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December 2018 President's Message

Year-End Reflections

By Kimberly Hays

I find it a challenge to describe in this limited space all the 2018 accomplishments. Highlights include the Solo & Small Firm Conference in a new venue – Tulsa’s River Spirit Casino Resort, where attendees and their families enjoyed the new facility and multiple diverse CLE topics. The OBA 114th Annual Meeting in Tulsa was a success with outstanding and well-attended CLE. Kim & Alan’s House Party with the ‘80s theme was enjoyed by the many attendees. Special thanks to ALL my fellow Tulsa attorneys who attended. Your support of my year as president and of the OBA Annual Meeting was the highlight of my year.

The OBA Rules of Professional Conduct Committee was an active committee due to the passage of State Question 788. Chair Paul Middleton and all the members of the committee spent hours researching and discussing possible amendments to our Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct. During the OBA Annual Meeting, the House of Delegates considered Resolution No. One – the proposed amendment to Rule 1.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct (5 O.S. ch. 1, app. 3 A). The proposed amendment added to Rule 1.2 “(e) This paragraph is a limited exception to the requirements of paragraph (d) of this rule. A lawyer may counsel and assist a client regarding marijuana related laws of the State of Oklahoma. In the event Oklahoma law conflicts with federal or tribal law, the lawyer shall also advise the client regarding federal and tribal law and policy.” The House of Delegates voted to adopt the resolution, which is now presented to the Oklahoma Supreme Court for its consideration.

The Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission, American Bar Association and the OBA joined forces to offer an interactive website providing free legal information to needy Oklahoma citizens. I am very proud of the volunteer attorneys who are helping fellow Oklahoma citizens through Oklahoma.freelegalanswers.org. Angela Ailles Bahm and the Legislative Monitoring Committee held monthly meetings and tracked relevant legislation. The Legislative Reading Day and OBA Day at the Capitol were well attended as was the new 2018 Legislative Debrief, with a summary of enacted legislation. The OBA Access to Justice Committee, chaired by Rod Ring, with Jim Calloway and his department continued the important work to enhance programs to offer all Oklahoma citizens access to justice. The committee presented the first Oklahoma Summit on Access to Justice featuring an extraordinary lineup of both national and local leaders sharing ideas.

I appreciate OBA Executive Director John Morris Williams and his guidance and experience. I feel blessed that John was here to walk me through this year. I thank Debbie Brink, his executive assistant, for her organization and support. Thanks to each and every OBA director and OBA staff member. My year would not have been a success without their skills and creativity. Past President Linda Thomas was a mentor and constant source of advice, and I am grateful for her wisdom. I appreciate Vice President Richard Stevens willingness to serve this year, and I am thankful for his support. I served with the dedicated and outstanding OBA Officers and Board of Governors.

2019 OBA President Charles W. “Chuck” Chesnut will be an outstanding and innovative leader. 2019 OBA President-Elect Susan Shields is hard-working, and I look forward to her accomplishments in 2020. The OBA is in excellent hands.

Our children, Noelle and Parker, and my mother, Judy Hays, were supportive of my time away from family throughout the year. My service to the OBA would not have been possible without the encouragement, devotion and dedication of 2018 Oklahoma Bar Foundation President/my husband, Alan Souter. My legal assistant, Stephanie Pierce, was invaluable during this year.

Thank you for your support and for allowing me the privilege of serving as your OBA president. I wish each of you a happy and successful 2019!

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal -- OBJ 89 pg. 4 (December 2018)