LEGAL LEADERS OKLAHOMA LAW 2013 TOP RATED LAWYERS LAND USE REGULATIONS REORGANIZING WHEN FILING STARTING A BUSINESS

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1 BRINGS YOU o k l a h o m a S LEGAL LEADERS PRESENTING TOP RATED LAWYERS OKLAHOMA LAW 2013 PAGE 7 LAND USE REGULATIONS AND YOUR SMALL BUSINESS PAGE 10 REORGANIZING WHEN FILING UNDER CHAPTER 11 BANKRUPTCY PAGE 12 STARTING A BUSINESS SELECTING A GOOD LAWYER PAGE 16 VEHICLE SAFETY WATCHDOG THE TRACY FIRM PAGE 5 a special advertising supplement distributed With the oklahoman the Wall street Journal a special supplement to

2 Oklahoma s Top Rated Lawyers ECHOLS, ECHOLS & SMALLEY Dedicated To Helping Family Law Clients Find Their Future While Honoring Their Past Left to right sitting: Richard E. Smalley, III, M. Eileen Echols and David W. Echols. Left to right standing: Allyson E. Dow, Richard E. Smalley, IV, Lindsey W. Andrews, Amy L. Howe, Amanda Cardosi, Jonathan D. Echols, Michele Bradley, Rachel Bradley, Jamie Grimes, Jamie Johnson, Benjamin P. Sisney, Debbie Murphy, Barbara Warren. Echols, Echols & Smalley is primarily engaged in contested and complex divorce and family law cases, including the valuation and division of marital estates, determination of marital and separate property, business valuations, requests for and defense of requests for support alimony, contested child custody, visitation and support, jurisdictional disputes, including international law issues, paternity, guardianship, wills and probate, and domestic violence. Our nine attorneys have a combined experience of over 130 years in family law. We have dedicated ourselves to helping our clients find their future, while honoring their past, through compassionate, knowledgeable and experienced representation in the Family Law Courts of Oklahoma. Echols, Echols & Smalley was formed by the merger of Echols & Associates, a law firm established in 1979, with Smalley & Associates, as a result of our shared values of integrity and professionalism. Both firms have been recognized for many years by the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers rated by Martindale-Hubbell for legal ability and adherence to the highest professional standards, and all three senior attorneys have been named to SuperLawyers. Since formation, our firm has received numerous accolades including the 2012 Client Distinction Award based upon client review ratings, as recognized by Oklahoma Magazine, as the Best of the Best, and once again named to the 2012 Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell for the highest peer review rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. M. Eileen Echols, our Managing Attorney and Senior Litigator, innovated a team approach to provide exemplary service. Each client is assigned a minimum of two attorneys, who work together with the firm s other attorneys, to provide quality legal services, and the utmost personal attention. Eileen is a former Family Law Judge, twice named Outstanding Family Law Judge for the State of Oklahoma, by the Family Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association. David W. Echols is a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He has been an AV rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell for 20 years. Both David and Eileen are former Chairs of the Oklahoma Bar Association s Family Law Section, former Adjunct Law Professors, and frequent teachers and lecturers on the topic of Family Law to Oklahoma lawyers. Richard Dick E. Smalley, III, a Senior Litigator, brings a wealth of skill and experience to the firm. He possesses the hard edge of a litigator and the intuitive, genuine care and concern of a Guardian Ad Litem and Mediator. Dick has distinguished himself as an outstanding family law attorney. Completing the team are distinguished attorneys Jonathan D. Echols, Amy L. Howe, Lindsey W. Andrews, Benjamin P. Sisney, Richard Richie E. Smalley, IV, and Allyson Dow. The Senior Attorneys of Echols, Echols & Smalley Jonathan D. Echols, Attorney, Oklahoma House of Representative, District 90. Jonathan graduated first in his law school class (2005), and has been twice named to Super Lawyers as a Rising Star. Echols, Echols & Smalley (405) S. Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 100 Oklahoma City, OK 73159

3 Welcome to Oklahoma s Legal Leaders, a new publication featuring legal talent to be found across the state. The attorneys featured in this publication and our companion online edition have all achieved the peer reviewed rating of AV Preeminent by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, the company that has long set the standard for lawyer ratings. The AV Preeminent rating is a significant accomplishment and a testament to the fact that a lawyer s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence. In addition to presenting profiles of many of these Top Rated attorneys, this publication features articles on current trends in the law as well as helpful tips on finding and working successfully with lawyers and law firms. We hope you will keep it handy as a valuable resource in finding top legal talent and to assist you in making more informed legal decisions. Also, please be sure to visit our online edition of Oklahoma s Top Rated Lawyers at to find a directory of all of Oklahoma s AV Preeminent rated attorneys listed by their practice areas. Sincerely, Brings You oklahoma S LEGALLEADERS Presenting TOP RATED LAWYERS Lester Goodman Director of Custom Projects, ALM Media, LLC Highlights in this issue: 7 oklahoma 2013 Lawmakers and lawyers in the Sooner State have worked to revamp the state s approach to criminal justice and curb methamphetamine production, while a water rights dispute with Texas heads to the U.S. Supreme Court. 8 Fracking for energy resources comes at a legal price 10 Land use regulations and your small business 12 reorganizing when filing under chapter 11 bankruptcy 13 Texas vehicle defect and safety watchdog Renowned Trial Lawyer E. Todd Tracy Fights to Protect Victims of Defective Vehicle Safety Systems 14 the final word: appellate review 16 starting a business: selecting a good lawyer Publishers do not warrant that the information contained herein is complete or accurate. ALM Media, LLC (or either party s affiliates, employees, officers, directors or agents) does not assume, and hereby disclaims, any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions herein, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident or any other cause. This magazine includes paid attorney advertising. Consumers should contact the state bar for verification and additional information prior to securing the legal services of any attorney. ALM, Top Rated Lawyers, and Top Ranked Law Firms are trademarks of ALM Media Properties, LLC.

4 THE TRACY FIRM automobile accidents, personal injury Greg Folkins TOP RATED LAWYERS e. todd tracy as long as machines FaIl and human BeINgs make mistakes, there will be vehicle accidents. This has been true since the very first automobile was built by Mercedes-Benz. But since there are always going to be accidents, why can t vehicles be safer? at The TraCY FIrm, TrIal lawyer e. TOdd TraCY advocates for safer vehicles that result in fewer fatalities and less serious bodily injuries following an accident. To deliver this vision, his firm sues vehicle, component part, and child seat manufacturers when they fail to protect innocent victims of vehicle accidents by not making their products safer. sometimes IN accidents airbags don T FIre, seats COllaPse, doors open, restrained occupants are ejected, roofs collapse, and fuel tanks are punctured, Tracy says. And those are just a few examples of safety systems that have failed to provide optimum safety in an accident. BaTTlINg The VehICle INdUsTrY requires a law FIrm WITh a successful track record, unlimited resources, and the ability to see a case through to the finish. over the past 20-plus years, The TRACY Firm has handled more than 2,300 cases against every major vehicle manufacturer; the firm has also tried 119 vehicle crashworthiness cases, where the ability of a vehicle to protect its occupants during an accident is called into question. IF a VehICle Or ChIld seat FaIled TO PrOTeCT YOU Or a FamIlY member in an accident, and as a result, you or a family member suffered serious injuries or death, you may have a claim against the vehicle, component part, or child seat manufacturer for having failed to properly design the safety systems inside the vehicle, Tracy explains. a NaTIONallY recognized TrIal lawyer, TraCY Is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell, the organization s highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards. He frequently speaks across the country on vehicle safety issues and has written more than 150 articles on vehicle crashworthiness matters. above all, TraCY PrIdes himself ON his TeNaCIOUs representation. He makes it his mission to achieve a satisfactory recovery for his clients from the manufacturer responsible for their personal injuries and financial losses. let Us guide YOU ThrOUgh ThIs PrOCess as YOUr advocate, he says. not only will you be calling on the vehicle industry to answer for its wrongdoing, but you will be taking a stand for vehicle safety that will help to make our nation s roads safer for everyone Blair Road, suite 200, Dallas, TX ph: fax: The firm

