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TU Law professor published in world’s top medical journal

Matt Lamkin is an associate professor of law at TU Law.

Should doctors be asked to report to health insurers when patients aren’t following their treatment plans?  Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine – the top medical journal in the world – TU College of Law Associate Professor Matt Lamkin addresses workplace “wellness” programs that tie the cost of employees’ insurance to their health behaviors. Under these insurance plans, employees with chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure can see their insurance costs rise by thousands of dollars if they fail to follow their doctors’ instructions. Lamkin writes that although these programs seek to reduce health care costs by improving employees’ health – both of which are worthy goals – they can also come with hidden costs.

“Requiring physicians to report their patients’ noncompliance to insurers can threaten the trust that a productive doctor-patient relationship depends on,” Lamkin said.  “If a patient knows that a negative report from her physician will cause her insurance costs to skyrocket, she may be less honest with her doctor about her health behaviors.”

Professor Lamkin joined The University of Tulsa College of Law in 2013.  Prior to entering academia, he served as a policy advisor to the mayor of Indianapolis, an attorney at one of the world’s largest law firms and a fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Law and the Biosciences.

You can read the article, “Physician as Double Agent: Conflicting Duties Arising from Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs,” at the New England Journal of Medicine.

TU Law students support immigrants seeking asylum in Texas

A team of 16 TU law and psychology students traveled to Karnes City, Texas, this summer to help provide legal support to women and children seeking asylum in the United States.

The Karnes City family detention center, which detains women and children seeking asylum in the U.S., can best be described as chaotic. A coordinated effort between GEO, the private prison company that owns the detention center, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the detention center at Karnes City is a stressful first step to seeking asylum.

The team from The University of Tulsa — clinical law Professor Mimi Marton; psychology Professor Elana Newman; psychology doctoral student Chelsea Shotwell Tabke; the legal fellow for the Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network, Robin Sherman; 16 law students; and three law students that were originally assigned as interpreters — went on the service-learning trip to provide legal assistance to the women detained there.

The Credible Fear Interview

In Karnes, the students prepared the female detainees for their Credible Fear Interview (CFI). A CFI is a first-screening to determine whether a detainee will be able to present a viable asylum case in U.S. immigration court. To pass the screening, a woman must prove that she has a credible fear of being sent back to her country. If she doesn’t pass the screening, she can have a CFI review by an immigration judge, but if she still doesn’t pass, then she is likely to be deported.

The CFI requires one to relive horrendous encounters. Clients hailed from all over the world but mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The students learned that one of the biggest factors driving these families out of their countries was incredible gang violence. “These are countries in which, as one woman from El Salvador told us, ‘The gangs control my country,’ and that is really true from the top government position down to the local police force,” said Marton. The other common problem they saw was women fleeing domestic violence, where they reported that there was no mechanism in their country through which they could seek protection from their abuser.

In addition to preparing clients for the CFI, the TU team also conducted intake interviews with women who had just arrived in Karnes, prepared advocacy briefs, searched for sponsors to whom the families could be released, and led informational sessions on the next steps after release from the detention center. By the end of their five days, they had served more than 200 detainees.

Dealing with the trauma

Interviewing traumatized clients can be hard and emotional work, which is why TU’s Psychology Department was included. Newman and Tabke were responsible for providing psychological support for both the clients and the TU team. Some of their everyday tasks included assisting the law students in conducting trauma-informed interviews, providing crisis intervention for distressed clients and helping mitigate the legal team’s vicarious traumatization. “Most lawyers are trained to work with clients who are more advantaged, and not who are in captivity,” said Newman on training the law students for the interviews.

Stephen Yoder, one of the law students who went on the trip, said the most challenging part of being in Karnes City was hearing the stories. “These women and children had faced a lot of abuse or a lot of legitimate fear in their home countries,” he said. “It really took a toll on us as a group.”

Marton points out that these experiences are necessary to teach the students the importance of pro bono legal work. “Oftentimes the idea of giving back gets lost in the busy day of a lawyer,” said Marton. “This project highlighted two issues: one, some of the massive injustices that we see in immigration law today; and two, the important role that lawyers can play in resolving those injustices.”

The importance of Karnes City experience

Trips like the one to Karnes City are invaluable to students.

“Something that I think maybe I didn’t do enough while I was in law school was actually getting real-life client interviewing experience,” Sherman said. Interviewing clients like the ones in the Karnes City family detention center gives students the perspective that these people are more than just legal cases. “If you don’t work with the non-legal issues that your client presents, you won’t be successful at the legal representation. It really is opening their eyes beyond the silo of being a lawyer and how important it is to gain other skills,” said Marton.

Law student Jose Gonzalez found something more than just legal experience. “I learned compassion and empathy. I learned that everyone is a real person and that they have real emotions, that they went through very, very hard things in their lives and they’re just trying to find some help,” he said.

TU will be returning to Karnes City Detention Center in the future under the program with RAICES. To learn more about TU Law’s Immigrant Rights Project, click here.

 

 

TU Law grad uses MJ in Indian Law degree to start new business

Joannie Suina Romero earned a Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law degree from The University of Tulsa College of Law. The online program makes it possible to work and earn a master’s degree at the same time.

The following article written by Romero talks about her career path and how The University of Tulsa played an integral part.

The Corn Pollen Path

By Joannie Suina Romero, MJIL (Pueblo of Cochiti, New Mexico)

As a full-time employee, proud mother to four small children, a wife, daughter and active Tribal member, I had every reason to say I couldn’t do it. I had every reason to make an excuse or to procrastinate from furthering my education, as though I was comfortable with where I was at in life. I had an amazing job that allowed me to travel and research, but along the way I found myself itching to dig deeper into what it meant to “give back” to my community.

I’ve always closely identified with my Cochiti Puebloan roots, though I am of mixed Irish/Pueblo heritage. My mother, a full-blood Cochiti woman whose first language was Keres, raised me to be grounded in Native values, including being connected to our community through ceremony and through the Keresan language. As a child I paid close attention to her work ethic, determination, as well as her practice of prayer- greeting the sun every morning and the moon each night as a way to remain in balance with the universe. It wasn’t until I was much older that I began to appreciate how powerful prayer would become in my own life. It’s also very fitting that my maternal grandfather chose to name me Corn Pollen which is a crucial component to practicing Pueblo faith, as well as extending prayer from Earth World to Spirit World.

As I was approaching my thirties, I realized that my path yearned for something more, and I tediously began researching graduate programs. Just a year earlier I attended Graduate Horizons, which taught me what to look for in graduate programs, how to pay for school and what kind of support system I needed to keep me focused. When I came across the Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law (MJIL) Program, through The University of Tulsa College of Law, I was star struck. I found myself visiting the website, requesting information over the phone, participating in webinars and I felt content that it would be a good fit for me. And after a long talk with my family, I decided to apply. Applying to the program was an easy decision because I knew what I wanted. I wanted a different kind of education, one that taught me specific skills in how to further develop myself as an administrator, businesswoman, educator, and ambassador of our Pueblo Nations.

Last May, I had the honor of walking across the stage to receive my degree at the commencement ceremony. I proudly adorned a white manta, deer skin moccasins and a fluffy white eagle feather – the same that has carried me through many Pueblo ceremonies. I sat back in my chair and looked over at my family, my husband, my mother, my son, and my three daughters and exhaled a sigh of relief. It reverberated in my mind that I did it, but now what?

I felt moved to find a solution to all the soul searching, prayers and brainstorming. I then decided to leave my full-time job at the Institute of American Indian Arts to pursue full-time consulting. I realized that through consulting, I could still teach, research water rights, provide legal and technical briefings for Tribal leaders, strategize planning efforts to improve Tribal programming, serve as a Keres translator, partake in community events and serve as a motivational speaker to Native youth. And so, the idea of Corn Pollen Consulting, LLC. was born.

The mission of Corn Pollen Consulting, LLC. is to empower, educate and support Native communities to foster growth and development by combining alternative and innovative approaches to solve the educational, economic, political and social issues facing Indian Country in the 21st century. The MJIL degree has equipped me with such a unique skillset that only continues to enhance my existing background. I’ve been blessed with many opportunities and clients ranging from Tribal programs, nonprofit organizations, as well as state and federal agencies.

I can’t express how grateful I am to have been a part of the MJIL Program. The support of the faculty including Shonday Randall, program director, and Tim Thompson, assistant dean, is what made me feel a part of the TU family. This fall semester, at the Institute of American Indian Arts, I’ll be teaching Creative & Critical Inquiry and Federal Indian Law & Policy. It is such a dream of mine to be able to teach at a Tribal college and to teach in the Indigenous Liberal Studies Department. I feel like I’m able to get the best of both worlds — education and Native entrepreneurialism. I’m eager to see where this degree continues to take me, and I know that this is just the beginning. The impact of the MJIL degree speaks volumes of resiliency. It is honoring our Ancestors’ prayers. I am the result of those prayers, on this Corn Pollen Path, and I will continue to plant my roots and pollinate.

 

 

 

 

Law students partner with Energy Bar Association to produce Energy Law Journal

The latest issue of The Energy Law Journal (ELJ), produced by students at The University of Tulsa College of Law and members of The Energy Bar Association, is now available online. It includes an article written by a TU College of Law student Taylor Moult titled, “Haphazard Federal Rulemaking Meets Judicial Review: Ballast Water Regulation Receives No Deference to Agency Interpretation.”

ELJ is a peer-reviewed legal publication that provides insightful, thought-provoking, relevant commentary on current issues involving federal and state regulatory and energy topics. Contributors include leading practitioners, key officials of federal and state regulatory agencies, federal judges and scholars.

Read the latest Energy Law Journal here.

According to Robert Butkin, law professor and director of the Sustainable Energy and Resource Law (SERL) program at TU, recent topics have included national and international energy and environmental policy, legal and regulatory issues, the relationship between federal and state regulatory systems and new developments in the regulation of oil and gas production in oil-producing states.

Created by the Energy Bar Association (EBA) and first published in 1980, ELJ’s readership includes more than 2,000 subscribers, who are leading practitioners, policymakers and academics from all other the world. The journal is published twice a year.

In 1986, a partnership was established between ELJ’s governing board and The University of Tulsa College of Law under which TU law students edit the publication. This successful partnership, now spanning more than three decades, has enabled hundreds of TU Law students to work closely with leading practitioners and government officials in the energy industry and has exposed students to cutting-edge policy and legal issues.

Learn more about TU Law’s two journals here.

The EBA board sets high standards for inclusion in the journal; and in the last five years, 13 TU law students have had articles selected for publication — a testament to their high-caliber work. The ELJ professional editors contribute to the students’ understanding by presenting at an annual workshop on energy law and policy for incoming ELJ members, and the professional board also provides funding to enable an ELJ student to serve as an intern on the staff of a congressman or senator who serves on an energy or environmental committee.

Students who have served on the journal have pursued successful career paths in the fields of energy and environmental law.  Recent ELJ alumni include an attorney with a major independent oil company in Tulsa, the director of energy policy with the National Association of Manufacturers, an assistant attorney general of Oklahoma working in the fields of energy and public utility regulation, and a staff attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund. This academic year, 25 2L (second year) law students have elected to join the ELJ which is more than one-fourth of the entire class.

 

Student Bar Association elects new leadership

Lashandra Peoples-Johnson has been elected as the president of the Student Bar Association (SBA) at The University of Tulsa College of Law, and Pierre Robertson is the new vice president. The SBA, the governing body of students at the college, promotes interaction and professionalism among students, faculty and the administration.

