Students Win Oklahoma Bar Association Family Law Award

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Oklahoma Bar Association Family Law Section today awarded TU College of Law students Rachel Massingill and Michael Nomura this year's OBA Outstanding Family Law Award for their work both in and out of school in the family law field.

The students were presented with their awards at today's OBA Annual Meeting during the Family Law Section meeting at downtown Tulsa's Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Michael NomuraFor more than a decade. Nomura has served as co-director of Heritage Family Services, a Tulsa adoption agency. Nomura has worked as administrator of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) for the past 12 years.

Nomura and Valerie Dye co-founded TU Law's Family Law Society three years ago, and Nomura organized some of its most successful programs. Since 2009, he has volunteered with Tulsa Lawyers for Children. This past summer, he also volunteered two days per week with the family law unit of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma in the Tulsa office. Currently, Nomura is also serving as a extern for Judge Barcus in Tulsa County District Court and its Family Court Case Management Program.

This fall, Nomura testified before the Oklahoma House Representatives Interim Study Committee regarding proposed adoption law reform. During the mid-1990s, he was an active member of the Oklahoma Adoption Law Reform Committee and played an instrumental role in the creation of the 1990s Adoption Code.

Rachel MassingillDuring the summer after her 1L year, Massingill actually declined paid employment in another field to pursue positions in which she would gain experience in family law. She volunteered that summer both for the legal department of Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS) in Tulsa and Tulsa Lawyers for Children (TLC). Through TLC, she participated in the Shelter/Show Cause Project, in which she visited children within 24 hours of their admission to the shelter and appeared on their behalf at the show cause hearing.

During her 2L year, Massingill served as an extern for Judge Mark Barcus, specifically requesting a judge with a family law docket so that she could further enhance her experience. Also during her 2L year, she wrote her candidacy paper for Tulsa Law Review on a juvenile law topic, examining Oklahoma's child abuse reporting statute in an article entitled: "Parents Beware: How Reporting Child Abuse Could Cost You Your Children." Through her mediation practicum, Massingill also became licensed that year to do voluntary mediations in family and domestic matters.

Massingill has been an active member of TU Law's Family Law Society. In her 2L year, she served as Co-benevolence Chair for the organization, and this year, she serves as the organization’s President. Massingill has earned the CALI award for the top grade in the Family Law Mediation Practicum at TU Law.

Scott Been