Justice prevails: TU Law honors alumni advocates - The University of Tulsa
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Justice prevails: TU Law honors alumni advocates

From left: Antonio Jeffrey, Kristin Traeger, Drew Edmondson and Dean Oren Griffin

Justice prevails: TU Law honors alumni advocates

Every year, The University of Tulsa College of Law recognizes outstanding individuals at the annual Oklahoma Bar Association Meeting. This year’s event, held Nov. 1 at the Skirvin in downtown Oklahoma City, embraced the rousing theme of “Aspire & Inspire.” In true tradition, the brightest minds convened to celebrate the contributions of two esteemed alumni whose dedication to promoting justice and equity mirrors the values of the 100-year-old institution.

The first honoree, Outstanding Senior Law Alumnus Antonio Jeffrey (JD ’06), is a founding partner at Jeffrey & Erwin LLP in Chicago. A passionate advocate for civil rights, Jeffrey represents individuals who have suffered catastrophic personal injuries, workplace injuries, and civil rights violations. He is also fiercely committed to defending individuals who have been wrongfully convicted, a critical issue in our criminal justice system.

In his reflective moments, Jeffrey emotionally remembers the catalyst that sparked his drive for success. “Growing up in a single-family home … watching my mom work two to three jobs to put food on the table. That inspired me,” he recalls. This remarkable display of strength and determination was Jeffrey’s ultimate source of inspiration.

However, it wasn’t just his family’s unwavering support that shaped his path. Jeffrey also acknowledges the guidance he received from influential legal mentors and TU Law alums who believed in his potential and steered him toward a fulfilling future. “I stand on the shoulders of so many great attorneys … who played [an integral role] in my leadership [and career],” he says. Jeffrey’s inspiring mission is to make a positive impact and strive for greatness.

The second honoree, Outstanding Junior Law Alumna Kristin Treager (JD ’13), is an assistant district attorney in Dallas County and an accomplished championship race car driver. As a proud Cherokee citizen, she worked her way through law school while pursuing her racing passion. In 2013, she passed the Oklahoma Bar Exam and won the national championship in the Porsche Club of America GTC4 Cup Car series.

Treager’s devotion to safeguarding the interests of victims, particularly children, led her in the direction of prosecution. She has since pursued justice relentlessly in cases where children have been victimized. “Working as a prosecutor who fights for victims and especially children has been … the most fulfilling calling as a lawyer,” Treager said. “I am so honored that Dean Griffin [has recognized] the dedication and sacrifices that we make as public servants.”

Moreover, the event was graced by the presence of keynote speaker Drew Edmondson, known for his incredible achievements in championing environmental victories and groundbreaking legislation.

Edmondson (JD ’78), former Oklahoma attorney general, has had a profound impact on the state’s legal landscape. His pivotal case on poultry litter reverberated throughout the livestock industry and fueled a nationwide conversation about the impact of industrial farming on the environment. However, in a case that revolved around the beating death of 2-year-old Ryan Luke, Edmondson’s view of the law underwent a profound transformation. This powerful experience fueled his unwavering dedication to championing victims and urging society to acknowledge the profound influence that a simple act of kindness can wield in fostering positive change.

“We have the opportunity as lawyers to help educate a child, to promote the value of history, to protect a book,” Edmondson said. “Members of the bar are citizens of the world and protectors of democracy at home.” In 2000, the Oklahoma Legislature successfully passed the Ryan Luke bill, a momentous milestone in safeguarding children from abuse and neglect and ensuring fair and just legal decisions.

Edmondson, Jeffrey, and Treager embody the spirit of excellence and integrity that TU’s College of Law seeks to instill in its students. They are fearless advocates for justice and have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to protecting the rights of individuals who have been wronged. Their contributions to the legal profession are a testament to the transformative power of the law, and their work has had a profound impact on the lives of many.

“Our country is dealing with questions about the rule of law,” said Griffin. “And there are times when we think that the rule of law is being questioned, but your law school continues to make great contributions. The graduates that we recognized today are examples of that, and we thank them for their service.”