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Young Lawyers Division

Election for 2018 YLD Leadership: Voting Opens Oct. 2, Closes Oct. 25

By Bryon J. Will

The YLD is beginning to look forward to 2018, and a part of that is planning for the leadership of the YLD. As a YLD member (practicing 10 years or less), you are eligible to vote in this election. It is an important role as a YLD member to participate in the election, and I ask that you take some time in this consideration. Offices up for election are as follows:

  • All Executive Offices 
  • District 2: One seat; Atoka, Bryan, Choctaw, Haskell, Johnston, Latimer, LeFlore, McCurtain, McIntosh, Marshall, Pittsburg, Pushmataha and Sequoyah counties 
  • District 3: One seat; Oklahoma County
  • District 4: One seat; Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Cimarron, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Harper, Kingfisher, Major, Roger Mills, Texas, Washita, Woods and Woodward counties 
  • District 6: One seat; Tulsa County 
  • District 8: One seat; Coal, Hughes, Lincoln, Logan, Noble, Okfuskee, Payne, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties 
  • At-Large: Two seats; all counties 
  • At-Large Rural: One seat; all counties except Oklahoma and Tulsa counties 

Below is a list of candidates running for each of the offices along with their narratives. Those offices that are contested will be set for voting and ballots will be sent by email. Those offices that are not contested will be deemed elected by acclimation.

On Oct. 2 you will receive an email that contains a link to the ballot. The email used will be the one the OBA has on file for you. If you do not receive the email please notify me so we can get you a ballot. Ballots must be cast no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct 25.

Results of the election will be announced at the YLD November meeting to be held in conjunction with the OBA Annual Meeting in Tulsa on Thursday, Nov. 2, at 4:30 p.m.

2018 Leadership

2018 Chair

Nathan D. RichterNathan D. Richter

Nathan D. Richter was born in Oklahoma City. He is a graduate of Mustang High School (1996), OU (B.S. 2000) and the OCU School of Law (2007). Before beginning his legal career, he served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard for 10 years. He was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Afghanistan in 2003 where he received the Joint Forces Commendation Medal and numerous other awards.

Mr. Richter is a trial lawyer currently working for the Denton Law Firm located in Mustang. He has an active trial practice in the areas of personal injury, product liability, trucking and auto collisions, criminal defense and domestic relations. He is very active in the profession as a former president of the Canadian County Bar Association (2012), a volunteer with Trinity Legal Clinic providing pro bono legal services to Oklahoma’s indigent population, a volunteer with the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Lawyers for Heroes Program, a member of the Robert J. Turner American Inn of Court and the current treasurer for the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. He is also very active in his community. He serves as a board member for Youth & Family Services Inc. in Canadian County and is a member of Life Church, Mustang.

In his spare time, he enjoys golfing, cycling and spending time with his family. He is married to Kristin Richter, and they have two children: Harrison (7) and Kailyn (6).

Immediate Past Chair

Lane NealLane Neal

Mr. Neal is an associate attorney with Durbin, Larimore & Bialick in Oklahoma City. His practice is focused on civil litigation and all aspects of insurance law. He is a member of the Oklahoma County Bar Association and American Bar Association. He is a Fellow of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation. Mr. Neal is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Oklahoma. He is a barrister in the Luther L. Bohanon American Inn of Court and a 2010 graduate of the OBA Leadership Academy.

Mr. Neal represented District 3 on the OBA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) Board of Directors from 2010 to 2015. In 2015, he was elected to serve as OBA YLD treasurer. In 2016, he served as chairperson-elect and is currently serving as chairperson.

He received his undergraduate from OU in 2004 and his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 2008. While in law school, Mr. Neal was active in OU’s advocacy competition teams. He also served as a note editor for the American Indian Law Review. His note regarding regulation of environmental standards by Oklahoma tribes was selected for publication in 2007.

Mr. Neal is a member of Crown Heights United Methodist Church where he serves as a trustee. He also serves as a board member for United Way of Central Oklahoma and Arts Council of Oklahoma City. He is currently participating in the Honorary Commander Program through Tinker Air Force Base.

Mr. Neal’s wife, Laura Sams Neal, is also an attorney. She practices criminal law and personal injury law in Oklahoma City. The Neals have one son, William, who recently turned 1.


