Off The Record Tulsa — Fall 2021
For the 13th consecutive year, McAfee & Taft presented “Off the Record,” a cooperative effort with the University of Tulsa College of Law’s Professional Development Office, on October 21, 2021. 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 at least 50 students to share their experiences, offer candid advice, and answer questions about what they can (and should) expect from their legal careers.
For the sixth 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.
Rachel Blue: “We are really excited to be back with everyone, after the last year and a half of the terrible pandemic. So, having everybody back in person is something we’ve all been looking forward to so much. We have a record number of students and counsel and judges coming this year, and we are thrilled to welcome everybody back in person and I think it’s so good to see each other again.”
Brita Haugland Cantrell, McAfee & Taft family law and trial lawyer: “Oh, I’ve been coming to this event for a long time. And first of all, it is just a, it’s just a beautiful event. It’s fitting we can be outside on such a pretty fall day, but I really love the energy of these young women. They’re excited about the practice of law. They come in with energy and hope and enthusiasm about their interest in law, and it’s just, it’s really fun.”
Rachel Baker, associate dean of professional development, University of Tulsa College of Law: “So the feedback from the students that we receive after this event is incredible. This is something that they, the ones that have been before, look forward to coming to year after year. And that’s really what is the big build-up for the students that are incoming into law school. They look forward to this event because they’ve heard about it from other students, and they think they know what it is, but when they get here, it’s so much more than what they ever expect, because they don’t realize the caliber of women lawyers that they’re coming in to meet. They don’t realize that these are judges at all different levels, that these are attorneys who’ve had phenomenal careers and who have come so far in their legal career. What’s amazing is that there’s actually attorneys who are newer in the process, and attorneys who have been in it for 30 years. So they really have the chance to talk to people who are at all stages of the legal career, and really ask any questions that they need to and want to, in order to better help them along in their own legal journey.”
Cheyenne Donatello, first-year law student, University of Tulsa College of Law: “I heard that it was gonna be a lot of women here to empower us and I think as a very fresh student, that that was gonna be a really great influence, especially to hear from a lot of women of the special types of tribulations that they have gone through and all the diverse experiences have been just really astounding to hear. I did not expect, to like, it to go this well, so I’m very happy to have pushed myself to come.”
Taylor Newcomb, second-year law student, University of Tulsa College of Law: “So last year the event was actually canceled, my first year, because it was COVID. And my entire first-year of law school was online, which was an adventure in itself. But I heard from a lot of 2Ls that told me that this was legitimately a highlight of their year. And so, as soon as the notification came out that it was happening this year, I think I RSVPed within two or three minutes. I just knew that I wanted to come and see what all the fuss was about. Everyone that I talked to said that it was just an incredible, not only networking event, to meet other attorneys, but also just to talk to women who work in law and know what it’s like to be in a room full of men, and have to figure out how to hold your own and have a voice. And so I just wanted to come and meet these women that are having that experience every day.”
Kristin Rodriguez-Stavrou, third-year law student, University of Tulsa College of Law: “So my first impression of this event, walking up to a house, I mean it’s someone’s home, and that automatically makes it that much more welcoming and inviting. So walking in, that already kind of made me feel at ease, and yeah, not being in a classroom, not being in a courtroom, not having to sit and answer or ask direct questions, it’s just, it’s a much more comfortable environment. And the women here have made it that much more comfortable too, when I walked into the event.”
Elizabeth Bullock, general counsel, University of Tulsa: “This event is the best part of my year. I absolutely love talking to the law students, meeting these other powerful women lawyers around town, and getting to see, sort of, the many different, but awesome careers, that women can have in the law, in Tulsa.”
Caroline Wall, district judge, Tulsa County District Court: “So I graduated Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, in 1990, and at that time, to my recollection, there weren’t really a lot of events focused on women’s networking, solely. We did have networking events, but one of the things that I find so valuable about women’s events, is we relate not only as lawyers, colleagues, but as mothers, sisters. And my daughter’s a public school teacher. I’m taking my grandson to daycare every day. So, there’s a lot that we juggle as women in our profession, and I think it’s important we share about how we cope with all the demands.”