms in them.

In today’s information economy, it is more important than ever for companies and organizations to manage and safeguard their data. It is equally important to understand and develop privacy practices to comply with the latest regulations regarding records management and reporting obligations for privacy, as well as a plan of action in the event of a breach.

Photograph of Fred Leibrock

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

Phillips Murrah Director, Fred A. Leibrock, recently earned his Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) designation. According to The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), which administers the designation, their certification program, is “the most encompassing, up-to-date and sought-after global training and credentialing program for privacy and data protection.” The CIPP designation, one of several certifications on offer by the IAPP, is geared toward laws and regulations as they pertain to the information economy.

“The Information Privacy Professional designation awarded by the International Association of Privacy Professionals demonstrates that the credentialed individual has undertaken a detailed course of study in information privacy and passed a comprehensive credentialing exam,” Fred explained.

“A CIPP designation allows prospective clients to know that the attorney they are considering hiring is recognized as having significant knowledge in data breach prevention, response, mitigation, remediation and reporting, state and federal privacy law requirements, cybersecurity regulation compliance, data retention compliance, and cybersecurity insurance issues,” he continued. “The CIPP designation is important to insurance companies who are looking for an attorney to handle a cybersecurity incident for one of their insureds.”

Fred, who is also the Firm’s Chief Information Officer, has experience in defending claims and lawsuits alleging damages due to data breaches, in fortification against tactics, techniques, and procedures of cyber threat agents, in information security policies, in data breach incident response and after-action reporting, in data retention polices, in cybersecurity regulation compliance, and in cybersecurity insurance law.


For more information on how cyber security has affected or may affect your business, please call 405.235.4100 or email Fred A. Leibrock.

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Phillips Murrah Director Catherine Campbell successfully appeals client’s $4.3 million defamation jury verdict

Congratulations to Phillips Murrah Director Catherine L. Campbell on her successful appeal of a defamation jury verdict against former Oklahoma lawmaker, Wayne Pettigrew.

Portrait of Phillips Murrah Director Catherine L. Campbell

Catherine L. Campbell is a versatile and experienced appellate attorney whose practice is focused on commercial litigation and labor and employment matters.

A story about the verdict is featured in the March 18 edition of the Oklahoman newspaper, which states:

In the appeals court’s 2-1 decision issued last month, Vice-Chief Judge Barbara G. Swinton wrote that the trial court failed to properly instruct the jury on what kind of defenses could overcome a defamation challenge and did not provide a list of the alleged defamatory statements.

“As a consequence, there is a high probability the jury was misled by these errors and reached a different result than they would have reached but for the error,” Swinton wrote, reversing the decision.

Oklahoma’s Supreme Court declined to hear the case on appeal. It will be sent back to the lower court for another trial.

Click here to view the full article at oklahoman.com.

 

Jennifer Christian, Kayla Kuri join Phillips Murrah’s legal team in Oklahoma office

Attorney Jennifer Christian

Jennifer K. Christian – Click to view profile

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 1, 2021) – Phillips Murrah is proud to welcome Jennifer K. Christian and Kayla M. Kuri to the Firm’s legal team.

Jennifer Christian is an Of Counsel attorney who assists clients in a wide range of transactional matters and litigation involving business law, contractual disputes, real estate, banking, healthcare, business divorce, construction, trust administration, insurance coverage and bad faith, and employment-related matters.

Jennifer’s practice includes helping clients in understanding business challenges and finding solutions that coincide with and advance their objectives and interests, whether it relates to business formation or restructuring, risk management, or litigation. She serves as a volunteer for the Oklahoma County Bar Association’s Lawyers for Learning Committee, and she is a member the OBA Client Security Fund Committee and Leadership Oklahoma City’s LOYAL Class VIII.

A native Oklahoman, Jennifer attended the University of Oklahoma, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Letters with honors in 2003. In 2007, she received her Juris Doctorate, summa cum laude, from the Oklahoma City University School of Law and was honored as the Outstanding Graduate for the class of 2007.

While in law school, Jennifer was the Editor-in-Chief for the Oklahoma City University Law Review, a pupil in the Ruth Bader Ginsberg Inn of Court, a Merit Scholar and a member of Phi Delta Phi. Her article, “Whistleblower Protection Under Sarbanes-Oxley: Key Provisions and Recent Case Developments,” was selected for publication in the 2006 edition of the Oklahoma City University Law Review. Jennifer was also a recipient of the Dean’s Circle Scholarship and academic achievement awards in the areas of civil procedure, corporations, legal research and writing, evidence, bankruptcy, agency and partnership, comparative law, and conflicts of law.

