Four Candidates Seek “At Large” Position on OBA Board of Governors
September 21, 2020
Four candidates are vying to represent OBA members on the Board of Governors in an At Large position. Members of the OBA House of Delegates will cast their vote with a mail-in ballot. Other vacancies on the governing board of the organization serving Okahoma’s lawyers are uncontested.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court has issued an Order allowing Board of Governors Elections to be conducted via mail. There are four candidates for the At-Large position and there is a possibility that there will be a runoff according to the Bylaws. Ballots were mailed to the more than 200 members of the House of Delegates who are selected by the bar associations in each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. Results of the election will be announced during the virtual annual meeting House of Delegates meeting on Friday, November 13, 2020.
Read the candidates’ biographies and submitted campaign videos below.
The candidates are Cody J Cooper, Elliott C. Crawford, April D. Kelso and Kara I. Smith.
Member at Large
Cody J. Cooper, Oklahoma City
Nominating Petitions have been filed nominating Cody J. Cooper, Oklahoma City for election of Member at Large of the Oklahoma Bar Association Board of Governors for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2021. A total of 52 signatures appear on the petitions.
Elliott C. Crawford, Oklahoma City
Nominating Petitions have been filed nominating Elliott C. Crawford, Oklahoma City for election of Member at Large of the Oklahoma Bar Association Board of Governors for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2021. A total of 53 signatures appear on the petitions.
April D. Kelso, Oklahoma City
Nominating Petitions have been filed nominating April D. Kelso, Oklahoma City for election of Member at Large of the Oklahoma Bar Association Board of Governors for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2021. A total of 56 signatures appear on the petitions.
Kara I. Smith, Oklahoma City
Nominating Petitions have been filed nominating Kara I. Smith, Oklahoma City for election of Member at Large of the Oklahoma Bar Association Board of Governors for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2021. A total of 62 signatures appear on the petitions.
Cody 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.
He 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 semi-finalist at the University of West Virginia Energy Law Moot Court Competition.
Mr. Cooper 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 U.S. 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.
He is actively involved in community and charitable organizations and has volunteered with a number of organizations including 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, daughter, son 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.
Elliott C. Crawford
Elliott C. Crawford is the president and founder of the Law Office of Elliott C. Crawford P.C. A native of Fort Worth, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Texas A&M University in 2001. He received his Juris Doctor in 2006 from the OCU School of Law, where he was also on the Dean’s Honor Roll and received the CALI Award for federal jurisdiction. During law school at OCU, he also interned for the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office in the General Felony and White Collar Divisions. After graduating from law school, he opened his own law practice, which is devoted to representing the accused and focuses on federal criminal defense.
Mr. Crawford is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Texas and Oklahoma, the 5th and 10th Circuits, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and U.S. Supreme Court. He is also a member of the Holloway Inn of Court. Moreover, he is a proud member of the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Western District of Oklahoma, a group of trial attorneys who represent indigent criminal defendants in federal court. In 2014, he was awarded the OBA Golden Quill Award for his article, “Lights, Camera, Bar Action: Ethical Implications of Extrajudicial Statements and Pre-Trial Publicity in Criminal Proceedings”. He has also consistently been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers for his work in the area of criminal defense.
In his spare time, he is an amateur chef and enjoys cooking for family and friends. He hopes to one day sell his famous salsa. Most importantly, he is the husband of Kelsey and the father of three daughters.
April D. Kelso
April Kelso is an associate with Pierce, Couch, Hendrickson, Baysinger & Green in Oklahoma City, whose areas of practice include banking/lending litigation, insurance defense and coverage, as well as other areas of general civil litigation. She received her J.D. from the TU College of Law in 2010. She is a graduate of the sixth OBA Leadership Academy class and is active in the OBA Women in Law Committee, where she currently serves as co-chair for the Service Subcommittee. This year, through the Women in Law Committee, she organized a blood drive and an upcoming clothing drive to better serve the community. She is an Oklahoma Bar Foundation fellow, is active in the Ruth Bader Ginsburg American Inn of Court and the Oklahoma County Bar Association.
Please see below for Kelso’s submitted campaign video.
Kara I. Smith
Kara I. Smith is the chief assistant attorney general of the Office of Civil Rights Enforcement Unit (OCRE) within Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s office. She is an adjunct professor of law at the OCU School of Law. In 1999, she received her B.A., political science, and minor in legal studies (Price College of Business) from OU. In 2002, she received her J.D. from the OCU School of Law.
Ms. Smith has served on the Board of Trustees for the Oklahoma Bar Foundation, where she served as the chair of the Development Committee. She currently serves as the chair of the OBA Awards Committee. She is a past chair and past vice-chair of the OBA Diversity Committee. She currently serves on several OBA committees/programs, including the Access to Justice Committee, Awards Committee, Diversity Committee, Oklahoma Lawyers for America’s Heroes Program and Legislative Monitoring Committee. She has previously been a member of the Women in Law Committee and the Government and Administrative Law Practice Section and is a graduate of the OBA Leadership Academy. She has been an active member of the American Bar Association. She is a recipient of the OBA Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Diversity Award (2017), OBA President’s Award (2012) and OBF President’s Award (2015 and 2017).
Ms. Smith is also active within the legal and civic communities. She serves as the board secretary and PR chair for the OCU School of Law Alumni Association and is on the Robert J. Turner Inn of Court executive board. She is the founder of the A Step Ahead Preparatory Program that oversees ACT/SAT prep to underrepresented students and is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She previously served on the Board of Directors for YWCA Oklahoma City and as vice president of the Association of Black Lawyers – Oklahoma City.
Prior to her current position, she was a member of the General Counsel Unit within the OAG and served as general counsel to the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs and the Oklahoma Veterans Commission. Prior to joining OAG, she was general counsel for the Oklahoma Office of Personnel Management and deputy general counsel for the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services.