Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

lawyer

Turpen and Price inducted into the TU Law Hall of Fame


Michael C. Turpen (JD ’74) and Wm. Stuart Price (JD ’82) have been inducted into The University of Tulsa College of Law Hall 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.”

-Mike Turpen

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.”

-Stuart Price

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.

Legal community helps build future lawyers through externships

This article, written by Lauren Donald, assistant dean for experiential learning at TU, was first published in the Tulsa Business & Legal News.

The externship program at The University of Tulsa College of Law is one of the most robust programs of its kind, offering students an effective and comprehensive bridge to go from law student to lawyer.

TU Law’s proximity to the thriving, urban setting of the city and its engaged legal community ensure that externs have opportunities in a variety of exciting and relevant placements. In addition to local resources, students also take advantage of externships across the U.S. and abroad in government agencies, public interest organizations, courts, law firms and corporations.

Through externships, students build confidence in their ability to practice, feel the pleasure and challenge of work that matters, and find a path from lawyering experiences to a rewarding career.

Said Keaton Taylor, a second-year law student and extern with the Tulsa County Public Defender: “During (the law student-to-lawyer) transition, new skills become necessary for success; skills that can only be learned by doing. Externships are crucial to future lawyers. The externship program gives me the opportunity while still in school to begin navigating the new terrain of an attorney.”

Supervisors also find reward in helping lay a foundation for a student’s career. April Merrill, Legal Aid attorney for Medical-Legal Partnerships, says that through her practice students are exposed to real-world issues and sometimes of the darker side of life.

“This is often the first real-life experience the student has interacting with actual clients who are entrusting their problems to us,” she said.

Through these experiences, she hopes to instill in students a desire to serve low-income persons as these future lawyers move on in their careers.

Merrill has invested time as a supervisor in building the student experience.

“I strive to take the students from the legal theoretical framework to the practical, everyday practice of law,” she said. “As the students are allowed more client interaction and responsibility for drafting and research, I can see their confidence grow.

“Those ah-ha moments, as Oprah calls them, are the most rewarding. As a supervisor teaching a concept and to see it suddenly click, it’s really meaningful.”

Under the direction of engaged supervisors such as Merrill, students begin to identify their path and develop marketable skills.

“Law school is like an oyster producing pearls,” Taylor said. “For a pearl to hold value, it must be polished. Experiential learning increases my value as a pearl. I aspire to be the shiniest pearl on the market so I need to polish my skills as soon as possible. The externship program at TU allows me to do that.”

Law students study local response to nonemergency calls

TU Law students Morgan Vaughn (l), Billy Boyd and Valerie Hays.

As Oklahoma’s budget crisis threatens funding for critical medical, mental health and social services programs, first responders are feeling the pressure. When core services are cut, Tulsa’s most vulnerable residents have only one option – calling 911.

In 2017, the Tulsa Fire Department responded to calls from a single residence 21 times in one month. Such “high-utilizers” may need help getting out of bed, getting to a medical appointment, picking up medications or buying food. Some high-utilizers have chronic medical problems such as diabetes, heart conditions, alcohol and prescription drug overuse or long-term mental health issues. Some people call simply because they are lonely. Vulnerable Tulsans lean on the fire department when they can’t access other forms of assistance.

Law students from The University of Tulsa College of Law’s Lobeck Taylor Community Advocacy Clinic have been working with the Tulsa Fire Department and studying the high-utilizer problem. The students—Morgan Vaughn, Billy Boyd, and Valerie Hays—have found that the high-utilizer crisis is a serious problem not just for the fire department but for the entire Tulsa community. Nonemergency calls drain resources from the fire department’s core emergency services mission.

The fire department is not a long-term healthcare provider, but people call 911 when they have nowhere else to turn. And when people must use emergency care for nonemergency needs, their underlying health problems will not be resolved. They will continue to call on first responders for help. Because of possible state budget cuts, some medical and mental healthcare providers may have to shut their doors. This will increase demands on first responders and could cause an increase in crime, suicides and drug abuse.

See article published by the Tulsa World here.

The fire department is tackling the high-utilizer problem through the Community Assistance, Referrals & Education Services (CARES) program that is managed by Emergency Medical Services Chief Michael Baker. “We connect people to the social and medical services they need,” Baker explained.

Through partnerships with Tulsa-area agencies like the Mental Health Association, Family & Children’s Services and St. John’s Hospital, the fire department is bridging the gap between high-utilizers and service providers. The fire department is taking a proactive approach because, if these treatable or preventable situations are not taken care of early, they may become emergencies.

With proper funding, providers could do more outreach to connect people to services.  Firefighters wouldn’t have to play the role of social workers and could focus on real emergencies. And people would get the help they need rather than relying on emergency care.