Attorney Kayla M Kuri

Kayla M. Kuri – Click to view profile

Kayla Kuri is an Associate attorney who represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of commercial and business matters, including mergers and acquisitions, real estate transactions, private securities offerings, and commercial financing transactions.

Kayla has represented clients across many industries in structuring, negotiating, and documenting business transactions, with an emphasis on merger, acquisition, and divestiture transactions. Kayla counsels public and private companies on matters related to corporate governance and routinely drafts and negotiates a wide range of commercial contracts. In addition, Kayla also has extensive experience representing oil and gas industry clients in drafting and negotiating various industry-related agreements, including master services agreements.

While in law school, Kayla was Assistant Managing Editor of the Oklahoma Law Review, as well as a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council and the Ruth Bader Ginsberg Inn of Court. She received the American Jurisprudence Award in business associations, real estate transactions, wills and trusts, conflicts of law, and criminal procedure. Kayla was also a recipient of the Comfort “Top Ten” Scholarship and graduated with highest honors.

Kayla grew up in Beebe, Arkansas, but she now lives in Oklahoma City and considers herself a true “Okie.” In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, cooking, and traveling.

 


CONTACT:

Phillips Murrah – Oklahoma City Office:
101 N. Robinson Ave., Thirteenth Floor
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Main: (405) 235-4100
Fax: (405) 235-4133

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McMahan elected to OCBA Young Lawyers Division board

Attorney Natalie M. McMahan is a litigation attorney who represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of civil litigation matters.

The Oklahoma County Bar Association elected Attorney Natalie M. McMahan to the Board of Directors for the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) for 2021.

“I am looking forward to being connected to the larger community of young attorneys in Oklahoma County,” McMahan said. “The Board’s efforts to connect its members and contribute to the larger community through service and philanthropy are important to the profession and to me.

“I’ve already enjoyed getting to know the Board and look forward to becoming more involved as event planning resumes later this year.”

McMahan will serve as a member of the YLD Board of Directors through November.

The YLD was organized in 1966 to provide an avenue for Oklahoma’s young lawyers, who have been in practice for 10 years or less, to work on bar-related and public service-related projects.

In 2019, the Firm was honored by OCBA YLD with the “Friend of the YLD” award for the support Phillips Murrah and its attorneys have consistently displayed through volunteering and sponsorship.

Read more about McMahan and her legal experience here.

Carter accepted into Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel

Michael Carter attorney portrait

Michael D. Carter is an experienced litigator and represents a wide variety of parties in environmental and toxic tort cases in state and federal courts.

Michael D. Carter, Phillips Murrah Of Counsel Attorney, has been accepted as a new member to the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC).

“As an active member of Defense Research Institute (DRI), I was aware of the FDCC as an exclusive, invitation-only sister organization of DRI. I was honored and humbled to receive an invitation to apply and be vetted for membership in FDCC, and even more honored to be accepted as a member,” Carter said. “FDCC is famous for its collegiality and camaraderie, as well as substantive law programs.”

Carter is an experienced litigator and represents a wide variety of parties in environmental and toxic tort cases in state and federal courts. In addition, he is a long-time policy advisor on workers’ compensation issues in the state of Oklahoma.

“I am excited for the pandemic to wind down so I can network and participate with these illustrious members of the civil defense bar,” he said.

The FDCC was founded in 1936 and has maintained the mission of creating a network of established defense counsel, in which members are nominated and require approval before being accepted.

Read more about FDCC at its website here.

Director’s personal style featured on local fashion blog

Nikki Edwards for Maz Modern

Director Nikki Edwards is featured as the inaugural author of Maz Modern’s Tuesday Takeover column.

A standard is set for work attire in the legal field, but Director Nikki Edwards’ fashion sense caught the eye of local blog Maz Modern.

“A colleague of mine reached out and asked if I’d be interested in writing for her new website, and I accepted,” Nikki said. “I’m thankful I had a support team behind me.”

Nikki was tasked with writing Maz Modern’s inaugural Tuesday Takeover column, and Phillips Murrah’s Family Law team used their resources to band together and shoot portraits of her around the Firm’s office with just an iPhone.

Molly E. Tipton, Phillips Murrah Family Law Attorney, shared the article on social media telling readers to surround themselves with those that motivate and inspire them saying she’s “proud to call this intellectual powerhouse and stylish woman” her mentor.

“As a busy working mom/litigation director at Phillips Murrah, I have less time to shop than ever; hence my wardrobe reflects a cacophony of items, which create my style,” Nikki writes.

Visit Maz Modern to learn more about Nikki and find her tips for shopping local.

