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OCU Law names Ybarra 2019 Outstanding Young Alumna

Monica Ybarra Web

Monica Y. Ybarra is a litigation attorney whose practice focuses on representing individuals and companies in wide range of commercial litigation matters. She also practices in the area of family law, including litigation, custody issues and valuation issues.

Monica Y. Ybarra, Family Law attorney and Oklahoma City University School of Law Class of 2014 alumna, will be honored as Outstanding Young Alumna at the OCU Law Awards Dinner.

“These awards were created in the late 1990s to honor individuals, alumni and non-alumni, in the legal community who have exemplified themselves as champions of the legal profession, established themselves as a community advocate, and supported the endeavors of OCU Law,” said Ally Rodriguez, Director of Alumni Relations at OCU Law. “To be a recipient of an award demonstrates their commitment to excellence in their career and we hope this shines a light on their good works.”

The 2019 OCU Law Awards Dinner will be hosted at 6 PM on April 6 at OCU School of Law.

“Working with Monica, both as a Phillips Murrah team member and now in our mutual roles for our alma mater OCU School of Law, is a real gift,” said Jim Roth, Phillips Murrah Director and OCU Law Dean. “Monica wonderfully embodies the exceptional brain and heart you want in a colleague, a leader and a friend.”

This year’s awards are especially important as they signify the first major event of the OCU Law Alumni Association after being re-established in the fall of 2018 under the direction of Dean Jim Roth, she said.

“As a classmate of Monica’s and a member of the OCU Law Class of 2014, it is an honor to be able to work with her as the Chair of the OCU Law Alumni Association,” Rodriguez said. “Monica brings an excitement to her work and motivates those around her.

“As the 2019 recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumna Award, Monica has exemplified significant achievements in the practice of law since graduation, and is a wonderful representation of the hard work and servant leadership mentality that OCU Law instills.”

Ybarra joined the university’s Alumni Association in September 2018 to oversee development and progress of the organization and was elected Chair by the Board of Directors soon after.

“Dean Roth’s vision to reestablish the OCU Law Alumni Association was one of his top priorities upon assuming his role as the new Dean,” Ybarra said. “He brought together a group of interested alums to serve on the Board of Directors and they elected me as Chair at our inaugural meeting.

“So, I’ve hit the ground running in that role since day one.”

This first year has been focused on getting the word out about the Alumni Association, building partnerships with community businesses for the rewards program, setting goals and bringing the Association’s vision into focus, she said.

“OCU Law has produced some very dynamic leaders and so many of our alums are doing great things all over the world, so it is incredibly humbling to receive this award,” Ybarra said. “I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be recognized in this way.

“I hope that my role and involvement with OCU Law will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the law school. I enjoy helping with local and national recruiting, and certainly enjoy contributing to the law school experience of OCU Law students in any way that I can.”

To learn more about OCU Law and the Alumni Association, click here.

Firm provides for Oklahoma Family Network for holidays

Gifts provided to families for 2018 holiday season through Oklahoma Family Network

Gifts provided to families for 2018 holiday season through Oklahoma Family Network

Attorneys at Phillips Murrah wrapped up the holiday season by collecting donations for the Oklahoma Family Network. The firm raised $6,000 for the 2018 holiday season.

“The Firm’s Holiday Family project is one of my favorite Christmas season projects,” Attorney and co-coordinator Monica Y. Ybarra said. “The excitement that is generated among our Phillips Murrah family about helping these special Oklahoma families is contagious and truly embodies the spirit of the season.

“I love being a part of organizing this project every year, and I’m always blown away by the generosity of our firm and our employees.”

The Oklahoma Family Network serves families whose members are critically ill or have other health issues or disabilities. Phillips Murrah raises funds to buy gifts for families and provide funds to OFN for emergency medical bills, food shopping, utility payments and other basic needs each year.

“Every year, this is an opportunity for the firm and its employees to share joy and holiday spirit with families who might not otherwise be able to celebrate the seasons,” Attorney and co-coordinator Cody J. Cooper said. “It’s a chance for Phillips Murrah to help families in need by donating gifts to them and helping them have a happy holidays while also easing some of the burdens that accompany this time of year.”

To make a donation to Oklahoma Family Network or learn more about their mission, click here.

