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Phillips Murrah partners with Cristo Rey OKC

Cristo Rey Students

Phillips Murrah Marketing Director Dave Rhea and Attorney Bill Price welcome the four Cristo Rey students who will be working with the Firm during the 2018-2019 school year.

Phillips Murrah law firm is proud to sponsor the inaugural freshman class of Cristo Rey Oklahoma City Catholic High School.

Students in the school’s Corporate Work Study Program will begin working with the Firm in a variety of capacities on Aug. 13.

Four students will alternate working with the Firm each day in general clerical and administrative matters. The team of students “job share” the position for the school year with each student working one full day per week plus one Friday per month. Academic schedules are staggered so students won’t miss class due to work. As part of the school’s Corporate Work Study Program, students get valuable work experience in addition to a salary that is used to support their tuition and minimize costs for families.

“We at Phillips Murrah are excited for the opportunity to work with these bright, young minds and share with them insight into the legal field,” said Thomas G. Wolfe, Phillips Murrah President and Managing Partner. “Given that the work may be fast-paced and ever-changing, I have full confidence these students will gain unique and practical experience that will stick with them throughout their education and professional careers.”

Phillips Murrah joins a long list of Corporate Work Study Partners including: American Fidelity, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, BancFirst, Catholic Charities, the Chickasaw Nation, Clements Foods, Express Employment Professionals, First National Bank of Oklahoma, Grace Living Centers and Humphreys Capital, Latino Community Development Agency, Lopez Foods, Loves Travel Stops & Country Stores, McBride Orthopedic Hospital, Mercy Health, Oklahoma City National Memorial, Oklahoma City Thunder, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, The Oklahoman, Slawson Exploration, Stella Nova Cafes, Synergy Datacom Supply, United Way, Variety Care and Weokie Federal Credit Union.

Cristo Rey’s Oklahoma City chapter is part of Cristo Rey Network, the only network of high schools in the country that integrate four years of rigorous college preparatory academics with four years of professional work experience.

To learn more about Cristo Rey, visit the network’s website here.

 

Why Weinstein’s creditors hired bankruptcy counsel

Gavel to Gavel appears in The Journal Record. This column was originally published in The Journal Record on November 16, 2017.


Clayton D. Ketter is a Director and a litigator whose practice involves a wide range of business litigation in both federal and state court, including extensive experience in financial restructurings and bankruptcy matters.

By Phillips Murrah Director Clayton D. Ketter

Since the onslaught of sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, his film studio, The Weinstein Company, has wasted no time in firing its founder. Yet, the namesake studio has been unable to distance itself from Mr. Weinstein’s bad press, and it is questionable how willing moviegoers will be to support anything associated with the toxic moniker. This has prompted speculation that a bankruptcy is looming.

While The Weinstein Company has not filed for bankruptcy, and denies any plans to do so, some of the company’s debtholders reportedly have already retained bankruptcy attorneys. Why? At first glance, it may seem odd for creditors to hire bankruptcy counsel before a filing is even initiated. However, there are strategic reasons as to why early retention makes sense.

Often, a company facing financial pressure will attempt, prior to filing, to work with its largest lenders to craft a strategy that is mutually beneficial to all parties. Cooperation among debtors and creditors increases the likelihood of a successful bankruptcy and can significantly reduce associated attorneys’ fees.

Even if the parties won’t work together, bankruptcy counsel can provide vital pre-bankruptcy assistance to a creditor. It is normal for the debtor to file a number of pleadings on the day the bankruptcy is commenced or shortly thereafter. These typically include mundane items such as authority to continue to use bank accounts, pay employees and employ legal professionals. However, it is also possible for significant relief to be requested as part of these first-day motions, including post-bankruptcy financing arrangements or even requests to liquidate assets. Having bankruptcy counsel at the ready and fully engaged allows a creditor to immediately respond to any such requests to ensure the creditor’s rights are protected.