Gardner assumes role as adjunct professor for OCU Law

Melissa Gardner speaks at OCU Law

Director Melissa R. Gardner is teaching the Corporations course for Oklahoma City University School of Law’s Spring 2021 semester.

Director Melissa R. Gardner is sharing her expertise with future lawyers, leading a class at Oklahoma City University School of Law for the Spring 2021 semester.

“I’m teaching the Corporations class this semester as an adjunct professor at OCU Law,” Gardner said. “I’m covering all of Corporations, which is a bit intimidating for both the students and myself!

“It’s a pretty important class, as it’s on the bar exam and a required course. It’s been such a joy and a new challenge and a bit like taking the class all over again.”

Gardner is a Director in Phillips Murrah’s Energy & Natural Resources Practice Group. She represents both privately-owned and public companies in a wide variety of oil and gas matters, including oil and gas title examination, bankruptcy, probate, quiet title and liens.

“Professor Gardner is that perfect combination of qualified expertise on the subject and also a heart for the student experience,” said Jim Roth, Phillips Murrah Director and Dean of OCU Law.

Gardner regularly presents Continuing Legal Education seminars and was recently recognized as one of the Journal Record’s Achievers Under 40 for 2020.

“Teaching for the first time during a pandemic does present unique challenges,” Gardner said. “However, teaching is something I’ve always been interested in, so I’m very grateful to Dean Roth for giving me this opportunity.”

Phillips Murrah Director Jim Roth featured in USA Today energy article

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

On Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, Phillips Murrah Director Jim Roth was featured as a source in the USA Today energy article titled “Biden’s administration could affect Oklahoma’s energy industry in surprising ways.”

From the article:

Presidential administrations and Congresses throughout the past 40 years undoubtedly worked to nudge the nation’s energy and climate-related policies one way or another.

Debates about ways to support the energy industry both in Oklahoma and across the nation have been part of every presidential and congressional election since the 1980s, and subsequent governmental actions have prompted applause or angst as they have helped or hurt energy production along the way.

That’s no surprise. While the number of Oklahomans employed by oil and gas companies in the state is relatively small, the industry’s impact on the overall health of the state’s economy and the services provided by state and local governments is huge.

Roth is referenced and quoted after after remarks by Mike Cantrell, co-chairman of the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance.

“I have done my fair share of that, looking back and asking whether or not the positions I took were right,” Cantrell said. “The question is, should we have let the marketplace decide?”

His thoughts are similar to those of Jim Roth, an attorney who is the dean of Oklahoma City University’s School of Law and a past Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner.

Roth said past Congresses and administrations indeed have been able to influence rises and falls in domestic energy production through regulatory and tax-related policies.

“But there are market forces that are evolving, regardless who is in control,” Roth said.

To read the entire story, click HERE.

Phillips Murrah honored as Top Workplace for sixth consecutive year

Phillips Murrah law firm is proud to announce its inclusion as one of Oklahoma City’s Top Workplaces for six straight years.

“We are proud to be recognized for the sixth consecutive year as a Top Workplace in Oklahoma,” said Phillips Murrah Marketing Director, Dave Rhea. “The work environment at our Firm is important to us, and we’re happy that our workplace culture is recognized and appreciated by the people who work at Phillips Murrah.”

The Firm has previously been recognized as one of Oklahoma’s Top Workplaces in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Partnering with The Oklahoman, Philadelphia-based company Energage  evaluates internal components of healthy workplace dynamics in companies across the country to determine Top Workplaces recipients.

The Oklahoman newspaper listed interesting facts for each winner, writing for Phillips Murrah:

Over the past 30 years, the firm’s attorneys have been involved in nearly every major initiative that has helped transform Oklahoma City from a Midwestern metropolitan upstart to the thriving business center that it is today. From Urban renewal in the ’80s to post-century Bricktown and back again with sustainability and historic preservation projects, the firm has been a part of the city’s growth and success.

Every year, the newspaper encourages Oklahoma companies and organizations to participate in a survey that employees complete anonymously, detailing employee satisfaction, company values, internal communication, leadership and other various determinates.

To learn more about the workplace culture and opportunities at Phillips Murrah, visit our Careers page: https://phillipsmurrah.com/careers.

Phillips Murrah donates to Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma on behalf of ALFA International

On Friday, Nov. 20, Phillips Murrah Director Byrona J. Maule presented a donation of $2500 to Jennifer Eckert, Director of Development for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. The donation is a part of ALFA International‘s 40 Days of Giving program.

Phillips Murrah Byrona Maule donation check to Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

Phillips Murrah Director Byrona Maule, on left, presents a social distancing-friendly check to Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Director of Development, Jennifer Eckert, as a part of ALFA International’s 40 Days of Giving campaign.

