Life­long learner

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - BUSINESS -

Gable-Got­wals at­tor­ney Linda King sat down with The Ok­la­homan to talk about her life and ca­reer — and how study­ing the law and the Bi­ble in­tersect.

GableGot­wals at­tor­ney Linda King re­cently ful­filled a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion she set for her­self years ago. King in De­cem­ber earned a doc­tor­ate in bib­li­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tion, af­ter suc­cess­fully de­fend­ing her dis­ser­ta­tion on the metaphors of abun­dance in the gospels.

Her work was the cul­mi­na­tion of 14 long years, in­clud­ing four years of weekly com­mutes to Texas Chris­tian Univer­sity in Fort Worth to com­plete grad­u­ate and Ph.D. classes, fol­lowed by years of re­search­ing, writ­ing and rewrit­ing her doc­toral the­sis.

The hard­est part, King said, was learn­ing French, Ger­man, Greek and He­brew so that she could read schol­arly ar­ti­cles in all four lan­guages. Her course­work, which she stacked on Mon­days, Tues­days and Wed­nes­days, also in­volved study­ing neu­rol­ogy, phi­los­o­phy and more.

“I’m a life­long learner,” said King, who’s taught Greek and writ­ing classes with St. Paul School of The­ol­ogy at Ok­la­homa City Univer­sity for the past nine years. “Since my youth, learn­ing has al­ways been my fa­vorite thing — and still is.”

From her 15th-floor of­fice in the north tower of Lead­er­ship Square, King, 70, sat down with The Ok­la­homan on Mon­day to talk about her life and ca­reer, in­clud­ing how study­ing the law and the bi­ble in­tersect. This is an edited tran­script:

Q: Tell us about your roots. A: My dad was an elec­tri­cian and my mother worked for Ge­nie Per­son­nel. Both val­ued ed­u­ca­tion. I was raised de­bat­ing and ar­gu­ing all kinds of stuff. I’m the old­est of four, so I had to make my case, whether it was for an ex­tended cur­few, big­ger al­lowance or the last pork chop. I at­tended North­east Ju­nior-Se­nior High School and grad­u­ated from Carl Al­bert High School where I com­peted in de­bate, in­clud­ing against El­iz­a­beth War­ren in one tour­na­ment. I also worked on my high school news­pa­per and year­book, and edited my col­lege news­pa­per.

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I as­pired to be a lit­er­a­ture pro­fes­sor, and wanted to write the great Amer­i­can novel; some­thing for the ages. I was awarded a tu­ition schol­ar­ship to Ok­la­homa Chris­tian (OC), where I stud­ied English and worked as a grader on campus to help cover my other ex­penses.

Q: You were wid­owed as a young mother. That must’ve been so heart­break­ing and scary.

A: It was a trau­matic blur. I had a 2-year-old son and was nine months preg­nant with my sec­ond son. I went from the fu­neral to the hos­pi­tal to have him. My first hus­band was killed in a small plane crash. He was a flight in­struc­tor and a stu­dent was pi­lot­ing the plane. Fol­low­ing his death, I used the life in­sur­ance money to buy a small bun­ga­low in Ed­mond near my par­ents, so they could watch the boys while I at­tended grad­u­ate classes at OSU. About a year later, I earned my pi­lot’s li­cense. I’d flown with my late hus­band and wanted to face my fears ver­sus run from them. I’ve also sky­dived.

Q: How did you meet your cur­rent hus­band?

A: Eric was the only bach­e­lor at the church I at­tended and sev­eral yen­tas kept shov­ing him to­ward me. We’d met at OC. An English­man, he came here to go to school. He fi­nally asked me out; I think to get those women off his back. Ha. We mar­ried six months later.

Q: What led you to go to law school?

A: I was study­ing all this bleak lit­er­a­ture and Eric, who was in his first year of OU law school, was study­ing torts and other, far more in­ter­est­ing stuff. That’s when I de­cided to fol­low him to law school. When we grad­u­ated, we worked for dif­fer­ent firms for three years. Then, we jumped off the cliff in 1979 and opened our own oil and gas law firm, King & King, which we ran for 15 or 16 years, be­fore merg­ing with GableGot­wals when it opened its Ok­la­homa City of­fice in 1995. The tim­ing was right. We’d ex­panded to 11 em­ploy­ees and be­gun to out­grow our own build­ing in Ed­mond. Plus, we em­braced the op­por­tu­nity to join a large firm, as some larger gas com­pa­nies will do busi­ness only with firms of our size and stature.

Q: What’s the con­nec­tion among teach­ing English, prac­tic­ing law and in­ter­pret­ing the bi­ble?

A: Each re­quires the love of, and skills for read­ing closely — whether it’s a poem or novel, the Con­sti­tu­tion or statute, or a pas­sage of Scrip­ture. Also, each of­ten in­volves the same in­ter­pre­tive tech­niques: con­sid­er­a­tion of the author’s in­tent, con­text, the world be­hind/within/ in front of the text, and the ways that var­i­ous read­ing com­mu­ni­ties and read­ing strate­gies can yield dif­fer­ent mean­ings. For me, ti­tle ex­am­i­na­tions in oil and gas law are like read­ing his­tor­i­cal nov­els. You learn ev­ery­thing about the land, from its al­lot­ment to In­dian tribes to present day, in­clud­ing mort­gages, fore­clo­sures, di­vorces, war and the Penn Square Bank de­ba­cle.

Q: I un­der­stand prac­tic­ing law and the­ol­ogy isn’t rare at GableGot­wals.

A: Cor­rect. Oliver Howard in our Tulsa of­fice was a min­is­ter be­fore he be­came a lawyer. He con­tin­ues to lec­ture on bib­li­cal top­ics and served many years on the board of the Phillips The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. Mean­while, veteran at­tor­ney John Henry Rule, also in Tulsa, earned a mas­ter’s in divin­ity in 2005. John con­tin­ues to work as a full-time lawyer, as well as a part-time Epis­co­pal priest. I’m de­lighted that ethics and in­tegrity are wo­ven into the cul­ture of this firm.


At­tor­ney Linda King of GableGot­wals poses for a photo at the of­fice li­brary in Ok­la­homa City.

Paula Burkes pburkes@ ok­la­


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