Robert J. Joyce
and Chris A. Paul, co-founders and principals of Tulsa-based Joyce & Paul, PLLC, a boutique law firm whose environmental and regulatory industry practice is national in scope, have joined ranks with McAfee & Taft, the state’s largest law firm. Also joining the firm from Joyce & Paul are attorneys Leanne G. Barlow, Chris K. Miller and David M. Winfrey.
McAfee & Taft now has 20 lawyers in its Tulsa office and more than 150 statewide.
“When we opened our office in Tulsa just 18 months ago, we announced our intentions to grow the office to more than 30 lawyers in 5 years, and we’re well ahead of schedule in meeting that goal,” said Richard D. Nix, the firm’s managing director. “More important than numbers, though, is the way we’ve grown the office. With the downturn in the economy and many regional and national law firms closing offices, laying off lawyers, and freezing wages, we’re pleased to be in a position where we’re not only able to attract top talent from other firms, but also expand into new specialized areas of practice and industries.”
The addition of the Joyce & Paul lawyers, said Nix, accomplishes several key goals. “First, it allows us to quickly provide our clients, particularly those in the energy, aerospace and transportation industries, with significant depth in very specialized areas of law. Second, given Joyce & Paul’s extensive reach across the United States, it quickly expands our geographic presence into both new and existing markets for the firm. The potential for expanding our practice even further, and doing so in manner which is extremely cost-effective for clients, is tremendous.”
For attorneys Bob Joyce and Chris Paul, the move represents a win-win for their clients as well. “Over the years we had grown to the point where we needed ready access to additional high-quality resources, both in the legal and administrative areas, in order to continue providing our clients with the highest level of service,” said Paul. “We had contemplated joining forces with other law firms in the past to accomplish this goal, but the timing was never right. In our discussions with McAfee & Taft, we became fully convinced of their commitment both to us and our clients. As a result, we will be able to continue providing our clients with the highest quality of work at the rates that have made us extremely competitive with larger firms in other markets.”
A Tulsa native, Joyce focuses his practice on regulatory, litigation and transactional matters and has developed particular expertise in the pipeline, manufacturing, mining, aviation/aerospace and mid-stream and downstream petroleum industries. He has a diverse environmental, health and safety practice with particular emphasis on regulatory issues related to hazardous waste treatment, storage, transportation and disposal, site remediation, underground storage tanks, wastewater treatment and discharges, underground storage tanks, underground waste injection wells, EPCRA/SARA Title III, and OSHA. His litigation work primarily focuses on toxic tort, cost recovery and property damage matters, as well as related indemnity claims.
Joyce’s extensive career experience includes serving as executive partner of the Tulsa, OK, office of Gardere & Wynne, LLP, process/project engineer in the natural gas liquids division of OXY/Cities Service Company, and as senior attorney and manager of environmental compliance for Hilti, Inc.
Paul concentrates his practice on business issues and complex transactional and regulatory matters for businesses primarily engaged in highly regulated industries. He assists clients with resolution of all aspects of transactions, including pre-transaction due diligence, risk assessment and evaluation and preparation of contracts, and post-transaction implementation of contractual protections and best operating practices. His clients include numerous manufacturers, refiners, midstream and downstream energy companies, and a major U.S. airline.
Prior to co-founding Joyce & Paul in 2000, Paul was a partner with the law firm of Gardere & Wynne, LLP and served as in-house counsel for Sun Company and Sun Pipe Line Company and as environmental manager for Sun Company’s Tulsa Refinery. He also served on active duty for four years as a U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps lawyer with the Seventh Infantry Division where he concentrated in criminal trial work and military operations law and concurrently served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California.
Active in the community, Paul is a graduate of Leadership Tulsa and Leadership Oklahoma and serves a legal advisor to the Tulsa Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. He was also previously heavily involved with the Arthritis Foundation on both a local and national level, having served as a board member and board chair for the Eastern Oklahoma Chapter and later as a member and chair of the Audit Committee on the national board of directors.