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October 31, 2013

Four inducted into Law Hall of Fame

NORMAN — The night was full of much more than legal jargon and debate Wednesday night as University of Oklahoma College of Law students, professors and alumni celebrated four Oklahoma lawyers at an Order of the Owl Hall of Fame inductee ceremony.

The Order of the Owl Hall of Fame pays tribute to OU law graduates who have demonstrated leadership and service through outstanding accomplishments in their legal careers. This year, four Oklahoma lawyers were honored by the Order, including the Honorable Michael Burrage, Kathy Taylor, the Honorable Ralph Thompson and the Honorable Lee West.

Burrage has served as a U.S. federal judge in all three U.S. District Courts (western, northern and eastern) in Oklahoma. He was nominated by President Bill Clinton in May 1994 and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June 1994. Burrage graduated from the OU College of Law in 1974.

Reggie Whitten, Burrage’s friend, said he had never seen a lawyer more universally respected and never seen a lawyer who knew strategy or felt more empathy and compassion for the injured who could not speak for themselves.

Burrage’s son, Oklahoma Sen. Sean Burrage, said, “When I think about it, I should be a lot better lawyer than I am just because I’m his son.”

Additionally, Burrage is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and was named Outstanding Young Lawyer in Oklahoma in 1977. Today, Burrage is senior managing partner at the Whitten Burrage Law Firm in Oklahoma City.

Taylor was the second Order inductee of the evening. She graduated from the OU College of Law in 1981. Throughout her career, Taylor has worked with Oklahoma-based corporations like Sonic and Thrifty Car Rental. She also served as the 38th mayor of Tulsa from 2006 to 2009.

Taylor’s past student, Steve Davis, said she was a gifted, Energizer bunny type who encouraged him to develop skills and had the kind of charisma that made one want to be around her.

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