5 oklahoma S TOP RATED LAWYERS Oklahoma s Legal Leaders helps take the mystery out of locating a high-quality advocate to protect you, your family, your business and all other assets. Legal Leaders are considered first-rate in their field. Keep this comprehensive list for those times when you need assistance from one of our Legal Leaders. The lawyers listed here are always happy to help. F E A T U R I N G Albright, Rusher & Hardcastle Taxation, Commercial Litigation, Real Estate Page 16 Buxton Law Group Jim Buxton Personal Injury, Products Liability, Insurance Bad Faith Page 17 Donna J. Jackson Trusts & Estates, Family & Elder Law, Taxation, Business & Commercial Page 17 Echols, Echols & Smalley Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody Page 2 Eller & Detrich Real Estate, Transactions, Litigation Page 10 Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson, P.C. Oil & Gas, Business & Commercial, Litigation Page 8 Joseph Ruffin Criminal Defense, Civil Law, Family Law, Personal Injury, Immigration Page 17 Mazaheri Law Firm Employment, Immigration, Family Law, Business Page 12 McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips, P.A. Workers Compensation, Real Estate, Business & Commercial Page 9 Musser, Kouri, Bentwood & Grant, LLP Personal Injury, Family Law, Medical Malpractice, Criminal Law, Workers Compensation Page 20 Resolution Legal Group Carrie L. Palmer, J.D. Transportation Litigation, Insurance Defense Litigation, Products Liability Page 17 Robert Inglish Real Estate, Commercial Litigation, Bankruptcy Creditor Page 17 Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish, PLLC State and Federal Appellate Law, Litigation, Insurance Coverage Page 14 The Berry Firm, P.L.L.C. D. Bowen Bo Berry Catastrophic Injury, Medical Malpractice, Commercial Litigation Page 11 The TRACY Firm E. Todd Tracy Automobile Accidents, Personal Injury Page 5 Zelbst, Holmes & Butler John P. Zelbst Personal Injury Litigation Page 17 6 Oklahoma s Legal Leaders To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in Oklahoma visit

6 oklahoma law 2013 Lawmakers and lawyers in the Sooner State have worked to revamp the state s approach to criminal justice and curb methamphetamine production, while a water rights dispute with Texas heads to the U.S. Supreme Court. From Tough on Crime to Smart on Crime State lawmakers in November enacted the Oklahoma Justice Reinvestment Initiative ( JRI), marking a major shift in the state s approach to crime and punishment. Supporters of the initiative argue that Oklahoma s corrections system was overdue for reform: The state has one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation; its prison occupancies range from 95% to 99%; and more than half of those incarcerated are nonviolent offenders. High incarceration rates have proved costly to Oklahoma, which has seen spending on corrections rise by 41% during the past decade without a comparable decrease in crime. Rather than investing in more prisons, Oklahoma is choosing to follow in the footsteps of Texas. There, lawmakers enacted similar legislation in Since then, Texas has seen its prison population level off, its violent crime rate decrease, and its probation revocations decline. The Oklahoma initiative aims to address recidivism; returning inmates contribute significantly to prison over-crowding. Under the new law, inmates will receive at least nine months supervision upon release. Rather than going back to prison, some probation violators will head to revocation facilities aimed at treating addiction and mental health issues. Former Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele called the bill one of the most important pieces of public policy legislation of his career if not the most important. The new law indicates a move away from tough on crime policies and toward the kind of data-driven, evidence-based smart on crime programs gaining traction nationwide. Still, exactly how to fund JRI s mandates remains a matter of debate. In March 2012, Gov. Mary Fallin, who has publicly supported the bill, turned down federal funding to support enacting the JRI s reforms. She claimed that current state agency resources could afford to implement the changes themselves. That same month, Steele and Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater resigned as co-chairs of the JRI working group, claiming that Fallin is working to undermine the initiative. Oklahoma Judge Draws Fire for Sentencing Teen to Ten Years of Church The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a complaint against Oklahoma judge Mike Norman for disregarding the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by sentencing a young man to church. In November 2012, Judge Norman of Muskogee County sentenced 17 year-old Tyler Alred to 10 years of probation for the teenager s role in an alcoholrelated car accident that claimed the life of Continued on p. 9 To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in oklahoma visit Oklahoma s Legal Leaders 7

7 oklahoma s legal leaders FRACKING FOR ENERGY RESOURCES COMES AT A LEGAL PRICE one OF THE NEWEST WAYS to access local energy resources has become a growing area of environmental liability. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process of releasing underground gases through drilling. While oil and gas companies have embraced this new process, property owners and the public are concerned about potential injuries from contaminated water and air. PAGE PROOF -- FOR APPROVAL ONLY elias books brown & nelson OIL & GAS, BUSINESS & COMMERCIAL LAW, LITIGATION LYLE ROB NELSON TIM DOWD Fracking Impacts the Surrounding Water and Air Fracking is a relatively new energy extraction process. Some public interest groups claim that the chemicals used can contaminate groundwater and drinking water, while released gases can pollute the air. The connection between fracking and pollution is still under debate, since drilling companies have claimed trade secret protection for the chemical mixtures that they use in the process. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has published a master list of common chemicals used by drilling companies in that state, which includes many regulated substances that are known to cause cancer. This type of list can form the basis of RICHARD BOOKS BILL ELIAS VANCE BROWN GARY THOMPSON Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson, P.C. was founded upon, and adheres to, the principles of providing an excellent legal product, paying attention to the client and offering a cost effective practical solution to the client s needs. Our firm has a strong tradition in the areas of oil and gas law, property tax, corporate law, commercial law and litigation. Several of our senior attorneys have been practicing together in excess of 30 years, providing a unique synergy in addressing our clients needs. Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson has seen steady growth in order to ensure that our clients needs are met on an ever broadening front, while remaining committed to providing the best possible legal solution in a costefficient and practical manner. A TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE TWO LEADERSHIP SQUARE 211 NORTH ROBINSON, SUITE 1300 OKLAHOMA CITY, OK PH: FAX: liability and is available at Fracking Is Largely Unregulated One public concern driving litigation concerns fracking as an unregulated activity. Federal law exempts fracking from the groundwater and drinking water controls that apply to other types of underground drilling. Oklahoma, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas have significant fracking industries and are seriously considering state regulation. Property Owners Can be Held Responsible Public concerns about fracking tend to center around air and water pollution by gases and chemicals migrating to the surface and the improper handling of waste. Since the fracking process is not regulated, it may be hard to hold the drilling companies responsible for the results of the process, especially when injuries to the public may not become obvious for 20 or 30 years. Owners of property where fracking is taking place should be concerned with this risk, since the property owner is responsible for cleanup of contamination under federal law - even if the owner was not responsible for the damage. The Scope of Liability for Fracking Is Still Undetermined Courts are in the process of deciding fracking cases that will set the standard of care for future lawsuits. One of the first lawsuits involving fracking was a New York case where the plaintiff sued for loss of property value due to fracking, not personal injury. In Pennsylvania, a case was filed where fracking is blamed for contaminating groundwater that resulted in an injury to a child. 8 Oklahoma s Legal Leaders To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in Oklahoma visit

