Sheets, Ybarra earn Journal Record’s Leadership in Law awards

law day robert n sheets monica y ybarra leadership in law

Robert N. Sheets and Monica Y. Ybarra hold their Leadership in Law awards from the Journal Record.

Director Robert N. Sheets and Attorney Monica Y. Ybarra were presented with the Journal Record’s Leadership in Law award on May 1 at the Oklahoma County Bar Association’s annual Law Day Luncheon.

Oklahoma County District Judge Trevor Pemberton and Attorneys Judy Hamilton Morse (Oklahoma City) and M. David Riggs (Tulsa) were also recipients of this year’s Leadership in Law Award.

“I am truly honored to receive this recognition,” Ybarra said. “The list of honorees is really impressive, and I am humbled to be recognized along with these amazing attorneys that I look up to.”

Ybarra joined the Firm in 2014 and represents clients in the Firm’s Family Law Practice Group.

“As a young associate, it can be difficult to juggle work and family obligations and find time for community work, but community work and civic engagement is a vital part of connecting to the city and the people who live here and opens my eyes to the issues facing our community,” she said. “Finding ways to serve and engage not only enriches my life and experiences, but I hope it blesses others.

“Additionally, I have greatly benefited from the community service of others throughout my life and my education, so finding ways to serve feels like I’m giving back what has so generously been given to me. The OCBA provides so many opportunities to serve, both in the legal profession and the greater OKC community. I am grateful to be a part of such a service-oriented organization and I look forward to finding more opportunities to be useful and to serve.”

Sheets, one of the Firm’s founders, represents both privately-held and public companies in the Firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group. This is the second time the Journal Record has recognized him with the Leadership in Law award.

“I was moved when I received the Leadership in Law award from the Journal Record in 2008, and I am honored even more so to be recognized with this award for a second time 10 years later,” Sheets said. “It’s a real testament to the work I’m permitted to do in the legal field and within the community, and I appreciate those who see me fit to hold such an honor.

“My position has afforded me the opportunity to become active in the community, specifically with the Oklahoma County Bar Association and the Voices for Children committee. Thank you to the OCBA for allowing me to give back in a meaningful way, and thank you again to the Journal Record for the acknowledgment.”

Phillips Murrah Director Nicholle Jones Edwards was honored with the award in 2017.

Leadership in Law profile: Byrona Maule

From The Journal Record
Published: May 2, 2008
Click to see full story – Leadership in Law profile: Byrona Maule

Byrona J. Maule is a Director and litigation attorney as well as Co-Chair of the Firm’s Labor & Employment practice group. She represents executives and companies in a wide range of business and litigation matters with a strong emphasis on employment matters.

Byrona Maule cannot remember a time when she didn’t want to be an attorney.

The Missouri native graduated in 1982 with honors from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s in political science. She also earned her juris doctorate in 1986 from MU’s School of Law, where she was a member of the Order of Barristers.

Her first job in the legal profession was an as assistant attorney general for the State of Missouri. She entered private practice in 1989 and worked as an associate for three different firms before joining Professional Home Care Inc. as general counsel and director of organizational development in 1996. Maule joined Phillips McFall McCaffrey McVay & Murrah as an associate in 2001. Today she is a shareholder in the litigation department and co-chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment and Health Care practice groups. She represents individuals and both privately held and public companies in a wide range of employment, business and litigation matters.

“I think it is the concept of fairness that brought me to the law and that keeps me practicing. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law – in theory. In practice, it falls in large part to the legal community to see that through, and I take great pride in being part of that calling.”

Maule is admitted to practice in Oklahoma; Missouri; Alaska; U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Eastern District of Oklahoma, Western District of Missouri, Eastern District of Missouri, and the District of Alaska; as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th and 10th Circuits.

She also is a moderator and presenter of employment law for Lorman Education Services and writes articles and presents and moderates seminars for the Paycom Report.

Maule’s honors include receiving the Thomas E. Deacy Jr. Prize in Advocacy and the American Jurisprudence Award in Family Law.

She is a member of the Federal Bar Association, Oklahoma Bar Association, Alaska Bar Association, Missouri Bar Association and American Bar Association, and is a master of the Luther Bohanon American Inn of Court XXIII.

Her civic involvement includes volunteering her time as a big sister and advisory board member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Oklahoma City. She is active with Messiah Lutheran Church and School as a Stephen’s Minister volunteer, member of the personnel committee, youth choir chair and worship chair. In addition, she is a scholarship sponsor for Messiah Lutheran School and Redeemer Lutheran High School.

