The University of Tulsa College of Law (TU Law) has recently been recognized by Above the Law as #37 in its 2018 Top Law School rankings. Above the Law’s rankings focus on student outcomes from the graduating class of 2017 including employment, costs and debt, and alumni satisfaction.
Above the Law limits their list to the top 50 law schools including those with quality employment prospects outside of their particular region as well as for students who do not graduate at the top of the class.
For the same year, TU Law is also ranked as #15 nationally and #1 in Oklahoma for 2017 graduate employment in full-time, long-term Bar License required and JD Advantage positions ten months after graduation.
Michael C. Turpen (JD ’74) and Wm. Stuart Price (JD ’82) have been inducted into The University of Tulsa College of LawHall of Fame which honors alumni and friends for their distinguished contributions to the legal profession and support of the College of Law.
Turpen became interested in pursuing a career in law after reading To Kill a Mockingbird. “That book changed my life,” Turpen said. “I wanted to be a real-life Atticus Finch and hope I’ve lived up to author Harper Lee’s expectations.”His parents urged him to attend TU where he earned a bachelor in science degree before going to law school. “My parents didn’t go to college but believed in giving their kids roots and wings.” While attending TU, Turpen worked a number of jobs including forklift driver and Santa Claus at Sears.
Several years after graduating from TU Law, Turpen was the Muskogee County district attorney from 1977 to 1982 and was then elected as the attorney general for the state of Oklahoma. In 1986, Turpen received the National Foundation for the Improvement of Justice Award and was honored by the National Organization for Victim Assistance as one of Ten Outstanding National Leaders in the Field of Victim Rights. Since that time, he has been a partner in the law firm of Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison & Lewis in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
“I’m motivated to improve the quality of people’s lives. That’s what gets me up in the morning. It’s inspiring.”
Turpen appears weekly on Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR’s award-winning public affairs show, Flashpoint with Turpen & Humphreys. Previously, he appeared on ABC’s Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher and was featured on PBS’s national documentary, Vote for Me: Politics in America. As a nationally sought-after public speaker, he has presented the keynote address for conferences of the National Association of Attorneys General, the Fourth Federal Judicial Circuit and the National Family and Juvenile Judges’ Association.
See pictures from the 2018 TU Law Alumni Gala here.
The numerous awards, honors and appointments he has received include induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, the Care Center’s Louise Bennett Distinguished Service Award, the Oklahoma Arts Council Governor’s Award for Community Service; Treasures for Tomorrow Award from the Oklahoma Health Center Foundation, and the Urban Pioneer Award from the Plaza District Association.
With his friend and fellow TU Law Hall of Fame inductee, Stuart Price, the courtroom at TU’s College of Law was named the Wm. Stuart Price and Michael C. Turpen Courtroom to honor Turpen’s service to his alma mater. In 2000, Turpen was named a Distinguished Alumnus for The University of Tulsa, and in 2006, he received the John Kirkpatrick Award from Lyric Theatre for his leadership in chairing its successful $10 million capital campaign. Shortly thereafter, he received the Oklahoma Bar Association’s William Paul Distinguished Service Award; recognition from the Clinton Global Initiative for his work with Burns Hargis for Legal Aid of Oklahoma; the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Oklahoma Chapter; and the John F. Kennedy Award for Community Service, given by the Oklahoma City Knights of Columbus.
Turpen’s book, Turpen Time: The Wit and Wisdom of Mike Turpen, was published in 2014 and has helped raise $1.5 million to fund college scholarships across Oklahoma. He was appointed to serve a nine-year term on the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and was recently reappointed to serve another term. In 2017, Turpen cochaired the Aubrey McClendon Memorial Campaign for OKC’s Boathouse District, raising over $6 million, and he initiated the Care2Change program at The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, raising funds to ensure every freshman in OKCPS spends a day at the memorial and museum.
Turpen is a member of the American, Oklahoma, Tulsa County and Oklahoma County Bar Associations, and he is a Founding Fellow of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation and a faculty member of the National College of District Attorneys.
See pictures from the 2018 TU Law Alumni Gala here.
Wm. Stuart Price grew up in Denver, Colorado. His father was a warehouse worker who encouraged Price and his siblings to get an education. After earning a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, he came to Tulsa for law school. It was then that he discovered his passion for the oil and gas industry.
To this day, Price attributes much of his entrepreneurial success to his involvement in oil and gas ventures and the contacts he maintained in the industry. While his professional interests have also focused on politics and real estate investments, Price spends a great deal of time on philanthropic pursuits.
He is the chairman of Price Family Properties based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2012, Price partnered with Kanbar Properties to revitalize downtown and create more housing options. Price Family Properties now owns 2.2 million square feet of downtown Tulsa which will continue improving downtown Tulsa’s economy. Through his entrepreneurial ventures and his resulting ownership of industrial, office, and multifamily holdings, Price has provided a place for thousands of Oklahomans to live and work.
“TU Law is a great community that allows people to have dreams and act on those dreams.”
From a young age, Price understood the value of education and activism; and as a result, he has been involved in creating and maintaining educational opportunities for many students in Oklahoma. In 2004, he was appointed by former Governor Brad Henry to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, where he volunteered nine years to help better the 25 universities around the state. Price also has served on the Rogers State College Foundation and as chair of the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board.
In 2007, Price helped create Tulsa Achieves, a gap funding program that provides tuition and financial assistance for Tulsa-area students. Tulsa Achieves has become a nationally recognized model of student success replicated throughout the United States.
