Oklahoma Bar Journal

2022 YLD Leadership: Voting to Open Oct. 1, Closes Oct. 22

By Jordan Haygood , Immediate Past Chair

Active members of the OBA Young Lawyers Division are committed to leading and serving. As we welcome incoming YLD Chair Dylan Erwin for 2022, I applaud those within the YLD who have applied for leadership roles beginning next year to carry forward our legacy of public service and advocacy.

It is now the duty of YLD members to select those who will ultimately lead. Please look at the candidates in your district, and don’t forget to vote! Remember: Every lawyer who was first admitted to the practice of law in any jurisdiction within the past 10 years is automatically a member of the YLD and is eligible to vote. Offices up for election are:

  • Executive Offices: chair-elect, treasurer and secretary
  • District 1: One seat; Craig, Grant, Kay, Nowata, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Rogers and Washington counties
  • 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 5: One seat; Carter, Cleveland, Garvin, Grady, Jefferson, Love, McClain, Murray and Stephens counties
  • District 6: Two seats; Tulsa County
  • District 7: One seat; Adair, Cherokee, Creek, Delaware, Mayes, Muskogee, Okmulgee and Wagoner counties
  • District 8: One seat; Coal, Hughes, Lincoln, Logan, Noble, Okfuskee, Payne, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties
  • District 9: Caddo, Canadian, Comanche, Cotton, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa and Tillman counties
  • At-Large: Three seats; all counties
  • At-Large Rural: One seat; all counties except Oklahoma and Tulsa counties


Please take a moment to read the candidate information and vote; voting is a quick and easy process. Voting for YLD elections is conducted by electronic ballot, which will be emailed to you Oct. 1. You may cast your vote any time before midnight, Oct. 22. To ensure you receive a ballot, verify the OBA roster contains your current email address. You may do so by logging in to MyOKBar or by calling the OBA Membership Department at 405-416-7080. If you do not receive a ballot, email jordan.haygood@ssmhealth.com.

Uncontested offices will be deemed elected by acclamation. Election results will be announced at the YLD November meeting to be held in conjunction with the OBA Annual Meeting Nov. 10 – 12 in Oklahoma City.


2022 Leadership

2022 Chair
Dylan Erwin

Dylan Erwin joined the Oklahoma City law firm of Holladay & Chilton in 2018. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Erwin was an assistant district attorney for Comanche and Cotton counties. During his time in the DA’s office, he was able to hone his skills as a trial attorney while serving the people in his hometown of Lawton. After leaving the DA’s office, he brought his trial experience with him into the private sector with Andrews Davis, where he worked primarily in their criminal law and civil litigation practice areas. As a criminal defense attorney, he has represented clients in matters ranging from speeding tickets and misdemeanor DUIs to felony drug charges and multi-defendant racketeering prosecutions. As a civil litigator, he has handled cases ranging from small claims disputes to large-scale construction litigation, complex business litigation and employment and labor claims on behalf of both the employer and the employee.

A fifth-generation Oklahoman, Mr. Erwin graduated magna cum laude from OU in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree 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 president of the Student Bar Association and 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, a Top Ten Speaker Award in moot court and was included on the dean’s list for his academic achievements. In his free time, he enjoys reading all the books he didn’t have time to read while in law school, writing short fiction, traveling and attempting to live out his high school dream of being the frontman of a garage band.


2022 Immediate Past Chair
April J. Moaning

April Moaning received a bachelor’s degree in economics from OSU and earned her J.D. from the TU College of Law. While pursuing her law degree, she served as vice president of the TU Black Law Student Association and maintained active involvement in community service organizations. She also received numerous honors and awards, including the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in torts and the Rocky Mountain Black Law Students Association Best Oral Advocate Award.

Ms. Moaning began her legal career practicing family and criminal defense law. She later served as staff counsel at Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., where she gained experience in the areas of insurance defense and civil litigation matters involving personal injury and property damage. Currently, she represents clients in family, personal injury and civil matters. She also continues to focus on her commitment to community outreach by serving on the OBA Diversity Committee and OBA YLD Board of Directors. She has served on the Board of Directors since January 2015 and has received multiple awards for her involvement and dedication to the division.


Contested Elections

District 3

Thomas Grossnicklaus

Thomas Grossnicklaus was born in Oklahoma City and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from Piedmont High School. He was assigned to the Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team, which was created under President Reagan after the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Mr. Grossnicklaus deployed with his unit to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and then to Bahrain, where his unit served as a Quick Response Force to the Middle East region and as a protection crew (Raven Crew) to C-130 airplanes and highly important cargo and individuals around the region. During this deployment, he was the section leader for the Designated Marksmen Unit. After the Middle East erupted following the killing of Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya, his unit was activated and sent on an eight-month mission. A bulk of that time was spent recapturing and securing the American Embassy in Yemen. After this long and difficult deployment, he returned to Oklahoma and dedicate himself to serving his home state and community.

He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from OCU and worked for Congressman Steve Russell in his district office and on a successful re-election campaign. While earning his J.D. from the OCU School of Law, Mr. Grossnicklaus worked in Gov. Mary Fallin’s office as an aide and liaison to general counsel. He then served as a clerk for Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Jim Winchester.

