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Firm selects Employee of the Month for February 2018

Jack Thach

Jack Thach, Office Clerk, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for February 2018.

“I’m blessed to be able to work with such a great group of people, and it is a real honor to win this award,” Thach said.

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Jack is dependable and always willing to pitch in or help with things outside his primary duty assignments,” David Carter, Lead Office Clerk, said.


Journal Record and Oklahoman Best Places to Work of 2017

Phillips Murrah has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma in 2017 by The Journal Record and an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/Energage three years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence.

Firm selects two Employees of the Month for January 2018

Nathan Hatcher and Lisa McAlister

Nathan Hatcher and Lisa McAlister

Nathan Hatcher, Assistant Marketing Director, and Lisa McAlister, Paralegal, are Phillips Murrah’s Employees of the Month for January 2018.

“I know it’s hard every month for each of us to decide who should get this honor, because the Firm’s staff is full of hard-working, deserving individuals,” Hatcher said. “I am so thankful that they’ve decided I am worthy of being ranked up there with them.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“More than being proud of working for an extraordinary law firm, I am proud of working with extraordinary peers that have presented me with this honor and recognition,” McAlister said.

In rare cases, the votes tallied end in a tie, and both winners receive the Employee of the Month honor.

“Nathan has worked with me for a few years, and I am continually impressed by how smart and diligent he is,” Executive Director Michelle Munda said. “His demeanor and personality are a complete delight every day.

“Lisa is a wonderful asset and Legal Assistant, and she takes the initiative to step in when she’s needed in other areas in a way that is very impactful and shows what a true team player she is.  We are lucky to have her here!”


Journal Record and Oklahoman Best Places to Work of 2017

Phillips Murrah has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma in 2017 by The Journal Record and an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/Energage three years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence.

Firm selects Employee of the Month for December 2017

Cristal Bazemore

Cristal Bazemore, Administrative Assistant, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for December 2017.

“It is an honor to win Employee of the Month,” she said. “I am grateful to be a part of such a great team and workplace!

“It is nice to work with such a large group of people who show their appreciation and care for one another.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Cristal is a great worker with what seems to be boundless energy, and never lets anything get her down,” Director J. Mark Lovelace said.


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma in 2017 by The Journal Record and an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/Energage three years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence.

Firm selects November Employee of the Month

Tommye Johnson

Tommye Johnson, Legal Nurse Consultant, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for November 2017.

“I am truly humbled to receive the Employee of the Month recognition from my peers,” she said. “Exhibiting the qualities which earn this recognition requires being surrounded by great co-workers who bring out the best in you.

“I’m very fortunate to work with the most professional and caring people at Phillips Murrah.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Tommye is a consummate professional whose strong work ethic, expertise and wide breadth of experience have solidified her as an essential team member to the litigation group at Phillips Murrah,” Director Juston R. Givens said.


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma in 2017 by The Journal Record and an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/Energage two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence.

LIBOR phase out means some mortgage, business loans need updating

Some mortgage, business loans may need updating with looming LIBOR bank rate phaseout.

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

Q: What is LIBOR?

A: The London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is the daily calculation of an average of estimated interest rates that a panel of around 20 banks calculate they’d be charged to borrow from other banks. LIBOR serves as the primary reference interest rate that’s overwhelmingly used by lenders to set their own interest rates including mortgage and student loan lenders, as well as credit card companies. It’s been used since 1986 for this purpose. LIBOR hasn’t been without its scandals, and in 2012, media outlets began to allege that LIBOR was being manipulated by the very banks that set the rate, leading to fines levied against financial institutions and prison sentences for individuals involved in the rate manipulation as well as regulatory backlash. The Financial Conduct Authority is the regulatory agency for LIBOR, and on July 27, in an apparent effort to replace rather than reform LIBOR, Chief Executive Andrew Bailey announced the recommendation that LIBOR phaseout at the end of 2021 due to a lack of confidence in the calculation as well as unwillingness among banks to use it.

Q: What’s the future of LIBOR and how could it affect consumers?

A: LIBOR has been used pervasively as a benchmark rate for loans for over 30 years. Most consumers have at least one agreement in effect that references LIBOR, whether it be a mortgage or business loan. Many of these contracts are long-term and won’t expire before 2021 when LIBOR will be phased out. Some of these loan contracts based upon LIBOR contain a fallback provision and reference an equivalent or alternative interest rate to be used in place of LIBOR, laying the foundation for those instruments to be governed by LIBOR’s eventual successor. However, lenders and borrowers should review existing loan documents, especially those continuing after 2021, to ascertain whether they’re LIBOR-based loans and then whether they reference an alternative rate in the event that LIBOR is no longer published. Those documents without fallback provisions or an alternative rate should be amended and updated so that they reference a substitute or new rate to avoid legal uncertainty once LIBOR is replaced.

Q: What will replace LIBOR?