Family law attorney leads conference for Oklahoma Guardian Ad Litem Institute

Attorney Monica Y. Ybarra (middle) at Oklahoma Guardian Ad Litem Institute's first annual conference.

Attorney Monica Y. Ybarra (middle) with attendees of Oklahoma Guardian Ad Litem Institute’s 1st Annual Champions for Children Conference.

Monica Y. Ybarra, Phillips Murrah Family Law Attorney, helped orchestrate the 1st Annual Champions for Children conference for the Oklahoma Guardian Ad Litem Institute on Oct. 27.

A guardian ad litem is often an integral part of a family law case involving custody, visitation, and other child-related issues. However, it is often an added expense that the parties, especially low-income families, cannot afford, Ybarra said.

“I became involved when Sharon Byers, Executive Director for the Institute, asked me to assist her in coming up with ideas for CLEs,” Ybarra said. “One thing led to another, and the vision for a GAL-specific conference came into focus.

“This has never been done in Oklahoma, and we weren’t sure how it would be received; however, it was a huge success.”

The Oklahoma Guardian Ad Litem Institute was formed to provide this essential service to low-income families. It is a non-profit organization, and one of the ways the Institute raises money is to put on CLEs, or Continuing Legal Education seminars.

“This was one of our most successful CLEs based on the number of attendees,” Byers said. “We are grateful for Monica for that and the Firm for supporting this social event.

“Without people like Monica and Phillips Murrah, we wouldn’t be able to sustain and provide services for the children of Oklahoma and families that can’t afford it.”

More than 40 attorneys and law students interested in becoming GALs attended the first annual conference.

“I gave a presentation, along with Reagan Barham, another Oklahoma City attorney, called ‘Know your Judge: Judicial Expectations and Preferences’ in which we educated attendees about what judges want to see in a GAL’s representation,” Ybarra said.

Nicholle Jones Edwards, Director and Member of the Firm’s Family Law Practice Group, also presented, showing a cross examination of a GAL in a mock trial setting.

“Monica was instrumental in getting it done,” Byers said. “She is a workhorse and went above and beyond to organize the whole thing. Both Nikki and Monica did an excellent job and had valuable information to contribute, and we are very appreciative.”

For more information on the Oklahoma Guardian Ad Litem Institute, click here.

Director Jim Roth launches OCU Law alumni association

Jim Roth, Phillips Murrah Director and Oklahoma City University School of Law Dean, announces the revival of OCU Law's Alumni association at a meeting in early September.

Jim Roth, Phillips Murrah Director and Oklahoma City University School of Law Dean, announces the revival of OCU Law’s Alumni association at a meeting in early September.

Jim Roth, Phillips Murrah Director and Oklahoma City University School of Law Dean, announced the reestablishment of OCU Law’s Alumni Association in September.

“The law is a service profession, and here at OCU Law, we are a service-oriented school,” Roth said. “As an alumnus of the school, I have always admired that OCU is committed to helping create lawyers with a solemn responsibility for upholding the rule of law and for ‘doing good’ in the broader community.”

With more than 7,000 OCU Law alumni invited to join the revamped Association, Roth comprised a Board of Directors of OCU Law alumni, including Phillips Murrah attorneys Monica Y. Ybarra and Martin J. Lopez III, to oversee development and progress. Upon announcement, the Board of Directors voted to elect Ybarra as the first Chair of the association.

“This is an exciting time for OCU Law, and there’s no better way to rally our alums and get everyone plugged in to that energy than by resurrecting the OCU Law Alumni Association,” Ybarra said. “I’m looking forward to leading the Board of Directors as we fashion an association that will represent the interests of our vast alumni network, provide meaningful services to alums, students, and community partners, and be a channel through which alums can support the law school.”

The association is in the planning stages for the coming year, and the Board will be holding a launch event in November to kick off the association, said Ally Rodriguez, Director of Alumni Relations.

To learn more about OCU Law’s Alumni association, visit their website here.

