Class Notes - November 2011

Friday, November 05, 2010


Peter Bradford was named the Outstanding Senior Alumnus at the TU College of Law Alumni Association Annual Luncheon on November 2nd during the Oklahoma Bar Association Annual Meeting in Tulsa. Bradford began working at McAfee & Taft. P.C., in 1968. There he practiced corporate, securities and commercial litigation until 1981. He helped to form the firm of Daugherty, Bradford, Fowler & Moss, P.C., in Oklahoma City in 1983, which continued until 1987 when members of that firm joined with Conner & Winters. P.C., to open the Conner & Winters Oklahoma City office. Bradford has served as an AAA arbitrator for over 20 years.


Allen Smallwood was named the 2011 Outstanding Senior Lawyer by the Tulsa County Bar Association at their annual meeting in August. Mr. Smallwood is the immediate past president of the Oklahoma Bar Association.

The Honorable Thomas Thornbrugh was appointed by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to serve on the Oklahoma State Court of Civil Appeals. He has served as a district judge since 1997 and was appointed presiding judge by his colleagues in 2009 for the judicial district covering Tulsa and Pawnee counties.


Richard M. Eldridge, veteran trial lawyer, joined the law firm of McAfee & Taft following their merger with Eldridge Cooper Steichen & Leach. His practice is focused on civil litigation with specific emphasis in the areas of product liability defense, mass torts and complex commercial litigation.


The Honorable Millie Otey, Special Judge for the Tulsa County District Court, is the recipient of this year’s OBA Award of Judicial Excellence due to her contributions to the Tulsa community through the development of pro bono programs. Through her dedication, the court established the "early settlement" component of the Small Claims Court, which has had great success.


Catherine Cullem, TU College of Law Professor of Legal Writing, has accepted a position as staff attorney with the Honorable Deborah Barnes of the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals, effective December 31, 2011. Cullem has been a full-time faculty member at TU Law since 1982. She has served as Professor, Director of Legal Writing, Associate Dean, Vice Dean, and Interim Dean.


Mike Bunney recently joined NORDAM as senior vice president, support services, where he will be responsible for the company’s supply chain, information technology and human resources departments. Over the past 34 years, his aviation career has included positions with McDonnell Douglas and Boeing. He most recently worked for the City of Tulsa as chief economic officer.


Dana Weber, president of Webco Industries, was appointed by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to the state’s tax reform task force. Weber is replacing Stuart Price and will serve as a representative of a statewide organization of business.


Harold C. Zuckerman joined the law firm of McAfee & Taft, where his business litigation practice is concentrated in the area of product liability defense.


Sharon J. Bell, managing partner of Rogers and Bell, was named one of the Journal Record "Women Making a Difference for 2011." Her practice focuses on charitable organizations and estate planning. She works with 18 charitable beneficiaries in Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas with 1.4 billion in trust assets in her role as individual trustee for the Chapman-Walter-Cowles charitable trusts. She has received numerous honors and awards, and she sits on the boards of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, The University of Tulsa, Trinity University and John Brown University.

Tracy Hughes was honored as the 2011 Public Lawyer of the Year by the State Bar Association of New Mexico. This annual award is designed to honor a lawyer who has had a distinguished career in public service and is not likely to be otherwise recognized for his or her contributions. She was described as possessing honesty, integrity and a wonderful sense of humor. Hughes works for the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee.


Mary Quinn Cooper, Tulsa trial lawyer, transitioned her litigation practice to McAfee & Taft following their merger with Eldridge Cooper Steichen & Leach. She was also named "Tulsa Product Liability Litigation Defense Lawyer of the Year" by the publishers of Best Lawyers in America for the second consecutive year.

Andrea Kunkel, after 24 years in private practice, recently joined the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration as staff attorney. She will be working with public school superintendents, principals, and directors of special services on special education and other disability-related issues.

Daniel Tomassetti joined the firm of Eckert Seamans Cherin and Mellott, LLC at its Southpointe, Pennsylvania office.