A: LIBOR’s administrator will continue to produce LIBOR until 2021 and possibly after that time if banks continue to contribute to the benchmark rate, so there’s still time to figure out what will replace LIBOR, but there’s currently no go-to replacement. Lenders and borrowers should consider use of fallback provisions and flexible amendment provisions due to the unavailability of LIBOR in the future.

From NewsOK / by Paula Burkes
Published: November 16, 2017
Click to see Kendra M. Norman’s attorney profile

Not All Jokes, Propositions Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Q: What is sexual harassment?

A: The word “harassment” gets thrown around and used in a lot of contexts. or employment law purposes, unlawful sexual harassment is conduct in a work-related environment that reasonable persons would characterize as offensive and sexual in nature, which actually offends a person and can be said to affect the terms or conditions of the sufferer’s employment.

The emphasis of Kathryn D. Terry’s litigation practice is in the areas of insurance coverage, labor and employment law and civil rights defense.

Q: What does “work-related” mean?

A: First, unlawful sexual harassment doesn’t just occur at work or work events. In fact, more often than not, harassment takes place outside the office and after hours. All of the following are common: one co-worker shows up on the doorstep of another, uninvited and unwelcome; after-work drinks; work-related texts that turn personal. If the relationship is primarily work-related and a problem develops, it could be an issue for the employer. Secondly, the employer must actually be an “employer.” Today, almost every employer engages independent contractors and consultants — people who are not employees. If one or both of the persons involved aren’t actually employees, while the conduct at issue may be offensive, even reprehensible or unlawful, it may not be sexual harassment. For example, if an employee makes unwelcome and offensive advances to a courier or caterer who isn’t an employee but interacts with the company and its personnel, that isn’t technically sexual harassment for employment law purposes. Incidentally, although an employer in this situation may not be required to address the situation, it should. If another instance occurs, the first incident likely would demonstrate the employer had notice of bad conduct by the employee but took no remedial action.

Q: How offensive is offensive?

A: First, the proverbial “reasonable person” has to be offended. What offends someone in Oklahoma may be commonplace elsewhere. Every joke, or even every proposition, isn’t necessarily harassment. If a co-worker invites another co-worker out to dinner, the second declines and that’s the end of the story, that exchange is not very likely to be characterized as sexual harassment here in middle-America, regardless of whether the invitee was actually offended by the invitation. Second, the actual offense must occur. One co-worker could make routine, crude, offensive, sexual remarks toward a specific co-worker. However, if those remarks aren’t offensive to the recipient (he or she takes them, rightfully so, as jokes), there’s no sexual harassment in the workplace, no matter how vulgar the remarks may be. There are important caveats to be considered, however. Oftentimes persons who complain about long-standing harassment say they went along with the behavior hoping it would stop, fearing retaliation or thinking it was a joke and then it turned more serious. Thus, if a situation like this develops in the workplace, a prudent employer not only will inquire of the persons involved as to their comfort levels but also will direct the employees involved, regardless of their congenial relationship, to tone it down and be respectful not only of each other but also of other co-workers who are present.

Q: How bad does sexual harassment in the workplace have to be to be deemed harassment?

A: The buzzwords are that is has to adversely affect the “terms and conditions” of employment; it has to make the sufferer’s job worse in a meaningful way. But, for example, repeatedly asking out a co-worker despite being rebuffed and asked to cease the invitations, probably can be considered harassment. Moreover, as recent news events demonstrate, one severe incident can be very significant harassment. Conversely, little and subtle remarks and conduct over time can be detrimental to a person’s employment environment and an employer who knows of this type of conduct but fails to take action does so at its peril. A couple of major red flags also exist. If the employee alleging harassment also suffers an adverse economic impact (for example, demotion, reassignment or failure to give a bonus) or if there’s any kind of physical contact (even an unwelcome hug), very careful scrutiny of the events and the relationship is warranted.

From NewsOK / by Paula Burkes
Published: November 14, 2017
Click to see the full story – Not all jokes, propositions necessarily workplace sexual harassment

Click to see Kathryn D. Terry’s attorney profile

Oklahoma Manufacturing Sales Tax Exemption Attracts Investments

Q: What is Oklahoma’s manufacturing sales tax exemption?

A: Goods and equipment used in a manufacturing operation can be purchased exempt from sales and use tax by manufacturers. This type of sales tax exemption is designed to attract and promote business. It’s a proven tool that governments employ to make their communities more attractive. The rationale is simple: draw out-of-state investment and keep in-state investment rather than relinquishing that investment (and the associated jobs, taxes and infrastructure) to a competing location.

Jim A. Roth, Phillips Murrah

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

Q: What is the relevance of the manufacturing sales tax exemption to the energy industry in Oklahoma?

A: Under Oklahoma law, the term “manufacturing” includes the conversion of materials and natural resources into other materials that have a different form or use. This definition encompasses processes ranging from the manufacturing of oil field equipment to petroleum refining. Electric power generation is also considered manufacturing. As a result, power generators such as natural gas-fired power plants, coal-fired power plants and wind energy facilities are deemed manufacturers and are permitted to purchase equipment to be used in the power generation process exempt from sales and use tax. Ultimately, the exemption is designed to help qualifying energy companies stay afloat — especially during capital-intensive phases — and keep investing in Oklahoma.

