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2L Michael Orcutt’s externship with TTCU Federal Credit Union

“What you put in is what you get out” is the advice that 2L law student Michael Orcutt received on the first day of his summer externship. That day, Orcutt said, was memorable for a few reasons. “My desk was a standing desk that retracted at the push of a button,” he said. Orcutt admitted that, while this may be an odd thing to recall, for him, the desk symbolized something more: a professional environment that he had arrived at through hard work and determination.

Externship readiness

Man in a blue suit leaning on a table smiling for the camera
Michael Orcutt

One of Orcutt’s first classes at the College of Law was contracts. He quickly fell in love with the subject and decided to pursue opportunities specifically in that field. “I turned to On-Campus Interviews (OCIs), knowing that I wanted to do an externship that would allow me to work for college credit,” said Orcutt. He applied for a handful of diverse positions, but one particular post caught his eye: the contracts and risk compliance externship at TTCU Federal Credit Union.

The staff in the Professional Development Office helped Orcutt to ready his resume, tighten up his cover letter and reach out to references. A week after submitting his application, TTCU contacted him for an interview. At the time, Orcutt had only taken one contracts course. “I still didn’t know as much about contracts as I would have liked, so, as the adage goes – what you lack in experience, make up for with enthusiasm!” This tactic worked out perfectly for Orcutt.

Orcutt was admittedly insecure about his externship readiness at the time, but he underestimated just how much TU prepared him. “Yes, TU whetted my writing and built up my legal technical skills, but it goes beyond that. The professors here invested in me,” he said. “They distilled in me everything I needed: perseverance, hard work, a sense of striving – to always give it your best. TU invested in me, and now TTCU was investing in me, too.”

First-day replay

Man waving and smiling at the camera
Orcutt’s TTCU extern spotlight

Orcutt’s experience on his first day on the job is something that many young professionals can appreciate: a little overdressed, a little overwhelmed and utterly impressed by the professional setting that is now a part of their daily routine. “This was no walk-in-the-park (or stand-at-your-desk, if you will) kind of job. My responsibilities included researching and writing legal memoranda (sometimes multiple memos on the same day), observing and assisting with the day-to-day legal problems of a financial institution, and, finally, reviewing, drafting and redlining contracts,” he said.

Master Service Agreements, Non-Disclosure Agreements, End User License Agreements … Orcutt interacted with all kinds of contracts. By the end, he had read word-for-word and redlined almost two dozen agreements. “When I first started, I wasn’t very familiar with redlining. I asked my supervisor, Jesse Sumner, and he explained in detail that it was a certain way of editing contracts with the purpose of negotiating,” Orcutt said. Sumner also advised Orcutt to read Contract Redlining Etiquette by Nada Alnajafi to take his work to the next level. This recommendation would pay off in the end.

On to the next

Man smiling outside with arms folded across his chest
Michael Orcutt

If one of the most important factors in a good externship is strong leadership, then Orcutt certainly lucked out in that department. “Working with my supervisor was the highlight of my externship,” he said. “Jesse’s investment in me meant the world and helped me grow as both a young professional and a person.” From resume workshopping to networking on LinkedIn, Sumner bolstered Orcutt’s potential in ways that would affect Orcutt’s immediate future. Sumner, however, maintains that it was Orcutt who put in the work. “At TTCU, our primary goal is to provide law students with the resources they need to achieve an in-depth knowledge of their preferred field. We spent the entirety of Michael’s externship lasering in on his interests and skills and crafting a resume that would catch employers’ eyes,” Sumner said; “Michael arrived with knowledge, work ethic, listening skills and a drive to move forward. He was the perfect TTCU externship candidate.”

When an internship post on LinkedIn from Alnajafi appeared on his feed, Sumner knew that Orcutt was the perfect match. “When Jesse showed me the listing, I started drafting a new cover letter, but, before I finished, Nada read my profile that Jesse helped me with, liked it and reached out to me,” Orcutt said. This would eventually result in a fall internship with Alnajafi’s blog, Contract Nerds, for which Orcutt’s responsibilities include researching, drafting and editing “whitepaper”-style articles for contracting concepts and redlining Contract Nerds agreement templates.

“The snowball effect of Jesse’s guidance and investment in me directly resulted in helping me secure an incredible writing internship for one of the foremost contracts-focused blogs in the world,” said Orcutt, who is proof that advanced expertise is not necessary when applying for externships but is something that develops with the right mindset and leadership. Determination and enthusiasm are essential building blocks to successful career paths. Listening skills and a willingness to learn will carry candidates on to the next big opportunity.

At The University of Tulsa, professional growth is a primary objective. Unlock your potential by learning more about the externship opportunities provided by the College of Law.

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.


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.


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.