Brandi N. NowakowskiBrandi N. Nowakowski

Brandi N. Nowakowski is a senior associate with the law firm of Stuart & Clover in Shawnee. She focuses her practice on probate, adult guardianship, estate planning and real property matters. She, her husband, Chris, and their two sons, Ethan and Zachary, reside in Shawnee.

Ms. Nowakowski received her B.B.A. in management from OU, where she graduated magna cum laude in May 2006. She received her J.D. from the OU College of Law in May 2010 and was admitted to the practice of law before all Oklahoma state courts in September 2010. She was later admitted to practice before the United States District Court in the Western District of Oklahoma. She additionally serves on the Supreme Court of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe.

Ms. Nowakowski has actively served on the Young Lawyers Division Board of Directors since January 2012, having served as the District 8 director, secretary and current treasurer. In addition, she has served as YLD Community Service Committee chairperson since 2013. She enjoys working with the many attorneys who make our bar association great!

She has also previously served on the OBA Law Day Committee and has been selected to serve on the Credentials Committee for the OBA Annual House of Delegates Meeting each year since 2012. Additionally, she served on the Clients’ Security Fund Task Force and the OBA Budget Committee. She is honored by the opportunity to continue serving the young lawyers of Oklahoma and the entire bar through the YLD Board of Directors as the 2018 chair-elect.

The following persons have been nominated and are running contested for the following positions. Results will be announced at the YLD Annual Meeting.

District Three

S. Shea BrackenS. Shea Bracken

Shea Bracken is an attorney with Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst. His practice focuses primarily on medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, auto accidents, personal injury and wrongful death. He was born in Shawnee but grew up in Stillwater. Following high school, he served in the United States Marine Corp as an infantry TOW gunner. He is a decorated war veteran with a combat deployment to Fallujah during Operation Iraqi Freedom II.

Mr. Bracken obtained his Bachelor of Arts from OSU in 2008. He graduated from the OCU School of Law in 2011. While in law school, he graduated near the top of his class and was a member of the Law Review and Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity. His honors included faculty and dean’s honor roll, merit scholar and CALI awards for contracts.

He is an active member in the community, including being a member of VFW, Oklahoma City Young Professionals and Marine Corp League. He is also a volunteer with local organizations, including United Way of Central Oklahoma. He is member of the Oklahoma County Bar Association.

His hobbies include spending time with his wife, Lindsay, anything to do with sports, especially OSU and Thunder, exercising, reading, watching movies and relaxing. He has a passion for litigating cases and being in the courtroom. He is known for his laid-back personality and the ability to become friends with anyone he meets.

Cody J. CooperCody J. Cooper

Cody J. Cooper represents individuals and companies in a wide range of intellectual property and civil litigation matters. His practice primarily concentrates on intellectual property, including patent prosecution and litigation, trademark and copyright matters and commercial litigation in state and federal courts.

Mr. Cooper graduated from the OU College of Law with honors. While in law school, he served as the managing editor of the American Indian Law Review, magister (president) of the legal honors fraternity Phi Delta Phi and was on the dean’s honor roll. He was also a mentor on the Dean’s Leadership Council for incoming law students and earned the American Jurisprudence Award for Civil Procedure II. He was a semifinalist at the University of West Virginia Energy Law Moot Court Competition.

He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from OU, majoring in finance and management information systems. He has a general science and engineering background, which qualified him to become registered before the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a practicing patent attorney. As an undergraduate student, he worked for a Fortune 100 company as a systems analyst intern in the Business and Technology Group, working with a number of complex software suites that provided critical services to the business.

Mr. Cooper is actively involved in community and charitable organizations and has volunteered with a number of organizations including Camp Cavett, NewView Oklahoma, Salvation Army, various public schools throughout the Oklahoma City metro and others.

Born and raised in Norman, he now lives in Oklahoma City with his wife and two dogs. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing sports and attending Oklahoma City Thunder and Sooner sporting events.

Dylan D. ErwinDylan D. Erwin

Dylan D. Erwin is a civil litigator and criminal defense attorney who has been practicing with the Oklahoma City law firm Andrews Davis since December 2015. Prior to entering private practice, he was an assistant district attorney for Comanche and Cotton counties.

A fifth generation Oklahoman, Mr. Erwin graduated magna cum laude from OU in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in classical cultures. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 2014. While in law school, he served as the president of the Student Bar Association, and the vice justice of the Harlan Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. He received the Student Bar Association Prize for his service to the student body, the Public Service Award for his pro bono work in both civil and criminal legal clinics.