Q: This exemption has been a hot topic at the state Capitol during special legislative session. What are some of the issues at hand?

A: Oklahoma is facing a historic budget shortfall, with risks of further cuts to state agencies becoming a very real possibility. Legislators are searching for dollars to help plug financial holes before the ship sinks, and many of our state’s tax incentives and exemptions may be on the chopping block. There has been discussion of removing wind energy companies from access to the manufacturing sales tax exemption. While wind developers have made it publicly clear they’re already invested in Oklahoma to the tune of billions and plan to stay for the long haul, it’s important to revisit the reason for such exemptions in the first place and consider that the opposite is also true: if certain companies or industries are punitively cut out of such exemptions while still paying millions in taxes, it may make Oklahoma a difficult place to do business, which will, in the long run, discourage investment and aggravate our state’s budget problems.

From NewsOK / by Paula Burkes
Published: November 3, 2017
Click to see full story – Manufacturing sales tax exemption is tool for attracting, maintaining investment

Click to see Jim Roth’s attorney profile

Firm Halloween Party raises funds for Harvest Food Drive

Phillips Murrah staff members were given the chance to test their creativity and help raise money for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma on Tuesday at the Firm’s annual Halloween Party.

Firm selects October Employee of the Month

Abigail Duran

Abigail Duran, Legal Assistant, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for October 2017.

“It was a wonderful surprise to have been selected Employee of the Month,” she said. “I have learned so much in just a short amount of time here, all thanks to the people that work here.

“I am truly grateful to be working at such an amazing place.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Abigail has been a wonderful addition to the Firm,” Director Joshua L. Edwards said. “She’s extremely bright, diligent and has a great ‘can do’ attitude.

“She’s willing to take on whatever is asked of her, and her performance has been impressive.  We are lucky to have her on our team.”


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma in 2017 by The Journal Record and an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/Energage two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence.

Phillips Murrah rowing team competes 2017 Oklahoma Regatta Festival

Law & Oarder, Phillips Murrah’s rowing team, stands with the medals they won after competing in the 2017 Oklahoma Regatta Festival.

Phillips Murrah’s rowing team Law & Oarder completed the Fall 2017 season by placing third in the annual regatta competition.

The team competed on Oct. 6 at the 2017 Oklahoma Regatta Festival held at the OKC Boathouse District in the advanced league and achieved a 500-meter run of 2:16.688.

“It’s always a great way to make sure I get outside and enjoy my co-workers,” said Melissa R. Gardner, Director and Law & Oarder team leader. “We were so excited to place in an Intermediate category when almost half of our boat was novice!”

In all seven seasons the Firm’s rowing team has competed, team members consisted of both attorneys and staff members.

“The best part about rowing is seeing all the hard work come together on race day,” said Samuel R. Lincoln, Director of Information Technology. “It is the most exhilarating and exhausting 2 minutes of your life!”

The team will resume practice in the Spring for the Stars & Stripes Festival in June 2018.


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma in 2017 and an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence.

Firm selects September Employee of the Month

Deena Baker

Deena Baker, Legal Assistant, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for September 2017.

“It is an honor to be selected as Employee of the Month,” she said. “One of the best decisions I have ever made was joining the Phillips Murrah team a little over nine years ago. Wow, has time flown!

“I have the best bosses ever and my co-workers – well, I couldn’t get my job done without them!

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“In addition to being one of the most pleasant people I know, Deena’s very smart, organized and a hard worker,” said Thomas G. Wolfe, Director and Firm President. “She’s always one step ahead and will help out on any project.

“I don’t know what I’d do without her!”


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Security and data protection procedures are everyone’s concern

Q: With the recent breach of Equifax, it seems that vulnerability to identity fraud is everywhere. Are there measures I can take on behalf of my company and employees to minimize risk?

Fred A. Leibrock is an experienced trial lawyer who has tried dozens of jury trials and has served as lead counsel in a number of significant cases involving complex, multi-jurisdiction issues.

A: Act now and seek professional technical assistance. Hire the right technical person or firm to help you test your systems, assess your vulnerabilities and implement your security and data protection procedures and recovery plans. The question isn’t whether someone will try to steal your data, but when. You need to be ready.

Q: From a legal standpoint, if my company’s data is breached, can my company be held liable for harm to employees or customers whose information may have been compromised?

A: Yes. Although this is a rapidly emerging area of the law, as a general rule an entity that is negligent in safeguarding confidential customer or employee data can be held liable as a result of a breach, or as a result of disregarding legal notice requirements after the breach. The principal question on the issue of liability is whether the entity took reasonable steps before the breach to protect the data, and after the breach to protect and notify the customers or employees. What’s reasonable is a moving target that must be determined on a case-by-case basis. However, there are few legitimate excuses in this day and age for a company to not take significant affirmative steps to safeguard electronic data.

