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Jennifer Christian, Kayla Kuri join Phillips Murrah’s legal team in Oklahoma office

Attorney Jennifer Christian

Jennifer K. Christian – Click to view profile

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 1, 2021) – Phillips Murrah is proud to welcome Jennifer K. Christian and Kayla M. Kuri to the Firm’s legal team.

Jennifer Christian is an Of Counsel attorney who assists clients in a wide range of transactional matters and litigation involving business law, contractual disputes, real estate, banking, healthcare, business divorce, construction, trust administration, insurance coverage and bad faith, and employment-related matters.

Jennifer’s practice includes helping clients in understanding business challenges and finding solutions that coincide with and advance their objectives and interests, whether it relates to business formation or restructuring, risk management, or litigation. She serves as a volunteer for the Oklahoma County Bar Association’s Lawyers for Learning Committee, and she is a member the OBA Client Security Fund Committee and Leadership Oklahoma City’s LOYAL Class VIII.

A native Oklahoman, Jennifer attended the University of Oklahoma, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Letters with honors in 2003. In 2007, she received her Juris Doctorate, summa cum laude, from the Oklahoma City University School of Law and was honored as the Outstanding Graduate for the class of 2007.

While in law school, Jennifer was the Editor-in-Chief for the Oklahoma City University Law Review, a pupil in the Ruth Bader Ginsberg Inn of Court, a Merit Scholar and a member of Phi Delta Phi. Her article, “Whistleblower Protection Under Sarbanes-Oxley: Key Provisions and Recent Case Developments,” was selected for publication in the 2006 edition of the Oklahoma City University Law Review. Jennifer was also a recipient of the Dean’s Circle Scholarship and academic achievement awards in the areas of civil procedure, corporations, legal research and writing, evidence, bankruptcy, agency and partnership, comparative law, and conflicts of law.

Attorney Kayla M Kuri

Kayla M. Kuri – Click to view profile

Kayla Kuri is an Associate attorney who represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of commercial and business matters, including mergers and acquisitions, real estate transactions, private securities offerings, and commercial financing transactions.

Kayla has represented clients across many industries in structuring, negotiating, and documenting business transactions, with an emphasis on merger, acquisition, and divestiture transactions. Kayla counsels public and private companies on matters related to corporate governance and routinely drafts and negotiates a wide range of commercial contracts. In addition, Kayla also has extensive experience representing oil and gas industry clients in drafting and negotiating various industry-related agreements, including master services agreements.

While in law school, Kayla was Assistant Managing Editor of the Oklahoma Law Review, as well as a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council and the Ruth Bader Ginsberg Inn of Court. She received the American Jurisprudence Award in business associations, real estate transactions, wills and trusts, conflicts of law, and criminal procedure. Kayla was also a recipient of the Comfort “Top Ten” Scholarship and graduated with highest honors.

Kayla grew up in Beebe, Arkansas, but she now lives in Oklahoma City and considers herself a true “Okie.” In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, cooking, and traveling.

 


CONTACT:

Phillips Murrah – Oklahoma City Office:
101 N. Robinson Ave., Thirteenth Floor
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Main: (405) 235-4100
Fax: (405) 235-4133

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Phillips Murrah benefits The Homeless Alliance in Paying it Forward campaign

Phillips Murrah Paying It Forward Header Graphic

Phillips Murrah Presents: Paying It Forward

Amplifying the message of one non-profit each month for a year

[Paying It Forward] In Dec. 2020, Phillips Murrah partnered with Oklahoma NPR radio station KGOU to sponsor broadcast announcements each month that shine a light on a selected non-profit organization. Our aim is to amplify each beneficiary organizations’ needs and goals, and to help increase awareness, drive volunteer quality and quantity, assist in fundraising support, and improve capacity to deliver service to the community.

Our beneficiary in March is The Homeless Alliance, an organization that is critical to the wellbeing of our community. The Homeless Alliance envisions a more collaborative system of care, utilizing nationally recognized, research-based best practices, which takes advantage of centralized planning and consistent outside evaluation. #PIFOKC


March Beneficiary

The Homeless Alliance 

Homeless alliance logo

The Homeless Alliance works to end long-term homelessness in Oklahoma City by building the capacity of the community through collaboration with other agencies, identifying and filling gaps in homeless services, bringing nationally-recognized best practices to the community, and working to build a system that is more efficient, rational, and caring.

The Homeless Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to rallying the community to end homelessness in Oklahoma City through collaboration with service providers, city government, and local businesses.  In order to end long-term homelessness, they focus on the following:

  • A strategic vision to end homelessness.
  • Elimination of gaps in services by increasing collaboration among service providers.
  • An increased supply of affordable housing and permanent supportive housing.

The Homeless Alliance operates several housing programs for families with children, coordinates a community effort to house veterans and people who are chronically homeless, operates the IT infrastructure used by homeless-serving agencies in central Oklahoma, and publishes The Curbside Chronicle, a magazine that provides a voice and legitimate source of income for people who are homeless.

Contact The Homeless Alliance: WEBSITE DONATEFACEBOOKTWITTER


Previous Beneficiaries

February 2021: Mental Health Association Oklahoma
January 2021: Positive Tomorrows
December 2020: Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

McMahan elected to OCBA Young Lawyers Division board

Attorney Natalie M. McMahan is a litigation attorney who represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of civil litigation matters.

The Oklahoma County Bar Association elected Attorney Natalie M. McMahan to the Board of Directors for the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) for 2021.