He has served on the Oklahoma Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Board of Directors since 2015. During his time on the board, he has served as both the District 9 director and an At-Large director. This past year, he was given the opportunity to represent the OBA at the American Bar Association YLD Spring Conference in Montreal. He currently serves as the co-chair for the YLD Community Service Committee and looks forward to continuing to find ways for the bar to serve the greater Oklahoma community.

Aside from his volunteer work with the YLD, he also serves as a member of the OU College of Law Young Alumni Board, is a Fellow of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation and is the current vice justice of the Central Oklahoma Alumni Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International.

In his spare time, you will find him reading all the books he still doesn’t have enough time to read, enjoying all that Oklahoma City’s vibrant arts community has to offer and forging ahead in his ongoing quest to make the perfect cup of coffee.

Jordan HaygoodJordan Haygood

Jordan Haygood has been a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association Young Lawyers Division board for two years and is the current OBA YLD secretary and District 3 representative. He is currently the co-chair for the OBA YLD Membership Committee, the OBA YLD liaison to the OBA Disaster Relief Committee and OBA Law School Committee and a member of the OBA Health Law Section. In 2016, he was awarded Director of the Year by the OBA YLD chair for his service to the OBA YLD.

Mr. Haygood is currently serving young lawyers on a national scale as the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division District 24 representative for Oklahoma and Arkansas. As part of his duties for the ABA, he is a voting member for the ABA YLD Board of Representatives, serves as both Oklahoma and Arkansas’ liaison to the ABA YLD National Disaster Legal Services Committee and facilitates and manages communication between the ABA YLD and Oklahoma Bar Association and Arkansas Bar Association YLD affiliate programs.

He is currently a staff attorney for SSM Health Care of Oklahoma Inc. where he is responsible for assisting the regional general counsel in overseeing and managing legal affairs for the SSM Health Oklahoma region and its operating entities. He has been admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma and certified to practice in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

He is a member of the Oklahoma Ruth Bader Ginsburg American Inn of Court. He is also a member of the Central Oklahoma Alumni Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International where he served as the chapter clerk for two years. Recently, he was appointed to serve on the board for the Diversity Center of Oklahoma Inc.

Mr. Haygood graduated from the OCU School of Law in 2013 where he received the 2013 Deans Service Award for his outstanding service to the OCU School of Law. He is also a 2005 graduate of Texas Christian University where he received his B.S. in new-editorial journalism.

Chad KelliherChad Kelliher

Chad Kelliher is a 2011 graduate of the OCU School of Law where he was a dean’s list and faculty honor roll recipient. Since graduating, he has spent his entire career at the Law Office of Daniel M. Davis where he represents plaintiffs in the areas of personal injury and civil litigation.

Laura TalbertLaura Talbert

Laura Talbert is an attorney with Brown & Gould PLLC, a boutique civil litigation firm in Oklahoma City. Prior to joining Brown & Gould, she worked in the government sector, first as an assistant district attorney, where she was awarded Junior Prosecutor of the Year in 2014, and later as an assistant general counsel for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. With more than 30 jury trials under her belt, litigation is a passion for her. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree prior to receiving her J.D. from the OU College of Law. When she isn’t in a courtroom, she can be found on a local volleyball court or cheering on the Sooners and Thunder.

District Six

Barrett L. PowersBarrett L. Powers

Barrett L. Powers is an associate attorney with Norman Wohlgemuth Chandler Jeter Barnett & Ray, primarily practicing in commercial litigation. He received his bachelor’s degree with distinction from OU in 2011 and graduated from the TU College of Law with highest honors in 2015. He is an officer of the Tulsa Lawyer’s Chapter of the Federalist Society, a member of the Hudson Hall Wheaton American Inns of Court and is active in Tulsa’s Young Professionals.

Caroline Marie ShafferCaroline Marie Shaffer

Caroline Marie Shaffer is an associate attorney with Allen Garrett Peckio and Masters PLLC, practicing in complex civil litigation and bankruptcy. She is a graduate of the TU College of Law; however, she has been working in the legal field for six years as a paralegal and law clerk. She received her double undergraduate degrees in psychology and political science at the University of North Texas. She currently enjoys practicing in U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern and Western Districts of Oklahoma as well as an active Oklahoma state court caseload.

