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Tom Colbert and David B. Lewis: Shaping History Through Judicial Service

Through their judicial service on Oklahoma’s highest courts, two OU College of Law alumni continue to make history. Tom Colbert (’82) was sworn in January 4 as the first African-American chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. A few weeks later, on January 23, David B. Lewis (’83) was sworn in as the first African-American presiding judge of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. Each was the first black person to serve on their respective courts when they were appointed, Colbert in 2004 and Lewis in 2005.

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Remembering Justice Ralph B. Hodges

The OU College of Law alumni community has lost a notable member and an outstanding public servant with the passing of retired Oklahoma State Supreme Court Justice Ralph B. Hodges on January 16, 2013. His obituary reads that he “was not only a great father, but a humble man whose qualities of honesty and integrity were witnessed by his word and deed to not only his family, but to the state he loved.”

Justice Hodges had an impressive career, serving on the bench for 46 years.

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Remembering Professor Frank Elkouri

On January 18, the OU College of Law community lost a very special and dear friend. Professor Emeritus Frank Elkouri was an outstanding scholar and a nationally recognized authority in arbitration. His book “How Arbitration Works” is still widely referenced today in courtrooms and classrooms. Professor Elkouri was an equally talented educator, inspiring students and faculty alike, during his 58 years teaching at OU Law.  As an undergraduate at OU, Professor Elkouri Frank excelled in playing clarinet as part of an OU big band, which he also managed.

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OU Law Sponsors Much-Needed Breaks During Oklahoma Bar Exam

After hours of answering grueling bar exam questions on July 24 and 25, OU Law students exited the testing room at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum to see a few familiar faces standing in front of Dining on Persimmon Hill restaurant across the hall. OU Law Dean Joe Harroz, Assistant Dean Scott Palk, OPCD Director Casey Delaney and Alumni Relations Director Raegan King greeted them with sympathetic smiles, encouraging words and a free lunch.  

“We all remember how difficult taking the bar exam was,” Dean Palk said.

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Inspired by Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher

Ever read about a person in history and wonder whether you could have been them?  I asked myself that question when I started hearing about Ada Lois Sipuel’s fight to enter OU Law School.  I still ask that question every time that I write about her and every time that my play is performed. 

I am fascinated by her story because I identify with her and wonder whether I would have had the courage and determination to challenge the segregation laws. 

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