Currently, Mr. Grossnicklaus serves as an assistant attorney general in the Legal Counsel Unit. He prosecutes for the Oklahoma Funeral Board and Workers’ Compensation Commission, Compliance Department. He is also general counsel for the Secretary of State, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma State Fire Marshall and Oklahoma State Board of Examiners for Long Term Care Administrators. He is in the Leadership Certificate Program in the Harvard Kennedy School and plans on using these hours towards receiving a master’s degree in public administration. He is a graduate of the Leadership Oklahoma City’s LOYAL program, a NextGen under 30 recipient and a member of the Oklahoma City Downtown Rotary.

Bryan R. Lynch

Bryan Lynch joined Hall Estill as an associate in 2020, practicing in the areas of commercial litigation, corporate and employment. He received his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from OU and his J.D. with honors from the OU College of Law.

While in law school, Mr. Lynch served as assistant executive editor of the American Indian Law Review and was twice a member of the school's national moot court team.

Laura Talbert

Laura Talbert currently serves as secretary of the OBA’s Young Lawyers Division and has been a member of the board for four years. She is a member of several YLD committees, including Kick It Forward and Community Hospitality. She is also an Oklahoma delegate for the Uniform Law Commission.

Ms. Talbert is a founding partner of Stockton Talbert PLLC, an Oklahoma City boutique law firm, where she practices in the areas of civil litigation and cannabis law. Previously, she worked as a prosecutor in New Mexico, an assistant general counsel for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and a civil litigator for a private firm in Oklahoma City.

She received her J.D. in 2012 from the OU College of Law, where she served on the American Indian Law Review and worked as a licensed legal intern for OU’s Criminal Defense Clinic. In 2005, she received her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, Texas, and she received her master’s degree from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City in 2008.

When she is not working, Ms. Talbert loves playing volleyball, socializing with friends and colleagues, attending community events and finding the best, new food spots in OKC. Most of the time, her dog, Velociraptor, is right there by her side. Laura has enjoyed her time serving on the Young Lawyers Division Board and would love the opportunity to continue!


District 5

Patrick Madden

Pat Madden is currently a general practitioner in Ardmore, with a focus on bankruptcy, family law, probate and estate planning. He graduated from the OU College of Law in 2018 and is a 2014 graduate of Villanova University, where he earned a master’s degree in history. He received his bachelor’s degree in 2012 from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Mr. Madden currently serves as a member of the Grace Center of Southern Oklahoma Board of Directors. Outside of the practice of law, he enjoys camping, hiking and visiting museums.

Elizabeth Stevens

Liz Stevens was born and raised in Norman and received her bachelor’s degree in history from OU. Before attending law school, she spent several years teaching English as a second language in Russia and Rwanda.

In 2019, Ms. Stevens received her J.D. from the OU College of Law, where she served as editor of the American Indian Law Review and director of judge recruitment for the Board of Advocates. She received the Masterson Award for her work on the American Indian Law Review and the Class of 2019 Pro Bono award. She also received the Cindy Foley Award for her work with the OU Legal Clinic and was an Oklahoma Bar Foundation Fellow. While pursuing her J.D., she served as a judicial intern for Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Noma D. Gurich and as an intern for the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the United Nations.

She currently works at the Attorney General’s office in the Legal Counsel Unit, and in her spare time, she enjoys traveling to exotic places, reading historical fiction books and playing with her dog, Bear.


District 6

Joel Auringer

Joel Daniel Auringer is a staff attorney in the Tulsa office of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc., where he serves on the eviction defense team. Mr. Auringer previously taught middle and high school music in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, metroplex before moving to Oklahoma to enter the legal profession. He is a former staff editor for the Tulsa Law Review and a former volunteer compact disc reviewer for the Journal of the International Clarinet Association.

Mr. Auringer joined the OBA in April. He received his master’s degree in library science from the University of North Texas, his J.D. from the TU College of Law and further holds multiple degrees in music performance. He lives in Tulsa with one rambunctious, orange cat named Tennyson.

Caroline Shaffer Siex

Caroline Shaffer Siex is a December 2016 graduate of the TU College of Law. She currently works at the Tulsa law firm of Gibbs Armstrong Borochoff PC, where she practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation, nursing home defense and family law.

Ms. Siex has been a member of the OBA YLD Board of Directors since 2017, serving as secretary in 2020 and treasurer in 2021. She also served as the YLD Hospitality Chair from 2018 to 2019. From 2020 through 2021, she served as the ABA YLD District Representative for District 24 (Oklahoma and Arkansas).

During her time on the board, she has shown her willingness and effort to help other young lawyers, especially those just emerging into practice, from passing out bar exam survival kits, hosting a swearing-in happy hour for newly admitted Tulsa-area lawyers and attending the TU bar preparation class to provide information about the Oklahoma Bar and advice to law students. She has also contributed to publications aimed at assisting young lawyers to grow in their careers. Ms. Siex wants to continue to serve on this board to bring more networking opportunities to young lawyers in Tulsa and ease the daunting transition from law school to the legal field for newly admitted lawyers.

