Julie A. Bays
Ms. Bays joined the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office in April of 2002 where was responsible for prosecuting antitrust and consumer protection cases. Ms. Bays served on various task forces and committees including the Oklahoma Bar Association Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, the Federal Trade Commission Southwest Netforce, and the National Attorneys General Association Antitrust Policy Task Force. She taught various Continuing Legal Education classes for the State of Oklahoma including Electronic Discovery and Ethics, The Zen of E-Discovery, and The Risks of Identity Theft and Consumer Fraud. Ms. Bays also traveled the state educating consumers regarding identity theft and other types of consumer and internet fraud. In January 2013, she was appointed Chief, Assistant Attorney General of the Consumer Protection Unit. In November of 2018, Ms. Bays joined the Oklahoma Bar Association as their Practice Management Advisor. She works with the OBA Management Assistance Program to provide assistance to attorneys in using technology and other tools to efficiently manage their offices. Ms. Bays is also involved with the Access to Justice initiatives of the OBA such as Oklahoma Free Legal Answers. She actively contributes to the Law Practice Division of the American Bar Association, where she serves on multiple committees and regularly authors articles for the Law Practice Magazine's Product Watch column. She is on the Planning Board for the American Bar Association’s TechShow 2024.
Ed Blau is the owner and founder of the Blau Law Firm, an Oklahoma City criminal defense and civil rights litigation firm. Before starting the Blau Law Firm in 2011, Blau had been an assistant district attorney in Oklahoma County for approximately six years. He also served in the Oklahoma County Public Defender’s Office for a period of time.
Kenton Brice joined the OU College of Law Library in 2015 as its first Digital Resources Librarian. In addition to teaching legal research in the Legal Research, Writing, and Advocacy Program, Brice also assists in administering the Digital Initiative at the College of Law. He brings his professional and technical experiences to the College of Law to help educate students on how to utilize technology to become more effective researchers, lawyers, and professionals.
Melissa Brooks is the director of Legal Information and Engagement at the Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation and serves on the OBA Access to Justice Committee. Brooks received her J.D. from OCU School of Law in 2017.
Jim Calloway has served as director of the OBA Management Assistance Program for 25 years. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law. He publishes the award-winning law blog, "Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips" and has co-authored three ABA books on law practice management. Calloway, alongside Sharon Nelson, produces the monthly podcast, "The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology," covering legal tech issues. Calloway, an ABA member, served as 2005 ABA TECHSHOW chair and is a member of the ABA Law Practice Division’s Law Practice Magazine editorial board, writing the magazine's "Practice Management Advice" column for five years. He was awarded the Law LP Division’s Robert P. Wilkens Award for Best Column in Division Publications in 2015. He is currently co-chair of the LP Division’s Legal Futures Initiative. In November 2018, he was awarded the William G. Paul Oklahoma Justice Award from Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc. for his work on access to justice projects. Jim has been inducted as a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management.
Shandi Campbell is the director of the Housing Solutions Landlord Tenant Resource Center, where her work is focused on making homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring in Tulsa County. Previously, Ms. Campbell served as assistant city attorney for Enid, staff attorney for the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma civil-legal program and as a contract attorney and mentoring attorney for the Native Alliance Against Violence CIRCLE Project.
Mark S. Darrah maintains a general civil practice in mid-town Tulsa. A substantial portion of his legal work involves estate planning, probate, estate administration, trusts and trust litigation. Darrah is a graduate of the University of Southern California and the OU College of Law. He has practiced in Tulsa since 1982 and is a member of all relevant bar associations. Darrah is the author of A Catalogue of Common People, a collection of personal essays and commentaries. He is also an occasional contributor to “Studio Tulsa” on KWGS 89.5 FM and an amateur fiddler. He was the 2018 Carl G. and Gladys L. Herrington Distinguished Lecturer at Rogers State University.
Monica Ann Dionisio
Monica A. Dionisio is an experienced trial attorney with over a decade of experience in family law and domestic relations. Her practice is focused in high conflict custody litigation. When not litigating, Ms. Dionisio mediates cases for other family law attorneys and serves as a parenting coordinator in cases by appointment of the courts. Ms. Dionisio is an active member of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Family Law Section. She has served as the Chairperson and as the Continuing Legal Education Chair of the Section and continues to serve on a number of section committees. She has taught continuing education programs for the Section and the larger Oklahoma Bar Association and has authored articles for the Oklahoma Bar Journal. Ms. Dionisio received her J.D. from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in from The University of Oklahoma.
