Phil Hart, a retired partner with McAfee & Taft and one of the state’s foremost authorities on oil and gas law, passed away on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.
“We are deeply saddened by Phil’s passing,” said managing director Michael Lauderdale. “Until Phil ‘semi-retired’ at the beginning of the year, he continued to actively practice and teach at the Oklahoma City University School of Law. His door was always open, and he had kind words for whoever bent his ear. His booming voice and cheerful attitude will be sorely missed. He was the epitome of a gentleman attorney with a heart of gold.”
Phil graduated with distinction from the University of Oklahoma in 1958 and went on to earn his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law two years later.
For more than 55 years, Phil centered his practice on oil and gas litigation and on an appellate practice that spanned the spectrum of civil litigation. His expertise and achievements earned him continuous recognition in The Best Lawyers in America (appellate practice; energy law; natural resources law; oil and gas law) since its inaugural edition in 1989. In fact, he was one of only eight lawyers in Oklahoma to be initially named to the publication’s Mineral and Environmental Law section.
Over the course of his illustrious career, Phil was a frequent author and speaker on oil and gas law and most recently served as the sole compiler, editor and commentary author of Oil and Gas Contracts — Cases and Materials (Second Edition, 2015). He was also an adjunct professor at the Oklahoma City University School of Law for many years, teaching the principal oil and gas law courses. In recognition of his contributions to natural resources law and policy, Phil was honored with the Eugene Kuntz Award presented by the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 2000.
“Phil was a great mentor, a dear friend, and one of the nicest people I’ve ever known,” said David Stinson.
“When I began practicing law, I joined the old firm of Fowler, Rucks, Baker, Jopling, Gramlich & Mee, and Phil was already an established and highly respected oil and gas attorney. We practiced together for the next 47 years,” said Dee Replogle. “His professional accomplishments are legion and well chronicled, but his personal achievements as a husband, father, grandfather, friend and devoted Christian are equally, if not more, impressive. As an esteemed law school professor, he influenced the lives of many, and his quick wit, kindness, and compassionate nature will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”
Phil is survived by his wife Carolyn, daughter Sarah Winchester and husband Bruce, two grandchildren, and countless family members, friends and colleagues. He was preceded in death by his son, Philip D. Hart, Jr.
“Phil was so kind with a heart of gold and always thinking of others,” said Sandy Lewis. “He was loved by his law students, colleagues and everyone that knew him. I am thankful for having the opportunity to work for him.”