Leadership in Law profile: Robert Sheets

From The Journal Record
Published: May 2, 2008
Click to see full story – Leadership in Law profile: Robert Sheets

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

Robert Sheets’ personal philosophy in life, passed on to him at an early age by his mother, is to treat people with respect and always do the right thing.

“It is easy in modern society to look only to the rules and the law for boundaries. The most enduring boundaries, however, are those placed there by the individual, because the individual knows what is right and what is wrong and follows those rules because it is right not because it is legal,” Sheets said.

A native of St. Louis, Mo., Sheets has a bachelor’s degree from Washington University. He earned his juris doctorate from Oklahoma City University in 1979 and began his legal career as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Fred Daugherty.

“He taught me that law is too important to just be a business,” Sheets said.

Sheets entered private practice as an associate and later served as partner with the law firm now known as Kornfeld Franklin & Phillips. From 1981 to 1986, he also served as an adjunct law professor at Oklahoma City University. In 1986, he co-founded Phillips McFall McCaffrey McVay & Murrah. Today he remains a shareholder in the firm’s litigation department and a member of its natural resources practice group. His practice focuses on commercial litigation, real estate and oil and gas. He is admitted to practice in Oklahoma, all districts of the U.S. District Court of Oklahoma, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arizona, U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

He is a member of the Oklahoma County Bar Association, serving in various capacities throughout the years including board member of its Voices of Children Committee. He also is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, American Bar Association, Oklahoma City Society of Title Attorneys Association and the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Sheets’ honors include being listed in Oklahoma Super Lawyers in Business Litigation and receiving the 2007 Outstanding Law Review Alumni Award from the OCU School of Law. In addition, he is a past recipient of the Boy Scouts Award of Merit and Boss of the Year award from the Oklahoma City Legal Secretaries Association.

His civic and nonprofit affiliations include serving on the fundraising committee for Legal Aid of Oklahoma and chairing the Voices for Children committee where he read to children each month at the Carver-Mark Twain Head Start. He also currently serves as a youth volunteer and chairman of the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee at Wesley United Methodist Church.

Leadership in Law profile: Marc Edwards, Phillips, McFall, McCaffrey McVay & Murrah

From The Journal Record
Published: May 1, 2007
Click to see full story – Leadership in Law profile: Marc Edwards, Phillips, McFall, McCaffrey McVay & Murrah

Marc Edwards is a litigation attorney and Chair of the Government Relations and Compliance Practice Group. He represents both private business and public entities in a broad range of litigation with an emphasis on public utility, public pension, governmental and administrative laws.

Marc Edwards, a director at Phillips McFall McCaffrey McVay & Murrah, practices administrative law, governmental relations and civil litigation.

After receiving his law degree from the University of Tulsa in 1983, Edwards began his legal career as an assistant attorney general with the Oklahoma attorney general’s office. He entered private practice in 1987 with Watson & McKenzie before joining his current law firm the following year.

Edwards is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, American Bar Association and the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys.

For the past 14 years, he has represented Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System, the pension system for all firefighters in the state.

“In this capacity, I have had the opportunity to argue numerous cases before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and represent the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System as lead co-plaintiff in a securities class-action case that recently settled for $285 million,” Edwards said. “More importantly, helping those brave firefighters and the industry with important legal issues of the day has been the most gratifying aspect of my career.”

Edwards’ community involvement includes serving on the boards of the Stavros Foundation, Oklahoma Property & Casualty Board and Oklahoma Long Term Care Administration. In addition, he is president of the Lynn Institute and past president of the Dale Rogers Training Center, which provides employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. He considers his involvement with the Dale Rogers Training Center his most significant public service accomplishment. During his service, Dale Rogers has experienced tremendous growth as a nonprofit agency, in terms of budget, capital expansion and services.

“I am also committed to helping Dale Rogers Training Center in its future expansion needs. The success of the Dale Rogers programs plus the expanding needs of the developmental disabled community strains the current facilities but also creates more opportunities for program expansion in the future,” he said. “I hope to be able to help.”

B.S., Missouri State University
J.D., University of Tulsa

Nikki Jones Edwards

First job:
Hauling hay

Favorite type of food:

Favorite type of music:
Classic rock

Favorite vacation spot:
Sun Valley, Idaho; Florence, Italy

Fly fishing, travel with wife, “piddling” around the house

Abby and Allie