His involvement with The University of Tulsa includes membership in the Circle Society, the President’s Council, and the Golden Hurricane Club. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Law. Together with his friend and fellow TU Law Hall of Fame inductee, Michael Turpen, Price funded the state-of-the-art Wm. Stuart Price and Michael C. Turpen Courtroom in the law school; he also funded the Lawyering Skills Alcove in the Mabee Legal Information Center. He created and endowed the George and Jean Price Award in Legal Research and Writing. He was a featured speaker and presented “International Petroleum Transactions” in the college’s Argentina Series. He spoke on “The International LNG Industry” for a NELPI and Energy Law Journal presentation and was a panelist discussing “The case of the century: Bush v. Gore” for TU College of Law and The Federalist Society.
The University of Tulsa College of Law is ranked number one in Oklahoma and 15th in the nationfor jobs requiring bar passage or positions in which a law degree offers an advantage. The rankings published in the National Law Journal are based upon data from the 2017 ABA national employment outcomes report and show that 91.86 percent of 2017 TU Law graduates were employed in these full-time, long-term positions 10 months after graduation.
Additionally, TU Law ranked first in Oklahoma and 20th in the nation for graduate placement in ‘gold-standard’ jobs which are defined as full-time, long-term jobs requiring bar passage that are not funded by the school.
TU Law’s Professional Development Office works with students on career strategies before they enter the classroom beginning with a one-week Foundations of Legal Study orientation. During law school, students are provided individualized career counseling with former practicing attorneys, on-campus interviews and specialized networking events.
“We are very proud of our 2017 JD graduates and the positions they hold,” said Lyn Entzeroth, dean of the college. “This ranking reflects the hard work of our talented students and the outstanding program for professional development that the College of Law offers to all students.”
Complete graduate employment information including ABA and NALP reports can be found here.
The TU College of Law’s Women’s Law Caucus has selected immigration attorney and TU Law alumna Lorena Rivas as the recipient of the 2018 Fern Holland Award for her work in human rights and the empowerment of women.
The annual award is named for Fern Holland, who at 33 years of age, sacrificed her life nurturing Iraq’s fledgling democracy. A courageous and dedicated graduate of The University of Tulsa College of Law, Fern used her legal training to fight for human rights around the world. Fern’s last assignment was in Iraq as program manager for Women’s Initiatives for the Coalition Provisional Authority. On March 9, 2004, while returning from a visit to the Zainab al-Hawraa Center for Women’s Rights in Karbala-which she had assisted in founding only months before-her vehicle was ambushed by Iraqi extremists. Fern and her two colleagues were killed by a hail of bullets, in what appears to have been a targeted assassination. Read more about Holland here.
As an attorney and the daughter of two Mexican nationals, Lorena Rivas admires Fern Holland’s accomplishments.
Fourteen years ago this month Holland, a University of Tulsa law school alumna and Oklahoma native was shot to death along with a journalist and a translator while working on behalf of the U.S. government and the Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority to quell human-rights abuses in Iraq.
Rivas, a 2012 TU Law grad, is this year’s Fern Holland Award winner and will be recognized during a banquet at 6 p.m. Thursday at The Pearl District building, 1209 E. Third St. The honor, presented by the TU College of Law’s Women’s Law Caucus, is given to a lawyer who advocates for human rights or the empowerment of women.
Holland “was an amazing individual,” said Rivas, an immigration attorney and partner with Fry & Elder. “She was willing to lose her life while fighting for a very worthy cause and the voiceless. I hope that when I’m gone, people will look at my life and think something similar: ‘She was willing to tell the stories of the voiceless and fight for them.’ In my case, it’s immigrants.”
Originally from the northwestern Oklahoma town of Mutual, Rivas said her parents support and inspire her work on behalf of immigrants in the United States. She also realizes she has her work cut out for her.
“Unfortunately, the current administration and political climate, especially the acceptance of racism as normal, has made the practice of immigration law extremely disheartening,” she said. “Immigration law has always been complex and challenging, but it was not as punitive as it is now. The word ‘immigrant’ is now considered a dirty word and label.”
Rivas said the toughest aspect is educating others — even other attorneys and judges — about the realities of immigration law. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and focuses her work on the complicated immigration laws in the United States.
She also participated in TU’s Immigration Rights Legal Clinic while in law school. She helped prevent a Haitian national from being returned to Haiti, in terrible conditions due to the recent earthquake and hurricane, and a mother and her two children remain in the U.S. after being victims of domestic and sexual abuse in Mexico.
“Every day I receive a call from an employer who contacts me about helping their good, hardworking employee gain lawful status in the United States,” she said. “They often tell me their employees are not like the criminal immigrants that need to be deported. Unfortunately, all immigrants are being deported from the United States, regardless of family ties to the United States and lack of criminal record.
“When I explain this to these employers, they are shocked to learn how callous our immigration system is and how this administration has escalated the deportation machine.”
Still, Rivas remains optimistic.
“Despite all this, I do see good things on the horizon for immigrants in the U.S., and this is all because I believe in the power of immigrants,” she said. “The current political climate has not only stirred and awakened hateful voices, but it also has stirred and awakened the hopeful and persistent voices of everyday immigrant-rights activists.
“This country was founded by revolutionists and immigrants. They have shown time and time again they will persist and win.” Rivas understands what it means to be a revolutionary.
“Not only am I a minority in the field of law because I am a woman, but also because I am a Latina,” she said. “Being a good representative for both minority groups is very important to me.
“While I hate that I feel that I have to push myself harder because I am a Hispanic female in a field largely dominated by men, until that is no longer the case, we have no choice but to work harder until we have inspired enough females and minorities to join us and continue our journey toward diversity and progress.”