While at the TU College of Law, she received the Order of Barristers, and she placed in several Board of Advocates events including Family Law Negation, Business Transaction Negotiation and the Redbud Classic Competition. She also participated in multiple organizations including being an officer of the Federalist Society and TU Outlaws, and she served as 1L delegate and attorney general for the Student Bar Association. One of her most rewarding experiences was helping the Tulsa community by working a semester in the Community Advocacy Clinic.

With her experience in the legal field, she is looking forward to developing her legal skills as a young attorney. She wants to use her own experience to help other young lawyers in the OBA build their skill set as mediators and litigators. She is looking forward to building new relationships throughout Oklahoma’s legal community across practice lines, and on different sides of the “v,” assisting other young lawyers to have a larger and stronger network. Ultimately, striving to better serve our clients and increase the civility in the practice of law.

District Eight

Garrett "Blake" JacksonGarrett “Blake” Jackson

Garrett “Blake” Jackson, a 2016 graduate of the OU College of Law, is currently employed as a staff attorney at the Chickasaw Nation in Ada. A member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, his career focuses in the area of federal Indian law. He was recently elected to the post of secretary/treasurer of the Chickasaw Bar Association and serves on the Board of Directors of Oklahoma Indian Legal Services. He is passionate about involvement in the community, as well as his commitment to nutritional and physical well-being.

Tony MoralesTony Morales

Tony Morales is an associate with Stuart & Clover PLLC in Shawnee. He was born and raised in Shawnee and is a 2002 graduate of Shawnee High. He received his B.A. in journalism with minors in psychology and history from OU in 2006.

Tony earned his J.D. from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2011 with a certificate in natural resources and environmental law. During law school, he interned with the U.S. Department of Interior, litigated as a student attorney with the school’s Environmental Law Clinic and served as a staff editor for the University of Denver Water Law Review.

Directly after law school, he worked as an in-house petroleum landman for a Denver-based exploration and production company.

In 2014, he returned to his roots in Oklahoma to join Stuart & Clover. In addition to his general civil practice, he practices in energy and real property litigation across the state.

He is a member of the Pottawatomie County Bar Association, the OBA Energy and Natural Resources Law Section and is a graduate of Leadership Shawnee. He is also licensed to practice law in Colorado state courts and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

He is married to his college sweetheart, Annie Coulson, a dental hygienist. They are owned by three cats.

Jimmy OliverJimmy Oliver

Jimmy Oliver graduated from the OCU School of Law in 2010 and is a partner at DeLacerda & Oliver in Stillwater. He obtained his undergraduate degree from OSU.

Mr. Oliver currently serves on the OBA Board of Governors, the Board of Directors for the Saville Center for Child Advocacy and as the alternate city judge for the city of Guthrie.

He is also the president of the Payne County Bar Association. In 2015, while he was Law Day chair, the PCBA received the Hicks Epton Law Day Award from the Oklahoma Bar Association for outstanding Law Day activities. He has been selected and attended leadership academies through the city of Stillwater and the Oklahoma Bar Association.

His professional publications include “Family Law Conflicts: When Can You Represent a New Client Against a Former Client in a New Divorce Matter?” Oklahoma Bar Journal, Vol. 83, No. 33, Dec. 3, 2012; “What Should I Do With the Transcript Money?” Oklahoma Bar Journal, Vol. 84, No. 33, Dec. 14, 2013; “The Basics of DHS Records for the Family Law Practitioner” Oklahoma Bar Journal, Vol. 85, No. 20, Aug. 9, 2014.

He maintains an active practice in the areas of family law, probate, guardianship and criminal law.

At-Large Rural

Clayton BakerClayton Baker

Mr. Baker is an associate attorney at Logan & Lowry LLP in Grove. He was sworn in by the Supreme Court of Oklahoma in 2015. Mr. Baker is a member of the Tulsa County, Delaware County and Craig County bar associations. He is a member of the Counsel Oak/Johnson-Sontag American Inn of Court and serves on the TU College of Law Alumni Board.

Mr. Baker received a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice in 2011 from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. He graduated from the TU College of Law in 2015, with honors. During his time in law school, Mr. Baker served as president of the Student Bar Association, vice president of Board of Advocates and magister for Phi Delta Phi Legal Honors Society. He competed on the AAJ National Mock Trial Team and the National Health Law Moot Court Team. Mr. Baker was elected to membership in the Order of Barristers, received the CALI Award for Excellence in Constitutional Law II and completed the Health Law Certificate Program.

