Mitchell elected to Board of Directors of OBA Young Lawyers Division

oklahoma flag and gavel

Attorney Phoebe B. Mitchell will begin serving a two-year term as a Board Member At-Large for the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) of Oklahoma Bar Association when the organization’s year officially begins on Jan. 29.

Phoebe B. Mitchell is a litigation attorney who represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of civil litigation matters.

“I am looking forward to connecting with other young attorneys throughout the state,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell’s election follows OBA’s nomination process last summer and subsequent voting via ballot among all YLD members in the fall. Her “At-Large” designation indicates her role has jurisdiction in all Oklahoma districts and counties.

“I was drawn to apply because of YLD’s mission to foster camaraderie between young Oklahoma lawyers through community service-related projects,” Mitchell said. “I will enjoy getting to know other young attorneys outside of the Oklahoma City area who are like-minded and have similar personal and professional goals.”

All OBA members who are in good standing and were first admitted to practice law in the past 10 years are automatically designated YLD members.

Phillips Murrah Director C. Eric Davis formerly served on the OBA-YLD Board in the seat representing Oklahoma Supreme Court Judicial District No. 9, which covers most of Southwestern Oklahoma.

“I enjoyed serving, and I’m still friends with my fellow board members,” Davis said. “I also enjoyed spearheading service events in my home district. It was gratifying to bring together community-minded attorneys for a good cause.

“I’m happy Phoebe will have that opportunity. She’ll be a strong leader for the OBA.”

For more information about the Young Lawyers Division, visit OBA’s website.

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.

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.

Gardner addresses current issues regarding Oklahoma Native American law

Melissa Gardner is a Director who practices in the Energy & Natural Resources Practice Group. She represents both privately-owned and public companies in a wide variety of oil and gas matters, with a strong emphasis on oil and gas title examination.

Director Melissa R. Gardner participated in a seminar in September for the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education individuals focusing on matters relevant to the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma.

“My presentation covered the statutory landscape for Native American law,” Gardner said. “I discussed all of the Congressional acts that control the United States’s legal position in regards to the tribes.”

On the topic of tribes, Gardner addressed the most recent Supreme Court case involving the tribes, Sharp v. Murphy, and emphasized possible, incredible implications on the state of Oklahoma and 19 million acres lying East of Oklahoma City.

The case is pending and raises the question of whether Congress disestablished the Muscogee Nation reservation. Click here for more information on issues surrounding the case.

Gardner is a Director and an attorney in the Energy & Natural Resources Practice Group. She represents energy companies in a variety of matters in both Oklahoma and Texas.

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.

Phillips Murrah healthcare attorneys to address nation’s opioid epidemic

Oklahoma healthcare attorneys Mary Holloway Richard and Samuel D. Newton

Phillips Murrah attorneys Mary Holloway Richard and Samuel D. Newton

Phillips Murrah Healthcare attorneys Mary Holloway Richard and Samuel D. Newton will be featured presenters for a program exploring the opioid epidemic in Oklahoma and across the country.

“Our purpose is to provide information to the attendees about different policies and programs across the country, which is extraordinarily helpful in tailoring responses that will be effective in our state and in explaining policies and programs to everyone they impact,” Richard said.

The program will be presented for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit by the Oklahoma Bar Association Health Law Section at noon on April 11 via live webcast.

“This program has been designed for policy makers, attorneys, healthcare professionals, regulators, law enforcement, patients and their families and community advocates,” Richard said.

Participants can expect the program to cover the statutes, regulations and policies being implemented to combat this epidemic by making services more available, detecting abuse and misuse within the healthcare system, and supporting enforcement and remedial processes, according to the Oklahoma Bar Association.

“The opioid epidemic touches every quadrant of our society with high costs to addicted individual and their families and presenting an unsustainable financial drain on our local communities, state and nation,” Richard said. “The presenters offer information about the depth and breadth of this problem in Oklahoma, responses from across the nation, and the programs that are in place in Oklahoma.”

Those interested may click here for more information and to register for this program.

Mary Holloway Richard is a healthcare lawyer who has written extensively in this area and has published a review of state programs across the nation.

Samuel D. Newton is an attorney who represents healthcare providers and practitioners with a special focus on long term care and licensure.

Click here for more information about Phillips Murrah’s Healthcare Law practice. 

Phillips Murrah attorneys address wind energy impacts on real property

Jim Roth and C. Eric Davis are attorneys in the Energy and Natural Resources Practice Group at Phillips Murrah.