“My goal as president is to work on diversity and inclusion,” said Peoples-Johnson. “I want to make sure everyone is embraced and feels included.” Her first act of business was to promote students from various student organizations to presidential appointment within the organization.

For the first time in TU Law’s history, the SBA will host a monthly event called Delegate Days in which students can express concerns and suggestions for the college. “My goal is to make the law school less stressful, be accessible to students and to act quickly,” said Robertson.

Learn more about the Student Bar Association and other student organizations here.

Peoples-Johnson, originally from Dallas, Texas, is a 3L at TU Law. She graduated from The University of Tulsa with a double major in business law management and information management systems. After graduation, she worked at ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 as a computer programmer and lead information privacy analyst. During that time, she was married and had three children. As she approached 30, she decided it was time to time to follow her passion and attend law school.

At TU Law, Peoples-Johnson has participated in Community Advocacy Clinic work finding housing solutions for people with serious mental illnesses, served as a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) traveling moot trial team and received AAJ’s Richard Hailey Scholarship. She also interned at the firms of Smiling, Smiling and Burgess; and Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison and Lewis.

Her leadership roles in addition to serving as president of the SBA include vice president of the Public Interest Board and vice president of the Black Law Student Association.  “One of the most impactful moments of my law school journey was last year when I was able to volunteer at the Tulsa Expungement Expo. At this event, more than 1,000 people came from across Tulsa to get felonies and misdemeanors expunged.”

Robertson is a 2L who came to TU Law from Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from Ohio University with degrees in economics and political science, he came to Tulsa through the Teach for America program. Robertson taught third and fourth grade students and decided to take a break from teaching and enroll as a student in law school. In addition to serving as the vice president of the SBA, he is also a director of the Public Interest Board, associate editor of the Tulsa Law Review, a BARBRI student representative and a member of the Black Law Student Association.

While at TU Law, Robertson has interned with the Honorable Stephanie K. Bowman, a federal magistrate judge for the Southern District of Ohio. “As an intern, I analyzed parties’ motions and wrote recommendation memoranda on a variety of civil and criminal cases. Also, I observed status conferences and settlement conferences, detention, change of plea, and sentencing hearings.”

 

 

Clint Summers selected as the 2018 OBA Outstanding Law Student

Clint A. Summers, a 3L at The University of Tulsa College of Law, has been selected as the college’s Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA) Outstanding Student in 2018. Annually, each law school in the state selects a graduating student to receive the award at the OBA meeting in November.

“It is an honor to have been selected as the school’s OBA Outstanding Student in 2018. The friends, colleagues and mentors I have gained at TU will have a lasting impact on my career and the rest of my life. I would not have achieved this honor without their help. It has always been the faculty at TU and the attention they give, aided by small class sizes, which have been instrumental to my education and success at the school.”

Summers is an articles research editor for the Tulsa Law Review and the research assistant to Professor Russell Christopher. His honors include: Creek Nation Higher Education Doctoral Grant; The Sovereignty Symposium’s Chief Justice John B. Doolin Writing Competition (3rd place); 1L Class Negotiation Competition (1st place); the Oklahoma Bar Foundation Fellow awards recipient; and CALI awards (the “CALI award” is given to the student with the highest grade in a class) in Contracts, Criminal Law, Basic Corporate Law and Legal Writing III.

During his time at TU, Summers has gained experience at multiple levels of the federal court system through externships for the Honorable Stephanie K. Seymour, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and the Honorable Gregory K. Frizzell, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He also served as a summer associate at Davis Graham & Stubbs in Denver, Colorado; McAfee & Taft in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and GableGotwals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Prior to entering law school, Summers worked as a business analyst for Williams, Access Midstream and Chesapeake Midstream for five years.

Summers has authored a forthcoming article for the American Indian Law Journal titled “Rethinking the Federal Indian Status Test: A Look at the Supreme Court’s Classification of the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma.”

Summers grew up in Dallas, Texas, and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma, studying abroad at the Hashemite University in Zarqa, Jordan.

Outside of law school, Summers enjoys running, traveling and spending time with his fiancé, Amanda King, and golden-doodle, Ollie.

After graduation, Summers will serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Claire V. Eagan, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in Tulsa, Oklahoma for one year. Following that, Summers will serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Jacques L. Wiener, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, Louisiana for one year.

 

 

TU Law ranked as #37 by Above the Law

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.

TU Law was founded in 1923 and offers fall, spring and summer starts. For more information, contact us or read about us online.

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.

Law valedictorian Hope Forsyth wins W. Lee Johnson Award

Hope Forsyth was recently honored by The University of Tulsa College of Law for graduating with the highest cumulative grade point average. The W. Lee Johnson Award was presented to Forsyth at the TU Law Hooding Ceremony, Friday, May 4, 2018, where she also served as class valedictorian.

As a law student, Forsyth received the highest grade in 11 classes including Basic Corporate Law, Agency & Partnership, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law II, Professional Responsibility, Evidence, Selling & Leasing, Criminal Law, Legal Writing, Civil Procedure I and Torts. She also received the George and Jean Price Award for Excellence in Legal Writing and the OBA Award for Outstanding Student.

Forsyth served as the executive editor of the Tulsa Law Review, is a  student member of the Johnson-Sontag/Council Oak Chapter of the American Inns of Court and is a member of Phi Delta Phi Legal Honor Society.

During her time at TU, Forsyth gained experience at multiple levels of the federal court system as a judicial extern for Senior Judge Stephanie Seymour on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and as an intern for Chief Judge Gregory K. Frizzell, former Magistrate Judge T. Lane Wilson and Magistrate Judge Paul J. Cleary, all of the Northern District of Oklahoma.

Before law school, Forsyth’s essay “Forum” was published in “Digital Keywords: A Vocabulary of Information Society and Culture” by Princeton University Press. Her law review comment, “Mutually Assured Protection: Dmitri Shostakovich and Russian Influence on American Copyright Law,” is forthcoming in the Tulsa Law Review. In her free time, Forsyth is an America’s Test Kitchen home recipe tester and a volunteer sacramental catechist for her Catholic parish. Forsyth will join the law firm of GableGotwals as an associate attorney in September.

TU Law ranked #1 in Oklahoma and #15 nationally for graduate job placement

The University of Tulsa College of Law is ranked number one in Oklahoma and 15th  in the nation for 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.

 

KIPP students learn about careers in law

The University of Tulsa College of Law (TU Law) welcomed KIPP eighth grade students, three KIPP volunteer staff, and KIPP’s Dean of Students to its campus to participate in the Judge Carlos Chappelle Pathway to Law Academy on Friday, March 30, 2018.

“Pathway presents students with an overview of how to get to law school and to a legal career from where they are currently in middle school. A key component of the day’s events is a panel discussion including legal professionals, law students, college students, and college admission counselors. This allows the students to hear the different perspectives of what is beyond middle school and what it takes to get to a legal career,” said Eruore Oboh, admissions counselor and diversity outreach coordinator for TU Law.

The program began with inspiring messages from Lyn Entzeroth, TU Law dean and Danny Williams Sr., a Partner at Conner & Winters law firm and the nephew of Carlos Chappelle for whom the event is named. The program also included a tour of the TU campus, lunch with local legal professionals in the President’s Suite at the Reynold’s Center, and an interactive lesson on mock negotiation and on the Socratic method.

This year’s Pathway volunteers included:

Attorneys

  • Lyn Entzeroth, Dean, University of Tulsa College of Law
  • Danny Williams, Partner, Conner & Winters, LLP
  • Lorena Rivas, Attorney, Fry & Elder
  • Jacqueline Caldwell, Vice President Office of Diversity and Engagement, Director of Presidential Scholars Program, The University of Tulsa
  • Rachel Gusman, Attorney, Graves McLain PLLC
  • Kevinn Mathews, Attorney, WPX Energy, Inc.
  • Christy M. Caves, Associate Dean, Director of Professional Development, University of Tulsa College of Law

Law Students

  • Violet Rush
  • Cordal Cephas
  • Jazzmin Wilson
  • Janay Clougherty
  • Morgan Smith
  • Justice Andrews
  • MaryJoy Chuba
  • Robert McClendon
  • Leland Ashley
  • Daniel Gibson

Undergraduate Volunteers

  • Matthew Cecconi, Admissions Counselor, University of Tulsa
  • Maya Dunlap, TU Student

The Honorable Judge Carlos Chappelle, who was the presiding judge for the 14th District Court in Tulsa County and was the first African American to hold this position.

Revell specialized in health law in D.C. externships

With an undergraduate degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M University, Melissa Revell knew she wanted to pursue a career in the healthcare industry. Her studies led her to the field of law and to The University of Tulsa.

As a third year law student, Revell is worked in Washington, D.C. as a legal extern for both the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA).

“I spent the last semester of law school externing in Washington, D.C.”

“Working in Washington, D.C., the last semester of law school has rounded out my perspective on health care, by allowing me to see health care from the vantage point of a federal administrative agency,” said Revell. “I’m excited to take what I’ve learned from these experiences back to Tulsa where I’ll be working after graduation.”

At the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Revell consults with and drafts opinions for administrative law judges on Medicare disputes. At AHLA, she writes articles on recent healthcare decisions, legislation and regulatory changes for the agency’s newsletter sent to its 14,000 members.

“I’ve observed how healthcare attorneys provide objective counsel with compassion.”

In the summer of her second year, Revell interned at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, conducting legal research and advising counsel of issues of informed consent, patient discharge and advance directives. “My experience at St. Jude greatly impacted me, as I learned first-hand how their positions require the attorneys to provide objective counsel, while approaching delicate issues with compassion.”

Revell first became passionate about health care in her undergraduate years when she shadowed several physicians, operated a breast cancer research lab and volunteered in a prenatal clinic.

“Melissa came to me early with the goal of securing an opportunity in Washington, D.C. in health law. She used her network from her internship at St. Jude to focus in on where she wanted to be. We worked together on a plan within the externship program that allowed her to get course credit for two placements concurrently. Through her own tenacity, she is getting double experience and exposure in her preferred practice area,” said Lauren Donald, assistant dean for experiential learning at TU Law.

Revell is joining McAfee & Taft in Tulsa as a healthcare attorney.

During her time at TU Law, Revell was selected as a William W. Means Professionalism Endowed Scholar and a Steele Scholar. She served as an articles research editor of the Tulsa Law Review in 2017-18 and as an associate editor in 2016-17. She also earned four CALI Excellence for the Future awards in Legal Writing II, Legal Writing III, Constitutional Law II and Insurance Law.

“One of my favorite things about TU Law is the high caliber of the professors and how vested they are in their students. I love living in Tulsa, and I believe that Tulsa is a perfect size legal market for a new attorney to begin his or her career,” said Revell. After graduation, Revell is joining the healthcare practice group at McAfee & Taft in Tulsa.

For more information on externships at The University of Tulsa College of Law, visit us online.

 

Cybersecurity law scholar Ido Kilovaty joins TU Law

Cybersecurity scholar Ido Kilovaty joins TU as the Frederic Dorwart Endowed Assistant Professor of Law.

Ido Kilovaty has been appointed to hold the Frederic Dorwart Endowed Assistant Professor of Law position at The University of Tulsa College of Law. He will teach cybersecurity law, internet law and international law.

Kilovaty comes to TU from Yale Law School where he was a Cyber Fellow for the Center for Global Legal Challenges, a Resident Fellow for the Information Society Project, and involved in co-teaching a course titled, “The Law & Technology of Cyber Conflict” offered both to law students and computer science majors.

“I am delighted to be joining The University of Tulsa College of Law,” said Kilovaty. “I am very much looking forward to be working with the outstanding faculty and students at Tulsa.”