“I am looking forward to being connected to the larger community of young attorneys in Oklahoma County,” McMahan said. “The Board’s efforts to connect its members and contribute to the larger community through service and philanthropy are important to the profession and to me.

“I’ve already enjoyed getting to know the Board and look forward to becoming more involved as event planning resumes later this year.”

McMahan will serve as a member of the YLD Board of Directors through November.

The YLD was organized in 1966 to provide an avenue for Oklahoma’s young lawyers, who have been in practice for 10 years or less, to work on bar-related and public service-related projects.

In 2019, the Firm was honored by OCBA YLD with the “Friend of the YLD” award for the support Phillips Murrah and its attorneys have consistently displayed through volunteering and sponsorship.

Read more about McMahan and her legal experience here.

Carter accepted into Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel

Michael Carter attorney portrait

Michael D. Carter is an experienced litigator and represents a wide variety of parties in environmental and toxic tort cases in state and federal courts.

Michael D. Carter, Phillips Murrah Of Counsel Attorney, has been accepted as a new member to the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC).

“As an active member of Defense Research Institute (DRI), I was aware of the FDCC as an exclusive, invitation-only sister organization of DRI. I was honored and humbled to receive an invitation to apply and be vetted for membership in FDCC, and even more honored to be accepted as a member,” Carter said. “FDCC is famous for its collegiality and camaraderie, as well as substantive law programs.”

Carter is an experienced litigator and represents a wide variety of parties in environmental and toxic tort cases in state and federal courts. In addition, he is a long-time policy advisor on workers’ compensation issues in the state of Oklahoma.

“I am excited for the pandemic to wind down so I can network and participate with these illustrious members of the civil defense bar,” he said.

The FDCC was founded in 1936 and has maintained the mission of creating a network of established defense counsel, in which members are nominated and require approval before being accepted.

Read more about FDCC at its website here.

Director’s personal style featured on local fashion blog

Nikki Edwards for Maz Modern

Director Nikki Edwards is featured as the inaugural author of Maz Modern’s Tuesday Takeover column.

A standard is set for work attire in the legal field, but Director Nikki Edwards’ fashion sense caught the eye of local blog Maz Modern.

“A colleague of mine reached out and asked if I’d be interested in writing for her new website, and I accepted,” Nikki said. “I’m thankful I had a support team behind me.”

Nikki was tasked with writing Maz Modern’s inaugural Tuesday Takeover column, and Phillips Murrah’s Family Law team used their resources to band together and shoot portraits of her around the Firm’s office with just an iPhone.

Molly E. Tipton, Phillips Murrah Family Law Attorney, shared the article on social media telling readers to surround themselves with those that motivate and inspire them saying she’s “proud to call this intellectual powerhouse and stylish woman” her mentor.

“As a busy working mom/litigation director at Phillips Murrah, I have less time to shop than ever; hence my wardrobe reflects a cacophony of items, which create my style,” Nikki writes.

Visit Maz Modern to learn more about Nikki and find her tips for shopping local.

Gardner assumes role as adjunct professor for OCU Law

Melissa Gardner speaks at OCU Law

Director Melissa R. Gardner is teaching the Corporations course for Oklahoma City University School of Law’s Spring 2021 semester.

Director Melissa R. Gardner is sharing her expertise with future lawyers, leading a class at Oklahoma City University School of Law for the Spring 2021 semester.

“I’m teaching the Corporations class this semester as an adjunct professor at OCU Law,” Gardner said. “I’m covering all of Corporations, which is a bit intimidating for both the students and myself!

“It’s a pretty important class, as it’s on the bar exam and a required course. It’s been such a joy and a new challenge and a bit like taking the class all over again.”

Gardner is a Director in Phillips Murrah’s Energy & Natural Resources Practice Group. She represents both privately-owned and public companies in a wide variety of oil and gas matters, including oil and gas title examination, bankruptcy, probate, quiet title and liens.

“Professor Gardner is that perfect combination of qualified expertise on the subject and also a heart for the student experience,” said Jim Roth, Phillips Murrah Director and Dean of OCU Law.

Gardner regularly presents Continuing Legal Education seminars and was recently recognized as one of the Journal Record’s Achievers Under 40 for 2020.

“Teaching for the first time during a pandemic does present unique challenges,” Gardner said. “However, teaching is something I’ve always been interested in, so I’m very grateful to Dean Roth for giving me this opportunity.”

Phillips Murrah honored as Top Workplace for sixth consecutive year

Phillips Murrah law firm is proud to announce its inclusion as one of Oklahoma City’s Top Workplaces for six straight years.

“We are proud to be recognized for the sixth consecutive year as a Top Workplace in Oklahoma,” said Phillips Murrah Marketing Director, Dave Rhea. “The work environment at our Firm is important to us, and we’re happy that our workplace culture is recognized and appreciated by the people who work at Phillips Murrah.”

The Firm has previously been recognized as one of Oklahoma’s Top Workplaces in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Partnering with The Oklahoman, Philadelphia-based company Energage  evaluates internal components of healthy workplace dynamics in companies across the country to determine Top Workplaces recipients.

The Oklahoman newspaper listed interesting facts for each winner, writing for Phillips Murrah:

Over the past 30 years, the firm’s attorneys have been involved in nearly every major initiative that has helped transform Oklahoma City from a Midwestern metropolitan upstart to the thriving business center that it is today. From Urban renewal in the ’80s to post-century Bricktown and back again with sustainability and historic preservation projects, the firm has been a part of the city’s growth and success.

