Vol. 3 No. 39 | Sept. 27, 2023


No published opinions this week.

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


On Tuesday, Sept. 26, new bar members took their Oath of Attorney at the Oklahoma state Capitol House Chamber. The oath was administered by Chief Justice M. John Kane IV. These more than 250 new attorneys were among a group who passed the bar exam this past July. Following the swearing-in, individuals signed the Roll of Attorneys before joining their families in the Capitol rotunda for photos. The Oklahoma Bar Association is proud to welcome this group of new attorney members!

The OBA would like to encourage these new attorney members (and all members sworn in for the first time within the last 10 years) to get involved with the Young Lawyers Division. All members of the Oklahoma Bar Association in good standing who were first admitted to the practice of law in the past 10 years are automatically YLD members, regardless of age.

On Oct. 17, the OBA Management Assistance Program will host "Opening Your Law Practice" at the Oklahoma Bar Center. This program, to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., is a free seminar for new lawyers or for those who are launching a private practice. During the program, speakers will cover topics such as "The Business of Law," "How to Manage Everything," "Professional Liability Insurance and Risk Management," "How to Succeed in Law Practice" and more. This event is sponsored by Oklahoma Attorneys Mutual Insurance Co. and does not qualify for MCLE credit. Email Renee Montgomery or call 405-416-7029 to register for this seminar.

On Oct. 18, Ed Wunch with Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc. will present the CLE "Fines, Fees, and Due Process - An Update for Defendants' Rights Under HB 2259." During the program, Mr. Wunch will discuss how the Legislature significantly amended the court debt collection process in 2023, making it less likely defendants will be incarcerated for poverty. This program, only $25 to attend, will summarize the changes and provide advocacy tools to help attorneys advocate for relief from court debt for their clients. This one-hour CLE is worth 1 MCLE credit and will be presented live via Zoom. Register now!

"Navigating the workplace as an attorney can be like stepping into a minefield of potential liability; one misstep and you could land in your boss’s office, the Human Resources Division or under the scrutiny of the bar association due to a grievance or a bar complaint. Our profession requires a unique balance of making a good impression, respecting others in the workplace and getting things done in a high-stress environment. After 16 years of practicing law, owning a business and mentoring law students and new lawyers, I have cautionary advice for my new colleagues that will help to ensure not just that you are respected at work but that you respect others. By the time you are through with this article, I want you to understand what the climate of the legal workplace looks like today, what type of behavior is expected from you as a member and what may constitute illegal or unethical sexual harassment."

"In August’s Law Practice Tips article, 'ChatGPT, Artificial Intelligence and the Lawyer,' we covered the development of AI tools and some challenges they have presented to attorneys who did not appreciate the limitations of ChatGPT. This month, we will look at more AI-powered tools and techniques for using them.


One thing artificial intelligence does well is summarizing lengthy documents, such as depositions or long court opinions.

The Association of Immigration Lawyers of America (AILA) has been experimenting with powerful AI tools in their area of interest. A recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion, U.S. v. Texas, involved immigration law and was 75 pages long. Their tool quickly prepared a summary of the opinion, just over 14 pages in length. The summary is separated by page numbers in the original opinion so that if one had questions, it would be simple to read the page the summary was created from. Greg Siskind, an attorney in AILA, shared the summary, and I have placed it for download on Dropbox."

"Sept. 26 is the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a landmark law that includes 'Section 504,' prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities in federally funded programs and services. The Rehabilitation Act, and in particular, Section 504, was groundbreaking because it provided civil rights to persons with disabilities, and it served as a model for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

My brother was four years old. He spoke only a few words, one of which was 'swimming.' I was sitting with my mother in the first of many meetings with school officials. That time, they wanted to remove Zach from swimming time. It was clear to me this conversation would devolve quickly into stereotypes and hurt feelings, not to mention potential legal challenges. I knew that every morning, my brother woke up excited for swimming time, even on weekends. 'Swimming, swimming, swimming!' he sang. The water soothed the strain on his muscles and bones. Equally important was the laughter he shared with his friends during swimming time. By suggesting the removal of it, school officials proposed to deny Zach one of the few chances he had to freely exist in the world as a child with other children. This meeting mattered."

If you are looking for ways to give back, the Oklahoma High School Mock Trial Program is currently in search of volunteers for the upcoming year. This program affords an excellent opportunity to be involved in a rewarding and fun learning experience for Oklahoma's high school students, but it is not possible without volunteers!

There are many opportunities to volunteer. You could serve as an attorney coach, presiding judge, scoring panelist or trial site coordinator. There are also opportunities for serving on the Mock Trial Committee, helping with skills clinics or helping prepare the state championship team.

The OBA is proud to welcome Oklahoma Attorneys Mutual Insurance Co. as a Co-Sponsor for the 2023 Annual Meeting to be held Nov. 1-3 at the Skirvin Hilton in Oklahoma City.

For professional liability, Oklahoma Attorneys Mutual Insurance Co. is the only insurer owned by OBA members. OAMIC, which started in 1980, only serves lawyers who practice in Oklahoma and has policy options for lawyers in any type of practice. They also offer a broad range of court bonds. If you're attending the Annual Meeting, stop by and visit the OAMIC table as well as other sponsor tables to learn how their services can benefit your professional practice!

Registration is open, and there are still opportunities available to sponsor the 2023 Annual Meeting.

The 2023 Annual Meeting Notice of Meetings for the Credentials Committee, Rules & Bylaws Committee, Resolutions Committee and Tellers Committee have been posted. The Credentials Committee will meet Thursday, Nov. 2, at 9 a.m. The Rules & Bylaws Committee will meet Thursday, Nov. 2, at 10 a.m. The Resolutions Committee will meet Thursday, Nov. 2, at 10:45 a.m. The Tellers Committee will meet Friday, Nov. 3, at 11:00 a.m.

Featured CLE

By OBA MAP Director Jim Calloway


How much should a lawyer be paid, and how does a law firm calculate that? We sometimes get questions about how to determine salary for newly hired associates. Unfortunately, there is little available data about that in our state. Typically, a lawyer’s compensation is based on an annual salary plus an unspecified end-of-year bonus based on individual performance and law firm financial success. Sometimes the method of calculating the bonus may be less than transparent – aka the “black box.”

"The Law Firm Ecosystem: Compensation" is part two of a series written by veteran practice management advisor Erik Mazzone on AttorneyAtWork. Mr. Mazzone looks at the “black-box” compensation versus percentage-based, variable compensation plans. These plans will take more time to craft, but there are many advantages. Suppose a partner who has been productive for years has a personal emergency and must temporarily relocate to another state to care for an ailing family member. While they can do remote work to handle emergencies, their total billing is likely to decrease. Under the status quo, it might be necessary to convene a partner’s meeting to determine how much to cut the lawyer’s income. This will be complicated as some lawyers will focus on the math, and others will focus either on how they would like to be treated if they were in a similar situation or on their relationship with the individual lawyer. Wouldn’t it be better for all concerned if the existing compensation plan included a formula to handle these situations?

It isn’t easy. But if you read Mr. Mazzone's advice, you will see that it can be more straightforward than you might think. And as more law firms move projects to fixed fees, it will help to have compensation related to those already built into the plan.

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.