8 Continued from p. 7 another young man. Along with requiring that he finish high school and train as a welder, Norman made regular church attendance one of the conditions of Alred s probation. Norman did not specify that Alred follow a particular denomination. Norman had previously sentenced defendants to church. Only this time, his decision drew the attention of constitutional experts nationwide, many of whom condemned his actions as a violation of the separation of church and state. A few weeks after Norman s ruling on the case, the ACLU filed a complaint with the Oklahoma Council on Judicial Complaints, claiming that Norman s actions violated the Oklahoma Code of Judicial Conduct and disregarded principles of religious liberty. Oklahoma-Texas Water Dispute Heads to U.S. Supreme Court In January the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would take up Terrant Regional Water District vs. Herrmann. Its ruling will resolve a longstanding dispute over water rights between Oklahoma and Texas. At stake is control over water in a droughtplagued region of the country, as well as the legal status of the interstate compacts that govern water rights in many Western states. Population growth in northern Texas has driven a water shortage into a water crisis. Between 2000 and 2010, the Fort Worth metro area grew more than 25%, constituting a dire need, according to Terrant County officials. The County, which includes Fort Worth, claims rights to Oklahoma s water by way of the Red River Compact. Congress ratified that agreement between the two states (as well as Louisiana and Arkansas) in In 2007, Texas sought to draw water from Oklahoma, alleging that the interstate compact entitled it to 25% of the water in the Red River basin, regardless of state lines. Oklahoma officials We successfully defended Oklahoma s right to protect its natural resources at the District Court and the Circuit Court of Appeals. And we will continue that fight at the Supreme Court. - Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Attorney General disagreed and passed a law in 2009 that barred the transportation of water to other states without explicit consent from the state legislature. The Terrant district is arguing that such laws PAGE PROOF FOR APPROVAL ONLY violate the U.S. Constitution s Commerce Clause and that the compact should supersede Oklahoma s laws. To date, lower courts have sided against Texas. In September 2011, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the compact allows states wide discretion over resource allocation. So Oklahoma s laws effectively banning interstate water allocation could stand. We successfully defended Oklahoma s right to protect its natural resources at the District Court and the Circuit Court of Appeals, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a statement. And we will continue that fight at the Supreme Court. Deaths and Allegations of Abuse Prompt Lawsuits Against Rehab Facility Deaths, overdoses, and allegations of abuse have dogged Narconon Arrowhead over the past year, resulting in numerous lawsuits against the drug rehabilitation facility located in Canadian, Okla. The state opened an investigation into the non-profit center after three patients died there within a nine-month span in Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson has filed wrongful death lawsuits against the facility on behalf of the families of three patients found dead at Narconon, and another who died at a local hospital while under treatment at the Continued on p. 11 M c ANANY, VAN CLEAVE & PHILLIPS, P.A. Workers compensation, real estate, Business & commercial e stablished in 1901, McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips (MVP) is a full-service defense firm serving clients throughout the Midwest. The firm has more than 50 attorneys across five offices and has long been AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell. We pride ourselves on being able to call on many attorneys to think outside the box, says Samantha Benjamin-House, who is joined in the Oklahoma practice group by Jodi Fox, Nichole Bryant, and Patrick Parr. Often, we are able to come up with legal arguments that most people wouldn t have considered. While MVP initially focused in the areas of real estate law, financial institution law, litigation, and not-for-profit law, its expertise has since expanded to include many other practice areas. The firm now represents local, national, and international companies including Fortune 500 corporations and small businesses as well as individuals, governmental entities, and not-for-profits, in a variety of matters. The breadth of the firm s practice is a credit to its having attracted and retained some of the most talented professionals in the region. Benjamin-House and Fox are both individually AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell and have held leadership positions in state bar associations. Members of the firm have also successfully lobbied state legislatures and gone on to become judges and local politicians. Beyond their legal work, the attorneys and staff members at MVP are active in the community, supporting such organizations as the special olympics and American Red Cross. not only is this firm focused on doing good legal work, but it also values its clients, employees, and communities, says Fox. And our many long-term client relationships speak to that integrity and accessibility. TOP RATED LAWYERS From left: Patrick S. Parr, Nichole S. Bryant Greg Folkins David Shaughnessy 1874 South Boulder, Tulsa, OK ph: Jodi J. fox samantha n. BenJamin-house From left: Jodi J. Fox, Samantha N. Benjamin-House To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in oklahoma visit Oklahoma s Legal Leaders 9

9 oklahoma s legal leaders LAND USE REGULATIONS AND YOUR SMALL BUSINESS you CAME UP WITH A GOOD idea or product to sell, decided what legal form your small business would use, developed a business plan, and secured financing. But where are you going to open the store or office? Is the planned use of the property that you ve purchased or leased for your small business permitted under zoning and land use regulations? Zoning and land use regulations are designed to protect the public health and safety as well as natural resources and the environment. These types of laws can restrict or limit various aspects of any business, ranging from what kinds of business activities can be conducted on a particular piece of land, to the specifications for buildings, and the parking to be provided for customers or clients. Zoning laws are created and enforced almost entirely at the local government level. If your proposed site is inside a city s limits, you might have overlapping city and county zoning laws to deal with. Zoning & Land Use Laws Zoning ordinances are supposed to form a uniform, orderly scheme for using real estate. PAGE PROOF -- FOR APPROVAL Typically, ONLY you ll see five major types or categories of zones: Commercial Industrial Agricultural Recreational Residential Strategic Solutions at Law Over 34 years of providing businesses and individual clients with quality legal representation, strategic advice and philip J. eller kevin h. Wylie forward thinking. r. louis reynolds James c. hodges shanann p. passley donald l. detrich philip r. feist katherine saunders Jerry m. snider John h. lieber e. 21st st., ste. 200,Tulsa, ok ph: toll free: Experienced. Proven. Results. TOP RATED LAWYERS A business normally has to be conducted in a commercial zone, unless it falls within some type of zoning exception (like a variance or nonconforming use) or if it s a home-based business, which are often regulated by separate zoning laws. Zoning Problems A non-conforming use is when land is used in a manner that s inconsistent with a new zoning ordinance. Examples include: The nature or characteristics of the building itself do not conform to the zoning ordinance, such as when the building is over the maximum height allowed by the new law The activity going on in the building doesn t conform, like when a zoning classification changes from light commercial to residential, an existing business could continue to operate Generally, you don t have to quit an existing non-conforming use and can continue after the adoption of a zoning ordinance. However, the right to continue a non-conforming use may be lost if the non-conforming use is abandoned. For example: If a nightclub is operated in a storefront in an area that is later zoned to exclude all alcohol-related operations, the nightclub can continue to operate If the nightclub closes, the right to continue the use may be lost if the same nightclub is not reopened or if some other similar alcohol-related use is not begun within a certain period of time Conditional use is when a use is permitted under a zoning ordinance but only when certain conditions are met. For example, a zoning ordinance may permit professional offices in a residential zone if at least four off-street parking places are provided. Variances, or special use permits, are an exception to the requirements of a zoning ordinance. State or local laws will normally detail when and how variances may be granted. Usually, you must show some kind of hardship to get a variance. Questions for Your Attorney Before meeting with your attorney, prepare yourself with questions such as: How long could it take to successfully change the zoning on my property? How does spot zoning differ from conditional use? 10 Oklahoma s Legal Leaders To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in Oklahoma visit