Q: What are some of the bigger mistakes that companies make when it comes to protecting their data?

A: According to the Federal Trade Commission, the principal unreasonable practices that result in data breaches include weak password policies, lack of encryption, broad dissemination of administrative passwords, and lack of security between systems with sensitive data and other computers inside and outside the network.

Q: What measures can I take to protect my company from a data breach?

A: Engage in advance planning. To reduce the risks of a data breach, follow the recommendations of the National Institute for Standards & Technology by planning ahead of a breach to: identify the components of your systems and their vulnerabilities; protect the components from penetration; detect latent threats that may have already penetrated your systems; respond to a breach and recover from a breach. Also, train your employees to be alert to cybersecurity risks.

Q: It seems like all businesses rely on digital data transfer, whether it’s using file transfer services or sending sensitive documents through email. How do I continue to take advantage of these conveniences and still secure my information?

A: Avoid unnecessary risks. There are a million affordable products on the market that allow you to encrypt stored data and data in transmission. Use them and be willing to pay for security and data protection. If you must transmit sensitive data over an unsecure network, at a minimum encrypt it with a strong password before transmitting it.

From NewsOK / by Paula Burkes
Published: September 20, 2017
Click to see full story – Data security, cyber threats are everyone’s concern

Click to see Fred Leibrock’s attorney profile

Firm selects August Employee of the Month

Deann Aderholt

DeAnn Aderholt, Legal Assistant, is Phillips Murrah’s Employees of the Month for August 2017.

“It’s a great honor and a wonderful surprise for my peers to recognize me and my effort,” she said. “I’m so thankful for my job here at Phillips Murrah and my work family that’s come along with it!

“My co-workers and my bosses are wonderful.  I couldn’t ask for a better place to spend my Mondays through Fridays!

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“DeAnn is that perfect team member as she always works hard and also has the strength of character to suggest a better way for all of us,” Director Jim A. Roth said. “She’s great and I’m lucky to work with her everyday.”


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Forced Mineral Pooling has upsides, downsides for Oklahoma landowners

Q: If you’re approached about leasing minerals, do you have options?

A: You do have options. However, none of those options include avoiding leasing your minerals. In Oklahoma, the development of minerals is a compelling state interest. Therefore, if you refuse to lease your minerals, you will be subject to forced pooling. Forced pooling of minerals is similar, in many ways, to acquiring property via eminent domain. However, in this context, it’s a private company acquiring the minerals for a period of time to develop a spacing unit. Because such acquisition is a “taking,” it’s in a much more limited form than leasing the same minerals.

Melissa Gardner is a Director who practices in the Energy & Natural Resources Practice Group.

Q: Why would the state allow companies to “take” individuals’ minerals?

A: If an individual in the middle of a spacing unit refused to negotiate or lease their minerals to an operator, their “holdout” would prevent the surrounding mineral owners from developing their assets. This, combined with the aforementioned state interest of developing oil and gas in our state, has led courts and the Legislature to determine it’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure production.

Q: What are the pros and cons of leasing versus being made subject to a forced pooling order?

A: If you choose to sign a lease, you will have the ability to negotiate more of the specifics of the usage of your minerals. You are in a position to get the oil and gas companies to agree to some conditions and special provisions. If you are subject to a forced pooling (as managed by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission), you’re not in a position to negotiate these details.

Second, you can negotiate bonus and royalty costs. If you are subject to a forced pooling order, you’re given three options, being a combination of the prevailing prices in the surrounding areas, with no option to negotiate those prices. In the alternative, if you allow yourself to be subject to the OCC forced pooling order, the applicant is given a shorter time within which it has to commence operations. The average lease is valid for three to five years, whereas the average pooling order is valid for six months to a year, both of which extend after production has been initiated. This keeps your minerals under contract for a shorter period of time.

Additionally, the minerals only are forced pooled as to certain, limited geological formations. If a well is drilled and producing from those zones, your minerals are still open and unleased as to other, non-pooled zones. In the alternative, most leases cover all depths or, at a minimum, from the surface to a certain depth below the surface. Finally, forced pooling orders expire at the end of production. If a producing well is drilled during the first year of a five-year lease and only produces for two years, the lease remains valid, and your minerals remain unmarketable for re-lease, for an additional three years.

From NewsOK / by Paula Burkes
Published: August 31, 2017
Click to see full story – Forced pooling in mineral land leasing has upsides, downsides

Click to see Melissa Gardner’s attorney profile

Firm selects July Employees of the Month

Rosana Townsend and Monica Ball

Rosana Townsend, Legal Assistant, and Monica Ball, Accounting, are Phillips Murrah’s Employees of the Month for July 2017.

“Being chosen as Employee of the Month at Phillips Murrah was both a shock and an honor,” Rosana said. “I have the most wonderful co-workers anyone could ever ask for, both personally and professionally, so being chosen by them means so much.

