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Plourde, Lauderdale quoted in feature story about financial crisis’ impact on Oklahoma

published in The Journal Record | September 29, 2008

McAfee & Taft attorneys Ross Plourde and Michael Lauderdale were interviewed by The Journal Record for a feature story about the impact of the nation’s current financial crisis on Oklahoma companies. While Oklahoma’s economy remains relatively stable, many businesses “are skittish about the meltdown on Wall Street,” the story reports.

“I think what causes that fear, more than anything, is the unknown,” said Plourde, firm shareholder and leader of the firm’s Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Group. He said he tries to “allay clients’ fears by educating them about their rights in situations such as bankruptcy.”

Plourde said that while Oklahoma’s western bankruptcy district hasn’t experience the uptick in cases like those in Delaware, Texas or California, “we’re starting to see more Oklahoma companies start to get in trouble.”

As an example, Plourde pointed to the SemGroup LP bankruptcy case in which McAfee & Taft represents about 20 energy-producer clients that have approximately $40 million ins claims against the parent company and roughly two dozen subsidiaries.

Plourde also noted that individual bankruptcies have started to pick up again as well.

Lauderdale, a director at McAfee & Taft, told The Journal Record that the current financial crisis “hasn’t prompted the firm to change its mix of practice groups or beef up in certain areas,” the article said.

“We haven’t see much of a change here in Oklahoma,” he said. “We’re pretty much insulated right now, because of energy business.”

A labor and employment attorney, Lauderdale said that many Oklahoma companies are still in a hiring mode and looking to expand their work force. Even so, people are still talking about the nation’s current crisis and how to react if things worsen.

“What we’re doing is, knowing those issues are out there and, if those issues to hit Oklahoma at some point, putting ourselves in a position to be able to deal with them,” Lauderdale said.