Elaine Dowling is a solo practitioner in Northwest Oklahoma City. Dowling represents people with debt or debt-related issues, doing various types of work for all kinds of people with credit report problems or identity theft issues - filing bankruptcies, helping people with credit reports, defending collection cases, defending foreclosure cases and otherwise trying to make a difference for people who have been handed more by life than they can handle.
Gina Hendryx is the OBA General Counsel. A licensed attorney for more than 30 years, Ms. Hendryx received her J.D. from OCU School of Law. As General Counsel she is the chief disciplinary counsel, supervising a staff of 15 and serves as the association’s counsel on other legal matters. Ms. Hendryx works with the Professional Responsibility Commission and serves as a liasion to the OBA Board of Governors, OBA committees, the courts, and other local and national entities concerning lawyer ethics issues. Hendryx is a frequent lecturer in the areas of professional responsibility and compliance with ethical standards. She has spoken to numerous private, public and governmental sector groups including state and county bar associations, legal services groups, and Judge Advocate General training programs. She writes a regular column for the Oklahoma Bar Journal on current issues in the area of professional accountability. She is also an avid scuba diver with over 1000 logged dives and hold instructor level ratings with several scuba certification agencies.
Brian Hermanson currently serves as the president of the Oklahoma Bar Association. He has also served as the district attorney for the 8th District of the State of Oklahoma since 2011, representing Kay and Noble counties. He received his J.D. from the OU College of Law. He has served as president of the YMCA, the Rotary Club and Ponca Playhouse, serves on the board of the Community Christian Church, has been an ex-officio member of the Ponca City Chamber of Commerce for 12 years, is former president of the Kay County Bar Association and the current president of the Noble County Bar Association. He has won several awards, has served in numerous leadership capacities and does work with many other organizations. He lives in Ponca City with his wife, Ruslyn, and they have two daughters, Brianna and Charlcy.
Darla Jackson serves as director of the Mabee Legal Information Center at the TU College of Law. She earned her M.L.I.S. and J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. She also holds an LL.M. in Indigenous Peoples Law from OU and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of Georgia School of Law. She is co-author of Oklahoma Legal Research (CAP 2013) and author of Oklahoma Practice Materials: A Selective Annotated Bibliography in State Practice Materials: Annotated Bibliographies (Hein 2021). She is active in several professional organizations and serves on the boards of many organizations, ABA Committees and OBA Committees. She is a member of the OBA, the ABA, the Chickasaw Nation Bar Association and the Cherokee Nation Bar Association.
OBA Executive Director Janet Johnson grew up in Duncan, Okla. and attended Empire High School. She received her B.A. in Letters from the University of Oklahoma in 2006 and her J.D. in 2010 from OCU School of Law. Early in her law career she was in a small private practice before realizing the call of her servant’s heart. She transitioned to working as a State’s Attorney for the DHS Child Support Services until 2020. In 2020, Janet was given the opportunity to follow her passion of providing quality continuing legal education to her peers and colleagues and joined the OBA as the Director of Educational Programs. In October 2022, she was selected by a unanimous vote by the OBA Board of Governors to become the Executive Director, effective January 1, 2023. She is the first female Executive Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association, and rumor has it that she is the youngest as well. She is excited about her new role and making a positive impact for the legal profession and membership.
Bio to come!
Rhonda began working in the Office of the Attorney General, Litigation Section as a Paralegal in 1988. She attended the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) in 1996 and added Investigator to her work title. In 2013 she moved to the Office of the General Counsel for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and retired from the State of Oklahoma in 2017 after 28 years of service. She began working for the Oklahoma Bar Association in the Office of the General Counsel as an Investigator in 2017.
John Lieber is an attorney, a registered nurse and a health educator. He received his J.D. from TU College of Law in 1978 and his B.S.N. from OU in 2007. As a healthcare educator, he leads workshops for law firms, bar associations, employers and community groups on a variety of health topics such as healthy eating, stress management, sleep improvement, physical activity, stroke prevention, living wills and diabetes education.
Tracy Nester practiced in commercial litigation before joining the OBA staff as Assistant General Counsel in 2017. She is a third generation Oklahoma trial lawyer, born and raised in Oklahoma City. A licensed attorney for 35 years, Ms. Nester has spoken on ethics, human relations, insurance, and employment law. Ms. Nester obtained both her BBA and JD from the University of Oklahoma. Before joining the OBA staff, Ms. Nester was actively involved with the Oklahoma and Oklahoma County Bar Associations, primarily in Law-related Education programs. She served a three-year term on the Board of Directors for the Oklahoma County Bar Association. She received the Journal Record Leadership in Law Award in 2008. She and her husband, Bill, live in Edmond and are pleased to announce they are now the “empty-nester Nesters.”