Should The Weinstein Company file bankruptcy, it is likely to begin with a motion seeking to liquidate its highly portable assets, which include its film library, and movie and television development projects. Those assets could be acquired by a rival studio and washed of the Weinstein name, thereby increasing the potential value. The Weinstein Company’s significant creditors would want to ensure that they won’t get blindsided by a sudden bankruptcy filing and a first-day motion to sell. Their early retention of bankruptcy counsel will help prevent such a scenario from happening.

Clayton D. Ketter is a director and litigation attorney at Phillips Murrah P.C. who specializes in financial restructuring.

Phillips Murrah named among 2018 Best Law Firms in 38 practice areas

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that our law firm has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 “Best Law Firms” for professional excellence for the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area in the following practice areas:

Tier 1

  • Administrative / Regulatory Law
  • Banking and Finance Law
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Commercial Transactions / UCC Law
  • Energy Law
  • Government Relations Practice
  • Land Use & Zoning Law
  • Litigation – Banking & Finance
  • Litigation – Bankruptcy
  • Litigation – Land Use & Zoning
  • Litigation – Real Estate
  • Litigation – Tax
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
  • Real Estate Law
  • Tax Law
  • Trusts & Estates Law

Tier 2

  • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Employment Law – Individuals
  • Litigation – Antitrust
  • Litigation – ERISA
  • Mergers & Acquisitions Law
  • Public Finance Law
  • Securities / Capital Markets Law
  • Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Tier 3

  • Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)
  • Construction Law
  • Employment Law – Management
  • Environmental Law
  • Family Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Litigation – Trusts & Estates
  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
  • Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Oil & Gas Law
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Venture Capital Law

This list is for the Oklahoma City Metropolitan area. 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 37 of our attorneys are recognized by Best Lawyers in America for 2018.

Firms included in the 2018 “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.

Four Phillips Murrah attorneys chosen as Lawyers of the Year

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that four of our Directors have been named Lawyers of the Year on The Best Lawyers in America© 2018 list in Oklahoma City.

2018 Lawyers of the Year

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Construction Law

Fred A. Leibrock – Litigation – ERISA

J. Mark Lovelace – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)

Jim A. Roth – Government Relations Practice

The Lawyers of the Year join 33 other Phillips Murrah attorneys who were named to the 2018 Best Lawyers list.

Learn more about the Firm’s accolades on the Firm and Attorney Recognition page.

Roth: Pushing American ingenuity forward

By Jim Roth, Director and Chair of the Firm’s Clean Energy Practice Group. This column was originally published in The Journal Record on March 20, 2017.


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

Pushing American ingenuity forward

Two cars leave Detroit at the exact same time, traveling 60 miles per hour, headed to drive through every state in the continental United States over the coming years.

Car A begins and maintains a steady 34-miles-per-gallon fuel efficiency during every year of its journey, while emitting 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over eight years. Car B begins year 2017 with 34-miles-per-gallon fuel efficiency and adjusts upward each year to a level of 54 miles per gallon by 2025, while emitting only 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide during the same eight-year period.

Now unlike those typical rate-time-distance math questions, this presents a more direct question for the American consumer: Which car would you want to own?

For me, and my family’s budget, the answer is Car B.

Moreover, perhaps the bigger question, the great unknown with the scenario above that is actually beginning to play out in national politics today, is: Which car will be available for you from an American manufacturer?

That answer seems more likely to be Car A, if “Detroit” gets its way.

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE standards are American regulations, first passed by Congress in 1975 in reaction to the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. These regulations exist to improve the average fuel economy of cars and “light trucks,” including trucks, vans and SUVs, produced for sale in America. The calculations and mathematical formulas for setting the CAFE standards have evolved over time and since 2012, the standards are determined through an inverse-linear formula reflecting the footprint of various vehicles by fleet.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulates CAFE standards and the Environmental Protection Agency measures vehicle fuel efficiency. Congress specifies that CAFE standards must be set at the “maximum feasible level” given consideration for: technological feasibility; economic practicality; effect of other standards on fuel economy; and need of the nation to conserve energy.