Phillips Murrah Director Jim Roth and attorney C. Eric Davis spoke about clean energy in Oklahoma at recent presentations hosted by the Oklahoma Bar Association.

The OBA’s Real Property Section hosted the Cleverdon Round Table event on May 18 in Oklahoma City and on May 19 in Tulsa.

The presentation outlined Oklahoma’s potential as a national leader in wind resources noting that Oklahoma generates the third most electricity from wind energy nationwide.

In discussing real property law impacts, Roth and Davis noted wind energy can be viewed as involving competing interests of landowners and how to respectively balance the rights of those landowners receiving compensation versus those out of proximity of wind facilities or turbines.

Roth presented in Oklahoma City, and Davis presented in Tulsa.

Firm sponsors panel exploring civility between opposing counsel

Michael D. Carter

Michael D. Carter

An upcoming panel discussion plans to “bridge the divide” between attorneys in the courtroom.

Phillips Murrah is sponsoring “Behaving Badly is For Toddlers: Bringing Civility Back into Civil Litigation,” a Continuing Learning Education opportunity hosted Dec. 12 at the Oklahoma Bar Association.

“This CLE was established in an effort to remind both sides of the value of civility in (and out) of the courtroom,” said Christine Sterkel, Executive Director for the Oklahoma Association for Justice. “We hope that people will leave with a greater sense of compassion for one another and the work they are doing, and that they are reminded that we’re all working towards the same goal of justice for our clients.”

Phillips Murrah Attorney Michael D. Carter was recently elected to be President of the Oklahoma Association of Defense Counsel, who is presenting the panel with the OAJ.

“Phillips Murrah is proud to support this effort by Oklahoma Association of Justice and Oklahoma Association of Defense Counsel to improve civility in the litigation practice,” he said. “This will be a special opportunity to bring together attorneys who come from opposite sides of a sometimes combative environment and advocate for civility and professionalism.”

Click here for more information on the CLE.

Phillips Murrah attorney graduates OBA Leadership Academy

Cody J. Cooper is an attorney whose practice is concentrated in commercial litigation, product liability, and intellectual property.

Attorney Cody J. Cooper became one of 18 participants to graduate from the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Leadership Academy in June.

“This class was an excellent opportunity to meet and engage with other attorneys actively engaged in or seeking to engage in leadership roles throughout our community and the Bar Association,” Cooper said. “It introduced us to different leadership styles to help us development our own sense of leadership.”

Participants were selected from a pool of applicants spanning the state to receive training in leadership, motivation and communication.

“The Academy also introduced us to different leadership opportunities both within and outside of the Bar Association and encouraged our involvement in the Bar Association and our communities,” Cooper said. “We were able to interact with experienced lawyers, judges and community leaders in order to discuss their roles in leadership throughout the state.”

Cooper was admitted to the Academy in Sept. 2015.

Attorney Mary Holloway Richard moderates webcast for OBA

Mary Richard is recognized as one of pioneers in health care law in Oklahoma. She has represented institutional and non-institutional providers of health services, as well as patients and their families.

Mary Richard is recognized as one of pioneers in health care law in Oklahoma. She has represented institutional and non-institutional providers of health services, as well as patients and their families.

Phillips Murrah Health Care Attorney Mary Holloway Richard hosted a webcast October 28 for the Health Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association.

“The presentation is entitled ‘Representing Vulnerable Populations: Behavioral Health Patients and Families,’ Richard said. “The webcast covers psychiatric diagnoses, emergency detention and involuntary admissions, confidentiality of information and other topics which will be useful to attorneys across the state called upon to represent behavioral health patients and their families.”

Richard served as moderator and presenter along with Judge Don Andrews, District Judge Oklahoma County formerly assigned to the Mental Health docket; Dr. Britta Ostermeyer, chairman Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine; and Dewayne Moore, general counsel of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

The presentation was offered for Continuing Legal Education credit and will be made available by the OBA here.


Attorney Cody Cooper accepted to OBA Leadership Academy


Cody J. Cooper represents individuals and companies in a wide range of civil litigation matters. His practice concentrates on commercial litigation, intellectual property and labor and employment law.

The Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA) selected Attorney Cody Cooper as one of 22 emerging leaders in Oklahoma’s legal community to be members of the Oklahoma Bar Association Leadership Academy Class of 2016.