Every year, the newspaper encourages Oklahoma companies and organizations to participate in a survey that employees complete anonymously, detailing employee satisfaction, company values, internal communication, leadership and other various determinates.

To learn more about the workplace culture and opportunities at Phillips Murrah, visit our Careers page: https://phillipsmurrah.com/careers.

Richard, healthcare counsel to review Stark Law, Anti-Kickback Statute final rules

By Phillips Murrah Healthcare Attorney Mary Holloway Richard

Oklahoma Opioid Decision by Phillips Murrah healthcare attorney Mary Holloway

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.

Final Rules have been issued for both the Stark Law (“Stark”) and the Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”).  Healthcare providers and their counsel have been awaiting these new rules for some time now.  In the days ahead, Phillips Murrah healthcare counsel will be studying the 627 pages of the Stark Final Rules and the 1,000 pages of the AKS Final Rules in order to advise our clients with regard to these changes.

Stark: 

The Final Rules for Stark establish new and permanent exceptions for value-based arrangements which will apply broadly to care provided for all patients and not just Medicare patients.  Stark will continue to act to limit overutilization of services, fraud and other abuse in the healthcare industry but will offer increased flexibility for current strategies and activities to encourage value-based arrangements, coordination and improvement of care which are both reasonable and beneficial to patients.

AKS: 

The Final Rule includes seven new safe harbors and modifications of four existing safe harbors.  In addition, there is a new exception for Civil Monetary Penalties Act for Beneficiary Inducements.  Of interest to counsel for both physicians and hospitals is the Final Rule’s clarification of Fair Market (“FMV”) as related to physician compensation.  FMV has been a continued troublesome of scrutiny and debate by all participants in the healthcare industry.  Also significant for many healthcare clients are the modifications and clarification of provisions related to cyber security and digital technology.

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.

Sharpe accepted into Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel

Director G. Calvin Sharpe has been accepted as a new member to the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC).

Calvin Sharpe Web pic

G. Calvin Sharpe

“After many years of primarily focusing on medical malpractice defense, I began diversifying my practice about 15 years ago and now represent numerous corporate clients,” Sharpe said. “FDCC is well-known as the best professional trade association for linking defense attorneys—like myself—with corporate counsel and executives who—also like myself—greatly value integrity, professionalism, and civility.

“The educational opportunities that FDCC affords are incomparable and will no doubt be invaluable to my practice. I am honored to have been invited to FDCC’s membership and look forward to getting very involved.”

Founded in 1936, the FDCC has maintained the mission of creating a network of established defense counsel, in which members are nominated and require approval before being accepted.

“Networking has long been an important part of the career of most lawyers,” Sharpe said. “I met most of my current clients through networking events or networking through friends and colleagues. What sets FDCC apart is that it not only provides many networking opportunities through many different means, but it provides those opportunities with individuals and companies of diverse backgrounds and expertise who have been vetted and proven themselves to have met FDCC’s very high standards.

“To have the opportunity to engage with the FDCC membership is a unique privilege that would give anyone a leg up in the path toward a successful career.”

Sharpe has 30 years of experience in Oklahoma courtrooms, representing a diverse list of business clients in matters relating to medical malpractice, medical devices, products liability, insurance and commercial litigation.

Read more about FDCC at its website 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.

Phillips Murrah named among 2021 Best Law Firms in 47 practice areas

Phillips MurrahPhillips Murrah is proud to announce that our law firm has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 “Best Law Firms” for professional excellence for the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area and the Dallas/Fort Worth area in the following practice areas:

Oklahoma City

Tier 1

  • Administrative / Regulatory Law
  • Banking and Finance Law
  • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)
  • Commercial Finance Law
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Commercial Transactions / UCC Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Energy Regulatory Law
  • Financial Services Regulation Law
  • Government Relations Practice
  • Information Technology Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Litigation – Bankruptcy
  • Litigation – Labor & Employment
  • Litigation – Land Use & Zoning
  • Litigation – Real Estate
  • Litigation – Tax
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
  • Real Estate Law
  • Trusts & Estates Law

Tier 2

  • Employment Law – Management
  • Energy Law
  • Land Use & Zoning Law
  • Litigation – Banking & Finance
  • Mergers & Acquisitions Law
  • Oil & Gas Law
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Public Finance Law
  • Securities Regulation
  • Tax Law
  • Water Law
  • Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Tier 3

  • Bet-the-Company Litigation
  • Construction Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Family Law
  • Health Care Law
  • Labor Law – Management
  • Litigation – Antitrust
  • Litigation – ERISA
  • Litigation – Trusts & Estates
  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
  • Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Technology Law

Dallas/Fort Worth

Tier 3

  • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law

 

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 61 of our attorneys are recognized by Best Lawyers in America for 2021.

Firms included in the 2020 “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.

NextGen Under 30 awards Kendra Norman in legal field

As the American labor force evolves to accommodate an influx of millennial-generation employees, standing out in a flooded career field grows more competitive and valuable.

Kendra Norman Web

Kendra M. Norman represents individuals and businesses in a broad range of transactional matters.

NextGen Under 30, which names top performing Oklahomans under 30 years of age across various industries, has named Attorney Kendra M. Norman to its 2020 honorary list in the Law category.

“I’m extremely honored to receive this award a few short weeks before I turn 30,” Norman said. “There are so many other amazing recipients, including several of my LOYAL XV classmates with which I am so excited to celebrate!

“I appreciate the opportunity to make a difference in the Oklahoma City as an attorney and as a volunteer in the community, and I am very grateful to be recognized for those efforts!”

NextGen recognizes strives to highlight the accomplishments of individuals who are making a difference within their respective industries and who demonstrate talent, drive and service to their communities.

