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Phillips Murrah attorneys team up to win big at annual chili cook-off

Phillips Murrah chili team

Phillips Murrah’s chili cook-off team celebrates another successful year.

The new year signals a new race to claim a trophy at the annual Oklahoma County Bar Association Chili Cook-Off.

Phillips Murrah attorneys competed in teams against local law firms in OCBA’s Young Lawyers Division to show off their chili-making prowess Jan. 25 at Twisted Spike Brewing Co.

Representing Phillips Murrah were attorneys Hilary Hudson Clifton, Cody J. Cooper, C. Eric DavisTravis E. Harrison, Mark E. Hornbeek, Martin J. Lopez IIISamuel D. Newton, Morgen D. PottsAshley M. Schovanec, and Monica Y. Ybarra.

The competition formally kicks off the YLD’s year-long commitment to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, raising funds and awareness within the community to support the mission of the Regional Food Bank and the Oklahomans who rely on its services.

Attorneys Travis Harrison, Mark Hornbeek, and Ashley Schovanec

Attorneys Travis Harrison, Mark Hornbeek, and Ashley Schovanec get festive for the annual chili cook-off.

“This year’s chili cook-off was a huge success for the OCBA YLD and its year-round fundraising efforts for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma,” Clifton said. “It’s always a fun event with a great turn-out, and this year Phillips Murrah definitely showed up.”

Teams were judged in different categories including Best Overall, Traditional, Non-Traditional, and Hottest Chilis.

“In addition to having two serious chili contenders, Ashley Schovanec brought a smorgasbord of sides and toppings, Mark Hornbeek kept it festive with a light-up chile necklace, and we had an awesome turnout of other associates there wearing PM aprons and talking up our entries,” Clifton said. “It seems like our team gets bigger and more enthusiastic every year, which is awesome, because it’s a really fun event for a great cause.”

Potts won the Best Non-Traditional Chili category on behalf of Phillips Murrah’s teams at this year’s cook-off with her and her husband’s recipe which includes elk, deer, chorizo, coffee, molasses, and different types of peppers.

Attorney Morgen Potts and her husband John

Attorney Morgen Potts and her husband John hold their trophy for Best Non-Traditional Chili.

“The chili was inspired by all the hunting trips my husband and my brother-in-law take together,” Potts said. “The unique flavors of the different types of wild game combined with coffee and molasses always make their long days of hunting worth it.”

Phillips Murrah has had at least one team compete in the Chili Cook-Off each year since it first started more than ten years ago.

Cooper and Ybarra currently serve on OCBA’s Board of Directors.

For more information on the OCBA and the Young Lawyers Division, click here.

Cooper, Ybarra elected to OCBA Board of Directors

Monica Ybarra and Cody Cooper

Phillips Murrah attorneys Monica Y. Ybarra and Cody J. Cooper

Phillips Murrah attorneys Cody J. Cooper and Monica Y. Ybarra were elected as two of six members of Oklahoma County Bar Association’s Board of Directors for 2018 through 2021.

OCBA members were tasked with electing Cooper and Ybarra, as well as Attorneys Chris Deason, Rachel Stoddard Morris, Kelli Stump and Judge Trevor Pemberton, as Directors.

“I’ve benefited greatly from my OCBA membership, and I believe it’s largely due to the great leadership of this organization,” Ybarra said. “The leadership has fostered collegiality, mentorships, community service and professionalism among local bar members through committees and programs, and I view board service as a way to give back.

“Additionally, I want to be a part of growing the OCBA and ensuring that it remains a relevant, valuable part of the legal profession in Oklahoma County, and I believe stepping into a leadership role will allow me to make that kind of impact.”

Ybarra’s goals in this role include collaborating with OCBA members and Directors to find new ways of engaging membership. These goals align with Cooper’s own desires to take a bigger leadership role after previously serving the Young Lawyers Division.

“My motivation to become a board member primarily came about from my involvement with the board as the YLD chair,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to take part in county bar leadership and be engaged in the legal community where I live and work.

“The OCBA is an active bar community with an emphasis on helping its member attorneys and providing community service and support, and I wanted to have a more hands-on role doing that.”

Cooper will serve as Past Chair of YLD through 2019 to offer guidance and support as OCBA’s new YLD chair assumes their role. He has also been chosen as an OCBA delegate to the Oklahoma Bar Association.

To learn more about OCBA, visit their website here.

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

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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.

Phillips Murrah attorneys author update to commercial lending law reference book

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The two volumes “Commercial Lending Law, Second Edition: A Jurisdiction-by-Jurisdiction Guide to U.S. and Canadian Law” updated by Phillips Murrah attorneys pictured next to the previous edition.

A group of Phillips Murrah attorneys contributed to updating and creating a new edition of “Commercial Lending Law, Second Edition: A Jurisdiction-by-Jurisdiction Guide to U.S. and Canadian Law,” published by the American Bar Association.

The book is meant to be a resource for attorneys who help clients across different jurisdictions.

“A lot of the law impacting commercial lending varies from state to state, sometimes significantly,” said J. Mark Lovelace, Phillips Murrah Director. “The two volumes have separate chapters on local law and practice recommendations for each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, plus a chapter for Quebec and a combined chapter for the other Canadian provinces.