Focuses on domestic and global cybersecurity.

Kilovaty studies the connection between technology, law and policy, with a focus on domestic and global cybersecurity. His recently authored “Freedom to Hack” which proposes a solution of ethical hacking for the improvement of smart-device security is forthcoming in the Ohio State Law Journal. He has also written on election interference through cyberspace, “Doxfare: – Politically Motivated Leaks and the Future of the Norm on Non-Intervention in the Era of Weaponized Information” appearing in the Harvard National Security Journal (2018).

Kilovaty’s recent scholarship includes – “NATO, ICRC, and the U.S. –Direct Participation in Hacktivities under International Humanitarian Law” (Duke Law & Technology Review); “World Wide Web of Exploitations—Peacetime Cyber Espionage under International Law” (Columbia Science & Technology Law Review); “Virtual Violence: Disruptive Cyber Operations as ‘Attacks’ under International Humanitarian Law” (Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review). Kilovaty has also published op-eds and essays in the Harvard Law Review Blog, Lawfare, Just Security, WIRED, and TechCrunch.

At Yale Law, Kilovaty developed a project to connect the legal and technical aspects of cybersecurity.

At Yale Law School, Kilovaty developed a cross-disciplinary project on cybersecurity bringing together lawyers, policymakers and technology experts to engage in constructive discourse on the current state of affairs on cybersecurity law and policy. The project was a collaboration between Yale Law School and Yale University’s Department of Computer Science designed to bridge the gaps between the legal and technical aspects of cybersecurity.

Kilovaty earned his Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree from Georgetown University Law Center, his Master of Laws (LL.M.) from the University of California Berkeley School Of Law, and his Bachelor of Laws LL.B.) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

 

Famed attorney Jan Schlichtmann to speak at TU Law’s Richard B. Risk CLE Practicum Series

Jan Schlichtmann is a nationally known environmental and civil justice lawyer whose work has inspired a book and movie. Schlichtmann, named one of “The Best Lawyers in America” via peer review process, is coming to The University of Tulsa as part of the Richard B. Risk Continuing Legal Education Practicum Series.

Schlichtmann graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1973 followed by a law degree from Cornell University in 1977. He began private practice in 1978 in Massachusetts and it did not take long for his work to be recognized.

Hear Schlichtmann speak Wednesday, April 4 at 6 p.m. in the Lorton Performance Center, free and open to the public.

Schlichtmann is most known for his work on the federal lawsuit Anderson v. Cryovac, Inc. where he represented eight families from Woburn, Massachusetts, in 1986. There were multiple instances of leukemia that affected each of the families and, after taking the case, Schlichtmann alleged from the evidence he found that the water was being contaminated by Cryovac, a subsidiary of W. R. Grace and Company; Beatrice Foods, the operator of a tannery; and UniFirst, a laundry service. UniFirst settled first and the money received from that company was put to the case against the other two. The jury found Beatrice not liable, but Schlichtmann received a settlement from Cryovac. This case and the events surrounding it were documented in the book A Civil Action written by Johnathan Harr in 1995. The book became a best seller, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction and was made into a 1998 movie starring John Travolta as Jan Schlichtmann.

Since the case in Woburn, Schlichtmann has won many other cases and is known for his work in civil justice, science and the environment. In the late 1990s, he represented 69 Toms River, New Jersey families, who claimed that their children had developed cancer from pollution by three companies. They reached a settlement in 2001. Schlichtmann was also a co-founder of the Legal Broadcast Network (LBN) in 2004. LBN helps bring attention to important issues of law through blogs and podcasts

Schlichtmann has also lectured at many law schools and conferences offering his insights from his experiences. Schlichtmann’s Tulsa lecture is titled, “Justice & The Lawyer – Lessons from the Environmental Wars.”

TU Law alumnus Dick Risk makes the TU Law CLE Practicum Series possible.

Prior to the lecture, there was a private reception and showing of A Civil Action at the Circle Cinema with lecture sponsor and TU law alumnus, Richard “Dick” Risk, in attendance. TU law students, alumni and lecture registrants were invited.

Risk graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1963 and decided to attend law school in 1998. After graduating in 2001 at age 60, he decided to start his own solo practice. He settled a large class action suit early in his law career and wanted to do something for TU so he used part of the settlement to create an endowment for the law school in 2011. “At then-Dean Janet Levit’s suggestion, we created a practicum series to help new graduates of the law school learn things about practicing law that the law school doesn’t teach,” said Risk.

These regular lectures are available to students, the Tulsa legal community and anyone with interest in law. Risk wanted to add special lecture to the series. He said, “I suggested to Dean Lyn Entzeroth that we should consider in addition to the regular noon series having a speaker who would be recognized by the general public to talk about the virtues of the legal profession and its positive impact on our society. I immediately thought of Jan Schlichtmann, and I’m thrilled he accepted my invitation for this event.” Risk had heard Schlichtmann speak at two different seminars and thought he was a powerful speaker and a delightful person. “Jan and I are both advocates for truth and justice, and I am honored that he will be the first evening lecture sponsored by the Risk Practicum Series,” said Risk.

There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Lorton Performance Center preceding Jan Schlichtmann’s lecture at 6 p.m. and the event is free and open to the public.

Warigia Bowman joins TU Law

Warigia Bowman joins TU Law

The University of Tulsa College of Law welcomes Warigia Bowman as a new assistant professor of law. She will teach administrative, energy and water law.

“We are honored and excited to add such an accomplished professor to our faculty,” said Lyn Entzeroth, dean of the college. “Her experiences and knowledge are unmatched, and our students will truly benefit.

Bowman’s interests include the effects of agriculture and climate change on water resources, as well as wind and solar energy. She has published several articles in the telecommunications area and has developed significant expertise with regard to censorship and hate speech.

Will teach administrative, energy and water law.

“I am incredibly pleased to be returning to the Southwest. I am proud to be a Westerner and thrilled to be joining the faculty at The University of Tulsa School of Law,” said Bowman. “This is a fascinating and dynamic period in water, energy and natural resources. The coming decades are likely to witness a revolution in the production, use, regulation, and legal regimes with regard to all kinds of energy and water and Oklahoma will be the epicenter of these changes.”

Earned a doctorate from Harvard and a J.D. from UT-Austin.

Bowman earned her doctorate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where she was the Hauser Fellow for Nonprofit Management and the Oppenheimer Scholar for African Studies. Bowman holds two degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and her Juris Doctor from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. She holds an undergraduate degree in history from Columbia College of Columbia University in New York, where she was the Harry S. Truman Scholar for Public Service.

Bowman joins TU Law from her position as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service where she taught Field Research Methods and Theory, and Practice of Global Development. Previously, she served as assistant professor of Public Policy at the University of Mississippi and visiting assistant professor at American University in Cairo, Egypt.

Before academia, Bowman was a trial attorney for the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

Before becoming an academic, Bowman served as an honors trial attorney in the environmental division of the U.S. Department of Justice during the Clinton Administration and as a briefing attorney for the Texas Supreme Court.

She has recently published articles in The Journal of Modern African StudiesThe Innovation Journal and The William and Mary Policy Review. Additionally, she has been an invited lecturer at the University of Washington, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the National Intelligence University.

TU Law alumna & immigration attorney named winner of Fern Holland Award

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.
Immigration attorney Lorena Rivas, an alumna of The University of Tulsa College of Law, is the 2018 Fern Holland Award winner.

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.

Get more information about the 2018 Fern Holland Banquet

The following article was first published in the Tulsa Business & Legal News.

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.

Learn more about TU Law’s Immigration Program

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.

“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.”

 

TU Law given an “A” for facilities

The University of Tulsa College of Law has been selected as one of the “Best Law School Buildings” by preLaw Magazine, March 2018. TU Law received an “A” for its campus facility, aesthetics, technology, library and amenities.

Tyler Roberts, editor of preLaw magazine noted in the article, “When applying to law school, it is important to consider the academic rigor of each school, its employment statistics and its bar-passage rate. But don’t forget that once law school starts, you could be spending 40-60 hours a week there. You may spend more time – at least awake time – there than you do at home. This is why preLaw magazine started its evaluations of law school buildings in 2014.”

TU Law building’s points-of-interest include:

MABEE LEGAL INFORMATION CENTER (LAW LIBRARY

The Mabee Legal Information Center (MLIC) is a resource-rich and technologically advanced facility giving students and the Tulsa legal community access to the highest standard in legal study and research. The MLIC has a 400,000-volume collection and is staffed with three professional librarians. The building also provides space for three law journals, certificate programs and the school’s alumni office. Features include an electronic classroom, compact shelving, and digital access to electronic and alternative research sources. During regular business hours, students, faculty and staff may reach a reference librarian at 918- 631-2404 or mlic@utulsa.edu.

TU LAW DIGITAL COMMONS

The University of Tulsa College of Law preserves and allows users to access the intellectual output of our community in the TU Law Digital Commons. This repository is a joint project of the Mabee Legal Information Center (MLIC) and the college’s Department of External Relations.

CLASSROOMS

Classrooms are equipped with the latest technology including HD projection systems, touchscreen controls, computer and laptop connections (VGA and HOM1), integrated audio systems with wireless capabilities, Sympodiums, Blu-ray players, document cameras and built­-in classroomcapture/recording systems. See the classrooms in our TU Law virtual tour. All classrooms are linked together with a full HD mesh that allows audio and video to be transmitted between rooms. The Pit, a student lounge, is equipped with a fully integrated audio system and a quad screen video wall used for digital signage applications and event broadcasts.

WM STUART PRICE AND MICHAEL C. TURPEN COURTROOM

The Price and Turpen Courtroom at TU Law is designed for the future of legal instruction. The courtroom boasts a state-of-the art sound system, broadcast and HD recording capabilities, HD video conferencing equipment and a wireless network. The courtroom is used for moot court competitions, classroom instruction and a number of symposia and lectures throughout the year.

BOESCHE LEGAL CLINIC

The Boesche Legal Clinic houses the Immigrant Rights Project, the Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network and the Lobeck Taylor Community Advocacy Clinic. The facility allows law students the opportunity to meet real clients and face challenges in a workplace setting. Students are able to put legal skills and classroom education to the test while under the close supervision of a staff attorney.

ACCESSIBILITY

Elevators

  • An elevator is located in the Mabee Legal Information Center (MLIC) to provide easy multi­level access to the various research facilities.
  • An elevator is also located in the College of Law lobby for access to the Pit and lower level of the MLIC.

Classrooms

  • All classrooms at the College of Law are accessible without having to use stairs.

Restrooms

  • All of the restrooms at the College of Law and in the MLIC are ADA compliant.
  • The restrooms in the MLIC and on the east side of College of Law are larger and more accommodating for persons with disabilities.

SUSTAINABLE FEATURES OF THE LAW SCHOOL BUILDING

The University of Tulsa Law building contains a number of modern sustainable features including:

  • Building automation for temperature and humidity controls
  • Occupancy sensors for lighting
  • Efficiency optimization of existing light fixtures in remodeled areas
  • Variable frequency drives on key air handlers and heating water pumps
  • Recycling stations for students, faculty and administrators

 

 

Downing Wins National Writing Competition

M. Dalton Downing, a third-year law student at The University of Tulsa College of Law, recently won first place in a national writing competition sponsored by the Association of Securities and Exchange Commission Alumni (ASECA).

His first-place finish came with a $5,000 prize and a trip to the ASECA Annual Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C. The annual dinner featured the most prominent members of the U.S. securities community, including current and former SEC Commissioners. Downing was honored alongside Alan L. Beller, former SEC Division Director of Corporate Finance, who is the 2018 William O. Douglas Award Recipient.