10 Continued from p. 9 facility. (No criminal charges have been filed in response to the deaths.) In March, Richardson brought five additional lawsuits against Narconon Arrowhead. In them, former clients and their families, allege false representation, fraud and deceit, non-disclosure or concealment, breach of contract, and civil conspiracy. Among other allegations, several of the suits claim that the facility functioned as a front organization for Scientology recruitment. It is pretty clear that these lawsuits are financially motivated and have no foundation of truth contained in them, Narconon responded in a statement. As in any lawsuit that is filed, allegations are made which contain gossip and information that often times is not factual. It is in the courtroom where the truth will prevail. In February, lawmakers unanimously passed legislation that gives the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services oversight of drug rehabilitation facilities. According to State Rep. Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie), the bill was inspired by recent events at Narconon. Under current law, facilities such as Narconon are not required to be certified by the state board of mental health. (Although Narconon is affiliated with the Church of Scientology, it is not classified as a religious non-profit and so would be subjected to the law.) If passed, the new bill would expand the board s purview to include certification of non-religious recovery centers, too. New Meth Law Closes Loopholes As of January 1, 2013, the name of anyone buying medicine containing pseudoephedrine in Oklahoma will be entered into a multi-state registry system intended to curb the spread of methamphetamine. Oklahoma s new anti-meth Although 2012 saw a slight decrease in Oklahoma methamphetamine lab busts, the state maintains one of the nation s highest rates of methamphetamine use. law is considered one of the nation s strictest. Pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in some over-the-counter cold medication, is also used to produce meth. Lawmakers have struggled with how to make such medication available while also ensuring that it doesn t fall into the hands of drug producers. In 2012, a hotly PAGE PROOF -- FOR APPROVAL ONLY contested bill requiring a prescription to purchase pseudoephedrine-containing medication failed. A 2012 survey found that 60% of Oklahomans opposed such restrictions. However, more than 90% of respondents in the same survey saw meth as a problem in the community. The number of meth labs uncovered by police nearly tripled between 2007 and 2011 from 148 to 429. Although 2012 saw a slight decrease in Oklahoma meth lab busts, the state maintains one of the nation s highest rates of methamphetamine use. Previous laws mandated a statewide registry of pseudoephedrine purchasers. But intrepid methamphetamine cooks simply travelled across state lines to purchase more than the legal amount 7.2 grams, or about three boxes, per month according to Mark Woodward, spokesman for the Oklahoma Board of Narcotics. Under its new anti-meth law, Oklahoma is one of 17 states using the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLX) system to track sales of pseudoephedrine in real time. MAKE IT HAPPEN COMMERCIAL LITIGATION MEDICAL MALPRACTICE the Berry Firm is a defense and commercial trial firm that specializes in representing defendants in expert-intensive cases. the Firm represents Fortune 500 companies in catastrophic injury cases, many involving the energy, manufacturing, and trucking industries. the Firm also represents hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers in cases involving medical malpractice. With offices in oklahoma, texas, and arkansas, the firm tries cases. anywhere. anytime. using an innovative approach and culture, teamwork is the foundation of the Berry Firm s success and is second to none. the Berry Firm team creates advantages where others see obstacles. OKLAHOMA OFFICE 224 E. Main Street Oklahoma City, Oklahoma MAIN: FAX: HOUSTON OFFICE 1200 Smith Street Suite 1600 Houston, Texas MAIN: FAX: DALLAS OFFICE The Adolphus Tower 1412 Main Street, Suite 2300 Dallas, Texas MAIN: FAX: ARKANSAS OFFICE 425 West Capitol Avenue Suite 1520 Little Rock, Arkansas by appointment only From the moment the Berry Firm accepts a case, they begin planning for their day in court, leaving no stone unturned. the firm s aggressive, individualized motion practice produces time and cost-efficient TOP RATED LAWYERS results. its extensive trial record sends the clear message that the Berry Firm will run, not walk, to the courthouse. this reputation coupled with its assertive practice style tends to force realistic evaluations by opponents and more favorable resolutions. d. BoWen Bo Berry the Berry Firm routinely takes on big cases with tenacity and an eagerness to get the job done. Pulling out all the stops, the Berry Firm makes it happen. To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in oklahoma visit Oklahoma s Legal Leaders 11