“Phillips Murrah is my favorite place I have ever worked as they do so many special things for the staff and actually care about their employees, which is extremely rare.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“I am humbled and thrilled to receive this recognition from my peers,” Monica said. “Thank you all for making this such a great place to work for the past 13 years.”

In rare cases, the votes tallied end in a tie, and both winners receive the Employee of the Month honor.

“Rosana has a wonderful disposition and is uplifting while balancing work from a bunch of busy lawyers,” Executive Director Michelle Munda said. “Monica has a weird sense of humor and is a delight any time you engage her!

“Two truly upbeat, hard-working employees and we are lucky they choose to work here.”


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Firm selects June Employee of the Month

Maribeth Mills, Paralegal, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for June 2017.

“I’ve always enjoyed the work I do, but it is like icing on a cake to get a nod from your co-workers,” she said.

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Maribeth’s work ethic and expertise are of the highest caliber,” Director Clayton D. Ketter said. “She takes great pride in her work and in expanding her legal knowledge and skills.

“We are very lucky to have her as a member of the Phillips Murrah team.”


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Firm selects May Employee of the Month

Barb Robertson

Barb Robertson, Legal Assistant, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for May 2017.

“What an honor to be chosen Employee of the Month,” she said. “Phillips Murrah has a lot of great employees, and it humbles me to be chosen for this honor by my friends.

“It is really great to be able to come to work each day and see my friends. It is just like college only better;  this time around I’m being paid!”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Barb works hard to keep everyone calm and focused at the 11th hour when things are going crazy,” said Jennifer Ivester Berry, Of Counsel Attorney. “She never hesitates to go above and beyond to help get the project completed.”


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Firm selects April Employee of the Month

Tess Bromme

Tess Bromme, Accounting, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for April 2017.

“I really enjoy working at Phillips Murrah,” she said. “The camaraderie is fantastic and everyone keeps me on my toes. I truly appreciate being recognized, and I hope I continue to make them proud.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Tess is a valued member of the Accounting Department and her contributions help to make the Firm run efficiently,” Controller Stephanie Oseland said. “She is a hardworking and positive person, and it is a pleasure to work with her. She deserves this honor.”


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

NewsOK Q&A: Laws allow for various contingencies in dealing with bankrupt companies

From NewsOK / by Paula Burkes
Published: April 18, 2017
Click to see full story – Laws allow for various contingencies in dealing with bankrupt companies

Click to see Gretchen Latham’s attorney profile

Gretchen M. Latham’s practice focuses on representing creditors in foreclosure, bankruptcy, collection and replevin cases. She offers these services to her clients on a statewide basis as well as in all three Bankruptcy and Federal Court Districts in Oklahoma.

Q: Can a lender still do business with a bankrupt company?

A: Most generally, yes. When a business files for bankruptcy, the type of case is most commonly a Chapter 11 case. In a Chapter 11, it’s possible for the company to remain in possession of its assets, including equipment and inventory, and continue to do business. This includes interacting with vendors and lenders on a regular basis. As a creditor, the safeguard in place for repayment of any loan made to a company operating under a Chapter 11 is that post-petition debts are given priority as an administrative claim. This helps to eliminate some of the risk, and provide assurances of repayment. However, if the type of case filed is a Chapter 7, the company will no longer be operating its business and all of its assets are scheduled for liquidation.

Q: Can goods that are shipped to a Chapter 11 debtor be recovered?

A: The Bankruptcy Code does allow for reclamation of recently shipped goods, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 546. There’s a somewhat tight timeline for exercising the right of reclamation, which must be precipitated by making demand.

Q: How can I get paid by a Chapter 11 debtor?

A: An option for making a payment claim, which is not unique to a Chapter 11 case, is for a creditor to file a proof of claim. The proof of claim will set forth the balance due and payment terms. The deadline to get a claim on file will vary from court to court, and the required form is typically provided with notice of the filing. Payment on a proof of claim can take a while, so be prepared to wait for the case to come to completion.

NewsOK Q&A: FBI warns against doctors, dentists using ‘anonymous mode’ computer servers

From NewsOK / by Paula Burkes
Published: April 12, 2017
Click to see full story – FBI warns against doctors, dentists using ‘anonymous mode’ computer servers

Click to see Mary Holloway Richard’s attorney profile

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.

Q: What attention has the FBI recently given to protect Protected Health Information (“PHI”) from cyber criminals?

A: Under a “Private Industry Notification” dated March 22, the FBI’s Cyber Division has provided guidance that’s applicable specifically to medical and dental providers and focuses on protection of sensitive, identifiable health information.

Q: What does the notice specifically recommend?

A: The notification recommends these health care providers request that their IT services personnel take steps to further secure the information from cyber threats by checking networks for File Transfer Protocol (“FTP”) servers running in anonymous mode. FTPs routinely are used to transport information between network hosts. This is the case, for example, when a covered entity such as a hospital or group practice transfers information to a business associate, such as a billing company or a third-party payer, for the purpose of submitting claims for services provided.