I wish that Congress would actually include a fifth consideration for the “need for American consumers to save money” or at least “need for American ingenuity to be pushed forward.”

While it’s probably true that most American consumer behavior is driven by pure economics, it has also been true that Americans will buy big gas guzzlers unless and until they can’t afford the largesse of that vehicle’s gas consumption. And the same is true, that many Americans will search out cars in the market that meet their budget-conscious needs too, as has been evident in the past decades as Japanese imports with higher fuel economy, better safety records and less maintenance costs began a strong foothold into the American market. Meanwhile, most American car manufacturers fought innovation and regulation, including fighting early versions of electric cars. I’m old enough to remember that was the first time that Detroit needed a taxpayer bailout.

So please pay close attention to the “Detroit 3” asking the president to reopen the new 2016 “Midterm CAFE Standards” and whether their reasons are to benefit the consumer or themselves. And although the 2025 model year target of 54.5 miles per gallon may seem tough, there is no doubt that the increasing fuel efficiency standards are a direct benefit to your families’ bottom line, to our collective energy and national security and to the arc of American ingenuity.

Lets’ not take our foot off the accelerator now.

Jim Roth, a former Oklahoma corporation commissioner, is an attorney with Phillips Murrah P.C. in Oklahoma City, where his practice focuses on clean, green energy for Oklahoma.

Director commemorates 20 years of service for Positive Tomorrows

Nikki Edwards and Julie McDaniel

Twenty years ago, when Phillips Murrah Director Nikki Jones Edwards first set foot on the Positive Tomorrows campus, she was hooked. Two decades later, she’s still going strong and is now one of the organization’s biggest advocates.

“In law school, I thought I would graduate and work for the ACLU, or some other grassroots community organization, using my law degree to help the less fortunate or underserved in some way,” said Nikki, Chair of the Firm’s Family Law Practice Group. “Although I entered private practice, I still wanted to find ways to serve or advocate for the marginalized people in our community.” A friend introduced Nikki to Positive Tomorrows, and she was off and running.

Positive Tomorrows is Oklahoma’s only elementary school that serves homeless children. The school provides a unique blend of educational and social services to homeless children and families in hopes of providing quality education despite the unstable circumstances that homelessness can create.

In 1997, Nikki began volunteering at the school. At first, she tried to pace herself, coming into the school every month to read to the kindergarten classes. But it wasn’t long before she became a very familiar face around campus, eventually making weekly trips to the school to read. “It was the best part of my week,” she said.

NIkki Edwards, Nedra Funk, and Chris Batson Deason

Her drive and passion for the Positive Tomorrows mission did not go unnoticed. Nikki was invited to sit on the Board of Directors and she jumped at the opportunity. “I served on the Board for several years until my son, Sam, was born. I resigned from the Board to focus on Sam, but continued to support the organization through financial and in-kind donations and attending Positive Tomorrows-sponsored events.”

“During the next few years, while she wasn’t on the board, she was definitely a friend of Positive Tomorrows,” said Susan Agel, Principal and President of the Board. “We heard from her regularly and she was always available to give advice and assist in other areas. I was saddened when she resigned from the board, but I knew she had made the right decision. I resolved to wait until she was ready and invited her back again.”

When Nikki rejoined the board two years ago, she also brought the Phillips Murrah family along with her.

“Phillips Murrah not only supports my efforts at Positive Tomorrows, but the Firm and our employees have become partners to the organization as well. Some of our attorneys volunteer at the school, and the Firm contributes to various projects throughout the year,” Nikki said.

Her dedication to this at-risk population is changing lives. “We work with a very difficult population with every strike against them,” said Agel. “Our lasting legacy is to introduce a different life to children who are growing up in very difficult circumstances.”

Nikki attributes her motivation to serve to her upbringing, giving credit to her mother, Rita.

“My mom, who was one of my biggest role models, was a psychotherapist and she dedicated countless hours to volunteering and training volunteers in the area of domestic violence abuse prevention,” she said.