Susan Plumb, Cherokee citizen, was approved for a seat on the Cherokee Election Commission at a recent special Tribal Council Rules Committee meeting.

Michael F. Smith, Tulsa trial lawyer, has transitioned his complex commercial litigation and appellate practice to the law firm of McAfee & Taft.


Melissa Henke Sartin recently joined Barrow & Grimm in Tulsa. She has a bachelor of business administration in finance from the University of Oklahoma, and she graduated from the Management Development Program at ConocoPhillips.


John Bradley Mitchell, President and Managing Director of Energia Tejas LLC, an oil and gas company in Sugarland, Texas, has been recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for showing enthusiasm, leadership and excellence in the energy industry.


State Representative Dan Sullivan was recently selected by the Grand River Dam Authority Board of Directors to serve as the next Chief Executive Officer/Director of Investments. The extensive search for the position drew nearly 85 applicants. GRDA is a state-owned utility that generates, transmits and sells electricity to Oklahoma municipalities, electric cooperatives, industrial customers and off-system customers across a four-state region.

Kevinn Matthews, attorney at Williams in Tulsa, will present the Faculty and Alumni Showcase Series lecture at the TU College of Law on November 8 in the Price & Turpen Courtroom. The lecture, which is free and offers one CLE credit, is titled, "The Inside/Outside Counsel Relationship."

Aaron J. Goodman was recently promoted to partner at Holden & Carr. He serves as the firm’s lead criminal defense attorney.


Courtney Selby was appointed associate dean for information services, director of the law library and assistant professor of law at Hofstra University.

Bryan E. Stanton joined the Tulsa law firm of Jennings, Cook and Teague. His practice will focus on insurance law, litigation, products liability, and general defense.


Roy D. Tucker was appointed by the City Council of Muskogee to serve as City Attorney effective December 31, 2011.

Becki Murphy was named the Outstanding Senior Alumnus at the TU College of Law Alumni Association Annual Luncheon on November 2nd during the Oklahoma Bar Association Annual Meeting in Tulsa. She is an Associate at Patterson Law Firm and a Municipal Judge in Skiatook, Oklahoma. She was appointed Assistant District Attorney in 2003, a position she held until January 2010. Becki’s dedication to serving the Tulsa community as a volunteer has led to service for a multitude of community and charitable organizations.


B. Ellen Cordell joined the firm of McAfee & Taft as Of Counsel. She practices in the areas of complex commercial litigation and Native American law.


Dan Carsey and his wife, Jennifer, welcomed son Pierce Michael Carsey on June 17, 2011. The family resides in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where Dan is an attorney with Connor & Winters.

Alison A. Verret joined the law firm of McAfee & Taft. She practices in a broad range of civil litigation with an emphasis in research and writing in complex commercial litigation.


Jack M. Beal has joined the Kansas City, MO office of Polsinelli Shughart as an Associate in the business department, where he practices health care law. Polsinelli Shughart is the sixth largest health care law firm in the nation, and its health care practice includes more than 60 attorneys in Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, St. Joseph, St. Louis, and Washington D.C.

Jessica L. Dickerson joined the law firm of McAfee & Taft. She focuses primarily on complex commercial litigation and insurance defense.

Brendan Rodman and his wife Yvonne announce the birth of their son Keegan Patrick Rodman. Keegan was born August 3, 2011.


Rebekah Guthrie recently opened her own immigration practice in Muskogee, OK with Lenora Gulley (JD ’10). Rebekah was the first TIRM Legal Fellow at TU Law. In April of this year, she received the Women’s Law Caucus Fern Holland Award for her tireless work as an advocate of disadvantaged and marginalized people.

Robert L. Betts recently joined Pierce Couch Hendrickson Baysinger & Green as an associate. His areas of practice include civil litigation, environmental litigation, employment law and professional malpractice defense. He is a member of the Oklahoma and Texas Bar Associations.


