Our mission at TLC is to ensure the effective and zealous representation of abused and neglected children in Tulsa County by recruiting, training and assisting volunteer attorneys.


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.


Rachel Thompson, President
Bank of Oklahoma

Amber Howard Cornelius, Vice President
Needham & Associates, PLLC

Charles Greenough, Treasurer
McAfee Taft

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

Claire Lenz, Student Representative 
The University of Tulsa – College of Law

Thomas J. Kirby
Retired attorney from ONEOK

Yvette Hart
Solo Practitioner

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

R. Daniel Carter
Conner & Winters

Thomas Landrum
The Firm on Baltimore

Becki Murphy
Murphy Francy, PLLC

Tralynna Scott
Cherokee Nation Businesses

Rachel Baker
The University of Tulsa – College of Law

Marquess Dennis
Birthright Living Legacy

Timothy Carney
Magellan Midstream Partners, LP

Vani Singhal
United States Attorney’s Office Northern District of Oklahoma

John H. Rule
Gable Gotwals Law Firm

Rhiannon Baker
Secrest, Hill, Butler & Secrest

Stephanie Barberousse
Johnson & Jones, PC

Susan Walker
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma

Anne Sublett
Conner & Winters, Of Counsel


Timothy Michaels-Johnson, JD
Executive Director
Phone: 918.425.5858

Courtney Nelbach, JD
Staff Attorney
Phone: 918.425.5858

Sonya (Pyles) McDonald
Program Coordinator
Phone: 918.425.5858 ext. 202

Hope Sheppard-Mahaffey, 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 race, color, national origin,
sex, religion, disability or age, or retaliate against any person for having engaged in protected activity.

Procedures for Discrimination Complaints from Clients

Procedures for Discrimination Complaints from Employees