Nikki uses her mother’s example as a template to tackle a different community problem—homelessness. Applying the same tenacity and commitment as her mother, Nikki has been an advocate, supporter and friend to Positive Tomorrows for two decades. “Homelessness can be never-ending. It has the potential to be a vicious cycle, repeated by these kids because they emulate their parents’ actions,” she said, adding that Positive Tomorrows is part of the solution.

Kindergarten students working dress up for Dr. Seuss Day in a classroom at Positive Tomorrows.

“A professor once told me that education is the lone equalizer, and I could not agree more,” she said. “These children know that Positive Tomorrows is a safe, nurturing and calming place where they can actually learn. Public schools simply cannot provide the same holistic environment of family services and education. Public schools aren’t equipped to handle a child who is falling asleep in class because she was awake all night at the homeless shelter or was displaced in the middle of the night because her family was kicked out of a relative’s home.”

Research has shown that working with homeless children in this kind of environment can have a long-term impact on the success of a child and his or her family, Agel said. “We want children to feel a sense of control over their destiny and that’s one thing that is often lacking for people in poverty,” she said.

In addition to assisting homeless families and educating homeless children, Agel said, “Our role is to help teach the general public about poverty, in general, and homelessness in particular.”

Recently, Positive Tomorrows launched a fundraising campaign to expand the reach of their message and allow the school to provide services to more children.

“We are in the beginning stages of implementing a capital campaign to raise $10.2 million, which would allow us to double our capacity from 74 to 140 students,” Agel said. “So far this school year, we have turned away 88 students due to a lack of space and resources.”

“The new school will have space for a special education classroom and designated space for music and art, as well as a gym for PE classes. The new building will also include a severe weather safe room, which we currently do not have,” she said.

The organization plans to build the school on the NorthCare campus in Oklahoma City.

“The campus is shaping up to be a center for family and child social-emotional health, and we expect some strong programs to develop out of that partnership,” Agel said. “We’re also hearing that other nonprofits are exploring the location and we’re excited about these possibilities for future partnerships.”

Although Nikki’s commitment to Positive Tomorrows spans two decades, she’s already looking forward to the next twenty years. “I’m excited to see what’s in store for our next phase. Our capital campaign is underway, and I have no doubt that our community will rally to support Positive Tomorrows as it has done for many years.”



To learn ways to get involved with Positive Tomorrows, please visit their website here.

Phillips Murrah named among Best Law Firms in 36 practice areas

blf-badge-2017-web-117x117Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that our law firm has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 “Best Law Firms” for professional excellence for the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area in the following practice areas:

Tier 1

  • Administrative / Regulatory Law
  • Banking and Finance Law
  • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Government Relations Practice
  • Land Use & Zoning Law
  • Litigation – Banking & Finance
  • Litigation – Bankruptcy
  • Litigation – Land Use & Zoning
  • Litigation – Real Estate
  • Litigation – Tax
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
  • Real Estate Law
  • Tax Law
  • Trusts & Estates Law

Tier 2

  • Commercial Transactions / UCC Law
  • Employment Law – Individuals
  • Energy Law
  • Litigation – Antitrust
  • Litigation – ERISA
  • Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Tier 3

  • Business Organizations (including LLC’s and Partnerships)
  • Construction Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Family Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Litigation – Trusts & Estates
  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
  • Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Mergers & Acquisitions Law
  • Oil & Gas Law
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Public Finance Law
  • Securities / Capital Markets Law
  • Venture Capital Law

This list is for the Oklahoma City Metropolitan area. 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 35 of our attorneys are recognized by Best Lawyers in America for 2017.

Firms included in the 2017 “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.

Phillips Murrah announces 35 attorneys named to 2017 Best Lawyers list

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that 35 of our attorneys have been named to the 2017 Best Lawyers® list and seven of our attorneys are recognized as Best Lawyers – Lawyer of the Year in Oklahoma City.