Each chapter follows the same format, he said. Most attorneys who represent commercial lenders will at least occasionally deal with the laws of other jurisdictions.

“This guide will provide an excellent first place to start,” Lovelace said. “It doesn’t take the place of consulting an attorney in that other jurisdiction, but the book provides helpful initial answers and should give the attorney a good idea of the local issues to be considered.”

Phillips Murrah’s attorneys were provided a template developed by Brian Hulse, with the Davis Write Tremaine Firm in Seattle, along with the other original editors of the book to update it for the new edition.

“The 2016 book expanded significantly on the original 2009 edition, and that was the first time we worked with Brian,” Lovelace said. “Josh Edwards and I also worked with Brian on a separate book published by the ABA in 2013 called The Law of Guaranties, A Jurisdiction-by-Jurisdiction Guide to U.S. and Canadian Law.  He has been a tremendous resource and working partner for us.”

The 2016 update on commercial lending law captures changes in relevant law and practice in Oklahoma, but more significantly covers numerous additional issues that the editors wanted to cover this time around, he said.

“The 2009 chapter was our base, and Monica Ybarra provided research and a first draft on most of the new areas to be covered in the update,” Lovelace said. “John Hastie had contributed significant portions to the 2009 chapter, particularly on real estate lending and foreclosure law, and these required a relatively minor amount of updating.

“I wrote and edited a number of sections, but Josh served as the primary editor of our 2016 chapter, with assistance from Erica Halley, and it’s more than fair to say he brought it all together.”

As a result, the new edition had contributions from attorneys at Phillips Murrah with experience ranging from one year to almost 50 years in practice, he said.

For more information on “Commercial Lending Law, Second Edition: A Jurisdiction-by-Jurisdiction Guide to U.S. and Canadian Law” and how to purchase it, click here.

Phillips Murrah attorneys volunteer for Cavett Kids Foundation

Monica Y. Ybarra, OCBA Community Service Committee Vice Chair, with attorney Ashley Schovanec

Attorney Monica Y. Ybarra, OCBA Community Service Committee Vice Chair, with attorney Ashley Schovanec.

Phillips Murrah attorneys Nicholle Jones Edwards, Kayce L. Gisinger, Monica Y. Ybarra, and Ashley M. Schovanec were on site at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center on July 6 to lend a helping hand to the children heading to Camp Cavett.

“Monica, who is on the Oklahoma County Bar Association’s Community Service Committee, let the Phillips Murrah attorneys know that volunteers were needed to help with the Camp Cavett camp check-in,” Schovanec said. “On Wednesday morning, Nikki, Monica, Kayce and I helped do things like pass out camp T-shirts, help with luggage, and pass out luggage tags to help the camp check-in process go smoothly.”

Chance Pearson, OCBA Community Service Committee Chair, with Director Nicholle Jones Edwards, Jenna and Claudette Greenway, Cavett Kids Board Member.

Chance Pearson, OCBA Community Service Committee Chair, with Director Nicholle Jones Edwards, Jenna and Claudette Greenway, Cavett Kids Board Member.

The Cavett Kids Foundation serves hundreds of children with various life-threatening and chronic illnesses every year.

“Among other things, the Cavett Foundation provides a unique summer camp experience that meets the medical needs of its campers without distracting from the fun of summer camp,” Ybarra said.

Phillips Murrah attorneys, along with other volunteers from the Oklahoma County Bar Association’s Community Service Committee, assisted campers and their families through the check-in process and saw the kids off to camp.

“Just because a child suffers from a life-threatening or chronic illness doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the opportunity to go to summer camp,” Schovanec said. “What a heartwarming sight it was to see the look on each of the kids’ faces as they walked (or ran) to the summer camp check-in stations.”

To learn how to get involved and volunteer with Cavett Kids, click here.

Attorney Monica Ybarra featured in The Journal Record

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Monica Y. Ybarra is a litigation attorney who represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of commercial litigation matters.

Phillips Murrah attorney Monica Y. Ybarra was featured in an article in The Journal Record titled, “Raising the bar: Law firm success includes developing talent, not just hiring the best.”

The article is about hiring practices within law firms:

OKLAHOMA CITY – Cultivating excellence at a law firm goes beyond hiring smart talent. Experts said developing legal leaders is about recruiting and molding well-rounded attorneys.

“The most successful firms that I’ve seen have exposed their associates to a variety of different aspects within the firm,” said Patrick Fuller, a former legal consultant. “It’s having a strong on-boarding process that incorporates the new attorney into the firm on a variety of different matters.”

The portion that features Monica is below:

Attorney Monica Ybarra, who was hired a year ago at Phillips Murrah, said she was drawn to the firm because of its size and culture.

“As a brand-new person coming out of law school who doesn’t know anything, that’s very attractive to me because I feel like I can learn from experts who know what they are doing,” Ybarra said.

Ybarra said she believes it’s important to work in an environment where she is able to learn from experts about many types of law and where she feels comfortable asking questions.

“Here I feel like everyone just works together as a team,” she said. “It wasn’t like that in other firms where I worked at.”

Ybarra said guidance from her supervising attorney has helped her progress and gain experience in her areas of interest.

Click here to see the entire article at JournalRecord.com.

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 new attorney

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Monica Y. Ybarra

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

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