“Kendra is not only outstanding in her role as an attorney with Phillips Murrah, but also impressive in the roles she’s taken upon herself in supporting her community and fostering connections with students who plan to enter the legal field,” said Joshua L. Edwards, Director and Transactional Practice Group Leader. “Phillips Murrah recognizes the potential our younger lawyers have to be successful leaders in the firm and in the community, and we seek to encourage and support them in their development.

“Kendra is a prime example of what can be accomplished when dedicated and compassionate individuals thrive in their practice and in their community involvement, and we are proud she is honored as NextGen Under 30 recipient.”

Honorees had the opportunity to meet and network at an Oct. 19 social event at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

“It was really awesome to meet so many other recipients from around the state and talk to young leaders in several different professions,” Norman said.

NextGen chose 379 Oklahomans as 2020 award winners in 20 career categories from 241 companies and organizations.

Read the full list of winners on NextGen’s website here.

Law360’s 2020 Glass Ceiling Report: Phillips Murrah ranked for gender diversity

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that our Firm is ranked in Law360’s 2020 Glass Ceiling Report.

Phillips Murrah Glass Ceiling Report visual

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Each year, Law360 surveys participating law firms in various size categories and ranks their percentage of female attorneys and female equity partners. They publish their findings in the Glass Ceiling Report. For the 2020 GCR, Phillips Murrah is ranked 12th in the nation for firms of 100 attorneys or less.

Click on the graphic on this page to examine details of Law360’s findings about Phillips Murrah. The full story and an interactive data graphic is HERE. The numbers used by Law360 were collected on their survey in April 2020.

“We’re pleased to receive this recognition for Phillips Murrah and its culture, which rewards talent, skill, and work ethic, and affords equal opportunities to all,” said Candace Williams Lisle, Phillips Murrah Director and Chair of our Firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. “Not only is Phillips Murrah a leader in the percentage of women attorneys, but more importantly, in women who have a seat at the table as equity partners and firm leaders. Our goal is not simply diversity – but equity and inclusion as well. We’re fortunate that the pool of legal talent in our region includes so many accomplished women, and that so many practice law with us at Phillips Murrah.”

Law360 Ceiling Smashers 2020 graphic

Click to enlarge.

Phillips Murrah is also featured in a Law360 article titled “These Firms Have The Most Women In Equity Partnerships,” which names our Firm among those that have the highest representation of women equity partners.

“Here are this year’s Ceiling Smashers — the top 10 firms in each law firm size category that are outpacing their peers as the legal industry works towards closing the gender gap in its top ranks.” – Law360

Phillips Murrah has a long history of elevating attorneys based on skill and talent, and we continue to lead, both locally and nationally, in our number of women attorneys and equity partners.

However, according to Law360, progress has not been easy in the overall legal industry.

“While law firms continue to tout efforts to close the gender gap in their ranks, parity is still a distant goal, our annual survey shows. Law360’s Glass Ceiling Report indicates only incremental growth in the number of female lawyers in private practice. Female attorneys remain underrepresented at U.S. law firms, particularly at the highest levels.” – Law360

Law 360 wrote that they see the Glass Ceiling Report as the beginning of a conversation that they hope will expand as they develop new ways of examining gender diversity in the profession and evaluate the data that is the most relevant to answering the difficult questions. As they continue to collect and analyze data, they also welcome your comments here.


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Laurel Baker joins Phillips Murrah law firm’s Dallas legal team

Laurel L. Baker portrait

Laurel L. Baker – Click to view profile.

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 19, 2020) – Phillips Murrah P.C. is pleased to announce Laurel L. Baker has joined the Firm in its Dallas office as an Associate attorney. Her addition to the Firm brings the number of Phillips Murrah attorneys serving the Texas market to 16.

Laurel is a litigation attorney whose primary focus is on commercial and business litigation matters representing both plaintiffs and defendants in business and commercial disputes involving banking, corporate governance, contract disputes, mergers and acquisitions, employment, and other business litigation issues.

Laurel received her J.D. from the SMU Dedman School of Law and was a Dean’s Scholarship Recipient. While at SMU, she was Auction Director for the Association of Public Interest Law, a student attorney in the Child Advocacy Clinic, and an Articles Editor of the International Law Review Association.

She is a member of the State Bar of Texas and holds a B.A. degree in Political Science from Baylor University where she graduated Cum Laude.

Phillips Murrah opened its Dallas office in May of 2018.


CONTACT:

Phillips Murrah – Dallas Office:
3710 Rawlins Street, Suite 1420
Dallas, Texas 75219

Main: (214) 615-6365
Fax: (214) 434-1370​​

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Phillips Murrah recognized as Champion of Justice Law Firm by Texas Access to Justice Commission

The Texas Access to Justice Commission announced Phillips Murrah is among the recipients of their Champion of Justice Law Firm Award. The Commission presents the awards to attorneys and law firms who champion and support the important work of Texas legal aid and pro bono providers.

Phillips Murrah is recognized via our Texas office, located in Dallas.

Texas Access to Justice Champion of Justice Law Firm

Click to enlarge.

About The Texas Access to Justice Commission:

The Supreme Court of Texas created the Texas Access to Justice Commission in 2001 with the mandate of expanding access to justice for low-income Texans. Because there are a variety of challenges to access to justice in Texas, the Commission’s work is necessarily multi-faceted. These are our primary areas of focus:

  • Policy Initiatives: By promoting policies that remove barriers to our judicial system, the Commission works to create a framework for equitable access to justice.

