October 2015 Featured Volunteers: Bruce Peabody, Christine Batson, Gail Stricklin and Michael Turpen
- Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.
2015 OBA Awards for LASO Pro Bono Attorneys and former Fundraising Chair
Once a year, attorneys are recognized and praised for the work they do the other 364 days of the year. That day comes during the annual meeting when the OBA Awards are given out to the state’s most outstanding attorneys and legal organizations.
Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service (by an OBA member)
Bruce Peabody, Bartlesville
The Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service is presented to Bruce Peabody of Bartlesville for his dedication to assisting those in need. Mr. Peabody is known for taking the most difficult divorce and paternity cases, not just the simple ones. Through his willingness to help those in need, he has had a positive impact on the lives of many indigent and vulnerable people in his community. Mr. Peabody has long believed everyone should have equal access to the justice system.
He is an active volunteer with the Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Bartlesville office and was nominated for the award by staff attorney Glenna Dorris. He graduated from the OU College of Law in 1975. Mr. Peabody will be presented with the Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service at the General Assembly on Nov 6th.
Alma Wilson Award
Christine Batson Deason, Edmond
Christine Batson Deason is the 2015 recipient of the Alma Wilson Award for her long list of contributions to the young people of Oklahoma. Ms. Deason has overseen the creation and implementation of several programs assisting students in underprivileged areas. She led the charge in creating two programs at Emerson Alternative School, which serves Oklahoma City-area high school students at high risk of dropping out. She organized two separate fundraisers and challenged fellow lawyers to contribute, raising more than $20,000 for the purchase of badly needed art supplies and technology equipment for the school. Ms. Deason was also the driving force in a project benefiting another Oklahoma City high school. While Northwest Classen High School has a marching band, many of its students are unable to afford musical instruments of their own. Ms. Deason organized an effort to encourage donations of refurbished instruments along with raising additional funds to cover the cost of repairs to others. Ms. Deason’s award will be presented at the OBA Annual Meeting’s Luncheon on November 5th.
In the professional arena, she was instrumental in creating the Pro Se Waiver Divorce Docket clinic which assists pro se litigants whose legal documents were judicially deemed insufficient to complete the divorce. Thousands of struggling families, many with young children, have been helped by this program. The clinic, a partnership between the OCU School of Law, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Child Support Services, Oklahoma County Law Library Board and private attorneys, also gives OCU law students valuable experience. Ms. Deason is an active volunteer with Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma. She graduated from the OU College of Law in 2000.
Earl Sneed Award
Gail Stricklin, Oklahoma City
Gail Stricklin of Oklahoma City is a recipient of the Earl Sneed Award for her efforts over several decades in continuing legal education related to domestic violence cases. She demonstrates continued dedication to developing CLE to ensure lawyers do no further harm to adults and children who are victims of family violence. Ms. Stricklin has advocated that lawyers have an ethical duty to screen for domestic violence, and that lawyers must understand the balance between confidentiality and the duty to protect potential domestic violence victims. She also educates lawyers in assessing the danger and lethality risk to victims and how to assist clients in developing a safety plan or make an appropriate referral. She also was instrumental in the passage of S.B. 460 this year, which requires that all “court experts” in domestic violence, stalking and harassment cases must receive 16 hours of training about these issues. Soon after the bill was passed, Ms. Stricklin assembled a task force to flesh out the curriculum necessary to satisfy the training requirement. For more than a decade she has served as the OBA representative on the statewide Domestic Violence Fatality Review and Child Death Review Boards.
Ms. Stricklin is an active pro bono attorney and donor of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma. She is one of the founders of the Pro Se Waiver Divorce Docket clinic in OKC. She also serves on the Oklahoma County Domestic Violence Post-Adjudication Review Board. Her efforts have been recognized by Oklahoma County CASA, Oklahoma County Bar – Howard K. Berry Sr. Award, Oklahoma Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and the Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. Ms. Stricklin earned her J.D. from the TU College of Law in 1979. Ms. Stricklin will be presented with the Earl Sneed Award at the General Assembly on Nov 6th.
Michael C. Turpen, Oklahoma City
Michael C. Turpen is well known for his professional accomplishments, and he is also an established leader for the state of Oklahoma. He has been a longtime supporter of Oklahoma academics, leading multiple fundraising campaigns to help provide for scholarships and funding for arts programs across the state. In 2015, Mr. Turpen raised more than $500,000 to fund scholarships for Oklahoma’s college students to help alleviate student debt. He is a member of many civic and legal organizations, and serves on a variety of nonprofit boards and commissions. He was recently named as co-chair for the Oklahoma City’s 2015 United Way Campaign. He is devoted to the arts, having raised funds to establish the Lyric Theater’s renovation of the old Plaza Theater and the building of the Thelma Gaylord Academy for musical theater training for young aspiring actors. In 2014, he was co-chair for the Allied Arts Campaign.
He is a successful fundraiser for many worthy causes, including Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma’s Campaign for Justice where Mr. Turpen served as chair along with Burns Hargis in 2007. He is also known as an inspiring and dynamic public speaker, frequently reciting his personal motto, “If you ain’t givin’, you ain’t livin’.” Both a respected lawyer and public servant, he has shown that by focusing his leadership skills on a broad range of civic activities, he can have a huge impact on our state’s quality of life as a true civic leader. He is a 1974 graduate of the TU College of Law. Mr. Turpen will be presented with his award at the General Assembly on Nov 6th.
- Pro Bono/Legal Services