 

Phillips Murrah attorneys selected as 2017 Super Lawyers

Phillips Murrah P.C._Logo_Color_emblemTwenty Phillips Murrah Attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2017 edition of Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers for their excellence in their respective practice areas. Seven attorneys of them 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 2017’s Super Lawyers:

Directors G. Calvin Sharpe and Lyndon W. Whitmire were among the Top 50 Oklahoma Super Lawyers for 2017. Directors Shannon K. Emmons and Sally A. Hasenfratz were listed on the Top 25 Women Oklahoma Super Lawyers for 2017.

The following Phillips Murrah attorneys are included in 2017’s Oklahoma Rising Stars:

PM Attorney graduates Leadership OKC LOYAL Program

Monica Y. Ybarra

Every year, approximately two hundred of Oklahoma City’s rising stars vie for a chance to be a member of Leadership Oklahoma City’s Linking OKC’s Young Adult Leaders (LOYAL) Program.

Phillips Murrah Attorney Monica Y. Ybarra was selected to participate in this prestigious program as a member of LOYAL Class XII. The Firm is pleased to announce Ybarra graduated from the program last week and is officially part of the Leadership Oklahoma City family.

The LOYAL Program focuses on enhancing personal leadership skills and cultivating community leadership skills. During the seven-month program, participants have unique opportunities to learn leadership skills from Oklahoma’s most influential and accomplished business people, public servants, and non-profit managers.

“Participating in LOYAL has been one of my most rewarding Oklahoma experiences,” Ybarra said. “The program offered me a chance to increase my leadership intelligence and connect to the community in so many ways.

“This program is about so much more than networking—it’s about helping motivated individuals become the leaders of tomorrow.”

Participants gain insight into topics such as board skills, human resources, public speaking, non-profit finances, ethics, and much more. Additionally, Leadership Action Projects afford participants an opportunity to apply their skills and talents to tackle substantive issues in our community.

“At Phillips Murrah P.C. we take pride in being a strategic partner for our clients and for our community,” she said. “I am very fortunate to work for an organization that not only supports my efforts to become a better attorney but also a better Oklahoman.”

Ybarra is a litigation attorney who practices family law. She represents clients in all areas of domestic and family law matters including, divorce actions, custody matters, guardianships, prenuptial agreements, and paternity actions.

Other Phillips Murrah graduates of Leadership Oklahoma City programs include Jim Roth, Signature Program Class XXII, and G. Calvin Sharpe, Signature Program Class XXIII.

Phillips Murrah attorneys support i2E 2015 BrewFest

Attorneys Monica Ybarra, Dawn Rahme, and Erica Halley at Brewfest

Attorneys Monica Ybarra, Dawn Rahme, and Erica Halley at Brewfest.

Hundreds of patrons filled the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark on Nov. 5 to support i2E’s (Innovation to Enterprise) annual OKBio BrewFest.

“The intellectual activity surrounding the annual i2E BrewFest channels the exciting physical changes in downtown Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Health Center, Bricktown, Deep Deuce and the state,” Attorney Mary Holloway Richard said. “Where else can you find entrepreneurs mingling to discuss their business plans and dreams with one another and with support professionals like the Phillips Murrah team that supports technical businesses as they establish themselves and expand?”

“From conversations with a graduate student physiologist focusing on lessening the impact of retinitis pigmentosa to discussions with an OCU Botany professor and a young distiller known for his marketing genius who is expanding into new markets—all this on a beautiful fall evening at the ballpark.  Helping clients achieve their business goals in research, health care, product development is a exciting as it gets.”

Lauren Branch and her husband Phillips Murrah Director Doug Branch.

Lauren Branch and her husband Phillips Murrah Director Doug Branch at Brewfest.

The event featured samples from 23 of Oklahoma’s local craft beer, wine and spirits producers.

“OKBio BrewFest is an annual fall event to shine a spotlight on bio in Oklahoma and provide support for OKBio, which among other things provides BIO International scholarships to Oklahomans every year,” said i2E President Scott Meacham in an article about BrewFest.

Other event sponsors include Crowe & Dunlevy, Foundation HealthCare, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Oklahoma Gazette, Hall Estill, Caisson Biotech, Hit Design, VWR International, McAfee & Taft, Dunlap Codding, and Woodland & Associates.

Read more about BrewFest here.