Byrona chose Regional Food Bank, Oklahoma’s largest domestic hunger-relief 501(c)(3) nonprofit, as the beneficiary to help fund their important and effective work in the fight against hunger, especially as related to their Food for Kids program. Food for Kids serves children directly through four programs: Backpack Program, Kids Café, Summer Feeding and School Pantries.

“There is a critical connection between childhood nutrition and cognitive and physical development,” Byrona explained. “Nutritional deficiencies, of even a relatively short-term nature, can negatively impact a child’s health, behavior, and the ability to concentrate and perform complex tasks.”

Byrona presented our social distancing-friendly, six-foot presentation check to Jennifer to mark the occasion. Through this donation, Phillips Murrah’s ALFA #40DaysofGiving donation will be included in RFB’s Holiday Match program, which will double its impact in the community.

“The donation comes at a crucial time, as our neighbors across the state are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic downturn and a devastating ice storm,” said Stacy Dykstra, Chief Executive Officer of Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. “Thanks to the generosity of Phillips Murrah, we will be able to provide 20,000 meals to Oklahomans living with food insecurity.”

To donate to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, go to RFBO.org.

About ALFA International

ALFA International is the premier network of independent law firms, of which Phillips Murrah is the exclusive Oklahoma City member.  Founded in 1980, ALFA International was the first and continues to be one of the largest and strongest legal networks.  We have 150 members firms throughout the world.  Our 80 U.S. firms maintain offices in 95 of the 100 largest metropolitan areas.  Our 70 international firms are located throughout Europe, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Africa, Canada, Mexico and South America.

Director Nikki Edwards honored with OBA Mona Salyer Lambird award

The Oklahoma Bar Association’s Women in Law Committee has named Phillips Murrah Director Nicholle Jones Edwards as a 2020 Mona Salyer Lambird Spotlight Award recipient.

Nicholle Jones Edwards attorneyt

Nicholle Jones Edwards’ practice focuses on family law, labor law and general civil litigation. Her family law practice includes litigation, complex custody issues and valuation issues.

“Mona Lambird was a trailblazer and paved the way for me and so many others, serving as the first woman OBA president,” Edwards said. “I was only a young lawyer when she died tragically in 1999 and recall the loss to our legal community.

“The Mona Lambird award is the highest honor as the award represents ultimate leadership and mentorship in our profession.”

The Spotlight Awards were created in 1996 to annually honor five women who have distinguished themselves in the legal profession and who have “lighted” the way for other women. The award was later renamed to honor 1996 OBA President Mona Salyer Lambird.

Edwards is director in the Firm’s Family Law practice and has been recognized by The Journal Record with the Leadership in Law Award and as one of the 50 Women Making A Difference (2017). She is also active in community service, serving in leadership roles with Positive Tomorrows, the Oklahoma City Ballet, the Oklahoma Single Parent Scholarship Program, and previously with the University of Oklahoma’s Women & Gender Studies advisory board.

Phillips Murrah is proud of our efforts toward equity among female partners and is a regular supporter of the National Association of Women Lawyers. The Firm was also deemed a “Ceiling Smasher” by Law360 for ranking among the top 10 law firms of its size with the highest representation of women equity partners.

Read more about the Mona Salyer Spotlight Awards recipients here.

Sharpe accepted into Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel

Director G. Calvin Sharpe has been accepted as a new member to the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC).

Calvin Sharpe Web pic

G. Calvin Sharpe

“After many years of primarily focusing on medical malpractice defense, I began diversifying my practice about 15 years ago and now represent numerous corporate clients,” Sharpe said. “FDCC is well-known as the best professional trade association for linking defense attorneys—like myself—with corporate counsel and executives who—also like myself—greatly value integrity, professionalism, and civility.

“The educational opportunities that FDCC affords are incomparable and will no doubt be invaluable to my practice. I am honored to have been invited to FDCC’s membership and look forward to getting very involved.”

Founded in 1936, the FDCC has maintained the mission of creating a network of established defense counsel, in which members are nominated and require approval before being accepted.

“Networking has long been an important part of the career of most lawyers,” Sharpe said. “I met most of my current clients through networking events or networking through friends and colleagues. What sets FDCC apart is that it not only provides many networking opportunities through many different means, but it provides those opportunities with individuals and companies of diverse backgrounds and expertise who have been vetted and proven themselves to have met FDCC’s very high standards.

“To have the opportunity to engage with the FDCC membership is a unique privilege that would give anyone a leg up in the path toward a successful career.”

Sharpe has 30 years of experience in Oklahoma courtrooms, representing a diverse list of business clients in matters relating to medical malpractice, medical devices, products liability, insurance and commercial litigation.