2017 Best Lawyers – Lawyers of the Year

Douglas A. Branch – Venture Capital Law

Michael D. Carter – Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Shannon K. Emmons – Employment Law – Individuals

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Construction Law

Fred A. Leibrock – Litigation – Antitrust

G. Calvin Sharpe – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants

Thomas G. Wolfe – Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

2017 Best Lawyers

Jennifer Ivester Berry – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Real Estate Law

Douglas A. Branch – Securities / Capital Markets Law; Venture Capital Law

Elizabeth K. Brown – Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Michael D. Carter – Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Bobby Dolatabadi – Mergers and Acquisitions Law

Marc Edwards – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Commercial Litigation; Government Relations Practice

Nicholle Jones Edwards – Family Law

Stephen W. Elliott – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Shannon K. Emmons – Commercial Litigation; Employment Law – Individuals

Juston R. Givens – Commercial Litigation

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Construction Law; Land Use and Zoning Law; Real Estate Law

John D. Hastie – Litigation – Real Estate; Real Estate Law

Terry L. Hawkins – Public Finance Law

Heather L. Hintz – Commercial Litigation

Timothy D. Kline – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Fred A. Leibrock – Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law; Litigation – Antitrust; Litigation – ERISA; Litigation – Real Estate

Candace Williams Lisle – Commercial Litigation

Mark Lovelace – Banking and Finance Law; Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)

Melvin R. McVay, Jr. – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Bankruptcy; Litigation – Real Estate

Andrew S. Mildren – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Government Relations Practice

Jennifer L. Miller – Commercial Litigation

Cindy H. Murray – Real Estate Law

Robert O. O’Bannon – Tax Law

Martin G. Ozinga – Commercial Litigation

Donald A. Pape – Banking and Finance Law

Michael R. Perri – Commercial Litigation; Energy Law; Natural Resources Law; Oil and Gas Law

William S. Price – Government Relations Practice

Dawn M. Rahme – Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Jim A. Roth – Energy Law; Environmental Law; Government Relations Practice; Natural Resources Law

G. Calvin Sharpe – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Robert N. Sheets – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning; Litigation – Real Estate

Ellen K. Spiropoulos – Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Lyndon W. Whitmire – Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Thomas G. Wolfe – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Raymond E. Zschiesche – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Phillips Murrah serves as local counsel for Google Fiber in OKC

Google Fiber OKC

Jill Szuchmacher, director of expansion for Google Fiber, stands by on the rooftop terrace of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, as Mayor Mick Cornett announces Google Fiber may be coming to OKC.

Phillips Murrah is excited to serve as local counsel for Google Fiber and to help this great company explore bringing fiber to OKC.

Local coverage:

Oklahoman: Google Fiber takes a look at Oklahoma City

Journal Record: Rapid expansion: Google Fiber looks at OKC

KGOU Radio: Google Fiber Exploring Adding Service to Oklahoma City

KFOR-NBC: City leaders looking to bring Google Fiber to Oklahoma City

KWTV-CBS: Google Fiber Could Be On Its Way to OKC

KOCO-ABC: Officials working to bring Google Fiber to Oklahoma City

KOKH-FOX: Google exploring possibilities of bringing Google Fiber to Oklahoma City

Phillips Murrah announces 35 attorneys named to 2016 Best Lawyers list

Best Lawyers

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that 35 of our attorneys have been named to the 2016 Best Lawyers® list and three of our attorneys are recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2016 in Oklahoma City.