  • Resource Development: Through ongoing fundraising efforts and a strong partnership with the State Legislature, the Commission works to secure funding and other resources for legal aid across Texas.

  • Awareness and Education: By educating the legal community about access to justice issues and the importance of pro bono work, and by training legal aid lawyers to effectively advocate for their clients, the Commission seeks to expand and enhance the delivery of legal aid and pro bono services across Texas.

To contact Phillips Murrah’s Dallas office, email or call:

Janet A. Hendrick photoJanet A. Hendrick
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jahendrick@phillipsmurrah.com
214.615.6391
3710 Rawlins Street
Suite 1420
Dallas, TX 75219


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Vicarious liability – Physicians can take steps to minimize risk

The following column was originally published in The Journal Record on October 5, 2020.


Martin J. Lopez portrait

Martin J. Lopez III is a litigation attorney who represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of civil litigation matters.

By Phillips Murrah Attorney Martin J. Lopez III

Between 2003 and 2020, the number of certified physician assistants practicing in the United States increased by over 220%. Set against this landscape of PA’s increasing role in health care, supervising physicians must be especially mindful of their responsibilities.

According to the Oklahoma’s Physician Assistant Act, a PA may practice medicine and prescribe drugs and medical supplies only under the supervision and direction of a state-licensed physician. The OPAA requires that the supervisory relationship be articulated and agreed upon by means of a practice agreement, which accounts for protocols and the scope of practice, as well as the PA’s education, training, skills and experience.

For physicians already juggling a busy patient caseload and bearing the responsibility of supervision and delegation of decision-making authority for up to four PAs at once, it is not uncommon for them to abrogate this responsibility by taking a hands-off or passive approach to this working relationship. However, they must be aware that the governing statute establishes that “at all times, a physician assistant shall be considered an agent of the delegating physician.”

This is known in the law as establishing vicarious liability. While no reported case in Oklahoma has actually held a physician vicariously liable for the acts or omissions of a PA, the statutory language creates the possibility of the extension of PA liability to the supervising physician.

While supervising physicians need not be physically present nor consulted in each instance of PA patient care, they must be readily available through telecommunication and appropriately participate in services provided by the PA. The statute specifically notes the supervising physician must:

  • Be responsible for the formulation or approval of all orders and protocols that direct the delivery of services provided by a PA, and periodically review such orders and protocols.
  • Regularly review the services provided by the PA and any problems or complications encountered.
  • Review a sample of outpatient medical records at a site specified in the practice agreement.
  • While the OPAA sets forth the scope of physician supervision of a PA and participation in a PA’s practice, there are a number of steps that can be taken to minimize physician risks of vicarious liability:
  • Pay careful attention to credentials and qualifications during the PA hiring process.
  • Ensure that the practice agreement includes a listing of the PA’s scope-of-practice responsibilities, and the requirements and limitations of the physician’s delegation authority.
  • Specify aspects of care that require prior physician consultation or approval.
  • Include language setting out the manner in which the record review requirement will be met by the PA and physician.

Once the PA begins practice, the supervising physician is advised to actively monitor the PA to ensure compliance with the practice agreement and that the PA provides patient care in a manner that does not exceed the PA’s level of skill and competence. Likewise, the physician should foster an environment in which the PA’s consultation with the physician is not perfunctory, but is actively encouraged to a meaningful extent to further the care rendered to the patient.

As with so many issues in health care today, risk is based not only upon regulatory language but also upon an analysis of the facts. Potential vicarious liability risk is mitigated by beginning with a practice agreement that takes all of these requirements and concerns into account.

Martin J. Lopez is an attorney at the law form of Phillips Murrah.

Proactive tech considerations in the era of the virtual workplace

The following column was originally published in The Oklahoman on October 4, 2020.


Hilary Hudson Clifton Web

Hilary Hudson Clifton is a litigation attorney who represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of civil litigation matters. Click photo to visit her attorney profile.

By Phillips Murrah Attorney Hilary H. Clifton

As thousands of workers continue to clock in remotely each day, many businesses are still learning the ins-and-outs of the virtual collaboration platforms their employees are using.

Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Docs, BlueJeans, Trello, and, of course, the ubiquitous Zoom, are only a few of the programs that have recently evolved from helpful but perhaps underutilized tech tools, to vital aspects of daily operations.

In the rush to adapt to these new realities, however, savvy businesses should be deliberate when selecting and utilizing virtual collaboration tools.

Though only time can play out the range of virtual workplace conduct that might cause headaches for businesses and employers, cautionary tales are emerging. For example, one doctoral student at Stockton University in New Jersey found himself facing potential disciplinary action after using an image of President Trump as his screen background during a class being held via Zoom.

Though his apparent political statement was likely intentional, it’s not difficult to imagine how one might make an inadvertent statement — political or otherwise — via a video conference background.

A controversial book on a bookshelf or a political poster hanging in a home office might become pertinent, for example, in an employee’s suit against a supervisor, or a family photograph of a luxury vacation might raise questions in a collection lawsuit.

In addition, long before the pandemic, businesses have been grappling with managing, storing, and retrieving vast quantities of electronic data.

In the age of telework, the built-in chat functionalities found in many applications allow users to forego traditional email and participate in fast-paced conversation threads that can promote informality and create huge quantities of data that might be mined by opposing parties in litigation.

Video conferencing platforms also often include a “chat” functionality, allowing participants to send private and/or public messages to one another during the course of a meeting, with those chats potentially, and potentially unbeknownst to the participants, becoming part of a memorialized “transcript” following the meeting.