Read more about FDCC at its website here.

Latham to present CLE on home lending issues, COVID-19’s impact

Gretchen M Latham Web

Gretchen M. Latham’s practice focuses on representing creditors in foreclosure, bankruptcy, collection and replevin cases.

Attorney Gretchen M. Latham will present “COVID-19 House Issues for Lenders: Foreclosures, Replevins, Evictions, and Bankruptcy” this Thursday afternoon as part of a series of Continuing Legal Education courses for Oklahoma Bar Association’s annual meeting.

The virtual presentation will give an overview of the topics important to home lenders with a special focus on how COVID-19 has changed ways to navigate each.

“It is important for landlords to be sure they know what can and can’t be done before starting an eviction or foreclosure,” she said.

Viewers will be advised on how the CARES Act and Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines will continue to impact home lenders through the end of 2020 when CDC regulations on foreclosures and evictions are set to expire.

Latham brings over 15 years’ experience in creditor representation to her practice, assisting local lenders as well as national creditors. Her practice focuses on representing creditors in foreclosure, bankruptcy, collection and replevin cases in which she offers on a statewide basis as well as in all three Bankruptcy and Federal Court Districts in Oklahoma.

To see the full meeting agenda covering a scope of COVID-19 issues, visit OBA’s website here.

Phillips Murrah named among 2021 Best Law Firms in 47 practice areas

Phillips MurrahPhillips Murrah is proud to announce that our law firm has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 “Best Law Firms” for professional excellence for the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area and the Dallas/Fort Worth area in the following practice areas:

Oklahoma City

Tier 1

  • Administrative / Regulatory Law
  • Banking and Finance Law
  • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)
  • Commercial Finance Law
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Commercial Transactions / UCC Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Energy Regulatory Law
  • Financial Services Regulation Law
  • Government Relations Practice
  • Information Technology Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Litigation – Bankruptcy
  • Litigation – Labor & Employment
  • Litigation – Land Use & Zoning
  • Litigation – Real Estate
  • Litigation – Tax
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
  • Real Estate Law
  • Trusts & Estates Law

Tier 2

  • Employment Law – Management
  • Energy Law
  • Land Use & Zoning Law
  • Litigation – Banking & Finance
  • Mergers & Acquisitions Law
  • Oil & Gas Law
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Public Finance Law
  • Securities Regulation
  • Tax Law
  • Water Law
  • Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Tier 3

  • Bet-the-Company Litigation
  • Construction Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Family Law
  • Health Care Law
  • Labor Law – Management
  • Litigation – Antitrust
  • Litigation – ERISA
  • Litigation – Trusts & Estates
  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
  • Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Technology Law

Dallas/Fort Worth

Tier 3

  • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law

 

To be eligible for a ranking, a law firm must have a lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top four percent of practicing attorneys in the United States.

Earlier in the year, Phillips Murrah announced that 61 of our attorneys are recognized by Best Lawyers in America for 2021.

Firms included in the 2020 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence, quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise. The “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a combination of client feedback, information provided on the Law Firm Survey and the Law Firm Leaders Survey and Best Lawyers peer-review.

NextGen Under 30 awards Kendra Norman in legal field

As the American labor force evolves to accommodate an influx of millennial-generation employees, standing out in a flooded career field grows more competitive and valuable.

Kendra Norman Web

Kendra M. Norman represents individuals and businesses in a broad range of transactional matters.

NextGen Under 30, which names top performing Oklahomans under 30 years of age across various industries, has named Attorney Kendra M. Norman to its 2020 honorary list in the Law category.

“I’m extremely honored to receive this award a few short weeks before I turn 30,” Norman said. “There are so many other amazing recipients, including several of my LOYAL XV classmates with which I am so excited to celebrate!

“I appreciate the opportunity to make a difference in the Oklahoma City as an attorney and as a volunteer in the community, and I am very grateful to be recognized for those efforts!”

NextGen recognizes strives to highlight the accomplishments of individuals who are making a difference within their respective industries and who demonstrate talent, drive and service to their communities.

“Kendra is not only outstanding in her role as an attorney with Phillips Murrah, but also impressive in the roles she’s taken upon herself in supporting her community and fostering connections with students who plan to enter the legal field,” said Joshua L. Edwards, Director and Transactional Practice Group Leader. “Phillips Murrah recognizes the potential our younger lawyers have to be successful leaders in the firm and in the community, and we seek to encourage and support them in their development.

“Kendra is a prime example of what can be accomplished when dedicated and compassionate individuals thrive in their practice and in their community involvement, and we are proud she is honored as NextGen Under 30 recipient.”