The title of his winning paper is Picket Signs Versus Pocket Books: Using U.S. Securities Law to Compel Corporate Lobbying Disclosure. The Tulsa Law Review originally published the article in Fall 2017, and it will be reprinted by ASECA later this year. You can read the article at this link.

Downing is currently writing two other articles, one addressing corporate political spending from a state law perspective and the other making the case for a self-funding SEC.

During his time at the University of Tulsa College of Law, Downing served as editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Law Review and recently externed with Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Stephanie K. Seymour. Following graduation this spring, he will join the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP.

International student calls upon experience as an immigrant in her legal studies

Aisosa Arhunmwunde is a third-year law student at The University of Tulsa College of Law who is working towards a career in immigration law. Originally born in Nigeria, Arhunmwunde immigrated with her family to Canada where she earned her undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Manitoba.

After college, she decided to continue her education in law school. “I realized early that laws are dormant until a person is there to enforce and interpret them for people,” said Arhunmwunde. “It was then that I realized I wanted to be the voice of those who needed help with their legal rights.”

“TU Law allowed me to start school in the spring semester.”

Originally, Arhunmwunde looked at TU Law because she wanted to begin law school in the spring semester and TU offers spring, summer and fall starts. After she compared schools, she realized that TU’s robust experiential learning program, excellent academics, diverse student body and the affordable cost of obtaining a legal education was right for her.

She worked with asylum-seekers in Ireland.

During law school, Arhunmwunde has focused her interests on immigration law by working at TU’s Immigrant Resource Network and Immigrant Rights Project. During the summer months, Arhunmwunde took her studies abroad through TU’s Study Abroad program and interned at the Irish Refugee Council in Dublin helping clients who were seeking asylum.

Elizabeth McCormick, JD, associate dean of Experiential Learning and director of the Clinical Education Program at TU Law said, “Aisosa brings the unique and valuable perspective of her own experience as an immigrant and international student to her work with immigrant clients. She has seized on every available opportunity to gain first-hand experience in immigration law and in representing real clients. The combination of her intellect, passion and empathy will be a great benefit to her and her clients in the future.

After completing her internship, Arhunmwunde traveled to Ghana which was funded by TU Law’s Public Interest Board. Based in Accra, she conducted interviews with citizens on the street who were displaced in order to help them find living spaces. She was one of a cadre of students from around the world there to conduct human rights work in the field.

“Law school is challenging but worth it if you choose the right one for you.”

“It is truly rewarding to have a client whose case you’ve work on call and tell you their asylum is approved and they no longer fear going to jail. It is so worth it,” said Arhunmwunde. “Law school is challenging like everything worthwhile, but it is easier and more enjoyable if you choose a law school that gives you the tools and sets you up for success before you put a foot out of the door.” During her time at TU Law, Arhunmwunde served as the associate editor of the Energy Law Journal, secretary of the Black American Law Students Association and was a member of the Women’s Law Caucus, Board of Advocates and the West African Students Association.

For more information on the TU College of Law, visit us online.

Book reviews featured in this issue of Tulsa Law Review

The annual book review issue of the Tulsa Law Review is now available for reading. Editor-in-Chief and TU Law student M. Dalton Downing prefaces the issue with the following comments about the tradition of publishing book reviews relevant to law.

“In an essay published by the Texas Law Review nearly a decade ago, Sanford Levinson lamented the degree to which law journals were abandoning book reviews. He felt that law journals—the legal profession’s chief scholarly fora—had a duty “to serve as a venue for serious discussions of important books relevant . . . to thinking about law.” The following year, in collaboration with Levinson and Mark Graber, the Tulsa Law Review published its inaugural book review issue.

So began our rich tradition of publishing book reviews that not only offer careful, evaluative criticism of prominent books, but that also bridge disciplinary divides. As you will see in the nearly two dozen essays that follow, both the books under review and the reviewers come from an array of disciplinary backgrounds—from law, of course, but also from sociology, philosophy, political science, and history. Skillfully pairing thought provoking books with astute reviewers, our co-editors, Professors Julie Novkov and Stuart Chinn, assembled a collection of reviews that capture the depth and complexity of each book, stimulate interdisciplinary conversation, and offer original insights. ‘

The Tulsa Law Review owes a debt of gratitude to all who made this issue possible: to Sanford Levinson (whose book is reviewed herein) and Mark Graber for inspiring and establishing this tradition; to Professors Novkov and Chinn for their thoughtful, diligent editorship; and to the reviewers for crafting insightful, fascinating essays that educate and inspire our readers.”

To read this issue of the Tulsa Law Review click here.

Pallarez and Young win Native American moot court competition

Manuel Pallarez and Randall Young, third-year law students at The University of Tulsa, won first place in the National Native American Law Student Association Moot Court Competition, March 2-4, 2018.

The 26th annual competition included 200 law students from 45 schools and was hosted by the Arizona State University (ASU) Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law NALSA Chapter in Phoenix and the ASU Indian Legal Program.

200 students from 45 law schools competed

Each year, the moot court competition gives students from across the U.S. an opportunity to argue the most compelling issues in federal Indian law and tribal governance. Throughout the year, team conduct intensive legal research to write an appellate brief and prepare oral arguments.

“The College of Law is very proud of Manuel and Randall for achieving this honor in the national NALSA moot court competition,” said Lyn Entzeroth, dean of the TU College of Law. “Students in our Native American Law education program have the opportunity to study with our outstanding Indian Law faculty.  Manuel and Randall are impressive students who represent our law school well.”

“I was shocked when our team was announced as the victors.”

Pallarez said, “As a two-year member of the National NALSA Moot Court Team, it was an honor and a privilege to represent TU Law in Phoenix. I am most thankful to our coaches, June Stanley and Brenda Christie (Tulsa-area attorneys). It was their belief in our abilities that made the victory possible. I will be the first to admit that I was shocked when our team was announced as the victors. The entire weekend felt like a dream as we kept advancing. The most satisfying part of the victory was being able to win with a great friend, two great coaches, and for the entire TU community. This will absolutely be a memory that I cherish for a long time.”

Young added, “Throughout the competition, every team we played would have made their law schools proud. Particularly in from the elite eight moving forward, we encountered insightful legal analysis and stellar advocacy. Competing with our colleagues from among 45 sister schools helped us hone our arguments going into the final round. That being said, as an alumnus of The University of Tulsa’s History and English programs, and now a 3L at the TU College of Law, I felt especially prepared to learn quickly, think of my feet and argue persuasively. In my mind, our accomplishment represents not only our personal dedication, but also the University’s mission to foster critical thinking and excellence.”

For more information on TU Law’s Native American Law Center, visit our website.

 

Tulsa-area high school students learn about legal careers at TU

More than 30 Tulsa-area high school students participated in The University of Tulsa College of Law’s Judge Carlos Chappelle Minority Law Awareness Day (MLAD) in February 2018. Sponsored by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) as part of its Diversity Matters Initiative, the annual event provides students with the opportunity to meet with and learn from legal professionals and TU Law students.

“MLAD offers high school students a chance to experience what it is like to be on a law school campus, mingle with legal professionals, visit with a judge and tour a law firm,” said Eruore Oboh, admission counselor and diversity outreach coordinator for the TU College of Law. “The day is organized to showcase, in a fun and relaxing atmosphere, the journey of a legal professional from education all the way to judgeship. MLAD is also a chance for the law school  to connect with local high school students and foster relationships so they may look to us for  resources to begin and thrive in the field of law.”

Law Professor Johnny Parker began the day with opening remarks. The students were then treated to a presentation by TU Law alumna and immigration attorney with Fry & Elder, Lorena Rivas. Rivas is dedicated to helping minority teens overcome personal and societal obstacles that may get in the way of pursuing educational and employment goals. As a first-generation American whose parents emigrated from Mexico, Rivas has worked to serve and represent her Latino community and family as a community leader and role model.

Students also participated in a mock negotiation conducted by TU Law’s Black Law Student Association, toured the Tulsa County Courthouse meeting with Judge Sharon Holmes and shared lunch with legal professionals in TU’s Allen Chapman Student Union Great Hall.

Participating schools included Booker T. Washington High School, McLain High School for Science and Technology and Union High School.

2018 MLAD volunteers included law students and the following:

Professionals:

  • Andrea Kulsrud, manager of contract administration and negotiation, ONEOK
  • Christine Umeh, attorney, Still She Rises in Tulsa
  • Christy Caves, associate dean and director of TU Law’s Professional Development Dept.
  • Elizabeth McCormick, TU law professor and director of the Immigrant Rights Project
  • Jacqueline Higgs Caldwell, vice president for diversity and engagement and director of the TU Presidential Scholars Program
  • Kaushiki Chowdhury, attorney, Still She Rises in Tulsa
  • Kevinn Matthews, attorney for health and safety at WPX Energy
  • Mimi Marton, TU law professor and director of TU’s Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network
  • Rachel E. Gusman, junior partner with Graves McLain

Students:

  • Aisosa Arhunmwunde, 2L
  • Cordal Cephas, 2L
  • Courtney Nelbach, 3L
  • Janay Clougherty, 3L
  • Jazzmin Wilson, 2L
  • Jose Gonzalez, 2L
  • Lashandra Peoples-Johnson, 2L
  • MaryJoy Chuba, 1/2L
  • Pierre Robertson, 1L
  • Robert McClendon, 2L
  • Sofia Miranda, 1L
  • Stephanie Jackson, 3L

High School Counselors and Administrators:

  • Amber Meadors-Fouda, business and technology instructor, McLain High School
    Amanda Howell, Union Career Connect
  • Angela Jones, counselor, Booker T. Washington High School
  • Darick C. Morton, dean of students, McLain High School
  • Shelley Kerr, counseling secretary, Booker T. Washington

The event is named for The Honorable Judge Carlos Chappelle who was the presiding judge for the 14th District Court in Tulsa County and was the first African American to hold this position.

TU Law shares LSAC’s commitment to increasing diversity in the legal profession by providing guidance and encouragement to high school students in hopes that they will consider attending law school and pursue a career in law.

TU Law’s next event is The Judge Carlos Chappelle Pathway to Law Academy scheduled for Friday, March 30, 2018.

Law student discovers passion for immigration law at TU

As a young adult, Alec Bracken knew that he wanted a career helping those who couldn’t help themselves. He chose the study of law and moved his family to Tulsa from Utah to attend The University of Tulsa College of Law. In his first year, he discovered his passion for immigration law and has recently accepted a summer fellowship with the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HRIC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“I am the type of person who likes to do everything I can to fix problems. When I watched a team of doctors help my hospitalized wife and daughter several years ago, I saw that they were doing things I couldn’t because of their advanced education. It was then that I realized I wanted to go back to school to learn how I could help others too, and that ultimately led me to the field of law,” said Bracken.

When it came time to research and select a law school, Bracken chose TU Law for its immigration law opportunities. “I quickly learned that the group of people most in need of help in this country were undocumented immigrants,” Bracken said. “When I learned that TU operated an immigration clinic where I could learn and help people at the same time, I knew it was the right place for me.”

“TU Law is a small school with big opportunities.”

Now in his second year of law school, Bracken has become a leader in immigration-related law organizations and activities. He has worked at the Immigrant Rights Project — a one-semester, six-credit clinical educational program and the Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network — a legal incubator providing clients with direct representation in immigration proceedings. He also founded TU’s first immigration law society, immLAW.

immLAW, one of TU’s largest student organizations with 80 members, has given more than 200 hours of service to the local immigrant community including immigration education events for law students and area residents. This past year, four members of the organization traveled to an immigrant detention center in Texas where they prepared women and children asylum-seekers for interviews about their credible fear of torture or persecution if they were denied asylum. As immLAW has grown, so has the contingent traveling to Texas to help those seeking asylum. This year, 18 students and translators will travel to Karnes County Family Immigration Detention Center where those seeking asylum are detained until they can establish a credible fear to return to their home countries.