 

The Best Lawyers in America 2016

Stephen W. Elliott – Litigation – Bankruptcy

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Land Use and Zoning Law

Donald A. Pape – Banking and Finance Law

 

2016 Best Lawyers

Jennifer Ivester Berry – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Real Estate Law

Douglas A. Branch – Securities / Capital Markets Law; Venture Capital Law

Elizabeth K. Brown – Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Michael D. Carter – Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Bobby Dolatabadi – Mergers and Acquisitions Law

Marc Edwards – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Commercial Litigation; Government Relations Practice

Nicholle Jones Edwards – Family Law

Thomas Elder Jr. – Commercial Litigation

Stephen W. Elliott – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Shannon K. Emmons – Commercial Litigation; Employment Law – Individuals

Juston R. Givens – Commercial Litigation

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Construction Law; Land Use and Zoning Law; Real Estate Law

John D. Hastie – Litigation – Real Estate; Real Estate Law

Terry L. Hawkins – Public Finance Law

Heather L. Hintz – Commercial Litigation

Timothy D. Kline – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Fred A. Leibrock – Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law; Litigation – Antitrust; Litigation – ERISA; Litigation – Real Estate

Candace Williams Lisle – Commercial Litigation

Mark Lovelace – Banking and Finance Law; Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)

Melvin R. McVay, Jr. – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Bankruptcy; Litigation – Real Estate

Andrew S. Mildren – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Government Relations Practice

Jennifer L. Miller – Commercial Litigation

Cindy H. Murray – Real Estate Law

Robert O. O’Bannon – Tax Law

Martin G. Ozinga – Commercial Litigation

Donald A. Pape – Banking and Finance Law

Michael R. Perri – Commercial Litigation; Energy Law; Natural Resources Law; Oil and Gas Law

William S. Price – Government Relations Practice

Dawn M. Rahme – Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Jim A. Roth – Energy Law; Environmental Law; Government Relations Practice; Natural Resources Law

G. Calvin Sharpe – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Robert N. Sheets – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning; Litigation – Real Estate

Lyndon W. Whitmire – Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Thomas G. Wolfe – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Raymond E. Zschiesche – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

 

 

Levelland Productions puts OKC at top of Oklahoma music scene

levelland logoLevelland Productions got a lot of good press last week with their actions that are propelling the Oklahoma City music scene.

“It’s been exciting to see these guys get to this point,” said Phillips Murrah Director Juston R. Givens. “They’ve put in a lot of hard work and it’s fun to watch that come to fruition.”

For background, we mentioned Levelland in March as they broke ground on The Criterion, a premier live music venue that will allow A-list bands to come to Bricktown rather than playing at the various, road-trip-distance, edge-of-the-metro casino venues. Or in Tulsa, (which I’ll mention in a bit).

The Criterion is set to change the way we experience music in OKC with a world-class, dedicated-music venue comparable to what one would expect at a Hard Rock Live. Or a House of Blues (owned by Live Nation, which I’ll mention in a bit.).

Last week, Levelland announced a 15-year agreement to operate the iconic Tower Theater, an historic theater situated on 23rd Street between Hudson and Walker. This agreement will make Tower Theatre into a roughly a 1000-capacity music venue and an upscale cocktail bar.

Please see these great stories by OKC historian/contemporarian, Steve Lackmeyer, for the details:
Tower Theater in Uptown bought by local developers with history of success
Tower Theater signs long-term deal to host live music

On the heels of that announcement came word that Levelland Productions is teaming up with Live Nation for booking talent into The Criterion. The word on the street is that this move will put Oklahoma City on the map as the state’s music capitol.

From the NewsOK article, Live Nation Is Coming to Bricktown (It’s a Big Deal), Lackmeyer wrote:

“Live Nation is the big dog in the concert industry, and if there is any entity out there can smash apart the status quo of Oklahoma City taking a back seat to Tulsa when it comes to live music and not lose out other major acts to the casinos, it is Live Nation.”

Here is Lackmeyer’s full story about the The Criterion / Live Nation partnership.

 

Tips for bands: What to consider when hiring a manager

By Juston R. Givens, Director

We’ve all heard stories about the wild lifestyle of a modern musician – days on the road, nights of debauchery, money, fun and more money. But more often than not, we also hear stories of the flip side of stardom, when young bands get stifled because of poor business decisions and bad professional relationships.

small ampFor a band in its early stages, deciding on who to trust and how to make wise choices on the “business” side of show business is critical. Enter the band’s manager: the person who oversees the operations side of the effort. The manager helps assemble a team which can include the road manager, merchandise manager, publicist – and even the band’s attorney.