11 oklahoma s legal leaders REORGANIZING WHEN FILING UNDER CHAPTER 11 BANKRUPTCY businesses in dire financial trouble don t necessarily have to close up shop and go out of business. You may be able to save your business, keep operating and get financial relief at the same time. That s what a Chapter 11 bankruptcy is all about. The basic idea is simple: It is better for everyone to let you keep operating and reorganize your business affairs than to simply liquidate a business. Learn some of the basics of Chapter 11 bankruptcies to see if you can use it to save your business. PAGE PROOF -- FOR APPROVAL ONLY EMPLOYMENT IMMIGRATION FAMILY LAw BUSINESS The Mazaheri Law Firm offers legal services and representation in the areas of employment, immigration, family law, personal injury, and business advisement. Our law firm is a comparatively small but diverse firm, wellregarded for our knowledge of a wide range of legal issues and our clientcentered, compassionate approach. Mazaheri Law Firm is multi-ethnic and bilingual, welcoming anyone who needs high quality legal representation. We welcome anyone that has a legal need from the injured worker to the forward-thinking and preventative employer or business owner. Our lawyers have extensive experience handling litigation in Plaintiff and Defense cases. While Mazaheri Law Firm s areas of practice are diverse, the firm s lawyers are highly familiar with the intricacies of the law on their specialized fields as you can see on their attorney profiles. Dedication to clients needs include frequent one-on-one meetings, honest and straight-forward assessments of legal matters, as well as knowing exactly where an individual case stands at all times. This gives the firm s clients peace of mind and a degree of comfort not found at less client-centered firms. To a Mazaheri Law Firm client, their attorney is a pillar of strength when times are tough. In a profession often known for deception, Mazaheri Law Firm stands apart because their attorneys are genuinely warm, accessible and compassionate people who are firm in their convictions and ready to stand by their ethics west MEMORIAL ROAD, SUITE H, OKLAHOMA CITY, OK PH: Benefits of Reorganizations If you can come up with a realistic plan showing how reorganizing your business affairs will get your business out of the red and into the black, Chapter 11 may be the answer. Everyone benefits. For instance: You continue operating the business, which means workers stay employed and the public coffers keep a stream of income through taxes Your business keeps its assets You have a lot of control over how the business will run during and after the reorganization Reorganizing Your Business When your business files for bankruptcy (the business is called the debtor in bankruptcy law jargon), the business s property becomes property of the bankruptcy estate. Any collection activities pending against the business are automatically stayed. The automatic stay gives you and your creditors some time and breathing room. You can use, sell or lease the business s property. You can even look for financing to continue its operations. Of course, you have an obligation to protect your creditors rights in the business and its property. You can t give the property away or sell it for ridiculously low prices, for instance. The Plan You have the right to propose a reorganization plan for the first 120 days after the case is filed. The plan does many things, but it mainly sets out the details for repaying your creditors. The bankruptcy trustee appointed to your case usually forms a committee of your creditors who vote on your plan. It may be confirmed or approved even if some creditors vote against it and even if some creditors are treated better than other creditors if bankruptcy wasn t filed. The basic idea during the plan negotiation process is for you and most of your creditors to come up with a plan that has a realistic chance of success. In other words, one where most if not all of your creditors are repaid, at least some portion of your debts, and the business continues operations. If the plan is confirmed it takes court approval you come out of the bankruptcy usually with much lower debts and a new reorganized business. Protection for Creditors Protecting creditors and making sure they re treated fairly is one of the goals in any bankruptcy. When it comes to Chapter 11: Your creditors may ask the court to dismiss or throw out your case if they think it was filed in bad faith or think there s no chance of a successful reorganization plan A trustee may be appointed if there s any indication you re mismanaging the business or wasting business assets A secured creditor may be able to get relief from the automatic stay and continue collection efforts against loan collateral if it can prove to the court that the property value is at risk somehow After your 120-day period expires, your creditors may propose their own reorganization plans, which may be much different than yours Chapter 11 may be the answer if it looks as though your business may go under. It s a complicated process, though, so be sure to talk to an attorney about whether or not it is the right choice for you and your business. 12 Oklahoma s Legal Leaders To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in Oklahoma visit

12 Texas s Vehicle Defect and Safety Watchdog Renowned Trial Lawyer E. Todd Tracy Fights to Protect Victims of Defective Vehicle Safety Systems COVER SPOTLIGHT Each year, thousands of people are catastrophically injured or killed on America s roadways. In some of these accidents, no vehicle safety design principle could have made a difference; but on many other occasions, the proper vehicle safety system could have prevented a needless tragedy. When vehicle safety systems aren t designed to provide maximum occupant protection, you have an endless number of these senseless catastrophes, says Dallas trial lawyer E. Todd Tracy, who has garnered national acclaim and recognition for his handling of vehicle crashworthiness cases throughout the country. Still, the vehicle industry has repeatedly refused to accept responsibility for these catastrophic injuries and deaths, Tracy continues. For too long, they have put profits before consumer safety. Tracy has been battling the vehicle industry for more than two decades, focusing his practice on vehicle crashworthiness lawsuits stemming from vehicle defects. He has tried 119 cases against some of the largest automotive companies, including: GMC, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Honda, Mitsubishi, Ferrari, TRW, Key Safety, Allied Signal, Breed, Takata, JCI, and Dorel Juvenile Group. Vehicle defect lawyers force these vehicle manufacturers to put consumer safety first, Tracy notes. After all, you put you and your family s safety first, so why shouldn t the vehicle industry? Vehicle crashworthiness is the science of preventing or minimizing serious injuries or deaths following an accident through the use of vehicle safety systems. In vehicle defect product liability cases, the focus is on what caused the injury or death, not on who caused the initial accident. As Tracy points out, safety systems such as airbags, seatbelts, strong roof and seat structures, and unbreachable fuel systems are not designed to prevent accidents from happening; instead, they are intended to offer protection following the accident. A typical vehicle industry defense is to blame the serious injuries and deaths on whoever caused the accident, Tracy explains. I frankly never care about who caused an accident or why the accident occurred; I care about how the safety systems performed once the accident happened. In the event of an accident, every production vehicle must accomplish five vehicle crashworthiness safety principles: maintain survival space; provide proper restraint throughout the entire accident; prevent ejection; distribute and channel energy away from the occupants; and prevent fire following the accident. It doesn t matter how rich or poor, tall or short, fat or thin, or intelligent you are, a vehicle s safety systems shouldn t discriminate they should perform even if you caused your own accident, Tracy says. Initially developed in the 1950s to protect American soldiers who had crashed in fixed-wing planes, these safety principles were later adopted by the aeronautics and racing industries. In the late 1960s, they were finally implemented into production vehicles. Although vehicles have become more crashworthy over the years, my goal remains to have the same safety systems on every vehicle, regardless of price, Tracy says. Some people say that will never happen, but right now there are compact vehicles being sold outside the United States that have better safety systems on their entry-level model vehicles than certain luxury vehicles sold here in America. PUT YOU By pursuing litigation on behalf of vehicle accident victims, Tracy s firm has encouraged automotive companies around the AND YOUR YOU world to make safety improvements in their vehicles. And the FAMILY S firm is always willing to take a case to trial to throw a spotlight on vehicle safety systems. SAFETY FIRST, SO WHY Even in cases where we lost at trial, the vehicle industry SHOULDN T THE knew that if safety changes weren t forthcoming, the next jury would punish them for sticking their head in the sand and VEHICLE INDUSTRY? doing nothing, Tracy says. In the end, society ultimately benefits because we re forcing the vehicle manufacturers to care E. TODD TRACY more about safety. Besides being a strong trial advocate for vehicle safety, The TRACY Firm routinely sponsors research testing outside of litigation to evaluate how to better protect children and small adults in frontal impacts, as well as anyone involved in rollover accidents. This research is conducted at universities and includes papers that are published in engineering journals. Beyond protecting the rights of our injured clients, we are dedicated to holding manufacturers accountable when they fail to meet safety standards, Tracy says. And part of being an effective vehicle safety watchdog requires research and testing. Tracy adds that his firm also conducts testing that it shares with other lawyers so they too can learn how to better handle cases against vehicle manufacturers: It is an honor to teach the next generation of attorneys, because they are the ones who will continue the fight to make vehicles safer, protecting citizens and benefiting society, he says. Sean Stonefield Greg Folkins To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in oklahoma visit Oklahoma s Legal Leaders 13