“TU Law is a small school with big opportunities,” said Bracken. “I have benefitted from mentor relations and have done so many things I couldn’t have done in a larger school. I debated transferring to another college to be closer to family but realized that being at TU brought me more opportunities, and I’m happy I’m here.”

Selected for Harvard Immigration Clinic Summer Fellowship

This summer Bracken will participate in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic’s summer fellowship program. Those selected take the lead in representing clients from all over the world who are seeking protection from being returned to human rights abuses in their country of origin, as well as those who are seeking protection from exile after years of living in the United States. Bracken will work at Harvard and Greater Boston Legal Services while concurrently taking a course in Immigration and Refugee Advocacy.

Hear Preston Brasch talk about externing at Harvard Immigration Clinic

Bracken credits his professors, Matt Lamkin and Mimi Marton for taking a keen interest in his career and helping him discover new opportunities. After graduation, Bracken will become a public interest attorney. “I want to work for an organization where the client’s ability to pay does not affect their access to legal services,” Bracken said.

TU Law accepts applications for spring, summer and fall starts. For more information or a free application fee waiver, visit us in person or online.

 

Forsyth externs with Federal Court of Appeals

TU Law student and Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA) Student of the Year Hope Forsyth is serving as an extern for Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Stephanie K. Seymour. Forsyth’s skill set along with support from TU Law professors and the professional development office helped her secure this coveted legal externship.

“After hearing a judge speak in my first year of law school, I knew I wanted to learn at the federal court level,” said Forsyth. “Internships and externships in chambers involve learning from judges and their staff, observing the court in action, analyzing both frequent and unusual legal issues, and drafting written work for the judge to consider including in orders and opinions. Working for judges in law school gives an incomparable lesson in how to be an effective advocate.”

Forsyth is externing at the appellate level in her final year of law school.

Forsyth is an outstanding student all around. She earned a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in communication and media studies with minors in English and philosophy from The University of Tulsa, where she was also an Oklahoma Center for the Humanities research fellow, Honors Scholar, Presidential Scholar and National Merit Scholar.

Now, Forsyth is a third-year student at The University of Tulsa College of Law. She is the executive editor of the Tulsa Law Review, a student member of the Council Oak/Johnson-Sontag Inn of Court and a member of Phi Delta Phi. She has earned 11 CALI Excellence for the Future Awards for the highest grade in various classes and the George and Jean Price Award for legal reasoning, research and writing.

In addition to her appellate externship with Senior Judge Stephanie K. Seymour, Forsyth has gained experience at multiple levels of the court system through internships with Chief Judge Gregory K. Frizzell, former Magistrate Judge T. Lane Wilson and Magistrate Judge Paul J. Cleary, all of the Northern District of Oklahoma.

Forsyth credits her professors at TU Law for providing a solid education, mentorship and individual attention to all students. “TU Law is a close-knit and mentoring community with world-class legal professors,” said Forsyth. “They’ve had a formative influence on my education.”

“TU Law is a close- knit and mentoring community.”

Forsyth grew up in Cushing, Oklahoma, where her father practices law. Outside of law school, Forsyth is an America’s Test Kitchen home recipe tester and a volunteer sacramental catechist at her Catholic parish.

After graduation, Forsyth will join GableGotwals in Tulsa as an associate attorney.

 

 

 

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.

Student authors solutions for Oklahoma’s overcrowded jails

Leslie Briggs, right, shown with TU Law Dean Lyn Entzeroth at the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship reception.

TU Law student Leslie Briggs is working towards a career to “help people with pressing problems that seem insurmountable.” To achieve that goal, Briggs has been heavily involved in rights-oriented work including serving as an intern at the Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office and the OK Policy Institute and as the Tulsa-area organizer for Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform. Recently, Briggs’ article titled, Bail reform should be the solution for Oklahoma’s overcrowded jails, was published on the OKPOLICY.org website and is included below.

Oklahoma voters know that the time is right for criminal justice reform for our state, and they showed it by passing State Questions 780 and 781 by wide margins last November. Not all stakeholders were on board: Just before the questions took effect on July 1, some Sheriffs and District Attorneys raised concerns about rising county jail populations, since many low-level drug and property offenders are no longer eligible for terms in state prisons. While overcrowded jails are a real problem, the state can do much more to solve it by reforming bail practices than by undoing recent reforms.

Like state prison populations, both urban and rural local jail populations have dramatically increased to a point that is breaking our ability to operate them safely. Oklahoma County jail, for example, was originally designed to hold 1,200 inmates; its average daily population has reached twice that size in recent years. But the vast majority of jail inmates in Oklahoma County – about 80 percent – are being held pretrial, which means they haven’t yet been convicted of a crime but can’t afford bail to get out of jail before their case is resolved. Nationwide, about 9 in 10 pretrial inmates have a bail amount set but are unable to meet the financial burden to be released from jail.

Jurisdictions across the country have shown that we can reduce that number by implementing an evidence-based, pretrial release program that relies on individual risk assessments rather than money bail. Doing so at the state level would save counties huge amounts of money without risking public safety.

Pretrial detention doesn’t just contribute to jail overcrowding. It also creates big problems for defendants, their families, and taxpayers. It costs over $51 a day to house an inmate in jail. In many counties, this cost falls on the inmates themselves through jail fees — and if they can’t afford bail they aren’t likely to be able to pay off the fee debt, either. When those fees can’t be collected, the costs must be covered by city and county taxpayers.  An extended pretrial stay in jail may also result in a defendant losing their job, losing their children to state custody, and being evicted from their home. That’s part of why defendants who are detained before trial are much more likely to plead guilty and take a plea bargain — whether or not they are actually guilty — to obtain faster release from incarceration.

We have better options to make this system more just and less expensive. Instead of using money to secure bail, courts should use the information available to them to determine who is at most risk to reoffend or fail to appear for their court date. Strong, empirically-based pretrial risk assessments have been developed and put into use federally and in several states. The Arnold Foundation’s Public Safety Assessment (PSA) is one risk assessment tool that estimates the likelihood that the defendant will commit a new crime, commit a new violent crime, or fail to appear for their court date. These policies save taxpayer dollars, improve public safety, and reduce unjust outcomes for low-income defendants.

For example, Allegheny County (PA) Jail saw a a 30 percent decrease in the number of defendants sent to jail after preliminary arraignment once they integrated a risk assessment tool into their bail setting process, among other reforms. Washington D.C. has gone even further by eliminating money bail in favor of pretrial release that may come with conditions like GPS monitoring, regular drug testing, and checking in at court by phone or in person. Over the last five years, 90 percent of those released under D.C’s system have remained arrest free before their cases were resolved.

“This creates a paradox for those sitting in jail: bond out and be required to hire an attorney who charges $350 per hour, or stay in jail and risk losing your job, home, and children, only to then feel pressured to take a plea deal for less time in incarceration.”

In the absence of these reforms, private bail bondsmen often play the role of facilitating release by paying off bail and supervising defendants in exchange for high interest charges on the bail amount. Proponents of the current money bail systemcontend that bail bondsmen save taxpayers money and do the job of making risk assessments in the interest of public safety. But bail bondsmen do not have a standardized, evidence-based system for determining who is a potential threat to public safety, and they do not consider the type of crime committed in their assessment of who they will bond out. They also don’t face a penalty if the defendant they bond out commits a new crime after release. These incentives mean that bondsmen are primarily concerned whether defendants are a flight risk and whether they will be able to pay off the interest, not whether they are likely to commit a new crime.

The second major issue is access to justice for low income defendants. Only those who cannot afford to hire an attorney are eligible for representation by a Public Defender. Under Oklahoma law, when a defendant posts bail it creates a “rebuttable presumption” that the defendant is not indigent, making it more difficult for them to be represented by a Public Defender. This creates a paradox for those sitting in jail: bond out and be required to hire an attorney who charges $350 per hour, or stay in jail and risk losing your job, home, and children, only to then feel pressured to take a plea deal for less time in incarceration.

Just this month, 67 former District Attorneys and Department of Justice officials from across the country – groups that are rarely outspoken proponents of reform – filed a brief detailing how money bail harms the criminal justice system and urging wider adoption of individual assessment of defendants. In Congress, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) showed the bipartisan support for bail reform with a bill that would provide grants to local justice systems that implement risk assessments. With criminal justice reform remaining at the center of attention in Oklahoma, the time is right for bail reform. We should not let State Questions 780 and 781 stand alone. We should build upon them with evidenced-based reforms.

This article was originally published August 16, 2017.

“Fighting Rape Culture” in latest Tulsa Law Review

From the left, M. Dalton Downing, Tulsa Law Review editor-in-chief; Hope Forsyth, executive editor; and Randall Young, articles research editor.

Hot off the presses – the first issue of volume 53 of the Tulsa Law Review has been released and is available online and in print. The publication features important legal scholarship including an article titled, Fighting Rape Culture with Noncorroboration Instructions by Tyler Buller, assistant attorney general, Iowa Department of Justice. The article catalogues the criminal justice system’s long history of discrimination against sexual assault victims and proposes an effective solution to dismantle barriers that currently prevent the successful prosecution of sex crimes.

The publication also features articles by TU Law students Dalton Downing and Randall Young. Downing’s article lays out the need for greater transparency in corporate lobbying expenditures, and Young’s article compares the Supreme Court’s opinion in Crawford v. Washington to the history of the right of confrontation.

Click here for full access to Tulsa Law Review, Vol. 53, Issue 1.

M. Dalton Downing, Tulsa Law Review editor-in-chief

“I am proud to introduce the Tulsa Law Review’s inaugural issue of Volume 53, which builds on the rich tradition of publishing innovative and thought-provoking articles from legal scholars worldwide,” said M. Dalton Downing, editor-in-chief of the publication. “The articles in this edition address a broad range of prescient issues in our society across the spectrum of legal scholarship — from criminal law to international trade law to securities law.”

“This issue is the result not only of the wonderful work of our contributors, but also the tireless efforts of the Tulsa Law Review editorial staff, which includes more than forty outstanding second and third-year law students at the University of Tulsa College of Law,” Dalton said.

See additional stories about TU Law students here.

Tulsa Law Review, founded in 1964, is the oldest and largest student-run publication at The University of Tulsa College of Law. Publishing three to four issues each year, TLR receives more than 1,500 submissions annually and publishes a wide range of legal scholarship from professors, judges, practicing lawyers and renowned legal thinkers. The publication is indexed in LexisNexis, Westlaw and HeinOnline; and each issue is distributed nationally and abroad to law school libraries, private law firms, public legal organizations and individual subscribers.

The 2017-18 editorial board includes:

Editor in Chief: M. Dalton Downing

Executive Editor: Hope Forsyth

Notes & Comments Research Editor: Kymberli Heckenkemper

Production Editor: Chase Winterberg

Articles Research Editors: Amanda Gibson, Melissa Revell, Emalie Rott, Randall Young

Managing Editor: Alexander Lemke

Executive IT Editors: John Farley, Steve Pontius

Supervising Editors: Colin Byrne, Blair Hand, Vanessa Lock, Matt Primm, Trey Purdom, Alexandra Simmons

Staff Editors: Austin Hilterbran, Casey Johnson, Morgan Johnson, Caleb Jones, Mike Shouse

Associate Editors: Demi Allen, Alec Bracken, Cordal Cephas, Alexandra Dossman, Meghan Drake, Matt George, Joshua Hansen, Dallas Jones, Scott Major, Allison Martuch, Robert McClendon, Sarah McManes, Laurie Mehrwein, Madison Mosier, Lacy Pulliam, James Rayment, Violet Rush, Brent Smith, Clint Summers, Samantha Tober, Houston Wells

Faculty Advisor: Stephen R. Galoob

The editorial board may be contacted at tlr@utulsa.edu

For more information on the TU College of Law, a Top 100 Law School as rated by the U.S. News and World Report, visit us online.