But how does a band know the difference between a manager who could take them places vs. one who could stall their career before it even begins?

Band managers have incredible influence on the success, direction and partnerships of the band’s business, so finding, retaining and empowering a manager is critical. Here are some issues for a band to consider when hiring a manager:

  • Who’s in charge?
    Remember, your manager works for the band, not the other way around. Even though they may have more industry experience and better contacts, ultimately decisions need to be made with the band’s best interest in mind.
  • Legal advice
    Your manager may be great at managing the operations and logistics of the band, but that doesn’t not make him an attorney. Get good legal advice about any contract your band signs to ensure there is an absolute understanding of the agreement.
  • The Yoko Rule
    When deciding on a manager, beware of bringing in relatives to fill that role (or any other important decision-making function in the band). It’s a common mistake, especially among younger artists. Pitfalls can include a lack of experience in the industry, unrealistic expectations for what the band can and can’t do, and conflicts with members of the band who aren’t related to them. Also, if a relative is your manager and doing a poor job, it’s harder to fire them. So don’t hire them in the first place.

Management agreement red flags

When signing a management agreement, a band ought to keep in mind the ramifications, short- and long-term, that document will have. It’s this moment, more than any other, when a fledgling artist can sacrifice future success because of early, naive decisions.

  1. First and foremost, don’t give away the future just because you can’t imagine it (whether it has great or middling success) or that it just seems too far away. Don’t begin by handing over rights to a manager without an exchange that also has long-term benefits, such as a substantial investment or significant opportunity.
  2. Also when looking at an agreement – and this is where good legal counsel is valuable – make sure you and your band know exactly what the agreement contains and what it means. The more details the better, especially in terms of the manager’s and the band’s expectations and who has decision-making authority over specific areas. You also want to avoid open-ended contracts. Just with typical employment, your manager should have a set period to accomplish certain goals and then be evaluated on their performance.
  3. Finally, to ensure the artistic integrity of everyone in the band, make sure that when you sign a management deal, signing as a band doesn’t prevent individuals from pursuing other projects as a solo artist or upon leaving the group.

Not every band’s story has to be an E! True Hollywood story. With the right forethought in who helps the band in its journey, a band can have a long and healthy career and – possibly – a very happy ending.

Q&A with Jim Roth: More Oklahomans seek to power their own homes, businesses

By Paula Burkes, business writer for NewsOK.com.
Published in The Daily Oklahoman on Aug. 26, 2014.
View Jim Roth’s attorney profile here.

Q&A with Jim Roth: More Oklahomans seek to power their own homes, businesses

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

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

Q: What is distributed generation?
A: Distributed generation refers to generating power at the site of consumption. When a home, business or school is equipped with a rooftop solar system, its electrical demands are partially met with the energy that the solar system produces. This allows consumers to take control of powering their own homes and businesses.

Q: How are Oklahomans utilizing distributed generation?
A: Oklahomans are using distributed generation to power their lives — to turn on the lights, power the air conditioning on a hot day, charge their electronics, etc. Homes and businesses are seeking the ability to produce their own energy, be less dependent on the utility, and make a sound financial environment. Distributed generation enables you to do all three.

Q: What are the benefits to Oklahomans powering their own homes and businesses?
A: Clean, local energy reduces the burden on and inefficiencies associated with the transmission and distribution infrastructure, as compared to when electricity is produced centrally. There are also significant economic benefits, as rooftop solar creates more jobs per megawatt than any other form of energy.

Q: What impact can this have for our energy future?
A: As more consumers seek to power their own homes and businesses, we will continue to increase an energy choice that is absent in the current monopoly utility model, and decrease our dependence on polluting fuel sources from central power stations. Granting Oklahomans energy empowerment and choice will continue to pave the way for a more sustainable and cleaner energy future in the state.