Vol. 3 No. 42 | Oct. 18, 2023


No published opinions this week.

Dispositions Other than by Published Opinions

The Supreme Court of Oklahoma Court Calendar

The Supreme Court of Oklahoma is in session year round, unless otherwise noted. The Court regularly schedules conferences on Mondays and other days as needed.

Member Transitions


The Oklahoma Bar Association welcomes Justice Steven W. Taylor as our 2023 Annual Luncheon keynote speaker. Justice Taylor, a native of McAlester, served on the Oklahoma Supreme Court from 2004 until his retirement in 2016. He served a term as chief justice from January 2011 until January 2013. He is currently serving a nine-year term as a regent for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education that began in 2019.  He notably presided over the state trial of the Oklahoma City bombing case.

Justice Taylor will present the keynote address during the Annual Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 2, at noon as part of the OBA Annual Meeting. The topic for his keynote address will be “Professionalism and Civility.” This year’s Annual Luncheon will be held in the Grand Ballroom at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. During the event, the 2023 OBA Award winners will also be honored. Tickets for the event may be purchased for $75, for the luncheon only or in addition to your Annual Meeting registration.

The Journal of Addiction Medicine published the findings of a study regarding addiction rates in attorneys. According to the findings, 36% of attorneys struggle with alcohol abuse and 21% struggle with "problematic" drinking, while 9% of attorneys struggle with prescription drug abuse.

The impact of substance use disorders on the family can be significant, according to the National Institutes of Health, negatively affecting communication, relationships, routines and finances and potentially leading to fear, distrust, violence and chaos. According to a recent KFF poll regarding substance abuse and treatment, two-thirds of adults have been impacted by addiction – either experiencing it themselves or having a family member who has. Of those who responded to the poll, 27% said they had not experienced addiction themselves but had a loved one who did – and respondents said it significantly impacted their mental health.

If you are an attorney who is struggling with substance abuse or if you are impacted by a loved one's addiction, the OBA offers all bar members up to six hours of free short-term, problem-focused or crisis counseling. The service is strictly confidential. Call the Lawyers Helping Lawyers hotline (800-364-7886) to be referred to a counselor in your area.

"Oklahoma’s population, both rural and urban, is underserved by the level of currently available legal services. This statement is even more true for low-income householdsOne in five Oklahomans are eligible for income-based legal services. Unfortunately, it is impossible for low-income legal services providers to meet this need. Nationally, '53% of low-income Americans do not know if they would be able to find a lawyer that they could afford if they needed help with a serious civil legal problem.' Organizations like Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc. (LASO) were created with the purpose of providing pro bono legal services, but they can’t do it all."

"The gold standard for meaningful access to justice is high-quality legal representation. Unfortunately for too many Oklahomans, that goal is quite literally out of reach. Oklahoma’s attorneys are increasingly concentrated in just a handful of counties, putting rural Oklahomans in the challenging situation of trying to navigate the legal system alone.

This isn’t a new challenge, and it’s only getting worse. Examining OBA data on where Oklahoma-licensed attorneys practice from 2018 and 2023 shows an increase in the number of counties with 10 or fewer licensed attorneys (from 20 to 23) and an increase in the number of counties with five or fewer attorneys (from 10 to 13). At the same time, the percentage of attorneys practicing in just three counties (Oklahoma, Tulsa and Cleveland) rose from 74% to 76%, despite those counties only accounting for 45% of the state’s population."

"Years ago, I put together a presentation called 'The Client-Centered Law Practice.' It focused on the irony that while law firms focused on serving clients and appropriately addressing their legal needs, clients sometimes had an impression that differed from that. To those (hopefully few) clients, it seemed that the law firm was busily engaged doing important work for other, very important people, while their matter was not a priority.

In fairness to lawyers, that was usually a perception rather than reality. But in the legal world, your client’s perception often is your reality. Certainly, it is your reality where concerns such as client retention and clients referring others to the firm are involved. So client service improvement is important – even though lawyers understandably focus more on the legal work."

The voting period for 2024 YLD Leadership opened Oct. 2. Contested elections are being held for District 3, District 6 and two at-large positions. Be sure to check your email for your ballot. Election results will be announced at the Young Lawyers Division November meeting to be held in conjunction with the OBA Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City Nov. 1-3.

There’s what you know in your particular areas of the law – and then there’s how well you’re able to communicate that knowledge. Communicate it to a variety of different audiences, through a range of different documents, to accomplish many different goals.

That can be hard work – even stressful work. Maybe you could use a little help.

Help is on the way! Join writing coach and former attorney Rick Horowitz at the Oklahoma Bar Center on Tuesday, Oct. 24, for “More Effective Writing Makes More Effective Lawyers.” It’s sure to be a lively and highly practical workshop that will reintroduce you to your legal writing toolbox, including a few tools you didn't know were in there.

Featured CLE

By OBA MAP Director Jim Calloway

Post-representation contact with former clients is generally permitted under the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct. But sales pitches are uncomfortable for many lawyers and likely not particularly effective. Instead, consider sharing valuable information they will appreciate and find useful. They will remember their lawyer providing free information. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just issued a report outlining that Americans are losing $2.7 billion to online and phone scams. So that’s a good reason to share this timely information about the most common scams with your clients or former clients.

"The 3 biggest social media scams Americans are falling for from ZDNET" is a good summary of the findings. If you have never tried direct mail advertising before, here is an experiment for you. Send emails to clients whose files have been closed in the last 60 days, letting them know that heading into the holiday season, scam attempts will increase. They may have loved ones who need this information. Email the information out in a way that clients cannot see each other’s names or email addresses. The full FTC report can be found here.

The Oklahoma Bar Journal is a publication of the Oklahoma Bar Association. All rights reserved. Copyright© 2023 Oklahoma Bar Association. Statements or opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Oklahoma Bar Association, its officers, Board of Governors, Board of Editors or staff. Although advertising copy is reviewed, no endorsement of any product or service offered by any advertisement is intended or implied by publication. Advertisers are solely responsible for the content of their ads, and the OBA reserves the right to edit or reject any advertising copy for any reason. Legal articles carried in The Oklahoma Bar Journal are selected by the Board of Editors. Information about submissions can be found at www.okbar.org.