Honorees had the opportunity to meet and network at an Oct. 19 social event at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

“It was really awesome to meet so many other recipients from around the state and talk to young leaders in several different professions,” Norman said.

NextGen chose 379 Oklahomans as 2020 award winners in 20 career categories from 241 companies and organizations.

Read the full list of winners on NextGen’s website here.

Law360’s 2020 Glass Ceiling Report: Phillips Murrah ranked for gender diversity

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that our Firm is ranked in Law360’s 2020 Glass Ceiling Report.

Phillips Murrah Glass Ceiling Report visual

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Each year, Law360 surveys participating law firms in various size categories and ranks their percentage of female attorneys and female equity partners. They publish their findings in the Glass Ceiling Report. For the 2020 GCR, Phillips Murrah is ranked 12th in the nation for firms of 100 attorneys or less.

Click on the graphic on this page to examine details of Law360’s findings about Phillips Murrah. The full story and an interactive data graphic is HERE. The numbers used by Law360 were collected on their survey in April 2020.

“We’re pleased to receive this recognition for Phillips Murrah and its culture, which rewards talent, skill, and work ethic, and affords equal opportunities to all,” said Candace Williams Lisle, Phillips Murrah Director and Chair of our Firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. “Not only is Phillips Murrah a leader in the percentage of women attorneys, but more importantly, in women who have a seat at the table as equity partners and firm leaders. Our goal is not simply diversity – but equity and inclusion as well. We’re fortunate that the pool of legal talent in our region includes so many accomplished women, and that so many practice law with us at Phillips Murrah.”

Law360 Ceiling Smashers 2020 graphic

Click to enlarge.

Phillips Murrah is also featured in a Law360 article titled “These Firms Have The Most Women In Equity Partnerships,” which names our Firm among those that have the highest representation of women equity partners.

“Here are this year’s Ceiling Smashers — the top 10 firms in each law firm size category that are outpacing their peers as the legal industry works towards closing the gender gap in its top ranks.” – Law360

Phillips Murrah has a long history of elevating attorneys based on skill and talent, and we continue to lead, both locally and nationally, in our number of women attorneys and equity partners.

However, according to Law360, progress has not been easy in the overall legal industry.

“While law firms continue to tout efforts to close the gender gap in their ranks, parity is still a distant goal, our annual survey shows. Law360’s Glass Ceiling Report indicates only incremental growth in the number of female lawyers in private practice. Female attorneys remain underrepresented at U.S. law firms, particularly at the highest levels.” – Law360

Law 360 wrote that they see the Glass Ceiling Report as the beginning of a conversation that they hope will expand as they develop new ways of examining gender diversity in the profession and evaluate the data that is the most relevant to answering the difficult questions. As they continue to collect and analyze data, they also welcome your comments here.


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Laurel Baker joins Phillips Murrah law firm’s Dallas legal team

Laurel L. Baker portrait

Laurel L. Baker – Click to view profile.

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 19, 2020) – Phillips Murrah P.C. is pleased to announce Laurel L. Baker has joined the Firm in its Dallas office as an Associate attorney. Her addition to the Firm brings the number of Phillips Murrah attorneys serving the Texas market to 16.

Laurel is a litigation attorney whose primary focus is on commercial and business litigation matters representing both plaintiffs and defendants in business and commercial disputes involving banking, corporate governance, contract disputes, mergers and acquisitions, employment, and other business litigation issues.

Laurel received her J.D. from the SMU Dedman School of Law and was a Dean’s Scholarship Recipient. While at SMU, she was Auction Director for the Association of Public Interest Law, a student attorney in the Child Advocacy Clinic, and an Articles Editor of the International Law Review Association.

She is a member of the State Bar of Texas and holds a B.A. degree in Political Science from Baylor University where she graduated Cum Laude.

Phillips Murrah opened its Dallas office in May of 2018.


CONTACT:

Phillips Murrah – Dallas Office:
3710 Rawlins Street, Suite 1420
Dallas, Texas 75219

Main: (214) 615-6365
Fax: (214) 434-1370​​

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Phillips Murrah recognized as Champion of Justice Law Firm by Texas Access to Justice Commission

The Texas Access to Justice Commission announced Phillips Murrah is among the recipients of their Champion of Justice Law Firm Award. The Commission presents the awards to attorneys and law firms who champion and support the important work of Texas legal aid and pro bono providers.

Phillips Murrah is recognized via our Texas office, located in Dallas.

Texas Access to Justice Champion of Justice Law Firm

Click to enlarge.

