We Are All in This Together

May 10, 2022

By Dawn Shelton

Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Dustin Rowe opened his talk at the Seminole County Law Day Forum last week by asking everyone where they were 23 years ago. Most attendees soon conjured memories of May 3, 1999. It’s one of those Oklahoma tornado moments – we remember where we were. 

During Justice Rowe’s presentation, he engaged the audience of lawyers and judges with experiences of when he was a “country lawyer” in Tishomingo and his work as a justice on the Oklahoma Supreme Court. For his topic, “Practical Considerations When Practicing Before the Supreme Court,” he summarily reminded this audience that judges are lawyers too. 

“We’re just lawyers. And lawyers are future judges. We are in this together. Working together under our constitutional duty to provide justice in our country and in our state and in our counties,” said Justice Rowe. “When you take a case to a court, you should ask yourself, ‘What would you do if you were the judge?’ … ‘What would persuade you if you were hearing the facts?’”

The other CLE presentations from U.S. Supreme Court practice expert Kieran D. Maye Jr., OBA President Jim Hicks, OBA General Counsel Gina Hendryx, OBA Management Practice Advisor Jim Calloway and OBA Executive Director John Morris Williams were informative and memorable. The luncheon at the Supreme Court Justice Rudolph Hargrave Civic Center featured an award presentation to Dottie Neal of Seminole. She is the pre-K state winner of the OBA Law Day Student Contest for coloring. The event was well organized by Associate District Judge Brett Butner, District Judge Tim Olsen, attorney Jack Cadenhead and others. Incidentally, thanks to Judge Olsen and Mr. Cadenhead for sharing Wewoka’s connection to Law Day

As wonderful as it all was, it’s not likely to be the most memorable part of the day.

When chats over cookies and punch ended at the closing reception, all departed the Seminole County Courthouse in Wewoka. A couple of hours later, a large tornado destroyed parts of Main Street down the road in Seminole. Thankfully, no injuries were reported. The day was a reminder that judges and lawyers are certainly in this together. And when it comes to weather, so are all Oklahomans.