Keaton Taylor

Keaton Taylor is the founder and managing partner of the Tulsa law firm of Taylor Martuch, practicing primarily in the areas of civil litigation, business formation and disputes, personal injury claims and criminal defense. Mr. Taylor represents clients from every walk of life and takes each client’s situation into account when developing a solution. In the representation of his clients, his focus is always to get the best possible result for each individual client’s goals.

A native Tulsan and a graduate of Northeastern State University and the TU College of Law, Mr. Taylor is licensed to practice law in all Oklahoma state courts, Muscogee (Creek) Nation courts, as well as the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Tulsa County Bar Association and a District 6 representative for the OBA Young Lawyer’s Division. He is also active in the Tulsa Young Professionals, the Tulsa County Bar Association and the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association (OCDLA). In his spare time, he enjoys getting outdoors and volunteering in the community.


At Large

Phoebe B. Mitchell

Phoebe Mitchell is a third-year litigation attorney with Phillips Murrah PC. She represents individuals and both privately held and public companies in a wide range of civil litigation matters. Ms. Mitchell received her J.D. from the OU College of Law, where she earned the American Jurisprudence Award for Civil Procedure II and was on the Dean’s Honor Roll. She served as research editor and candidate mentor for the Oklahoma Law Review and was a member of the Phi Delta Phi legal honor society. She also served as a mentor on the Dean’s Leadership Council, was selected as a Dean’s Leadership Fellow and served on the Academic Appeals Board. While in law school, she had the opportunity to clerk as a judicial intern for Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Rob Hudson.

Ms. Mitchell was born and raised in Oklahoma City and received her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a member of Make-A-Wish Oklahoma’s Young Professional’s Council and an alumni advisor for OU’s Kappa Alpha Theta chapter. Phoebe lives downtown with her mini Aussiedoodle, Rumble, and enjoys Thunder basketball, OU football and cheering on her Vanderbilt Commodores in her spare time.

Jacob T. Reynolds

Jacob Reynolds received his bachelor’s degree from OU in international security studies and is a 2020 graduate of the OU College of Law. While in law school, he was an active member of the Mock Trial team. This year, he joined the McAlester law firm of Wagner & Lynch, where he practices in the areas of criminal defense, personal injury and civil rights litigation. He is licensed to practice in the Eastern and Western Federal Districts of Oklahoma, as well as Choctaw and Creek tribal courts. Mr. Reynolds served in the U.S. Army National Guard and is a veteran of the Global War on Terror and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Joel Auringer
See bio above

Thomas Grossnicklaus
See bio above

Bryan R. Lynch
See bio above

Patrick Madden
See bio above

Caroline Shaffer Siex
See bio above

Elizabeth Stevens
See bio above

Laura Talbert
See bio above


Uncontested Elections


Taylor Venus

Taylor C. Venus is an attorney with the Enid firm of Long, Claypole & Blakley Law PLC. He practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation and transactional law for a diversity of clients.

Mr. Venus is a native of Ponca City and graduated from OSU with bachelor’s degrees in economics and finance. During his time at OSU, he had the honor of serving as the mascot, Pistol Pete. He received his J.D. and MBA at OU, where he served as the articles editor for the Oil & Gas, Natural Resources & Energy Journal and as an officer or representative for multiple student organizations.

He has a passion for serving his local community and with organizations that have transformed his life. In Enid, he is president of the Enid Public Schools Foundation, trustee of the Vance Development Authority, member of the City of Enid Board of Adjustment and actively participates and volunteers with several civic groups in northwest Oklahoma. Outside his community, he has served on his undergraduate fraternity alumni board since graduating and has participated with the Pistol Pete Alumni Association since its founding. Mr. Venus is the current Garfield County Outstanding Young Lawyer, District 4 director for the OBA Young Lawyer Division and part of the Garfield County and OBA Legislative Monitoring Committee.

In his free time out of the office, he enjoys spending time with friends and family, hunting, playing golf and being an armchair expert on his favorite sports teams and political views.


District 4

Ben Barker

Ben Barker represents clients in all manners of litigation across Oklahoma, practicing primarily in the areas of criminal defense and family law in northwest Oklahoma. He is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state courts, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation courts. A member of the OBA Family Law Section and the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association, Mr. Barker’s criminal defense work has been featured in national and international news publications, including the Washington Post, New York Daily News and London’s Daily Mail. He has also been invited to appear on the NBC television show Dr. Phil in connection with his criminal defense work.

After earning his bachelor’s degree from OSU in 2010, Mr. Barker received his J.D. from the OU College of Law in 2013. He is an active member of the Garfield County Bar Association, serving as Law Day Committee Chairman since 2017 and representing the county as a delegate at the 2018 OBA Annual Meeting. In 2018, he received the Garfield County Bar Association Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.



Mr. Haygood practices in Oklahoma City and was 2020 YLD chair. Keep up with the YLD at www.facebook.com/obayld.


Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 92 Vol 7 (September 2021)