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History Briefs

Master ‘paper shuffler,’ master innovator

Although widely acknowledged as an expert in oil and gas, securities and corporate law, early partner Reford Bond could hold his own in a host of other business and legal disciplines as well, including accounting, banking and taxation, just to name a few. After all, no subject was off limits to this Renaissance man of many interests, both in the legal field and beyond. Whatever he set his mind to learn or do, he usually did at a very high level.

The consummate deal lawyer, Bond was a master in the art of what he called “paper shuffling,” a daily practice-turned-skill that undoubtedly led him to constantly think about and develop new ways to make the firm more efficient, more effective, and more collaborative. Again, no subject was off limits — from firm administration to office modernization and technology. And if he devised a better way to do something, you could be assured that he also took the time to draft and distribute detailed rules and procedures to ensure those new processes were implemented according to plan.

“Apart from his work for clients, Reford’s contributions to McAfee & Taft in law firm administration have been beyond value,” wrote Gary Fuller and Pete Woodruff in a tribute to him in 1989. “He was, in fact, a principal architect of McAfee & Taft and probably had more influence upon our present make-up and M.O. than any other single lawyer.”

Among his greatest achievements within the firm, Bond is credited with developing the firm’s system of self-government and ensuring that McAfee & Taft was the first law firm in Oklahoma City to have desktop computers for all its lawyers. At the time of his death in 1989, Bond was in the midst of developing an extensive and sophisticated office automation system that already included the implementation of internal electronic mail, docketing, scheduling, accounting, and recordkeeping. He also set in motion plans for improved litigation support, enhanced form systems, and file retrieval.

Bond’s drive to innovate was fueled by his passion for quality and excellence at every level.

“The quality standards we today follow in our practice were set, required and monitored by Reford,” wrote attorney Terry Barrett in 2010. “Our managerial systems were established by Reford. Our secretarial, accounting, filing and computer systems, and almost everything else around here involving what we do every day and how we do it, were established by Reford. One would think that Reford had no time for anything else. But he did.”