Fortunately, many applications already have built-in features to deal with some of these concerns.

Zoom users can brush up on how to control private “chat” capabilities by visiting the support section of their website. For fans of Microsoft Teams, Microsoft has a page devoted to mining group chats for discoverable content.

To be truly proactive, however, businesses relying heavily on telework should consider implementing an express telework policy that covers the use of video conferencing and other collaboration platforms.

Employers could include policies stating whether video conferences will be recorded, or requiring that employees use a neutral background during business-related conferences (to make marketing lemonade out of pandemic lemons, many companies have created their own branded Zoom backgrounds).

Additionally, having a policy in place that specifies which programs employees are permitted to use for work-related communications can help streamline the retention and retrieval of important data. Though continuing to do business in the midst of Covid-19 can feel like an overwhelming minefield of uncertainties, proactive businesses can nevertheless adapt and thrive by taking control of their virtual workplaces.

Hilary H. Clifton is an attorney at the law firm of Phillips Murrah.

Phillips Murrah maintains support of National Association of Women Lawyers as 2020 Sustaining Sponsor

National Association of Women Lawyers logo

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce its inclusion as a 2020 National Association of Women Lawyers Sustaining Sponsor, continuing the Firm’s mission to promote gender equality in the legal field.

NAWL is the nation’s oldest professional organization devoted to the interests and progress of women lawyers and women’s legal rights, and members include individual attorneys, including private practice, corporate, academic, government and non-profit attorneys, and groups, including law firms, corporate legal departments, law schools, and bar associations.

“NAWL has been empowering women in the legal profession for more than a century,” Director Janet A. Hendrick said. “I am proud of Phillips Murrah’s continued support of this venerable organization and its important work, and equally proud of our firm’s demonstrated commitment to advancing and supporting women in the legal profession.”

NAWL’s events and resources help bring awareness to gender-based topics and challenges within the legal profession, and the group’s advocacy initiatives address current and ongoing gender and racial equality issues across the country.

For more information, visit the NAWL website at https://www.nawl.org.

 

Phillips Murrah sponsors Positive Tomorrows at 2020 Cork & Canvas

Positive Tomorrows’ hosted its annual Cork & Canvas event, sponsored by Phillips Murrah and Director Nikki Jones Edwards, via virtual livestream on Sept. 17.

The event was originally scheduled for April 16 but was rescheduled and repurposed as an online auction event due to COVID-19. This change created an opportunity for Positive Tomorrow to air videos from supporting sponsors during the event.

Watch Phillips Murrah’s sponsor video below:

Nikki has supported Positive Tomorrows in various roles, serving as the Past President, volunteer, and four-term board member. She recently commemorated 20 years of service for the organization.

Positive Tomorrows is Oklahoma’s only elementary school specifically serving homeless children and their families and prides itself on educating at-risk children by dedicating attention to their unique educational and social service needs.

Learn more about Positive Tomorrows here.

Read more about Phillips Murrah’s support of Positive Tomorrows below:

Phillips Murrah welcomes two new attorneys to litigation team

Phillips Murrah is proud to welcome Natalie M. Jester and Laurie L. Schweinle to our Firm’s Litigation Practice Group as associate attorneys.

Attorney Laurie L. Schweinle and Natalie M. Jester

Laurie L. Schweinle and Natalie M. Jester

Natalie and Laurie represent individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of civil litigation matters.

Natalie attended the University of Oklahoma College of Law where she earned the American Jurisprudence Award for Professional Responsibility, Litigation Skills, and the Criminal Defense Clinic. She served as the Staff Editor on the Oklahoma Law Review and was on the Dean’s Honor Roll.

Prior to law school, Natalie was an Officer in the U.S. Navy. She now lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and two dogs.

Laurie attended the Oklahoma City University School of Law where she earned multiple CALI Awards for Excellence and was on the Dean’s List and Faculty Honor Roll. She served as a Staff Editor on the Law Review and received the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Outstanding Senior Law Student Award for OCU. She was also a member of the Phi Delta Phi Honor Society.

Laurie was raised in the Holdenville, Oklahoma area and received a Bachelor’s Degree from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. Prior to law school, Laurie worked for the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training as the Executive Assistant, Public Information Officer, and Legislative Liaison.

Voth accepted into LOKC’s Signature Class 39

Attorney Lauren S. Voth has been accepted into Leadership Oklahoma City’s next Signature Class.

Attorney Lauren Symcox Voth

“Usually, the Signature LOKC program is a 10-month program with classes each month that focus on different community issues,” Voth said. “This year will be a little different and LOKC Class 39’s start date will be deferred to Fall 2021, however, we will have virtual meetings and get to attend alumni events throughout this year.”

The Signature Program is comprised of a two-day opening retreat and one-day-a-month programs for accepted individuals familiar with volunteer programs to network and increase their impact on their organizations and their community. Applicants are typically senior executives, business owners, and high-level directors and managers across industries and business types regionally.

“I am excited that we are in this unique position to spend a year getting to know one another and then another year learning and exploring Oklahoma City’s community issues, diversity, and resources,” Voth said.

To learn more about the Signature Program and other Leadership Oklahoma City programs, visit their website here.

Cross to give virtual presentation for Texas Bankers conference

Director Alison J. Cross will present for banking counsel at a unique, joint conference Sept. 17-18 hosted by Texas Bankers Association’s Bankers Legal Conference and Southwest Association of Bank Counsel.

Phillips Murrah attorney Alison Cross

Director Alison Cross works with both lenders and borrowers in commercial finance transactions.

