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Five Outstanding Lawyers to be Inducted into OU Law Hall of Fame

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    

CONTACT: Evie Holzer, (405) 325-2227

NORMAN – Five outstanding lawyers are being honored and inducted into the Order of the Owl Hall of Fame at a dinner scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, in the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom in Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave. The Order of the Owl pays tribute to University of Oklahoma College of Law graduates who demonstrate leadership and service through outstanding accomplishments in their legal careers.

Honorees are:
• The Honorable Thomas R. Brett, U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma from 1979 to 2003 who served as chief judge from 1994 to 1996  and is known for his commitment to ethics in the legal profession
• James T. Comfort and William T. Comfort Jr., who established the Comfort Scholarship, Nathalie Pierrepont Scholarship and Top 10 Scholarship, which since 1994 have provided more than $5 million in scholarships to 893 OU law students
• J. Hugh Roff Jr., a leader in the oil and gas industry and president, CEO and chairman of Roff Resources LLC and Roff Oil & Gas
• and Alma Bell Wilson (in memoriam), the first female appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the first female chief justice

“It is a privilege to be able to honor graduates of the College of Law who have set such high standards of excellence in their careers, and who have lived lives of service with complete integrity,” OU President David L. Boren said.

Brett is a graduate of the OU College of Law class of 1957.  A retired colonel with the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Brett also is a past president of the OU Regents and the Oklahoma Bar Association. In the 1980s, Brett founded the first of three local chapters of the American Inns of Court, a group promoting professionalism, ethics, civility and legal skills and shaping a culture of excellence in law.

Brett received the 2002 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award, presented to a senior practicing judge or lawyer whose life and practice display sterling character and unquestioned integrity. The Oklahoma Bar Association has recognized Brett with the Ethics Award and Judicial Excellence Award, and the Tulsa County Bar Association has honored him with the Golden Rule Award and Outstanding Senior Lawyer Award. Brett serves on the OU College of Law Board of Visitors.

James Comfort, class of 1957, and William Comfort, class of 1961, are brothers who established and funded the Comfort Scholarship Program at the OU College of Law in 1994.  The Comfort Scholarship is the highest scholarship in the college and has been instrumental in allowing OU to attract exceptional students and record classes.  The Comfort brothers’ gift also funds two other scholarships at the College of Law: The Nathalie Pierrepont Scholarships, awarded based on merit, leadership and public service, and the Top 10 Scholarships, awarded to the top 10 students in the second- and third-year classes. James and William Comfort both serve on the OU College of Law Board of Visitors and provided effective leadership for the private fundraising campaign to expand the College of Law building.

William Comfort is the chairman of Citigroup Venture Capital Limited and a managing partner and chairman of Court Square Capital Partners. He is also chairman of Stirling Square Capital Partners in London, a trustee of American India Foundation and a member of the board of directors of Deutsche Annington in Germany, Nabors Industries in Bermuda and CX Partners in India.  

James Comfort is a consultant in intellectual property and patent law. He is a former partner of Sharp, Comfort and Merrett in Dallas, Texas, and vice president of licensing for Affymetrix in Santa Clara, California. He began his career with IBM and General Electric and also previously served as patent counsel with Texas Instruments. He is a lifetime member of the OU Alumni Association and a member of the Seed Sower Society.

Roff, class of 1955,  began his energy career in 1974 as president, chairman of the board and CEO of United Gas Pipe Line Co., subsequently renamed United Energy Resources, Inc. (UER), a major U.S. diversified energy company listed on the NY Stock Exchange. In 1985, Roff completed the sale of UER to MidCon Corp., an interstate pipeline company.  Upon the sale of UER to MidCon, Roff led a leveraged buyout of PetroUnited Terminals Inc., a company that owned and operated two marine bulk liquid storage facilities on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Roff served as chairman of the board and CEO of PetroUnited until its sale in 1998. Since that time, he has led Roff Resources LLC, an investment firm.

Roff has served OU and the OU College of Law in a number of capacities. He played a leading role in creating the Alfred P. Murrah Professorship and the Hugh and Ann Roff Professorship. He currently shares his vision and leadership as a member of the OU College of Law Board of Visitors, and he is a life member of the OU Alumni Association and a member of the OU Alumni Club of Houston. Roff also has given of his time and service to a myriad of service and philanthropic organizations, including as a trustee of Inasmuch Foundation and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. Roff was elected to The Salvation Army advisory board in 1989 and served as chairman of the advisory board from 1996 to 1998.  He received the William Booth Award of The Salvation Army in 2008.  He has been recognized with the 1997 Outstanding Alumnus Award by Phi Beta Kappa and the 2011 Ima Hogg Philanthropy Award by the Houston Symphony Society.

Wilson became the first female to serve on the Oklahoma Supreme Court when she was appointed in 1982 by Gov. George Nigh. Wilson was one of only six women in her graduating law school class in 1941, and she entered a workforce in which only 2.4 percent of the nation’s lawyers were women.  Despite the added challenge of working in a male-dominated field during her early years, her skills and professionalism quickly made her a standout among her peers. Wilson worked in private practice in Pauls Valley before serving on the bench. In 1969, she became special district judge for Garvin and McClain counties. In 1975, then-Gov. David Boren named her district judge for Cleveland County.

After being appointed as the first female to serve on the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Wilson made history again when she was named the first female Oklahoma Supreme Court chief justice, a position she held from 1995 to 1997. Her achievements have been recognized through many awards. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1996. 

Wilson died in Oklahoma City in 1999 after a brief illness.

For additional information about the Order of the Owl Hall of Fame event or accommodations on the basis of disability, please call the Office of Special Events at (405) 325-3784.

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