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TU Law

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.