Q: What does “anonymous mode” mean and what threat does it represent?

A: “Anonymous mode” refers to the situation where an FTP server can be structured to permit users who are anonymous, doesn’t require a password to enter, and accepts common user names such as “anonymous” or “FTP.” The danger is that, in such circumstances, sensitive patient information stored on a server could be accessed with little or no security.

Q: Why does the FBI guidance focus specifically on health care?

A: Research conducted at the University of Michigan in 2015 resulted in a finding that more than one million FTP servers would allow such access. According to the FBI, some computer security researchers seek servers in anonymous mode as part of legitimate research, but others make such connections to facilitate nefarious activities such as launching cyber attacks, hacking, blackmailing, harassing and intimidating business owners. It’s the FBI’s purpose issuing this new guidance to both make health care business aware of the risks represented in their IT systems and to shore up weaknesses that pose cyber security risks. In addition to the precautions urged in the notice, the FBI has previously urged companies to buy and implement ransomware.

Q: Should additional actions be taken by medical and dental health care entities to provide additional protections against cyber crime?

A: The FBI encourages medical and dental health care entities to report suspicious or criminal activity to the local FBI field office (locate via www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field) or the FBI’s 24/7 Cyber Watch, CyWatch 855-292-3937 or CyWatch@ic.fbi.gov. Submitted reports must include available information regarding the date, time, location, type of activity, number of people and type of equipment used for the activity, the name and contact person for the entity submitting the report. Victim complaints can be filed with the internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

 

Firm selects March Employee of the Month

Rae White

Rae White, Legal Assistant, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for March 2017.

“I am blessed to work with such wonderful people, and I love my PM family,” White said. “This past year has really shown me how lucky I am to be a part this Firm.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Rae is an experienced and exceptionally talented legal assistant who is always upbeat and positive,” Director Fred A. Leibrock said. “She is a great contributor to the success of the Firm, and we are very lucky and pleased to have her as a member of the team.

“She is most deserving of being the Firm’s Employee of the Month.”


Phillips Murrah is the only law firm recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Firm selects February Employee of the Month

Curt Bauer

Curt Bauer, File Room Manager, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for February 2017.

“I don’t work or do any of what I do to get Employee of the Month or to get recognized. I do it because it is my job and I believe in what I do,” he said. “With that said, it is always nice to be recognized by your peers, and it helps a lot toward keeping up the daily grind.

“I love this firm’s progressive, proactive thinking, and the fact that we, as a group, always want to be better this year than we were last year. It is an honor to work here!”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Curt is so very thorough and conscientious that you know you are in good hands when you ask him to do something,” Executive Director Michelle Munda said. “He’s extremely dedicated to his job and the Firm, and makes sure we know that he will do whatever is required in every situation, whether it’s something really big or really small.  We are very lucky to have him working here!”


Phillips Murrah is the only law firm recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Firm selects December Employee of the Month

Caitlin Berg

Caitlin Berg, Administrative Assistant, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for December 2016.

“I am very thankful to have received this award from my co-workers,” she said. “I really enjoy the workplace and the people that work here. It’s a great place.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“She has been willing to learn anything and everything that I have shown her and doesn’t back down from anything that I want or need her to do,” File Manager Curt Bauer said. “Her position takes an ability to deal with many people, and manage time efficiently. She has become a very valuable asset to not only me but the Firm as a whole in just a little over a year.”


Phillips Murrah is the only law firm recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Firm selects November Employee of the Month

Lisa McAlister

Paralegal Lisa McAlister is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for November 2016.

“More than being proud of working for an extraordinary company, I am proud of working with extraordinary co-workers,” she said. “I am grateful to my peers for choosing me to be Employee of the Month.

“It is such an honor, both on a personal level as well as a professional level. I truly love working with my Phillips Murrah family.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Lisa is tremendous,” Director Timothy D. Kline said. “Not only is she bright and dedicated, she is a joy to work with.


Top Workplaces shield for web 150

Phillips Murrah is the only law firm recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Firm selects October Employee of the Month

Margaret Petit

Margaret Petit, legal assistant, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for October 2016.

“It is a real honor to have received this award from my co-workers,” she said. “Just know that I believe that I am a good ‘team player’ because every member of my team/Phillips Murrah family is a Super Star and we all excel in service/skill. Thank you all for making me look good!”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“Margaret is an incredibly hard worker,” Director Jason M. Kreth said. “She always goes above and beyond what’s expected of her, often times anticipating things before I even ask for them.”


Top Workplaces shield for web 150

Phillips Murrah is the only law firm recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Firm selects September Employee of the Month

David Carter

David Carter, Lead Office Clerk, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for September 2016.

“It is an honor to be selected by my co-workers for this award, thank you,” he said. “The work atmosphere here while oft times busy is also team oriented with staff volunteering to assist one another with rush assignments.