Garrett “Blake” Jackson

See bio above.

Tony Morales

See bio above.

Jimmy Oliver

See bio above.


S. Shea Bracken

See bio above.

Cody J. Cooper

See bio above.

Dylan D. Erwin

See bio above.

Jordan Haygood

See bio above.

Chad Kelliher

See bio above.

Laura Talbert

See bio above.

Barrett L. Power

See bio above.

Caroline Marie Shaffer

See bio above.

Clayton Baker

See bio above.

Garrett “Blake” Jackson

See bio above.

Tony Morales

See bio above.

Jimmy Oliver

See bio above.

The following persons have been nominated. They are running uncontested and will be declared elected at the OBA YLD Annual Meeting.


Jordan Haygood

See bio above.


April J. MoaningApril J. Moaning

April J. Moaning is a native of Oklahoma and the owner of the Law Office of April J. Moaning PLLC. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from OSU and received an academic scholarship from the TU College of Law where she earned her J.D. While in law school, she served as vice president of the TU College of Law Chapter of the National Black Law Students Association and maintained active involvement in community service organizations. She also received numerous accolades, including the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Torts and the Rocky Mountain Black Law Students Association Best Oral Advocate Award.

After her admission to the Oklahoma bar, Ms. Moaning began her legal career practicing family and criminal law. She then served as staff counsel at Liberty Mutual Insurance where she gained experience in commercial civil litigation matters involving personal injury and property damage. Currently, Ms. Moaning focuses her legal practice on family law, personal injury and criminal defense.

Ms. Moaning is active in the Oklahoma Bar Association, serving as an At-Large director on the OBA YLD Board of Directors, chair of the OBA YLD Diversity Committee and vice chairperson of the OBA Diversity Committee. She is committed to promoting diversity in the legal profession and helps coordinate the Law School Admissions Boot Camp, which is an event designed to help prospective law students navigate the law school admissions process.

District Two

Blake LynchBlake Lynch

Blake Lynch has been a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association young lawyers board for six years, representing District 2. During that time he has participated in numerous programs with the YLD including the Day of Service, Kick It Forward and has been recognized as the Outstanding Director. A 2009 graduate of the OU College of Law, he also graduated from OU as an undergraduate and Dickson High School and OSSM. He is a member of the Eastern District, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee Creek bar associations.

Mr. Lynch is a founding partner of Wagner and Lynch PLLC in Wilburton and McAlester, a general practice firm that has received wide recognition after recent victories involving the constitutionality of certain obscenity statutes, appeals regarding tribal laws in the Choctaw Nation, the “Friendly Market” series of cases resulting in 28 acquittals in Cleveland County and seizure and forfeiture overreaches by the state. As a member of the Pittsburg County Bar Association he and his firm have raised thousands of dollars for autism and apraxia research and care, the PAWS associations of Pittsburg and Latimer counties and the Regional Food Bank. He also volunteers for other local civic organizations and is the vice president of Oklahoma HOBY, a community service-oriented leadership seminar that, in 2017 alone, helped produce almost 60,000 meals, package thousands of kits for the infant crisis center and made blankets for children.

In addition to his motivation for community service, he has also made active efforts to develop professionally. He has taken on difficult and often pro bono cases and gained professional knowledge and leadership skills by attending the 2013-14 OBA Leadership Academy and the Gerry Spence Trial College. He is one of the senior members of the YLD board and hopes to be able to serve his district for his final years of eligibility in the YLD.

District Four

Dustin ConnerDustin Conner

Dustin Conner is a senior attorney for Gungoll, Jackson, Box and Devoll PC, located in the firm’s Enid office. A native of Garber, he graduated from OSU with a Bachelor of Science in agribusiness in 2006. He attended the OCU School of Law where he received his J.D. with honors in 2011. While at OCU he was a member of the Phi Delta Phi Legal Honor Society. His practice areas include oil and gas title and litigation, agriculture law, civil litigation and estate planning.

Mr. Conner has served on the YLD Board of Directors for the past four years. He also serves as a board member for the Garfield County 4-H Foundation Board, the Enid A.M. Ambucs and Loaves & Fishes of Northwest Oklahoma. He also volunteers his time to serve as the shotgun coach for the Garfield County 4-H Program. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, trapshooting and attending sporting events.