King and Yeakley join McAfee & Taft

TU Law alumni and 2017 honors graduates Andrew M. King and Stanton Yeakley have joined Oklahoma’s largest law firm, McAfee & Taft.

Andrew King is a transactional lawyer whose practice encompasses a broad range of business and commercial matters, including business entity formation and organization, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, real estate transactions, contract negotiations, business taxation and family wealth planning.

King graduated with highest honors from The University of Tulsa College of Law, where he  worked for the Immigrant Rights Project at the Boesche Legal Clinic, was a member of the Board of Advocates and received the CALI Award for Advanced Legal Research.

Prior to embarking on his legal career, Andrew served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard for six years and led a mortar fire team in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Stanton Yeakley is a trial lawyer whose civil litigation practice involves the resolution of a broad range of complex commercial and business disputes in both state and federal courts and in arbitration proceedings.

Yeakley graduated with highest honors from The University of Tulsa College of Law, where he served as an editor on the Tulsa Law Review, was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity and the Phi Delta Phi legal honor fraternity and earned three CALI Awards. At graduation, he was named to the Order of the Curule Chair.

 

 

Stiles featured in magazine for work in immigration

This story was first seen in Tulsa People, November 2017, featuring Elissa Stiles, a 2L law student at The University of Tulsa College of Law.

Stiles serves on the TU Board of Advocates, the Immigration Law Society, Women’s Law Caucus and the Student Bar Association.

 

Welcoming refugees – Three Tulsans help others establish “home” in the U.S
By Bria Bolton Moore and Morgan Phillips

TU Law rated a Best Value Law School by preLaw magazine

The University of Tulsa College of Law has earned a spot on preLaw Magazine’s annual list of Best Value Law Schools. It honors law schools that keep student debt manageable while providing a quality education so students can pass the bar and get legal jobs.

“With legal education seeing dramatic turmoil, we celebrate those schools that have risen to the challenge and continue to offer affordable, quality education,” said Mike Stetz of preLaw and The National Jurist. The Best Value Law School ranking was calculated using 2016 data on tuition, bar passage and employment rates as supplied to the American Bar Association by each law school. This year, only 62 schools made preLaw’s list.

TU Law is a selective Top 100 law school as ranked by the U.S. News & World Report, 2018. The school offers an excellent, highly personalized education rooted in practical experience. Visit us for more information on TU Law, our faculty, admission opportunities and an application fee waiver.

TU Law alumnus Bill Carmody featured in Forbes regarding his career

This story was first seen in Forbes, November 6, 2017. Bill Carmody is an alumnus of The University of Tulsa College of Law. He is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who tries bet-the-company cases for plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts throughout the country. He is a permanent member of Susman Godfrey’s executive committee and heads its New York office. Carmody is perennially listed in the Lawdragon 500, the guide to America’s leading 500 lawyers. He’s ranked in the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers and included in Benchmark’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers.

Bill Carmody Of Susman Godfrey: ‘You Can’t Persuade A Jury If You Can’t Communicate With Them’
David J. Parnell , Opinions expressed by Forbes contributors are their own.)

Over the past 38 years, Susman Godfrey LLP has built itself into one of the most recognizable litigation boutiques on the market. Steve Susman founded the firm in 1980 – joined two years later by Lee Godfrey – with the vision of taking high-profile commercial cases on a contingency basis; a relatively unheard of strategy at the time, but one that paid off for the firm. Today, between running Susman Godfrey’s New York office, serving on its executive committee and trying cases for high-profile clients like GE and Uber, Bill Carmody has found himself in an enviable position – both in the market and within the firm. Below we hear from Carmody as he discusses some of the things he’s learned along the road to trial attorney success, including the attributes necessary to achieve trial stardom, how he keeps himself sharp, building trust in clients, his firm’s stance on fees, and more. Please see a revised version of our exchange below:

 

On Attributes Necessary to Climb in The Profession

Parnell: Talk to me about climbing to the top of your profession. At a 10K ft. view, what do you think got you to where you are today? Or maybe otherwise asked, if a young attorney wanted to be you someday, what are the fundamentals they’d have to achieve in order to get there?

Carmody: Some traits are fundamental to being a great trial lawyer: superior analytical skills, creative thinking, writing and speaking persuasively—and always being ready to roll up your sleeves and work hard, really hard. Those are all essential to out-thinking and out-working the other side.

But the singular trait that has served me the best is resilience. Mike Tyson has a great quote: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Every day in law and life, we suffer real setbacks. But great trial lawyers—like great fighters—are those who are able to take a big hit and get back up into the fight again. Almost two decades ago, I lost a trial the National Law Journal called the case of the year, which was devastating, both emotionally and financially. That loss was a wake-up call to me as to how tough running my small trial firm had become. Yet, persevering through that low period ultimately led me to join Susman Godfrey, which is the best thing that could have ever happened.

On Defining His Skill Set as a Litigator

Parnell: There is a good mix of art and science necessary to be a good trial attorney, which can make it difficult to define what the skill set comprises. How would you define your legal skill set? What would you say are the major components, or mechanics, of it?

Carmody: Because I try complex business and IP cases, I often think of myself as a translator. For example, there are many lawyers who are brighter than me, and who understand the technical aspects of our IP cases at a far deeper level than I do. What I bring to the table is an ability to translate the technical areas to a jury.

You can’t persuade a jury if you can’t communicate with them. That’s the heart of my skill set, and it begins, for me, with presenting the stories of our cases in a conversational style. Even more important is a lawyer’s authenticity. That’s because a lawyer’s credibility with the jury turns on the ability to be his or her most authentic self, which the jury will innately sense and respond to. After 30 years of trying cases, I’m getting comfortable enough in my own skin to open up and be a real person before the jury. And that’s made all the difference.

On Keeping Himself Sharp

Parnell: If you’re working constantly, it can be very difficult to keep your sharp – as Steven Covey calls it, “sharpening the saw.” With that in mind, how do you keep yourself sharp? Do you have mental or physical routines that you follow?

Bill Carmody: “You can’t persuade a jury if you can’t communicate with them. That’s the heart of my skill set, and it begins, for me, with presenting the stories of our cases in a conversational style.”

Carmody: One of my constant mental exercises is thinking and rethinking how to refine a complex set of facts into a simple and compelling story. But as much as I love trying lawsuits, I also love to escape the craziness of NYC and recharge at my respite on the eastern end of Long Island, where I’ve been known to indulge in all things delicious just a tad too much. But, because balance is important, I suffer through a rigorous physical regime of constant massages and, every once in a while, an honest-to-goodness workout.

On Building Trust in Clients

Parnell: In bet-the-company cases, in particular, clients often trust you with the lives of their businesses. And trust is a very valuable, and difficult to come by commodity. Can you talk to me about building that kind of trust? What is imperative to building this?

Carmody: Clients likely give me big cases because they trust my judgment. For one thing, they know I am going to be straight with them. Sometimes lawyers tell clients what they want to hear because it’s the easier way to keep them happy in the short term. My credo is to act in a client’s long-term interest, and if you keep that perspective it’s a lot easier to be brutally candid with them. Clients trust us for that straight talk.

Good judgment comes out in other ways, too—like taking the time to get to know what’s important to them, and acting on it. I’m always looking for the quickest and best business solutions to our legal disputes, even if it means cutting myself out of work. It’s that kind of understanding and action that lets your client know that you’re putting them first. It cements the trust.

On Becoming a Rainmaker

Parnell: As a rainmaker yourself, what advice do you give to young partners looking to build their books of business?

Carmody: Getting business really comes down to two things: getting great results and letting the world know about them. But to get the word out you’ve got to hustle, period. I tell all lawyers who ask me that they should be hustling business the same way that they’re working their cases. It’s not something to treat like a luxury and do in your spare time. It’s the lifeblood that keeps us going.

Now, every lawyer has to hustle business in the way they’re most comfortable. For those inclined to get involved in bar activities, that’s a great way to meet sources of potential business. Others, like me, choose different paths. My secret has always been to focus on the human connection. So, I’ve frequently flown across the country just to have dinner with a potential referral source, because I know the bonding that happens over a dinner trumps 10,000 emails. And even if it doesn’t work out, I’ve never regretted going to great lengths for a great dinner.

On Susman Godfrey’s Fees

Parnell: You discuss fees on your website – at least to a degree – and you offer contingent, fixed and hybrid arrangements. Can you talk to me about that a bit? What is the firm’s overarching thoughts on fee arrangements?

Carmody: The idea is for us lawyers to move away from playing the role of a vendor to our clients, albeit one providing important services, to becoming a true partner with them. At Susman Godfrey, we do that by crafting results-based fee deals, regardless of what side of the docket we’re on. Our results-based deals tie our fees directly to the outcome of the case. If we get a big win for our client, we get paid a lot more than our hourly rate, and if we lose we get much less or nothing at all. These deals align our interests directly with our clients’—and they love it.

On His Greatest Challenge

Parnell: What is the greatest challenge you’ve overcome in your career? What were the tools necessary to overcome it?

Carmody: A little over ten years ago, I returned to New York City to help build our Susman Godfrey office here. We had a national reputation but were still just getting off the ground in the country’s biggest legal market. There are so many great law firms in New York City, but there was room in the market for a unique trial firm like ours that bets on the results we get. We’re not built to handle some of the huge corporate investigations that some of the big firms handle, but we excel at stepping in to try one-off, bet-the-company cases. Those special missions best suit our battle-tested team. Some missions call for the Navy, but other times you need to bring in the Seals.

On Attorneys He Admires the Most

Parnell: What attorneys outside of your firm do you admire the most? When you think about them, what are the qualities that come to mind when you consider them?

Carmody: A handful come to mind, the first and foremost being Gerry Spence. He taught me about the power of authenticity for a stand-up trial lawyer, which has been invaluable.

Other trial legends I admire are David Beck, Paul Bekman, Evan Chesler, and Bob Van Nest. They’re all fabulous trial lawyers, but more importantly, they’re all first-rate people. While lesser lawyers sometimes stray into unnecessary and contentious discovery disputes, these old-school pros never make things personal and only spend time on what ultimately matters. They’re the most formidable adversaries you can face. Yet at the same time, it’s a joy to see them in a case because you know they will fight for their clients the right way and step up everybody’s game.

Nelbach, Johnson named OBA Outstanding Family Law Students

OBA Outstanding Family Law Student award winners Courtney Nelbach (l) and Casey Johnson (r).

Courtney Nelbach and Casey Johnson have received 2016-17 Oklahoma Bar Association Outstanding Family Law Student awards from The University of Tulsa College of Law. The award is presented each year to family law students nominated by each Oklahoma law school who exhibit outstanding academic accomplishment in and demonstrated commitment to the field of family law.

Nelbach, a 3L student at TU, has prepared for a career in family law through numerous volunteer, externship and paid positions in the field. In 2017, Nelbach has worked with a private family law firm in Tulsa and with Tulsa Lawyers for Children. She served in an externship with Walls & Toomey Family Law Solicitors in Dublin, Ireland, and is volunteering at Tulsa Hills Youth Ranch.