The conference, which will be broadcast online for the first time due to COVID-19, is organized by and for attorneys and will aide participants in identifying and managing a variety of issues in fair lending, cybersecurity, employment law, and other timely topics.

Cross’s presentation is titled “A Tale of Two Titles: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Leasehold Lending.”

“My presentation covers issues that come up when a bank makes a loan secured by a borrower’s interest in a ground lease,” Cross said. “The main takeaways are to plan for the best by getting the right diligence but prepare for the worst by getting the right protections.”

For more information about this virtual conference, visit TBA’s website here.

Gardner to present ethics CLE for in-house corporate counsel

Director Melissa R. Gardner will give a Continuing Legal Education presentation virtually for Association of Corporate Counsel on Sept. 9.

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.

ACC is a global association that aims to be an educational resource and networking platform for in-house counsel in corporations, associations and other organizations.

“Phillips Murrah is happy to sponsor the Oklahoma Chapter of the ACC and to partner with OK ACC in serving the business interests of our in-house counterparts,” Director Joshua L. Edwards said.

Gardner’s presentation is a refresher for a full spectrum of ethics issues in-house counsel manage on a daily basis.

“In my experience, continuing legal education for ethics is incredibly important because you are often on your own when making these decisions,” she said. “Plus, your relationships working with your clients on a day-to-day basis make some of the more difficult ethics calls more complicated than they would be if there was an arm’s length relationship.”

Gardner will cover Oklahoma’s Rules of Professional Conduct and address eight common ethics issues, exploring practical scenarios and ways to address each.

“Putting on programs like this allows us to support OK ACC’s mission of providing continuing education opportunities to its members,” Edwards said.

To learn more about ACC and this CLE, visit their website here.

Phillips Murrah voted 2020 Reader’s Choice Best Local Law Firm

The Oklahoman newspaper’s readers named Phillips Murrah law firm a winner of Readers’ Choice Awards in two categories for 2020.

Phillips Murrah P.C. was voted Best Local Law Firm, and Director Elizabeth K. Brown was chosen as Best Business Attorney.

Remaining nominees from the Firm were voted into the Top 3 of their respective categories:

Readers of The Oklahoman chose nominees in May and voted on winners in June.

The winners were recognized at the Readers’ Choice event on Aug. 27.

PM attorneys create “practical” guide to commercial real estate leasing

Phillips Murrah attorneys merged their expertise to curate a commercial real estate leasing legal guide for Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law resource.

Thomson Reuters Practical Law provides guidance across many practice areas with hundreds of editors monitoring each subject to make day-to-day updates as legal viewpoints shift. Directors Sally A. Hasenfratz and Joshua L. Edwards and Attorneys Jennifer Ivester Berry and Erica K. Halley contributed to organizing the August 5, 2020 update for Real Estate Leasing for Oklahoma.

“I enjoyed spending time taking an earnest look at the various layers of my real estate and leasing practice to create a user-friendly roadmap on the basics in the Oklahoma market,” Halley said. “Q&As like this and similar materials made available by Thompson Reuters are great resources for out-of-state attorneys and, particularly, local attorneys who may be handling a matter outside of their usual field.”

thomson reuters practical law

Read more on Phillips Murrah’s Real Estate Leasing guide for Oklahoma from Thomson Reuters here.

Cooper elected 2021 OCBA Vice President

Oklahoma County Bar Association members voted to elect Cody J. Cooper, Phillips Murrah Director, as Vice President for 2021.

Cody Cooper online photo

Cody Cooper is a Director in the Intellectual Property Practice Group and represents individuals and companies in a wide range of intellectual property matters, including patent, trademark and copyright matters. His practice also includes commercial litigation.

“I enjoy being involved in the Oklahoma County Bar because it provides me an opportunity to be directly involved with Oklahoma County’s legal community and provides me an excellent opportunity to meet and work with colleagues that I wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to work with,” he said. “I have the chance to work directly with our county judges, law schools and practitioners throughout the county to further the work of the bar and provide a positive community impact.”

Cooper is currently serving his term on OCBA’s Board of Directors, a role he assumed in 2019 and will serve in until his term as Vice President begins in August 2021.

OCBA members also elected Judge Don Andrews as President, Shanda McKenney as President-Elect, Benjamin Grubb as Law Library Trustee, and Ed Blau, Judge Heather Coyle, Katherine Mazaheri-Franze, Drew Mildren, Amy Pierce, and Judge Susan Stallings as members of the 2023 Board of Directors.

To learn more about OCBA, visit their website here.

Does COVID-19 constitute a material adverse effect?

Gavel to Gavel appears in The Journal Record. This column was originally published in The Journal Record on August 6, 2020.


By Phillips Murrah Attorney Travis E. Harrison

Travis Harrison

Travis E. Harrison is a transactional attorney who represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of transactional matters.

In addition to a vast human toll, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on businesses, markets and supply chains. With infections still spreading, businesses have suffered cash and liquidity constraints and anticipate such suffering to continue.

The pandemic also presents unique risks to parties in acquisition agreements, such as risks concerning the financial viability of the target company. Parties often address these risks by including material adverse effects, or MAE, clauses.

Generally speaking, an MAE is an event, circumstance, change or effect that presents a material threat to the business of the target company. MAE clauses account for this possibility and allocate risk among the parties.