Keith Bartsch was elected President of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Bar Association at the Association’s 2011 Annual Meeting in Tulsa. Bartsch is a litigation associate at the law firm of Atkinson, Haskins, Nellis, Brittingham, Gladd & Carwile.

Rachel Elizabeth Gusman, a 2008 honors graduate of the College of Law, recently announced her engagement and upcoming marriage to David Zepeda.

Timothy Rogers and Rachel Elizabeth Gusman were named Outstanding Young Lawyers for Tulsa County.

Michon Hughes was awarded in October the 2011 Award for Excellence in Action Against Domestic Violence in the category of Prosecutor. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (JD ’93) presented the award to Hughes in the Oklahoma State Capitol. The award is given out by the Attorney General’s office to honor Oklahomans who work tirelessly against domestic violence. As Assistant District Attorney for Wagoner County, Hughes worked to protect victims, asked for "no contact" orders for every domestic violence suspect, and won stiff sentences for those convicted.

Hugh Robert, an attorney with the Sherwood & McCormick Law Firm, was featured in a recent Tulsa Daily Commerce & Legal News article for his work as co-founder of Lawyers Against Hunger. This non-profit group is staging a "Great Turkey Contest" among the legal communities of various counties to see which can raise the most money to feed hungry people at Thanksgiving.


Travis Powers, associate with Fafinski Mark & Johnson in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, wrote an article, "Fraudulent Transfer Liability under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act: For Statute of Limitations Purposes, is such Liability Grounded in Fraud or Created by Statute?" that was published in August 2011 by the Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice.


Lenora Gulley joins Rebekah Guthrie (JD ’07) in opening her own immigration practice in Muskogee, OK.

Ben Lambert has completed his LLM in Commercial and Corporate Law at Queen Mary University of London. Lambert earned a "Merit" classification overall, and received a "Distinction" on his dissertation. Lambert intends to pursue a career in academia.


Alexis Casady-Cohen joined Barrow & Grimm as an Associate. She focuses primarily on business law, commercial litigation and construction law.

Kathryn I. DuPree recently joined the Tulsa office of Crowe & Dunlevy as an Associate. She will focus on general litigation practice. While at TU, she served as executive editor of the Tulsa Law Review and received several CALI awards.

Tami Knorr is the new Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network (TIRN) Legal Fellow at the TU College of Law Boesche Legal Clinic. Knorr will be providing direct legal representation to clients in immigration and related legal matters. She will also assist with other TIRN projects.

David Spring joined McAfee & Taft as an Associate. He is focused on general tax planning for corporations, partnerships, and individuals; wealth transfer tax planning; local state and federal taxation; and the tax structure of business and commercial transactions. He has been a licensed certified public accountant since 2010.

In Memoriam


John R. Carle passed away September 17, 2011. John served in both the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy then earned his B.A. in history from TU in 1955. After law school, he moved to Claremore, where he practiced law for 54 years and was named 1990 Citizen of the Year by the Claremore Chamber of Commerce . He was last associated with the firm of Carle & Higgins. Memorial contributions may be made to Claremore Public School Foundation, LOOK Musical Theatre, Hospice of Green Country, or the Rogers County PAL Program.


The Honorable Twyla Mason-Gray passed away October 3, 2011, at the age of 56. Judge Gray, born Oct. 26, 1954, was a native of Tulsa who graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma. Judge Gray is survived by her husband, Charles; her mother, Mildred Mason of Tulsa; a daughter, Sarah; brother, Brian; nephew, Billy; nieces, Jennifer and Lauren. She was preceded in death by her father, Willard Mason, and sister, Teresa.


Tiffani Burkholder passed away September 17, 2011. A graduate of Hockaday School and Texas Tech University, Tiffani worked for Warren Young in Tulsa and later for Grady Schneider and Newman in Houston. She moved to Midland, Texas in 2003 and was a member of the Midland Junior League. She is survived by her mother, her sister, her niece, much extended family and many friends.

Scott Been