Her extracurricular activities while in law school include participation in the Family Law Negotiation Competition in spring 2017, serving as an executive board member for LawFam organization and volunteering for the past two years with Women in Recovery through the Women’s Law Caucus. In fall 2016, through the Community Advocacy Clinic, she worked with Legal Aid of Oklahoma’s medical/legal partnership. Nelbach hopes to work in in the field of family law and has a particular interest in child advocacy.

Johnson, a 3L student at TU, earned the CALI award in family law and is currently enrolled in an advanced family law practicum course. In 2017, she served as an extern for Judge Anthony Miller in the Family Division of the Tulsa County District Court. Johnson serves as an editor of the Tulsa Law Review, and her law review article Birthing Surrogacy Laws in Oklahoma: The Push for Surrogacy Laws addressed the need for Oklahoma to enact new legislation protecting the families seeking to use surrogacy to expand their families, the surrogate parents and children born through surrogacy.

 

TU Law’s Hope Forsyth selected as 2017 OBA Outstanding Law Student

Hope Forsyth, a 3L at The University of Tulsa College of Law, has been selected as the college’s Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA) Outstanding Student in 2017. Annually, each law school in the state selects a graduating student to receive the award at the OBA meeting in November.

2017 OBA Outstanding Student, Hope Forsyth

“I’m honored and excited to be selected as TU’s representative for this great honor,” said Forsyth. “I greatly appreciate the stellar education, mentorship and opportunities I have received throughout both my law and undergraduate education at TU.”

Forsyth is the executive editor of the Tulsa Law Review, a student member of the Council Oak/Johnson-Sontag Inn of Court and a member of Phi Delta Phi. She has earned eight CALI Excellence for the Future Awards for the highest grade in various classes, and the George and Jean Price Award for legal reasoning, research and writing.

During her time at TU, Forsyth has gained experience at multiple levels of the federal court system through internships for Chief Judge Gregory K. Frizzell, former Magistrate Judge T. Lane Wilson and Magistrate Judge Paul J. Cleary, all of the Northern District of Oklahoma. In the spring of 2018, Forsyth will extern for Tenth Circuit Senior Judge Stephanie K. Seymour.

Forsyth’s law review comment, “Mutually Assured Protection: Dmitri Shostakovich and Russian Influence on American Copyright Law,” will be published in the Tulsa Law Review Spring 2018 issue. Prior to law school, her examination of the historical and current use of the word “forum” was published in Princeton University Press’ Digital Keywords: A Vocabulary of Information Society and Culture.

Forsyth grew up in Cushing, Oklahoma, where her father practices law. She earned a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in communication and media studies with minors in English and philosophy from The University of Tulsa, where she was a research fellow for the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities, Honors Scholar, Presidential Scholar and National Merit Scholar. Outside of law school, Hope is an America’s Test Kitchen home recipe tester and a volunteer sacramental catechist at her Catholic parish.

After graduation, Hope will be an associate attorney at GableGotwals in Tulsa.

Law dean authors featured editorial about educators

This editorial was first seen in the Tulsa World on October 15, 2017 written by Lyn Entzeroth, dean and Dean John Rogers Endowed Chair at The University of Tulsa College of Law. She is a member of the Tulsa World Community Advisory Board.

Miss Clara Fieselmann changed my life. She taught high school English and in tenth grade, and she opened up the magical world of language and writing to me.

As my teacher, she did far more than simply correct my spelling and grammar. She gave me in-depth feedback on everything I wrote. She showed me how to write more powerfully; she proved to me that my seemingly endless rewrites improved my work product, and she revealed to me how much fun the hard work of writing can be. I still rely upon the skills and insights she shared with me all those years ago.

Research shows student success depends on teachers like Miss Fieselmann. As Amanda Ripley noted in her article “What Makes a Great Teacher” (The Atlantic Jan./Feb. 2010), the teacher standing in front of the class makes a huge difference in student success. Recent studies make evident that effective teachers share some commonalities. They set high standards. They plan relentlessly. They focus on student learning. They don’t give up on themselves or their students. These teachers work long, hard hours for their profession and their students.

In looking back, I can see the ways in which Miss Fieselmann worked hard for her students. First, she set high expectations, and she pushed me to meet those expectations. I am sure I fell short of her expectations plenty of times, but she kept pushing and she continued to have faith in me. Second, she welcomed each class organized, prepared, and ready to challenge us. She held individual meetings with students working one-on-one to help us meet the goals she had set for each one of us. Third, she prepared multiple lesson plans for class. If students did not respond to her first plan, she had plenty of backup plans to keep them charged, engaged, and learning. Fourth, she did not simply care about the rules of grammar; she cared about the art and craft of writing. Fifth, she cared about the success of every single one of her students — every single one.

I talk with folks all the time who recall teachers who changed their lives. Teachers who challenged them. Teachers who engaged them. Teachers who would not let them slack off. Teachers who pushed them beyond their own expectations. Teachers who opened up a new area of interest. Teachers who changed their futures.

Great teachers are everywhere, and many of them teach in Oklahoma classrooms. Teachers who work late; teachers who meet with students outside of class time to help them understand the material; teachers who care about every student; teachers who plan and rework lessons to make sure that students learn; teachers who inspire; teachers who change the lives of their students for the better. Yet the budget failures in Oklahoma raise serious concerns about our schools’ ability to assure the continuation of such effective learning opportunities for our students.

Oklahomans are all too familiar with the damage the budget shortfall inflicts on our schools and children. According to the Oklahoma Policy Institute, Oklahoma decreased K-12 funding by 23.6 percent between 2008 and 2015. According to the National Education Association and the Oklahoma Education Coalition, the average teacher pay in Oklahoma falls below the regional average and is less than the average teacher pay in Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, and New Mexico. Local and national news outlets report on talented Oklahoma teachers leaving Oklahoma to teach in surrounding states. Budget shortfalls force the elimination of hundreds of teacher positions across the state. School districts lack qualified teachers to fill all the remaining positions they have. Emergency-qualified teachers are at or exceed record levels for the state.

Miss Fieselmann proved to me many years ago that a teacher can make all the difference in the world to a kid. As an adult, I also know that to fill this important role in a kid’s life, a teacher needs adequate funding and resources. It is time for Oklahoma to put kids first and recommit to adequately funding schools to assure the best and most promising teachers and outcomes for our children’s futures.

 

Rex J. Zedalis: A pragmatic caution to disciples of principle

This editorial was first seen in the Oct. 13, 2017 issue of the Tulsa World written by TU Law Professor Rex J. Zedalis, Director of the Comparative and International Law Center and fellow in the Sustainable Energy & Resources Law program. 

The debates surrounding NFL players and the national anthem, the Las Vegas shootings and guns, and, among some, the recent Ken Burns Vietnam War documentary, have Americans retreating to ideological silos. This raises the hold core principles have on life.

Contrast, for a moment, Jefferson’s statement that “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock,” with that of the master of political parody, Groucho Marx, who reportedly quipped, “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them well, I have others.”

Are we to remain unmovable on principles, as Jefferson suggests? If so, what room exists when dealing with others who, because of culture, religion, or race see the world differently? Or are we, as some might argue Marx observes, always to put our principles, our ideology, up for negotiation? In that case, aren’t we left rudderless in a world of ideas that prey on the uncertain and uncommitted?

I’m ill-suited to answer such complicated philosophical questions. Nonetheless, it strikes me that whether we react by heading for an ideological silo when the NFL, Las Vegas or Vietnam is raised probably reveals whether our personality inclines more toward Jefferson’s or Marx’s view of principles.

Given the tribal character of today’s politics, untold numbers of liberals and conservatives alike surely subscribe to basic principles as commanding of unswerving commitment. Disciples of that stripe need be repeatedly cautioned of two things.

First, virtually all of what the original architects of any ideological belief warned were dangers embedded in those very beliefs has been forgotten. Virtues are emphasized; risks ignored. In light of the human habit of “cherry-picking” what we like; we turn a blind eye to what’s inconvenient.

Second, and more important, it is stunning how any absolutist commitment to principle can lead us astray from socially positive outcomes. Too firm a devotion to principle results in obliviousness to how it works out in the real world. Political psychologists might style this the “blind-spot of ideological anchoring.”

With respect to warned about dangers embedded in ideological beliefs, examples abound. Poking at devotees of small government, market-based solutions, for the moment, when did you last hear them, after waxing eloquent on the marketplace, remind us that the father of capitalism, Adam Smith, warned repeatedly of the need to guard against the market? Illustrative is his statement that laws proposed by business ought to be examined with great suspicion, for “such comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even oppress the public.”

And lest such reminders lead economic interventionists to believe gleefully John Maynard Keynes was no friend of free markets, it must equally be noted he professed no objection to “private self-interest … determin[ing] what … is produced … and how the value of the final product will be distributed.”

With respect to the obliviousness brought on by unalterable devotion to principle, one need only look around the globe at tragedies proceeding from the view that there’s but one “true way” in matters of religion, ethnicity, or politics. Refusal to see the world through any lens other than our own risks the worst of outcomes.

And never should we be so arrogant as to believe American democracy inoculates us from such risks. While on an entirely lower order of magnitude than what exists in some overseas locations, just look around at budget situations of state governments whose guiding tax cut ideology promised to bring unparalleled prosperity, or at the unintended consequences of certain activist social programs thought guaranteed to offer a hand up.

Governance, as life, requires juggling inconsistencies and contradictions. Whether principles are divine word or starting point, we must heed the warnings their architects called to attention, and remain open to deviations that help us steer clear of the disasters that inflexible adherence present.

Rex J. Zedalis is in his 37th year as a law professor at the University of Tulsa, having served, during that time, as director of the Comparative & International Law Center, fellow in the Sustainable Energy & Resources Law program and Phyllis Hurley Frey Professor of Law.

2L Leslie Briggs values working in TU Law’s Community Advocacy Clinic

Pursuing a legal career in public interest work is the goal for many TU Law students. The same is true for Leslie Briggs, a Schweitzer fellow and TU Law 2L who is already serving the community by working at TU Law’s Community Advocacy Clinic.

 

“TU has given me the opportunity to get real life experience by working at the Community Advocacy Clinic where we represent real clients including individuals, organizations and public interest groups,” said Briggs. “We work in teams to solve legal and policy problems to benefit people in the community. Right now, we’re working with Mental Health Association Oklahoma o identify barriers to housing and health care for people aging with serious mental illness, and eventually, to develop recommendations for change.”

TU Law currently operates three legal clinics including the Community Advocacy Clinic, Immigrant Rights Project and Solo Practice Clinic.

Community Advocacy Clinic students represent client organizations in systemic advocacy projects in the fall semester and individual clients in cases before state courts and administrative agencies in the spring semester. Many students find that their clinic experience is the most valuable and challenging aspect of their legal education.

“As an attorney, I want to help people with pressing problems that seem insurmountable,” said Briggs. “TU Law does a great job of focusing on experiential learning opportunities by allowing law students to work directly with clients through the clinics. I believe my clinic participation has been one of the most beneficial things I’ve had the opportunity to do in law school.

Briggs is also creating and implementing a related program focusing on restorative justice in public schools through her Albert Schweitzer fellowship. “I’m working on changing the way we think about discipline,” Briggs said. Her project will introduce restorative justice practices to public high school students in Tulsa who have been involved in school-based conflicts with a goal to lower rates of school suspension, dropouts and incarceration. The goal of her project is to lower rates of school suspension, dropouts and incarceration.