Participants have been selected from a pool of applicants spanning the state and will receive training in leadership, motivation and communication.

“I thought this would be a great opportunity to become more involved in the OBA, in general,” Cooper said. “I also see it as a good opportunity for personal growth, to expand my own knowledge and experience, and gain valuable leadership knowledge and skills.”

Originating from OBA’s Leadership Conference in 2007, the academy is aimed at developing the future leaders of the OBA by giving Oklahoma attorneys training in the core principles of effective leadership and how to communicate, motivate and succeed in their legal careers and as community leaders.

Fred Leibrock copy

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.

“Almost all lawyers I know generously volunteer, serve and give of themselves,” Phillips Murrah Director Fred Leibrock said. “The OBA Leadership Academy helps train lawyers to sharpen their skills as community leaders. The Academy provides a great service not just to the Bar Association, but also to the communities in which Academy members live and practice. Cody Cooper is a brilliant young lawyer who has a servant’s heart.  He’s a perfect fit with the Academy’s goal of preparing those who want to serve our profession, our bar and our state.”

The OBA Leadership Academy will include five sessions, the first of which is set for September 2015 and the academy will conclude with its fifth and final session in April 2016.

The first session in September will kick off the first half of the academy with Herb Rubenstein, nationally known for his course work and book on Leadership for Lawyers.

“They will get an inside look at what we do here in our administrative offices and about the various ways they can serve,” said Susan Krug, OBA Director of Educational Programs. “They will participate in the OBA Annual Meeting where they will learn more about the workings of the Bar Association, the Board of Governors, Committees, Divisions and Departments.

“They will hear from a panel of lawyers that were in previous leadership academies and learn about special projects sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division, Law Day, Oklahoma Lawyers for America’s Heroes and opportunities within the ABA.”

The second half of the academy focuses more on leadership in action at the state, court and community level, ethics, the importance of selecting an independent judiciary, and servant leadership/diversity and community and life balance, Krug said.

“Being a lawyer is a calling that carries with it obligations that transcend the mere delivery of services,” OBA President David Poarch said in a press release about the 2016 class selection. “The Oklahoma Bar Association’s Leadership Academy prepares those who want to serve our profession, our bar and our state by providing them with tools to help them better communicate, motivate and succeed.”

There will be a graduation ceremony in April where academy graduates will hear from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Reif, the 2016 President of the Board of Governors, Garvin Isaacs and Mike Turpen. The 2015-2016 group will be the sixth class to graduate from the academy.

PM attorneys publish Oklahoma Product Liability Law article in Bar Journal

By Chris Pearson, Thomas G. Wolfe, Lyndon Whitmire and Cody J. Cooper

Bar Journal CoverThe Oklahoma Bar Association published an update to an article “An Overview of Oklahoma Product Liability Law” in the April 18, 2015 edition of the Oklahoma Bar Journal.


SCHOLARLY ARTICLE: An Overview of Oklahoma Product Liability Law

Any discussion of Oklahoma product liability law must start where Oklahoma product liability law started, with the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s 1974 opinion in Kirkland v. General Motors Corp.

In Kirkland, the plaintiff was driving her friend’s new Buick Opel on Interstate 44 in Tulsa County.

It was alleged that the driver’s seat back suddenly collapsed, leaving her unable to control the car. As a result, her vehicle hit the highway median and then struck an oncoming vehicle head-on.

Approximately one month after the accident, General Motors (GM) issued a recall letter to all owners of Buick Opels concerning the “seat back adjustment mechanism.”

…read the article excerpt here.

Phillips Murrah President and Director, Tom Wolfe co-authored the original article with former colleague, Chris Pearson, who is now a partner at the Law Firm of Germer, Beaman & Brown in Austin.

The first update, which garnered a 2003 Maurice Merrill Golden Quill Award from the Oklahoma Bar Association, featured Phillips Murrah Litigation Practice Group Leader and Director, Lyndon Whitmire and Ruth Anderson Gates, who is now senior in-house counsel at Nissan North America Inc.

The article, now in its second update, includes contributions from Phillips Murrah Associate Attorney, Cody Cooper.

See the full magazine here:

Phillips Murrah law firm forms new partnership

By M. Scott Carter

[ SEPTEMBER 15, 2011 – OKLAHOMA CITY ] The Oklahoma City law firm of Phillips Murrah P.C. is 25 percent bigger today – thanks to a new partnership with the Kline, Kline, Elliott and Bryant firm and other new additions.

Read more