“The Firm’s directors are beyond generous with the many perks given throughout the year. I’m blessed and grateful for the opportunity and experience of being an employee here at Phillips Murrah.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.

“It’s no surprise David was chosen by his peers as Employee of the Month because he more than deserves the recognition,” Firm President Thomas G. Wolfe said. “He is a thoughtful, integral part of the Phillips Murrah family.”


Top Workplaces shield for web 150

Phillips Murrah is the only law firm recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Firm selects August Employee of the Month

Monica Ball

Monica Ball

Monica Ball, Accounting, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for August 2016.

“I am humbled and thrilled to receive this recognition from my peers,” she said. “Thank you all for making this such a great place to work for the past 12 years.”

“Monica is a valued member of the Accounting Department and her contributions help to make the Firm run efficiently,” Controller Stephanie Oseland said. “She is a hardworking and positive person, and it is a pleasure to work with her. She deserves this honor.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.


Top Workplaces shield for web 150

Phillips Murrah is the only law firm recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Firm selects July Employee of the Month

Stacye Snow, accounts payable specialist, is Phillips Murrah’s Employee of the Month for July 2016.

“Coming up on 19 years with Phillips Murrah, what else is there really left to say: a great place with great people, and I truly appreciate the recognition from my co-workers,” she said. “Thank you all so much.”

“I’m thrilled that Stacye was chosen as this month’s Employee of the Month,” Controller Stephanie Oseland said. “In her 19 years at the firm, she has proven herself as a loyal, dependable and diligent asset to the Firm.

“It is a true pleasure to be able to work with her.”

The Employee of the Month is selected anonymously by Phillips Murrah staff on merits of teamwork and overall contributions to the Firm.


Top Workplaces shield for web 150

Phillips Murrah is the only law firm recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence. Each Employee of the Month is chosen by a monthly survey of peers.

Director quoted as source in article on Oklahoma Supreme Court case

Heather L. Hintz primarily represents banks, commercial entities and municipalities in litigation in state and federal courts with an emphasis on protecting hard-fought rulings throughout the appeals process.

Phillips Murrah Director Heather Hintz defended her stance on Oklahoma State Question 777 in an article published on NewsOK.com on Wednesday.

Read Hintz’s comments from the article below:

Attorneys for opponents of the ballot measure have filed an accelerated appeal in the case, in hopes the Oklahoma Supreme Court will take up the matter before a deadline in late August for the Oklahoma Election Board to print the November ballot, said Heather Hintz, an attorney for plaintiffs in the case.

“We are asking the Supreme Court to retain the appeal because it’s a matter of public importance that has widespread public impact,” Hintz said.

The plaintiffs have challenged the constitutionality of State Question 777 on several grounds, and argue that the measure is so blatantly unconstitutional that it would be a waste of state resources and misleading to voters, Hintz said.

“There is a strong Oklahoma policy that something that is facially unconstitutional should not go to the ballot because it’s a waste of resources and it misleads voters,” she said.

Read more at NewsOK.com.

Director and bankruptcy leader Tim Kline featured in The Oklahoman Q&A

kline paper

Click to see this on NewsOK.com

Although Phillips Murrah Director Tim Kline will recoil at the use of this descriptor, I (Marketing Director, Dave Rhea) am going to be so bold and reckless as to say he is legendary. As I listened to him review some of the highlights of his personal history, I felt like I was in the room with a great Oklahoma oral historian.

I found myself thinking on a couple of occasions, “too bad Tim doesn’t have a radio show.” But I guess he’s a little busy being one of the state’s preeminent bankruptcy attorneys. Oh well, I think he could have given Paul Harvey a run for him money.

Business reporter Paula Burkes, from The Oklahoman, was kind enough to stop by the firm recently to talk to Tim for one of the newspaper’s Executive Q&A features. It published Sunday, April 12 and gave people a glimpse into the storied life of a lawyer who has been practicing bankruptcy law since those infamous Penn Square days:


 

The morning of the 1982 Penn Square Bank collapse, Phillips Murrah Director Tim Kline — then a young general litigation attorney — was asked by his firm to call on Oklahoma City oilman Carl Swan, who was a director of the bank.

“It was the Monday following the July 4th weekend, and I was supposed to be off,” said Kline, who remembers he wasn’t too happy about the assignment.

In their meeting, Kline asked Swan if the bank was OK and Swan, in his notorious gruff manner, reported that it was; that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation agreed to capitalize millions more and give the bank more time, he said.

But when Kline arrived home and flipped on his TV, he learned the FDIC had pulled the plug on Penn Square Bank.

The infamous bankruptcy is what sparked a nearly 33-year career in bankruptcy law for Kline, whose late father and former Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. Kline Jr. served 14 years as a bankruptcy judge.

At the time of the collapse, Kline was helping his dad teach a bankruptcy law course at Oklahoma City University — largely on the 1978 Bankruptcy Reform Act, which the senior Kline had helped promote.