13 THE FINAL WORD: APPELLATE REVIEW SARAH LEE GOSSETT PARRISH most LITIGATORS DEVELOP trial rituals that are as individual as the attorneys. Most also form certain courtroom habits, mannerisms, ways of questioning witnesses, and addressing juries. These personal trademarks occasionally become the stuff of legends. A courtroom icon, real or fictional, likely popped in your mind just now. However, there is one thing often missing from most of these legendary litigators toolboxes: appellate expertise. That is why we have appellate counsel, why i maintain a practice that focuses, primarily, on The Final Word: Appellate Review. in an ideal world, my work as appellate counsel begins the moment a trial commences. if a case is destined for appeal, it is helpful to retain appellate counsel, as trial counsel s consigliere, to preserve the record for appeal. Appellate courts generally do not consider evidence, issues, or arguments that were not presented to the trial court. Failure to object, failure to offer proof, or failure to request relief under a certain legal theory usually results in waiver on appeal. While the court has discretion to determine whether an issue has been waived, why place appellate counsel in such a position? Raise it or waive it should be every litigator s mantra, and this is much easier to do with me by your side to highlight the ubiquitous appellate concerns that frequently SaRah lee GoSSETT PaRRISh State and Federal Appeals; Litigation; Insurance Coverage SARAH LEE GOSSETT PARRISH has a unique perspective on the appellate process, gleaned from years of experience as a federal law clerk, Oklahoma Supreme Court staff lawyer, and civil litigator. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and holds a B.A. in Letters, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa. Her senior year at OU, she was awarded the Silver Letzeiser Medal for Outstanding Senior and was a Rhodes Scholarship Gulf Region Finalist. A third generation graduate of the OU College of Law, she holds the highest rating, AV, by the Martindale-Hubbell National Lawyer Database. She is licensed to practice in Oklahoma and Texas and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and the U. S. District Courts for the Western, Northern, and Eastern Districts of Oklahoma. Her articles have been published in The Federal Lawyer and the American Bar Association s Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal. I enjoy my appellate practice. Each appeal presents its own idiosyncrasies, so it is always lively work. I distill a trial court record into a few issues, craft those issues into one succinct argument, and persuade the court that my clients should have The Final Word. What could be more rewarding than that? Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish, Esq. Of Counsel, Derryberry & Naifeh LLP 4800 N. Lincoln Blvd. Oklahoma City, OK / Blog: Reversible Error - (Twitter) occur during the trial of a case. As your appellate consigliere, i also gain an intimate familiarity with the case that cannot be duplicated by analyzing the trial transcript and trial court record. of course, this analysis is an integral part of assembling the record for appeal, drafting the appellate briefs, and, if necessary, preparing for oral argument. Hiring an appellate consigliere merely streamlines the process. Fortunately, most seasoned litigators are perfectly capable of preserving the record for appeal and do so. After trial (or summary judgment), if an appeal is contemplated or imminent, trial counsel should retain appellate counsel for a plethora of reasons, among them: to evaluate appellate success, to offer a fresh perspective on the case, to inject objectivity in the post-trial analysis, and to provide expertise throughout the appellate process. standards of appellate review vary depending upon the remedies sought (equitable or legal), the issues raised (factual or legal), and the type of decision appealed (administrative, jury verdict, trial court judgment). Appellate court rules are abundant and convoluted. Penalties for violations may result in sanctions or dismissal. A humorous musing in the trial court becomes a faux pas in an appellate oral argument. However, oral arguments are seldom granted. Appeals are usually won or lost on the briefs, and appellate briefs are creatures from another universe. They are academic, complex, and lengthy. so, why would anyone aspire to the role of appellate advocate, you may ask? it is simple, really: to have The Final Word. 14 Oklahoma s Legal Leaders To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in Oklahoma visit

14 Brings You o k l a h o m a S LEGALLEADERS Presenting TOP RATED LAWYERS 2013 ONLINE EDITION The online edition of Oklahoma s Legal Leaders features a complete list of AV Preeminent lawyers by practice area. To view the online edition scan the barcode with your smartphone QR code reader or visit SCAN THIS CODE to open up Oklahoma s Legal Leaders page and view the online edition. visit our online edition to see all of oklahoma s av preeminent attorneys listed in these areas of practice Administrative Law Alternative Dispute Resolution Appellate Law Arbitration Asbestos Litigation Banking & Finance Bankruptcy Business & Commercial Civil Law Civil Rights Class Actions Collections Law Commercial Litigation Communications & Media Construction Law Consumer Law Criminal Law Debtor and Creditor Dental Malpractice Discrimination Domestic Violence Education Elder Law Eminent Domain Energy and Natural Resources Law Entertainment Law Estate Law Planning Family Law Franchise Law General Practice Government Law Health Care Law Homeowners Association Law Identity Theft Immigration Law Insurance Law Intellectual Property Internet Law Labor and Employment Legal Malpractice Law Libel, Slander and Defamation Litigation Medical Malpractice Non-Profit Law Personal Injury Products Liability Professional Liability Real Estate Law Securities Social Security Disability Taxation Technology Transportation Trusts and Estates Whistleblower Litigation Workers Compensation Zoning, Planning and Land Use To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in oklahoma visit Oklahoma s Legal Leaders 15

15 oklahoma s legal leaders STARTING A BUSINESS: SELECTING A GOOD LAWYER starting A BUSINESS WITHOUT liability companies, sole proprietorships)? the advice of legal counsel can be a big Does he or she profess to have expertise with mistake. If you don t already have a lawyer start-up ventures? representing your interests, this checklist will help you find a prime candidate. Look for a list of representative clients. Does the lawyer represent other businesses similar to yours? Do some initial screening to narrow Search on the Internet under the name of the down your list to three or four lawyer and their law firm. Can you find any prospective candidates: articles, FAQs or other informational pieces Does the lawyer appear to have expertise in forming business organizations (for example, that the lawyer has done that give you a level of comfort? corporations, PAGE PROOF partnerships, -- FOR limited APPROVAL Contact ONLY your state bar association to find out Congratulations to our 2013 Top Rated Lawyers The firm appreciates this prestigious recognition of Ken Albright for his expertise in Tax Law, Jim Rusher for his expertise in Commercial Litigation and Heath Hardcastle for his expertise in Real Estate Litigation. From Left: Kenneth F. Albright, Heath e. Hardcastle, James W. Rusher Albright, Rusher & Hardcastle 2600 Bank of America Center, 15 West 6th Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma ph: fax: if the lawyers on your list are in good standing. Consider any special needs you may have. For an example, could you benefit from an attorney who speaks in another language other than English? There are two types of business lawyers: those that handle lawsuits and those who primarily handle corporate and contract matters (called transactional lawyers). Some lawyers do both, but most of them tend to specialize in one area or the other. If you are forming a new business, a lawyer who handles business transactions may be best. Look at a full service firm that does both transactions and litigation to keep on retainer to anticipate your needs as your business grows. It may also be to your benefit to have access to lawyers with expertise in other areas affecting your business (for example labor or employment law, tax law, real estate law, banking and finance or intellectual property). Look to see if a lawyer is affiliated with associations that cater to legal issues affecting businesses. Having a lawyer who is involved in a chamber of commerce or other local organizations may also be a good sign, depending on your legal needs. Unless there are special circumstances, you ll want to hire a lawyer who is licensed to practice law in your state and has an office located near your principal place of business. Before you hire a lawyer: Ask for references you want to talk to people who can comment on the lawyer s skills and trustworthiness, such as other lawyers and banks. A business lawyer should also be able to give you the names of several CPAs as references. Find out if he or she has previously worked with venture capitalists or other financing sources. A great reference source for a good lawyer is word of mouth from satisfied clients. After getting appropriate consents, lawyers will sometimes develop a list of representative clients that they ll use for marketing and promotional purposes, and you might ask if it would be okay to contact some of them. You shouldn t be surprised, however, if the lawyer declines attorney/client privilege binds lawyers to strict rules. It may even cause you to question whether the lawyer would keep your legal matters confidential if he or she volunteers too much information about other clients. Ask about conflicts of interest. Does the lawyer represent any opposing parties or potential competitors? Ask to be provided with a copy of the lawyer s retainer agreement and have it explained to you before decide on retaining the lawyer or the lawyer s law firm. 16 Oklahoma s Legal Leaders To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in Oklahoma visit