About The Texas Access to Justice Commission:

The Supreme Court of Texas created the Texas Access to Justice Commission in 2001 with the mandate of expanding access to justice for low-income Texans. Because there are a variety of challenges to access to justice in Texas, the Commission’s work is necessarily multi-faceted. These are our primary areas of focus:

  • Policy Initiatives: By promoting policies that remove barriers to our judicial system, the Commission works to create a framework for equitable access to justice.

  • Resource Development: Through ongoing fundraising efforts and a strong partnership with the State Legislature, the Commission works to secure funding and other resources for legal aid across Texas.

  • Awareness and Education: By educating the legal community about access to justice issues and the importance of pro bono work, and by training legal aid lawyers to effectively advocate for their clients, the Commission seeks to expand and enhance the delivery of legal aid and pro bono services across Texas.

To contact Phillips Murrah’s Dallas office, email or call:

Janet A. Hendrick photoJanet A. Hendrick
Shareholder
jahendrick@phillipsmurrah.com
214.615.6391
3710 Rawlins Street
Suite 1420
Dallas, TX 75219


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Phillips Murrah maintains support of National Association of Women Lawyers as 2020 Sustaining Sponsor

National Association of Women Lawyers logo

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce its inclusion as a 2020 National Association of Women Lawyers Sustaining Sponsor, continuing the Firm’s mission to promote gender equality in the legal field.

NAWL is the nation’s oldest professional organization devoted to the interests and progress of women lawyers and women’s legal rights, and members include individual attorneys, including private practice, corporate, academic, government and non-profit attorneys, and groups, including law firms, corporate legal departments, law schools, and bar associations.

“NAWL has been empowering women in the legal profession for more than a century,” Director Janet A. Hendrick said. “I am proud of Phillips Murrah’s continued support of this venerable organization and its important work, and equally proud of our firm’s demonstrated commitment to advancing and supporting women in the legal profession.”

NAWL’s events and resources help bring awareness to gender-based topics and challenges within the legal profession, and the group’s advocacy initiatives address current and ongoing gender and racial equality issues across the country.

For more information, visit the NAWL website at https://www.nawl.org.

 

Phillips Murrah sponsors Positive Tomorrows at 2020 Cork & Canvas

Positive Tomorrows’ hosted its annual Cork & Canvas event, sponsored by Phillips Murrah and Director Nikki Jones Edwards, via virtual livestream on Sept. 17.

The event was originally scheduled for April 16 but was rescheduled and repurposed as an online auction event due to COVID-19. This change created an opportunity for Positive Tomorrow to air videos from supporting sponsors during the event.

Watch Phillips Murrah’s sponsor video below:

Nikki has supported Positive Tomorrows in various roles, serving as the Past President, volunteer, and four-term board member. She recently commemorated 20 years of service for the organization.

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.

Learn more about Positive Tomorrows here.

Read more about Phillips Murrah’s support of Positive Tomorrows below:

Phillips Murrah welcomes two new attorneys to litigation team

Phillips Murrah is proud to welcome Natalie M. Jester and Laurie L. Schweinle to our Firm’s Litigation Practice Group as associate attorneys.

Attorney Laurie L. Schweinle and Natalie M. Jester

Laurie L. Schweinle and Natalie M. Jester

Natalie and Laurie represent individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of civil litigation matters.

Natalie attended the University of Oklahoma College of Law where she earned the American Jurisprudence Award for Professional Responsibility, Litigation Skills, and the Criminal Defense Clinic. She served as the Staff Editor on the Oklahoma Law Review and was on the Dean’s Honor Roll.

Prior to law school, Natalie was an Officer in the U.S. Navy. She now lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and two dogs.

Laurie attended the Oklahoma City University School of Law where she earned multiple CALI Awards for Excellence and was on the Dean’s List and Faculty Honor Roll. She served as a Staff Editor on the Law Review and received the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Outstanding Senior Law Student Award for OCU. She was also a member of the Phi Delta Phi Honor Society.

Laurie was raised in the Holdenville, Oklahoma area and received a Bachelor’s Degree from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. Prior to law school, Laurie worked for the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training as the Executive Assistant, Public Information Officer, and Legislative Liaison.

Voth accepted into LOKC’s Signature Class 39

Attorney Lauren S. Voth has been accepted into Leadership Oklahoma City’s next Signature Class.

Attorney Lauren Symcox Voth

“Usually, the Signature LOKC program is a 10-month program with classes each month that focus on different community issues,” Voth said. “This year will be a little different and LOKC Class 39’s start date will be deferred to Fall 2021, however, we will have virtual meetings and get to attend alumni events throughout this year.”

The Signature Program is comprised of a two-day opening retreat and one-day-a-month programs for accepted individuals familiar with volunteer programs to network and increase their impact on their organizations and their community. Applicants are typically senior executives, business owners, and high-level directors and managers across industries and business types regionally.