Such clauses are frequently used as conditions to closing and qualifiers to the seller’s representations. If the target company suffers an MAE as defined in the agreement, the clause allows the buyer to unilaterally terminate the deal without being considered in breach of contract. The seller can qualify representations made about the condition of the target company, making it more difficult for a buyer to assert a breach. Also, exclusions to the definition of an MAE are identified, such as industrywide market conditions.

One increasingly common issue is whether COVID-19 constitutes an MAE. The following questions may help determine the answer and assist parties in the negotiation stages:

  • Are there MAE exclusions such as epidemics, pandemics and natural disasters?
  • Has COVID-19 resulted in unique issues for the target company that are disproportionate to other companies in the same industry?
  • Is the buyer obligated to use certain efforts to close the deal notwithstanding events that affect the financial condition of the target company?
  • What other limitations apply to an MAE? For example, can events only occurring after executing the agreement qualify as an MAE?
  • Have the parties contractually shifted the burden to the seller to prove that an MAE has not occurred?

While these questions may provide guidance on the issue, establishing whether an MAE has occurred is a highly fact-intensive issue that depends on the unique circumstances involved and the specific language used in the acquisition agreement. It should also be noted that buyers have faced a significant burden in court to show that any event meets the criteria of an MAE. As more parties litigate the issue, the courts will play an important role in establishing precedent that will shape how parties negotiate acquisition agreements.

Travis E. Harrison is an attorney with the law firm of Phillips Murrah.

GIP names Jim Roth as new board member

Global Innovation Platform has named Jim Roth, Phillips Murrah Director, as a board member.

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

“Jim has extensive depth and insights regarding energy policy, trends and opportunities and will add tremendous value to the governance of GIP,” said David Swank, CEO of GIP. “I had the great pleasure of working with Jim while he served as Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner and found Jim to be very innovative, forward thinking and pragmatic about where we need to be going in the energy and built environment space.”

Roth is a member of the Phillips Murrah Law Firm’s Energy & Natural Resources Practice Group and chair of the Clean Energy Practice Group. He represents individuals, publicly-owned companies and privately-owned companies in a range of business, energy and environmental issues, as well as a variety of public policy and regulatory matters.

He served as an Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner, by appointment of Governor Brad Henry. Prior to that appointment, Roth was elected to consecutive four-year terms as Oklahoma County Commissioner. He is a member of the Oklahoma, Kansas, and American Bar Associations and is a past president of the National Association of Civil County Attorneys.

Additionally, in 2018, Jim began serving as the dean of the Oklahoma City University School of Law, his alma mater. He enjoys bringing leadership and innovation to preparing tomorrow’s lawyers for the legal profession. Roth is an alumnus of OCU Law, earning his Juris Doctor degree in 1994. He also holds graduate certificates from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the United States Air War College’s National Security Forum at Maxwell Air Force Base, and the Institute of Public Utilities at Michigan State University.

“Jim’s vast experience within the energy sector will be highly beneficial to our shareholders,” said Jordan Harper, GIP board chair. “Jim is an individual who brings out the best of others and organizations. I appreciate his ability to generate ideas and build solutions that are meaningful to clients and society in general.”

GIP is an IoT (Internet of Things) and digital data company located in Stillwater, Okla. The company provides technology solutions that make infrastructure and facilities smarter and intuitive. GIP’s primary clients include the utility, commercial, industrial, agriculture and residential sectors. Learn more about GIP at globalinnovationplatform.com.

Blocks for Bucks continues with NBA Bubble Season Restart

Phillips Murrah Blocks for Bucks 2020

It was here, then it was gone. Now, it’s back again! On Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball season resumes in Orlando. FL. The Thunder are paired against the team we were supposed to play twenty weeks ago, when the season was abruptly, unceremoniously shut down due to the COVID-19 virus.

OKC Thunder cancelled seasonWith the tip-off against the Utah Jazz at 2:30 p.m., so resumes Phillips Murrah’s Blocks for Bucks partnership with the Thunder Cares Foundation. The rest of the season will be played in what is being characterized as “The Bubble,” which is an isolation zone set up for the NBA in Orlando’s Disney property with strict protocols designed to keep players and the teams’ supporting staff safe from exposure to coronavirus.

What is Blocks for Bucks?

Starting in 2017, Phillips Murrah first partnered with the Thunder to recognize our home team’s on-court accomplishments in blocking shots and turn our Firm’s support into dollars that will help make our community a better place. Through Blocks for Bucks, Phillips Murrah has been donating $100 to The Thunder Cares Foundation for each blocked shot that the Thunder forces at home games during the regular season.

Phillips Murrah 2018-2019 Oklahoma City Thunder Blocks for Bucks donation check

Phillips Murrah Directors G. Calvin Sharpe, Marc Edwards and Nikki Edwards present the 2018-2019 season Blocks for Bucks donation check for $20,600 to Christine Berney, OKC Thunder Vice President, Community Relations

As the 2019-2020 season resumes, the Phillips Murrah Blocks for Bucks count is at 160, which equates to $16,000 raised so far for Thunder Cares. The current blocks count and video highlights can be found at the Oklahoma City Thunder website.

Typically, Phillips Murrah presents a check at half-court in the Chesapeake Arena during the final home game of the season. Last year’s final amount totaled $20,600.

Thunder Cares helps support the team’s community outreach projects, including Thunder-themed basketball courts in parks, schools and community centers across Oklahoma, as well as learning labs and activity rooms at organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of Oklahoma CountyCity Rescue Mission and Positive Tomorrows.

Phillips Murrah is proud of our partnership with the Thunder Organization, and we – like all Thunder fans – are more than ready for the season to continue. Good luck, stay safe and Thunder Up!