16 PAGE PROOF -- FOR APPROVAL ONLY PAGE PROOF -- FOR APPROVAL ONLY PAGE PROOF -- FOR APPROVAL ONLY Jim BuXton PERSONAL INJURY, PRODUCTS LIABILITY, INSURANCE BAD FAITH Mr. Buxton is a native Oklahoman, born and raised in Duncan, oklahoma. He received his undergraduate degree from ole Miss and his law degree from oklahoma City university and is a graduate of the prestigious Trial Lawyers College in Dubois, Wyoming. Mr. Buxton is an experienced Trial Lawyer who represents people who have been hurt or wronged by the carelessness of others or the greed of insurance companies. Mr. Buxton is also a frequent speaker at continuing legal education seminars where he shares his knowledge and experience with other Oklahoma lawyers. Mr. Buxton is an active member of the American Association for Justice, oklahoma Association for Justice and serves on the F-Warriors Board at The Trial Lawyers College. BUXTON LAW GROUP 511 couch Drive, Suite 300 oklahoma city, ok ph: fax: PAGE PROOF -- FOR APPROVAL ONLY robert inglish COMMERCIAL LITIGATION, REAL ESTATE, BANKRUPTCY CREDITOR Mr. inglish has practiced law in okmulgee County for over 34 years with a concentration in matters for financial institutions, companies and individuals involving day to day commercial advice, litigation including foreclosures and bankruptcy, trusts, estates, oil and gas, and real estate. Besides serving as a title insurance agent, he is President of okmulgee Land Title Company, which provides abstracts and title reports and of olt Real estate Closing services, which handles escrows and closings for real estate transactions. For several years he has served as counsel for the Muscogee Creek nation Housing Division. in 1992 he served as the Chairman of the oba Bankruptcy and Reorganization Section. In 1988, Mr. Inglish received the OBA Courageous Advocacy Award. He serves on the board of trustees of the sam K. Viersen Family Foundation and stonebridge Academy, a private independent school. ROBERT INGLISH 114 N Grand, Suite 408, PO Box 130 okmulgee, ok ph: fax: PAGE PROOF -- FOR APPROVAL ONLY donna J. Jackson TRUSTS & ESTATES, FAMILY & ELDER LAW, TAXATION, BUSINESS & COMMERCIAL Donna J. Jackson is a CPA and an attorney. she limits her practice to estate planning with an emphasize on Medicaid, VA Benefits and special needs planning, including trusts, special needs trusts, wills, durable power of attorneys and living wills. In addition, Ms. Jackson s practice areas include: taxes; probates; and business organizations, including corporations, limited partnerships and limited liability companies. Donna J. Jackson obtained a B.s. and M.s. in accounting from oklahoma state university. she received her J.D. degree from oklahoma City University School of Law in She is a member of the oklahoma Bar Association, American Bar Association, national Academy of elder Law Attorneys, oklahoma state society of CPAs, Wealth Counsel, elder Counsel, and Academy of special needs Planners. she received her LL.M. in elder Law from stetson College of Law in Florida. she currently services on the estate Planning, Probate, and Trust section Committee for the oklahoma Bar Association. DONNA J. JACKSON, ATTORNEY AT LAW Vineyard Blvd., Suite c PAGE PROOF -- FOR APPROVAL ONLY oklahoma city, ok ph: fax: carrie l. palmer, J.d. TRANSPORTATION LITIGATION, INSURANCE DEFENSE LITIGATION, PRODUCTS LIABILITY Ms. Palmer concentrates her practice in trucking and transportation litigation and consulting, general insurance defense, product liability and warranty, business enterprise and general litigation matters; and advising and consulting with clients, insurers and attorneys regarding electronic discovery readiness. Ms. Palmer received her J.D. from the university of oklahoma College of Law. Court admissions include the u.s. Court of Appeal, 10th Circuit and all u.s. District Courts for oklahoma. she is a member of the oklahoma Bar Association; oklahoma County Bar Association, oklahoma Association of Defense Counsel; Trial Attorneys of America; Defense Research institute and the Trucking industry Defense Association. Ms. Palmer s honors include an AV Rating through Martindale-Hubbell; and being named an oklahoma Super Lawyer, RESOLUTION LEGAL GROUP 100 e. california ave., Suite 200 oklahoma city, ok ph: Joseph luis ruffin CRIMINAL DEFENSE, CIVIL LAW, FAMILY LAW, PERSONAL INJURY, IMMIGRATION 2 The Ruffin family name is a well-known and highly respected name in oklahoma. Joseph Luis Joe Ruffin, a litigator with extensive criminal trial experience in both state and federal courts, has successfully practiced law over 20 years in oklahoma and in the Western District of Texas. Joe earned his Juris Doctorate from oklahoma City university school of Law and is fluent in spanish and in Korean, having served in the Peace Corps in south Korea upon obtaining his undergraduate degree from the university of oklahoma. Respect for diversity and sensitivity to multi-cultural issues are central to Mr. Ruffin s character and practice. His motto: When your life is in the balance i m there for you. Mr. Ruffin holds an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and has recently served two terms on the united states Federal Magistrate Judge selection Committee. He is recognized as a Top Lawyer, and is a member in good standing in the oklahoma Bar Association. JOSEPH RUFFIN 722 n. Broadway, Suite 301 oklahoma city, ok ph: John p. ZelBst PERSONAL INJURY LITIGATION John P. Zelbst specializes in Plaintiffs 3 civil damage cases to include medical malpractice, personal injuries, products design defects, insurance bad faith, and also practices in other related areas. He has obtained many oklahoma record verdicts including the largest record verdict for personal injuries in the amount of $24 million, and the largest verdict in oklahoma against the u.s. government in the amount of $7 million. He practices in many state and federal courts; lectures and teaches. He is a former President of the oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association, Board Member and senior Faculty for gerry spence s Trial Lawyers College, member of ABoTA, and a member of various other legal and civil boards. ZELBST, HOLMES & BUTLER 411 SW 6th St. lawton, ok ph: ALM LEGAL GROUP Director, Custom Projects: Lester Goodman Account Executives: Alicia Upchurch, Marcy Palacios, Laura Gunawan, Jason Romano, George Schwimmer, Chris Knapp, Bridget McDonald James D Imperio Graphic Designers: Sammy Elfatrany Ashley McKevitt Content Manager: Justin Smulison Profiles Writer: Sean Stonefield Vice President, 5 Inside Sales: Steven R. Andreazza Senior Vice President: Kevin Vermeulen MARTINDALE-HUBBELL President & CEO, US Legal Markets, LexisNexis: Michael Walsh CEO, Martindale-Hubbell & Senior Vice President, US Legal Markets, LexisNexis: Philip B. Livingston Vice President and Managing Director, Marketing and Consumer Solutions, LexisNexis: 6 John Sateja Vice President and Managing Director, Sales, LexisNexis: Geoff Joynt Vice President, Online Marketing Solutions, LexisNexis: Dikla Treves Vice President, Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating & Client Review Services: Carlton Dyce Senior Editor, Martindale-Hubbell Ratings Projects: Laura C. Coppola To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in oklahoma visit Oklahoma s Legal Leaders 17