“I am excited that we are in this unique position to spend a year getting to know one another and then another year learning and exploring Oklahoma City’s community issues, diversity, and resources,” Voth said.

To learn more about the Signature Program and other Leadership Oklahoma City programs, visit their website here.

Phillips Murrah attorneys remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg at OKC candlelight vigil

Phillips Murrah attorneys attend RBG vigil in OKC

From left: Nikki Jones Edwards, Cathy L. Campbell, Charlotte Hanna, Rev. Lori Walke and Lauren Barghols Hanna.

Tuesday night, Oklahomans gathered at the state capitol to mourn the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an American legal, cultural and feminist icon and, as described by Chief Justice John Roberts, a justice of historic stature and a cherished colleague.

Among those who gathered were Phillips Murrah attorneys Nikki Jones Edwards, Cathy L. Campbell and Lauren Barghols Hanna, joined by (see photo) Cathy’s granddaughter and Lauren’s daughter, Charlotte, and Rev. Lori Walke, Associate Minister at Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ.

“Justice Ginsburg famously declared that ‘Women belong in all places where decisions are being made,’” said Hanna, who practices employment law at Phillips Murrah. “In 1956, she was one of only nine women in her 500-person law school class. Today, thanks to the tireless efforts of Justice Ginsburg and other fierce advocates for equality, almost half of Phillips Murrah partners and two-thirds of our Executive Committee are women. We owe a great debt to Justice Ginsburg and the other women attorneys who paved the road, and we must now continue her efforts to ensure ‘justice for all.’”

The event, A Candlelight Vigil in Remembrance of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was organized by The Oklahoma Women’s Coalition to honor and remember Justice Ginsburg, who died Friday at the age of 87. Video of the speakers at the vigil are available here.

“We deeply mourn the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Our country has lost a champion of women’s rights and progress for all Americans. Our thoughts are with her loved ones and all whose lives were shaped and touched by her unwavering commitment to justice,” OWC posted to their Facebook page.

After 13 years on the U.S Court of Appeals, President Bill Clinton appointed Justice Ginsburg to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993. Over the following 27 years, she earned a reputation for being the High Court’s liberal leader and a steadfast advocate for equality. As stated in an achievement.org profile called “Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Pioneer of Gender Equality”:

“On the high court, Justice Ginsburg was often called on to rule in cases regarding the rights of women and issues of gender equality. In 1996, she joined the majority in United States v. Virginia, ruling that the state could not continue to operate an all-male educational institution (the Virginia Military Institute) with taxpayer dollars. She also joined in the majority opinion in Stenberg v. Carhart (2000), striking down a Nebraska law banning so-called ‘partial birth’ abortions. She dissented vehemently in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire (2007), in which an Alabama woman sued unsuccessfully for back pay to compensate for the years in which she had been paid substantially less than junior male colleagues performing the same job. The U.S. Congress would later address the issue of pay equity through legislation known as the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.”

Late in Ginsburg’s life, she also became a cultural and social media icon. According to the New York Times, “a law student, Shana Knizhnik, anointed her the Notorious R.B.G., a play on the name of the Notorious B.I.G., a famous rapper who was Brooklyn-born, like the justice. Soon the name, and Justice Ginsburg’s image — her expression serene yet severe, a frilly lace collar adorning her black judicial robe, her eyes framed by oversize glasses and a gold crown perched at a rakish angle on her head — became an internet sensation.”

In a 2015 television interview, Ginsburg was asked how she would like to be remembered, to which she replied: “Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability, and to help repair tears in her society – to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has. To do something, as my colleague David Souter would say, outside myself, because I’ve gotten much more satisfaction for the things that I’ve done for which I was not paid.”


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Cross to give virtual presentation for Texas Bankers conference

Director Alison J. Cross will present for banking counsel at a unique, joint conference Sept. 17-18 hosted by Texas Bankers Association’s Bankers Legal Conference and Southwest Association of Bank Counsel.

Phillips Murrah attorney Alison Cross

Director Alison Cross works with both lenders and borrowers in commercial finance transactions.

The conference, which will be broadcast online for the first time due to COVID-19, is organized by and for attorneys and will aide participants in identifying and managing a variety of issues in fair lending, cybersecurity, employment law, and other timely topics.

Cross’s presentation is titled “A Tale of Two Titles: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Leasehold Lending.”

“My presentation covers issues that come up when a bank makes a loan secured by a borrower’s interest in a ground lease,” Cross said. “The main takeaways are to plan for the best by getting the right diligence but prepare for the worst by getting the right protections.”

For more information about this virtual conference, visit TBA’s website here.