Phillips Murrah attorneys and summer clerks visit nursing home

REZ Luau

From left: Marchi McCartney, Kendra Norman, Nancy Parrot, William Sobral, Hilary Hudson, Judge Patricia Parrish, Ray Zschiesche, Monica Ybarra, Travis Weedn and Chance Pearson.

Friday afternoon, Aug 7, the Oklahoma County Bar Association Community Service Committee had a Luau-themed party for the residents of the Edwards Redeemer Nursing Home.

Phillips Murrah attorneys Director Ray Zschiesche and Monica Ybarra were on hand to dance and visit with the Edwards Redeemer Nursing Home residents, along with our summer clerks, Hillary Hudson, Kendra Norman, Jace White and Ben McCaslin.

 

 

Attorneys provide cheer for less fortunate through Oklahoma County Bar Association Community Service Committee

Originally published in the May 2015 edition of the Oklahoma Bar Journal

Since the last update, the Community Service Committee continued its annual holiday tradition of providing some holiday cheer to the less fortunate. For many years, members of the Committee have provided Christmas gifts to juvenile residents of Family Junction, a youth shelter that is part of Youth Services of Oklahoma County.

Family Junction houses juveniles who, due to circumstances beyond their control, are not able to live at home. These children are placed at Family Junction because their parents are incarcerated, have drug or alcohol problems or a myriad of other issues that prevent them from providing a safe environment for the children at home.

Members of the Committee received wish lists from the children and either purchased gifts from the wish list or donated money to be used for the purchase of gifts.

In December, the Committee sponsored a holiday pizza party for the children at the shelter, during which Committee members and OCBA staff provided the children with stockings containing candy and a small amount of cash for fast food treats.

Committee members Judge Patricia Parrish, Ray Zschiesche, Ken Stoner, Chance Pearson and Honorary member Sam Stoner with residents of Oak Hills.

The Committee also provided a holiday party for residents of the Oak Hills Nursing Home in Jones, Oklahoma. Oak Hills is a facility that cares for those who are destitute and cannot otherwise afford nursing care at other facilities. Committee members provided snacks, sparkling cider and reindeer antlers for residents to wear, and Judge Parrish arranged for John Hochgraefe and Steve Coleman, “The Elderly Brothers,” to perform oldies hits. Committee members visited and danced with the residents, and some residents even got up out of their wheelchairs to join in the dancing. Committee member Ken Stoner attended and brought nine year-olds Sam Stoner and Easton Chavez to join in the festivities. Sam and Easton brought an energy to the party and the dance floor that was much appreciated by the committee and residents, alike.

In February, the Committee collected donations to refurbish visitation rooms at the Juvenile Justice Center. DHS has a number of rooms at the Center, which are used to allow parents to have supervised visitation with their children. The funds collected by the Committee were used to purchase furniture and changing tables, to help provide a comfortable setting for these supervised visits. The refurbishing activities at the Center continue, and if anyone would like to make a tax-deductible donation to help with this work, checks can be made payable to Citizens For Juvenile Justice, a 501(C)(3) corporation, and dropped off at the OCBA office.

In March, the Committee provided Spring Break activities for the residents of Family Junction and in April the Committee provided plastic eggs filled with treats and dollar bills for an Easter egg hunt for the kids.

Committee members Chance Pearson, Monica Ybarra, Ray Zschiesche and Judge Patricia Parrish, Honorary member Taylor and guests Ivonne Molina and Travis Weedn with the Elderly Brothers at the Spring Fling party.

Committee members Chance Pearson, Monica Ybarra, Ray Zschiesche and Judge Patricia Parrish, Honorary member Taylor and guests Ivonne Molina and Travis Weedn with the Elderly Brothers at the Spring Fling party.

In April, the Committee hosted a Spring Fling party for the residents of Edwards Redeemer Nursing Center. Judge Parrish again arranged for the “Elderly Brothers” to entertain the residents with music and recruited her granddaughter, Taylor, to help with party preparations and dancing. All of the residents received straw hats and sunglasses so they can be in style for the summer, and all the cookies they could eat. Judging from the smiles on the faces of the residents and Committee members, the Spring Fling was a great success.

The Community Service Committee always welcomes new members to participate and make a small difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Anyone interested may contact Ray Zschiesche at (405) 235-4100 or Chance Pearson at (405) 239-6040.