Seeing Briggs’ heavy involvement in public interest work, TU Law Dean Lyn Entzeroth helped fund her trip to the annual conference of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ). NACRJ was created in 2007 with the goal to promote effective forms of justice that are equitable, sustainable and socially constructive. This past conference hosted 1,319 attendees and held 300 sessions. “While I was there, I learned from people working in the field including educators, folks in the criminal justice system and even attorneys. I also learned how to affect policy change on a macro- and micro-level change,” said Briggs.

Prior to choosing law, Briggs worked for a nonprofit in Tulsa, the Peace Corps  in Ethiopia and taught English in Mexico.

Mimi Marton: TU Law’s incubator program filling critical need among law students

Mimi Marton is the director of Tulsa Immigrant Resources Network with The University of Tulsa College of Law. The following article was first published in the Tulsa World.

The last decade has seen a sharp increase in the number of legal incubator programs.

Inspired by the business incubator model, the goal of the legal incubator movement is to decrease the serious gap in access to justice in the United States while supporting new solo lawyers. Incubator attorneys are fierce in their commitment to serve underserved populations and rave about the collegiality, training and access to senior lawyers that are inherent in incubators.

In 2008, with a generous grant from the George Kaiser Family Foundation, The University of Tulsa College of Law launched Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network, the second legal incubator program in the U.S. TIRN is a fellowship model of an incubator program in which a recent graduate works closely with the TIRN director providing direct representation and community education programs.

In the summer of 2015, GKFF approved a proposal to expand TIRN’s incubator program. With space provided by TU in its newest location, the Oxley College of Health Sciences, TIRN opened two new programs to support TU law students and graduates dedicated to building financially sustainable solo practices: the TU Law Co-op (TLC) and the Solo Practice Clinic.

TLC participants must commit to providing legal services to traditionally underserved populations, including people of modest income who typically do not qualify for assistance from a legal aid program but cannot afford conventional hourly rates.

TLC then provides its incubator attorneys with support such as law office management and client interviewing training, office space, practice advisory support and networking and client building opportunities. Participants stay in TLC for 18 months and must also complete a significant amount of pro bono representation, a requirement that increases access to justice while giving participants legal experience as their practices grow.

Recognizing that there is a need to increase the access to justice in rural areas and smaller communities in Oklahoma, TLC also offers remote support to incubator attorneys who wish to practice outside of a city. TLC currently has two incubator attorneys, one who runs a practice in Bartlesville and another who runs a practice out of the Oxley building space provided by TU.

Two new participants are anticipated for a Spring 2018 start. This is an exciting time in legal education and for TU Law, as we lead a growing number of programs around the country that seek to reduce the access to justice gap while simultaneously supporting our innovative entrepreneurial graduates.

Here are what our TLC lawyers are saying:

Dani Weaver: “After law school, like many others, I realized how much I still had to learn in order to actually practice law. The majority of my time is spent researching laws and procedure. I do not have extra hours or days to research the best office management system, accounting system, office best practices or advertising, all of which are necessary to be successfully self-employed.

“After participating in the Solo Practice Clinic (the student program of the TLC) and graduating from law school, I decided to sign up for the first Incubator program at TU Law. I believe there is a great need for affordable legal services in Oklahoma, and many people go without crucial representation simply because they cannot afford to hire an attorney. I felt that I would be able to offer limited scope representation and immigration services to those in need and have found that most people are willing to set up payment plans or agree to replenish low retainers frequently. I hope to provide consistent services to under-represented communities and encourage other new attorneys to do the same.”

Kasey Curry: “I went to law school with the goal of opening up my own practice. After three years of law school, I realized not only did I have no practical knowledge of how to run a business but also had no idea of how to be a lawyer. Within a few weeks of swearing in, I attended a one-day seminar covering the basics of opening a solo practice. While informational, I still had some uncertainties about what I needed to do to get my business going. Meanwhile, events occurring across the nation spurred a desire to help. I reached out to a friend in Oregon who has been practicing immigration law for over 20 years. How, I asked, does one get started with immigration law? ‘You’re going to have to find a good mentor,’ he replied. Then I heard about TU’s incubator program. I requested some information from Mimi Marton, and I liked everything about the program: its mission to help Tulsa’s underserved immigrant community while simultaneously affording me the support I needed to practice law and manage my solo practice.”

“As an incubator attorney, I have access to intensive training for the day-to-day practicalities of running a solo practice as well as the support and expertise of local attorneys who have graciously offered to mentor me during this critical first year. TU’s incubator program is giving me the on-the-job training that is missing from the law school curriculum. Going forward, I can use the information I am learning to optimize my practice and develop a healthy income while simultaneously providing legal services to the many people who cannot afford to pay high hourly rates.”

 

TU Law professors and students respond to DACA termination

Since President Donald Trump announced last month that his administration would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, DACA recipients, often called “dreamers,” their families and many others in our community are taking action and searching for solutions. The DACA program was created in 2012 by the Obama administration as limited protection for young adults who were brought to the U.S. as children without authorization. DACA was put in place to protect hundreds of thousands of young people who have lived and gone to school in the United States, contributed to and been outstanding members of our communities, until Congress could achieve a more permanent solution.

Listen Frontier: Will a DACA deal get done? We hear from a legal expert and a DACA recipient

DACA grants no immigration status to the dreamers, nor is it “amnesty” or a path to citizenship. Rather, DACA recipients are granted authorization to work and to continue their education in two-year increments. On September 5, the Trump administration announced it would end the DACA program. On that date, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services stopped accepting new DACA applications. Those DACA recipients whose status expires between September 5, 2017 and March 8, 2018, were given until October 5, 2017 to apply for a two-year renewal of their DACA status. All other DACA recipients will lose that status and their employment authorization when their current status expires.

Currently, there are 886,814 DACA recipients in the U.S. with 7,488 in Tulsa. More than 90 percent of the Oklahoma DACA-eligible populace are at least 16 years old and are employed, earning nearly $146.3 million annually and contributing more than $20.3 million in taxes according to the Tulsa World.

Read about the Tulsa Community’s reaction to the DACA rescission, including an interview with Professor Elizabeth McCormick here.

“Oklahomans enrolled in DACA have few, if any, options to become documented,” said TU Law Associate Clinical Professor Elizabeth McCormick, who teaches in the Immigrant Rights Project clinical program and has expertise in immigration, refugee and asylum law. “There is nothing that the current administration is doing to create new options for them. I recommend that DACA enrollees should consult with an experienced immigration attorney about options. There aren’t a lot of options and that’s why most of these kids applied for DACA in the first place.”

Congress has been attempting to pass the Dream Act for 17 years, but currently there is no legislative pathway that creates an opportunity for these children, now adults, to remain the U.S. In fact, it’s been at least 50 years since laws regarding the avenues for legal immigration were updated. If we don’t change the laws in a way that creates avenues for legal immigration to the U.S., it will never fix the problem entirely,” said McCormick.

According to TU Law’s Mimi Marton, director of the TU Law Co-op and the Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network, there are additional complications for “dreamers” in Tulsa. “Due to agreements between Tulsa County and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), each person booked into the David. L. Moss Criminal Justice Center is checked by ICE for immigration status. Those who are without status, are put into immigration proceedings often leading to the deportation of long-time residents with no criminal history who have, for example, unpaid traffic violations.” Marton pointed out that the City of Tulsa has approved a plan to create a separate city jail so that those who have only city violations will not be booked at David L. Moss. City official says that the new jail will mitigate a lot of fear among undocumented residents in Tulsa County and will provide a mechanism for those residents to pay parking fines without fear of deportation.

See an interview with TU Law’s Mimi Marton regarding the proposed city jail here.

TU President Gerard P. Clancy has joined with hundreds of other university leaders to encourage elected officials to uphold DACA. TU is a richly diverse campus willing to accept and empower students regardless of immigration status and implores policy makers to maintain and open dialogue and help young “dreamers” pave a path to citizenship.

Several organizations in the Tulsa area have held information sessions regarding DACA including the YWCA, which has offered 500 free legal consultations to DACA enrollees. TU Law students recently helped staff a DACA renewal clinic in collaboration with Dream Act Oklahoma and several local attorneys to provide free legal assistance to the dreamers eligible to renew their DACA one last time.

TU Law 3L Dalton Downing featured in national “Why Law” video

 

As law schools across the country continue to manage rapid change, 12 deans have come together with the help of their students to highlight how the next generation of lawyers will make a difference in their communities and in the profession. The result? A viral video that features students talking about their legal aspirations. One of the students featured is TU Law’s Dalton Downing.

Downing is a 3L at The University of Tulsa College of Law who also serves as editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Law Review (see Dalton featured at 1:56 on the video). He also served as a 2L diversity scholar and summer associate at Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C. In creating the video, students representing each law school were asked, “Why Law?” Their answers serve as an important reminder for practicing attorneys and current law students, and as an informative message for those considering the value of a degree in law.

In addition to being shared online by each participating school, the video and accompanying letter explaining the project is being sent to The National Law Journal, the National Jurist, Above the Law, ABA Journal, Business Insider, JD Journal, Association of American Law Schools and to each law dean across the U.S.

Participating schools with featured students include Albany Law School, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, UCLA School of Law, University of Florida Levin College of Law, University of Georgia School of Law, Suffolk University Law School, University of Maine School of Law, USC Gould School of Law, The University of Tulsa College of Law, University of Toledo College of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law and West Virginia University College of Law.

Those considering a degree in law can learn more about legal career options and the JD program at The University of Tulsa College of Law, rated a Top 100 Law School by the U.S. News & World Report 2018 and the #1 Best Value Private Law School by PreLaw Magazine 2016.

 

Carmody represents Uber in self-driving car technology case

TU Law alumnus Bill Carmody and his team from Susman Godfrey have been brought on by Uber Technologies to join its already large trial team in an intellectual property case against Waymo over self-driving car technology.

Waymo, the driverless car unit of Alphabet, sued Uber in February alleging that the ride-hailing giant was ripping off its technology in the race to get ahead in developing a LiDAR device—the laser-based navigation system for driverless vehicles.

Much of the case has centered around allegations that a former Waymo engineer, Anthony Levandowski, made off with 14,000 files before leaving the company and later joining Uber as a senior engineer through an acquisition deal. But Uber says it never saw any of those files, and that Waymo hasn’t proven Uber is using any of Waymo’s protected trade secrets.

“Several of Waymo’s alleged trade secrets should be knocked out by summary judgment,” wrote Carmody in the filing, known as a précis, “but based on the court’s guidance, Uber requests permission to file a motion for summary judgment on only two issues.” The five-page filing, which is heavily redacted, claims the code-named “Fuji” device that Uber has developed is different in key ways from Waymo’s claimed patent. It also says that Waymo’s own engineers have acknowledged that concepts claimed in the trade secret­—referred to as “TS9”—are “generally known” and therefore are not protectable under the law.

Carmody has squared off before against the lawyer leading the case for Waymo, Charles Verhoeven of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. The two went head-to-head in a trial over satellite technology, in a case that ultimately settled for $100 million—but not before Carmody wiped out a $283 million verdict for Verhoeven’s client in 2014.

Carmody is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who tries bet-the-company cases for plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts throughout the country. He is a permanent member of Susman Godfrey’s Executive Committee and heads its New York office. Carmody is perennially listed in the Lawdragon 500, the guide to America’s leading 500 lawyers. He’s ranked in the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers and included in Benchmark’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers. His peers have voted him both a “New York Super Lawyer” and a “Texas Super Lawyer” (Thomas Reuters, New York: 2008 – 2016, Texas: 2003 – 2006). Carmody is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America in five categories, including Bet-the-Company Litigation.