Tim Kline never intended to go into bankruptcy law but, following the oil bust, circumstances unfolded that way, he said. With so much demand for bankruptcy work, his dad left the bench and they formed Kline & Kline in February 1983, where they worked together for more than 25 years.

Kline in 2011 joined Phillips Murrah, where he continues to specialize in bankruptcy law.

From his offices on the 13th floor of the Corporate Tower, Kline, 65, sat down recently to talk about his life and career. This is an edited transcript:

Q: Tell us about your roots.

A: Of course, my father was an attorney and my mother was a homemaker. I’m the middle child of their three children. My brother is six years older and my sister is eight years younger. My father used to joke that he managed to raise three only children. But we were, and still are, close. In fact, we three and our mother, 94, all live within walking distance from one another on several hundred acres we bought in 1981 in the Jones Public Schools District in eastern Oklahoma County, 10 miles east of I-35, where we have dogs, chickens and horses. My brother-in-law raises cattle. When I was a bachelor, my home was like an overgrown cabin. But since Alyssa and I married, we’ve reinvented it three times. It’s three-storied and our second story overlooks a lake.

Q: Where did you go to school?

A: In elementary school, I was a Mayfair Chipmunk. We lived near 50th and May when Mayfair was a brand-new neighborhood. In the sixth- and seventh-grades, I attended Casady, after my brother was recruited there to play baseball. Once he graduated and went to OU on a baseball scholarship — and I lost my ride to school — I transferred to Putnam City, where I graduated. Growing up, I played baseball, football and basketball, but my siblings were far better athletes. My sister went to OCU on a tennis scholarship. I was into politics. At 7, I remember sitting up and crying when Adlai Stevenson lost; in 1960, I got to hear JFK speak in the municipal auditorium; and before I could vote, I was the Ward 1 campaign chairman for Eugene McCarthy. I also enjoyed speech, debate and plays. My favorite role was the lead my sophomore year in “Look Heavenward Angel.”

Q: What were some of your first jobs and first cars?

A: As a youth, I worked at the municipal ball park. My sophomore year in high school, I threw the first papers of the now-defunct Oklahoma Journal. By the summer of my senior year, I graduated to writing obits and writing some Friday night football stories. My freshman year of college, I was awarded a scholarship to UCO. My father told me if I took it, he’d get me a car, though it wasn’t a very nice car. It was a used light blue Ford Fairlane. When I was a junior, and doing well in school at OU, he bought me a purple Plymouth Road Runner.

Q: Did you always plan on being an attorney?

A: There was a time I considered becoming a philosophy teacher. At OU, I studied under the legendary J. Clayton Feaver and considered getting a Ph.D. in philosophy. I’d earned a graduate minor in it, along with a bachelor’s and master’s in polisci. But instead, I wound up taking the law school entrance exam. I like the problem solving in law, and helping people where they have a practical need. During law school, I interned with the U.S. Attorneys office and worked at the Redlands Racket Club and OKC Tennis Center. I got to play tennis with Colin Robertson. Before my father and I opened our own firm, I clerked for over three years for U.S. federal judge Luther Bohanon. He liked having me in the courtroom with him, so I got to see a lot of good lawyers at work in big trials. I worked the next three years for the firm of Jimmy Linn, a west Texas litigator who was a heavy hitter on the national level.

Q: What do you like about practicing bankruptcy law?

A: My work is really about avoiding bankruptcy as such. Whether I represent the debtor, creditor or a trustee, I try to bring together parties who are in financial stress and help them clarify what common interests are involved and how to maximize financial recovery. My goal is to do the most for the most people in the most efficient manner possible. Of course, like in all things in life, it takes two to tango. Sometimes, people aren’t cooperative and we have to go to a Plan B scenario and invoke legal remedies and be as confrontational as necessary. I’m as nice as the other side will allow.

Q: How did you meet your wife?

A: Alyssa is a native Canadian. We met at Christmastime 1976, when I went to British Columbia to visit relatives and friends, but then she was only a punk teenager. Her family and I kept in touch over the years and in the summer of ’85, she called to say she and her folks were going to Seattle and would I like to meet them there. She was 23; I was 36. I spent a couple days in Seattle, but had to fly back to Albuquerque for a big case. Three weeks later, I flew to British Columbia, where we wed and spent our honeymoon. She was shocked that it was 100 degrees in Oklahoma City, when our flight arrived home at 11 p.m. on Sept. 1. The next morning, she joked about getting an annulment. But this August, we will have been married 30 years. Alyssa earned an education degree at UCO and taught elementary school, before she had our daughters whom she home schools. After the girls were born, Alyssa’s parents moved to Oklahoma City. We’ve lost her mother, but her father lives in a retirement community. He’s 94 and was over for Easter.

You can view the whole story here: http://newsok.com/executive-qa-penn-square-bank-collapse-sparks-counselors-career-in-bankruptcy-law/article/5409410