Off The Record 2022 — Tulsa

Now in its 14th year, McAfee & Taft’s “Off the Record,” a cooperative effort with the University of Tulsa College of Law’s Professional Development Office, drew a record number of students and guests on October 12, 2022. This annual event offers female law students the opportunity to meet with successful women lawyers for an evening of networking and straight talk to discuss real-world issues and concerns not typically discussed in the classroom.

Special guests from the bench, private practice, government, public defender’s office, nonprofits and industry met with TU women law students to share their experiences, offer candid advice, and answer questions about what they can (and should) expect from their legal careers.

For the seventh year in a row, the event was hosted by Rachel Blue, McAfee & Taft shareholder and intellectual property lawyer and a 1988 graduate of the University of Tulsa College of Law.

“We’ve been doing this event for 14 years now, and I can remember when McKenzie came as a student to the event. It’s such a joy to be able to pass this on to the next generation of lawyers. This has become such a special event for us, and we enjoy doing it with the TU students so much. It’s wonderful to have TU graduates who are working with us that are going to become the leaders of the next the next set of ‘Off the Records.’”

McKenzie Ryan, McAfee & Taft labor and employment lawyer: “I remember my 1L year. Everyone was talking about it. It was just a really great opportunity to meet people who you wouldn’t ordinarily meet, especially in law school — judges and in-house counsel, and attorneys at McAfee & Taft. It’s just been really special to join the firm in the past year and be a part of it on the other side of things. Students asked me last year, ‘do does your firm make you come to this?’ And I laugh because we really all enjoy doing it so much. I’m really happy to be a part of it.”

Kelsey Falvo, law student (2L), The University of Tulsa College of Law: “This has been one of my favorite events so far as a law student so far. It’s a great networking and it’s wonderful to just sit with other women and talk about professionalism and how to help other women. I think that’s a really wonderful thing. And, it’s a really empowering event.”

McKenna Lewis, law student (2L), The University of Tulsa College of Law: “Honestly, everyone is approachable. I would recommend it to people that want to come next time. People are very easy to talk to. It’s really ‘off the record.’ It’s a really nice environment. So I would recommend it.”

BB Boyer, assistant public defender, Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office: “This is my second time attending as a practicing attorney. When I came as a student, I didn’t know what to expect initially. But, once I got here and I got to meet all of the wonderful women who attend this event, I felt more comfortable. And I felt like they gave me some, like, authority to go out on my own and to assert myself and to ask for things that I wanted to do. So I’m incredibly appreciative.”

Sofia Miranda, in-house counsel, Brotherton Holdings, Inc.: “I personally think networking is really important and being in a room full of women in the legal field, I think it’s very powerful and it gives you different perspectives. One simple conversation can really change your perspective on your paths or what the legal field means.”

The Honorable Ann Keele, special judge, Tulsa County District Court: “I think this is so vitally important. I’m thrilled that we have something like this to offer to the law students. This is a wonderful opportunity where they’re meeting other students that they might not know, but they’re also seeing practitioners that are doing what they hope to do. They’re seeing judges of every level. We have federal magistrates, we have special judges, we have district judges, we have a Supreme Court justice. We have a wonderful opportunity that whatever question that they have burning in their minds, they have the opportunity to come up and ask us. And we’re just very approachable here. What kind of environment do you have that opportunity in — except here? This is so unique and it’s wonderful and I’m very thankful to be able to be part of it.”

The Honorable Tracy Priddy, district judge, Tulsa County District Court: “I think because it is off the record, it puts people at ease, it puts them at ease to go ahead and, like Judge Keele said, approach the judges and ask those questions that you may not feel comfortable asking in another setting. I hope that they come away with understanding that this is a journey. You don’t have to know exactly where you’re going. There’s so much in the law and there are so many paths for you. But you can also see how all of these other women have come before you, and then pretty much whenever they decided they wanted to do, you know, you’re just not limited.”