17 oklahoma s legal leaders TO ORDER CUSTOM REPRINTS OF OKLAHOMA S TOP RATED LAWYERS, PLEASE CONTACT OR 18 Oklahoma s Legal Leaders To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in Oklahoma visit

18 index of featured firms by area of practice automobile accidents The TRACY Firm...5 appellate Law Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish, PLLC..14 bankruptcy creditor Robert Inglish...17 business & commercial Donna J. Jackson...17 Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson, P.C...8 Mazaheri Law Firm...12 McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips, P.A..9 child custody Echols, Echols & Smalley...2 civil law Joseph Ruffin...17 Commercial Litigation Albright, Rusher & Hardcastle...16 Robert Inglish...17 The Berry Firm, P.L.L.C...11 criminal defense Joseph Ruffin...17 immigration Joseph Ruffin...17 Mazaheri Law Firm...12 family & elder law Echols, Echols & Smalley...2 Joseph Ruffin...17 Donna J. Jackson...17 Mazaheri Law Firm...12 Musser, Kouri, Bentwood & Grant, LLP.20 insurance bad faith Buxton Law Group...17 insurance coverage Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish, PLLC...14 insurance defense litigation Resolution Legal Group...17 LABOR & EMPLOYMENT Mazaheri Law Firm...12 litigation Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson, P.C...8 Eller & Detrich...10 Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish, PLLC..14 Marital & Divorce law Echols, Echols & Smalley...2 medical malpractice Musser, Kouri, Bentwood & Grant, LLP..20 The Berry Firm, P.L.L.C...11 oil & Gas Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson, P.C...8 Personal Injury Buxton Law Group...17 Joseph Ruffin...17 Musser, Kouri, Bentwood & Grant, LLP..20 The Berry Firm, P.L.L.C...11 The TRACY Firm...5 Zelbst, Holmes & Butler...17 products liability Buxton Law Group...17 Resolution Legal Group...17 real Estate Albright, Rusher & Hardcastle...16 Eller & Detrich...10 McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips, P.A..9 Robert Inglish...17 taxation Albright, Rusher & Hardcastle...16 Donna J. Jackson...17 transactions Eller & Detrich...10 transportation litigation Resolution Legal Group...17 trusts & Estates Donna J. Jackson...17 workers compensation McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips, P.A..9 Musser, Kouri, Bentwood & Grant, LLP..20 To See A Directory of All AV Preeminent Rated Attorneys in oklahoma visit Oklahoma s Legal Leaders 19

19 WORKING FOR INJURED PEOPLE AND THEIR FAMILIES ALL OVER OKLAHOMA Front, from left: Michael E. Grant, Sidney A. Musser, Jr. Back, from left: Nicholas G. Nick Farha, Venessa Brentwood, Harry J. Trey Kouri, III, Now more than ever, individuals and businesses in the marketplace must be innovative, flexible, and reliable. They have a right to expect the same from the professionals from whom they seek assistance. At the law firm of Musser, Kouri, Bentwood & Grant LLP, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, our practice emphasizes responsiveness to clients, personal service, and efficiency. Our ideal medium-sized firm enables us to truly serve the client. We listen to our clients and are attentive to their needs while providing them with straightforward, sound legal advice. PERSONAL INJURY WORKERS COMPENSATION AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY ESTATE PLANNING FAMILY LAW CRIMINAL LAW MUSSER, KOURI, BENTWOOD & GRANT A BRICKTOWN LAW FIRM, 114 E. SHERIDAN, SUITE 102, OKLAHOMA CITY, OK PH: FAX:

20 oklahoma S LEGAL LEADERS Presenting TOP RATED LAWYERS oklahoma s top rated lawyers by specialty Administrative...22 Alternative Dispute Resolution...22 Appellate Law...22 Arbitration...23 Asbestos Litigation...23 Banking & Finance...23 Bankruptcy...24 Business & Commercial...24 Civil Law...27 Civil Rights...29 Class Actions...29 Collections Law...29 Commercial Litigation...29 Communications & Media...30 Construction Law...30 Consumer Law...30 Criminal Defense - White Collar...30 Criminal Law...31 T his list of Top Rated Lawyers was created by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, the company that has long set the standard for peer review ratings, sharing its list of local lawyers who have reached the highest levels of ethical standards and professional excellence. Generations of lawyers have relied on LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell as the authoritative resource for information on the legal profession worldwide. With a history spanning 140 years, the Martindale-Hubbell database consists of more than 1 million lawyers and law firms in over 160 countries. Thousands of people refer to the database every day to find attorneys across town or across the globe, confirm their credentials based on independent evaluations of their skills and experience, and then select firms and lawyers that are the best fit for their personal and professional legal needs. To create this list of Top Rated Lawyers, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell tapped its comprehensive database of Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings to identify Debtor and Creditor...31 Dental Malpractice...31 Discrimination...31 Education...31 Eminent Domain...31 Energy and Natural Resources...32 Entertainment Law...32 Environmental...32 Family & Elder Law...32 Franchise Law...33 General Practice...33 Government Law...37 Health Care Law...37 Identity Theft...38 Immigration Law...38 Insurance Law...38 Intellectual Property...39 Internet Law...39 METHODOLOGY Labor and Employment...39 Legal Malpractice Law...40 Litigation...40 Medical Malpractice...42 Non-Profit Law...42 Personal Injury...42 Products Liability...44 Professional Liability...45 Real Estate Law...45 Securities...46 Social Security Disability...47 Taxation...47 Technology...47 Transportation...47 Trusts and Estates...47 Workers Compensation...49 Zoning, Planning and Land Use...50 lawyers who have been rated by their peers to be AV Preeminent the highest Peer Review Rating available. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are driven by the confidential opinions of lawyers and members of the judiciary who receive invitations from LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, via an online survey or by mail, to provide reviews of lawyers of whom they have professional knowledge. Peer Review Rated lawyers are not required to have a paid listing on Lawyers.comSM or martindale.com. To learn more about Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings, please go to These lawyers can be found online at Lawyers.com and martindale.com, in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory in print and CD-ROM formats, and online through the LexisNexis services and at lexis.com. The selection of Areas of Practice featured in the listings published here is composed from the top 60 searched Areas of Practice online at Lawyers.com and martindale.com. To find all additional Areas of Practice please visit these sites. Publishers do not warrant that the information contained herein is complete or accurate. ALM Media, LLC (or either party s affiliates, employees, officers, directors or agents) does not assume, and hereby disclaims, any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions herein, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident or any other cause. This magazine includes paid attorney advertising. Consumers should contact the state bar for verification and additional information prior to securing the legal services of any attorney. ALM, Top Rated Lawyers, and Top Ranked Law Firms are trademarks of ALM Media Properties, LLC.

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