Our mission at TLC is to ensure high quality legal representation of Oklahoma's abused and neglected children by recruiting, training, and mentoring professionals in juvenile law.


In the late 1990’s, a need arose in Tulsa County for lawyers to provide pro bono representation for children who were suspected of being abused, neglected or abandoned when the Public Defender could not represent these children due to a conflict with the parents or guardians.  So through the efforts of the Tulsa County Bar Association and its committee on Children and the Law, Tulsa Lawyers for Children – TLC – was formed in April 2000.

With the financial support of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation in 2018, TLC examined the legal status of 482 children who were represented by TLC from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017. The results can be reviewed in TLC’s 2018 White Paper, Improving Foster Care Placement In Oklahoma.

In 2019, additional funding was provided by the Oklahoma Bar Foundation and the Arlo DeKraii Family Foundation to update the data on TLC’s 2017 clients. TLC’s updated white paper can be found here, Update on Improving Foster Care Placement in Oklahoma.

TLC has two goals:


TLC accepts court appointments when there is a conflict of interest; for example, when the Public Defender’s Office represents a parent or when various siblings desire a different outcome in the case.


TLC provides appropriate training to ensure volunteer attorneys representing children have the professional skill and competence required to practice in this specialized area of the law.


Yvette Hart, President
Hart Bilingual Services, LLC

Rhiannon Thoreson, Vice President
Broken Arrow Police Department

Rachel Baker, Treasurer
University of Tulsa College of Law

Margo E. Shipley, Secretary
Hall, Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden & Nelson, P.C.

Madison Perigo, Student Representative 
The University of Tulsa – College of Law

Thomas J. Kirby
Retired attorney from ONEOK

Wendy Williams
Health and Safety Education Consultants & Training Center, LLC

R. Daniel Carter
Conner & Winters

Cassia Carr
Deputy Mayor, City of Tulsa

Becki Murphy
Murphy Francy, PLLC

April Ryan
True North, LLC

Marquess Dennis
Birthright Living Legacy

Timothy Carney
Magellan Midstream Partners, LP

Turaj Pilehvar

John H. Rule
Gable Gotwals Law Firm

Stephanie Barberousse
Johnson & Jones, PC

Amer Howard Cornelius
Needham & Associates, PLLC

Rachel Thompson
Bank of Oklahoma

James Fisher
QuikTrip Corporation


Timothy Michaels-Johnson, JD
Executive Director
Phone: 918.425.5858

Lizzie Riter
Children’s Attorney Contractor
Phone: 918.236.1441

Sonya (Pyles) McDonald
Program Coordinator
Phone: 918.425.5858

Hope (Sheppard-Mahaffey) Cooper, JD
Staff Attorney
Phone: 918.425.5858




Tulsa Lawyers for Children, Inc. is a non-profit funded by grants and donations. As an organization it is has been approved to request 10% of the total grant award in indirect costs for federally approved grants. Tulsa Lawyers for Children does not pay in excess of 10% in indirect costs on contracts with Institutes of Higher Learning.


TLC does not discriminate against any person on the basis of the person’s age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, political affiliation, or religious belief or retaliate against any person for having engaged in protected activity.

Procedures for Discrimination Complaints from Clients

Procedures for Discrimination Complaints from Employees