James Dudley Hyde


Dudley Hyde began his career at McAfee & Taft in 1974, the same year the landmark Employee Retirement Income Security Act was enacted. Over the course of his 42-year career with the firm, he established himself as one of the nation’s leading ERISA practitioners and his practice encompassed the entire range of employee benefit services, including qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, executive compensation plans, health and welfare plans, COBRA, and deferred compensation matters, as well as the representation of clients before the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and other governmental agencies. He also represented taxpayers in state and local tax matters before the Oklahoma Tax Commission and other state agencies. One such case resulted in a landmark decision benefiting manufacturers in the State of Oklahoma with respect to the ability to obtain refunds of Oklahoma sales and use taxes previously paid.

In addition to being a guest lecturer on employee benefits topics at both the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University, Dudley was a frequent moderator and speaker at seminars and conferences for the Oklahoma Bar Association, SouthWest Benefits Association, Western States Pension Conference, and numerous other trade and professional organizations. He was also a contributing author of Winning Legal Strategies for Structuring Executive Compensation Plans: Leading Lawyers on CII Policy, SEC Registration Requirements, and New Age Securities Compliance, published by Aspatore Books in 2006.

His achievements earned him significant recognition, both locally and throughout the United States, including being named to Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America (business organizations; employee benefits/ERISA law) and Oklahoma Super Lawyers. He was also named “Best Lawyers‘ 2011 Oklahoma City Employee Benefits Lawyer of the Year,” an honor only given to a single lawyer in each legal specialty in each community.

In addition, Dudley served in key leadership roles with the SouthWest Benefits Association and the IRS Dallas Key District EP/EO Council for many years and was named a charter fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel.

In 2006, he was honored with The Journal Record’s Leadership in Law Award, which recognizes legal professionals for their professional and civic contributions to the state. Five years later, he was named a “Treasures for Tomorrow” honoree by the Oklahoma Health Center Foundation.

Over the years, Dudley’s contributions to the community have been numerous and have included serving in leadership positions with the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, Nature Conservancy, Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, Ballet Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club, Camp Classen YMCA, Redbud Classic, Oklahoma City Arts Festival, Schools for Healthy Lifestyles, and Central Oklahoma Humane Society.