Katie graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2009. In September of 2009, she joined the Oklahoma Bar Association General Counsel’s Office as an Assistant General Counsel. Katherine prosecutes attorney discipline cases before the Oklahoma Supreme Court, defends the Oklahoma Bar Association in attorney reinstatement / licensure proceedings and represents the Oklahoma Bar Association in adversarial proceedings in both State and Federal Courts.
Trevor Riddle is the founder of Riddle Law, PLLC, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The firm helps clients prepare for every stage of life through a full menu of estate and business planning services. The owner of a small firm and former shareholder in another, Trevor is well acquainted with the issues and obstacles faced by solo and small firm attorneys. He has devoted significant time to finding technology-based solutions to these unique challenges. Through technology, Trevor has found opportunities to reduce law firm expenses and increase revenue while delivering outstanding client service. Trevor is licensed in Oklahoma and Kansas. He conducts regular research on legal technology issues and has written and presented on numerous legal technology topics. He is an active member of the Oklahoma and Kansas bar associations, the Tulsa County Bar Association, and the ABA’s Law Practice Division and Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division. Trevor is an avid outdoors person. He volunteers for several conservation groups and can often be found in the field with his Pudelpointer, Loretta.
Bio to Come
Caroline Shaffer Siex
Caroline Shaffer Siex is a December 2016 graduate from the University of Tulsa College of Law. She is a partner at Gibbs Armstrong, P.C. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. handling civil litigation, nursing home defense, and family law. Caroline has been serving the OBA as a YLD Board of Director for the Young Lawyers’ Division since 2017. She is currently the OBA YLD Chair.
Norman attorney Richard Stevens serves as OBA ethics counsel. A solo practitioner following his retirement from the District 21 District Attorney’s Office in 2016 after 33 years as a prosecutor, he received both his B.A. (1978) and J.D. (1982) from OU. He is a member of the OBA Criminal Law Section. Mr. Stevens has served on the Professional Responsibility Commission (2016-2017,2019), as an at-large governor (2013-2015) and vice president (2018) of the OBA.
Steve graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 1986. He joined the Oklahoma Bar Association General Counsel’s Office in 2013. Steve presents attorney discipline cases and reinstatements before the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Steve is also assigned to handle complaints regarding the Unauthorized Practice of Law for the OBA.
This year's Solo and Small Firm Conference guest speaker is Kansas City attorney Stanley Tate. Tate, known as the "student loan solver," helps graduates develop a strategy for getting rid of student loans. Throughout his legal career, he has helped thousands of people with their student loans. During the SSF Conference, Tate, a dynamic and engaging speaker, will discuss "Carving Your Path: Developing a Successful Law Practice in a Nice Area of Law" and "Everything You Need to Know About Student Loans in 2023." He will also join the "60 Tips in 60 Minutes" panel.
Jordan Turk is a practicing attorney in Texas and is also the Legal Technology Advisor at Smokeball. Her family law expertise includes appeals, pre and postnuptial agreements, as well as complex property division and highly contentious custody cases. In addition, Turk has given CLEs across the country on topics ranging from client relationships to proper trust account management. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Classics, History, and Religious Studies. She then went on to attend the University of Arkansas School of Law to earn her J.D. After almost four years of practice with a high-asset family law firm in Houston, Turk discovered the world of legal technology which ultimately brought her to Smokeball.
Krystal Willis graduated from the University of Oklahoma and began working for the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System (OIDS) in 2000. Two years later, she moved into the Capital Post Conviction Division as an Investigator. She joined the OBA General Counsel staff as an Investigator in 2008. She investigates attorney discipline cases and attorney reinstatements.
Susan Wilson is the Co-Founder and President of Go Security Pro, a cybersecurity firm focusing on Risk Assessments, Ethical Hacking/Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Management, and Cybersecurity Advisory Services. Our clients include government agencies, higher education, critical infrastructure including power generation, power distribution, and health care. Proudly, much of our work in health care goes in front of the Office of Civil Rights in HIPAA breach actions. Susan has a Juris Doctorate from The George Washington University Law School and is admitted to practice in Oklahoma and Maryland. She spent 5 years helping build the legal profession for the University of Oklahoma College of Law as the Director of Admissions. Susan brings a unique blend of law and cybersecurity to our consulting practice that strengthens our business relationships, informs every customer engagement, and ensures our deliverables are audit ready.
All events during the 2023 Oklahoma Bar Association Solo & Small Firm Conference will be held at the Osage Casino – Tulsa; 951 West 36th St. N; Tulsa, OK 74127.