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Executive Q&A: Law firm's shareholder relishes balance of law, motherhood

Amy Stipe, 40, has grown up in and helped grow Gable Gotwals law firm.
by Paula Burkes Published: May 13, 2013
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The walls of Amy Stipe's office are filled with very different things.

There's a gold gavel lauding her past service as chair of the Oklahoma Bar Association's Mineral Law Section, hung not far from her latest family portrait. A certificate naming Stipe among Oklahoma's top young lawyers contrasts with a photo of last summer's beach vacation. And her framed law school diploma parallels a Christmas crafts project, where Stipe painted the soles of her kids' feet white to represent snowmen.

A shareholder and member of the board at Gable Gotwals law firm in downtown Oklahoma City, Stipe doubles as a mother of three young children, including a nursing 10-month-old.

“Ours is a very family-friendly firm,” said Stipe, who had three children in five years. “If it weren't, I couldn't have this position.”

From her 15th-floor offices at Leadership Square, Stipe, 40, sat down with The Oklahoman to talk about her life — as an attorney and mom. This is an edited transcript:

Q: Tell us about your roots.

A: I grew up in Oklahoma City. My parents married as teenagers and split up soon after I was born. My mom has always done front-office work in the medical field. My dad works in public relations for city governments — for years in San Diego and now he's in Virginia. My mom remarried once briefly and had my sister, who's seven years younger. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandparents, including camping and fishing at Grand Lake. Summers, I spent with my dad in California.

Q: What were the highlights of your school years?

A: In middle school, I was a pep club officer and homecoming queen candidate. In high school, I found I loved to write and was editor of the school newspaper. I also worked a lot to help pay for things I needed, like car insurance, gas and clothes. My first job was at age 15, as a dishwasher at Crocket's Smokehouse. I also worked as a cashier at Buy for Less, and at Foley's Department Store.

Q: And college?

A: I'm Sooner-born and Sooner-bred, but followed a boyfriend to OSU for my first two years. After we broke up, I transferred to OU — where I earned a bachelor's in psychology and then my law degree. Law was attractive to me because I wanted to use my writing skills.

Q: How did you meet your husband?

A: We met the first day of law school. He told me later he purposely sat by me so we'd be next to one another when the seating chart was made. We were friends for six months before we started dating, and got engaged when we passed our bar exams. Because we're both lawyers, we can bounce ideas off each other and understand each other's demands, though we're on opposite sides of the law — and politics. He represents plaintiffs; I'm in corporate defense. He's a Democrat; I'm Republican. I think I'm the first Stipe who's a Republican. When I'm at family dinners in McAlester, I just keep quiet at the table. But really, Jack and I are closely aligned on so many issues. At home, we have a true partnership. If I cook, he'll do the dishes or vice versa. If I do the baby's bottles, he'll do the boys' lunches. We make it a point to have a date night once a week, thanks to my mom who loves watching our kids.

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by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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PERSONALLY SPEAKING

Position: Gable Gotwals, shareholder/board of directors

Birth date: April 6, 1973

Family: Husband, Jack Stipe; sons Jackson, 6, and Holden, 3; and daughter Lane, 10 months

Education: University of Oklahoma, juris doctor and bachelor's in psychology

Community involvement: Oklahoma Lawyers for Children, Compassion International and Life Church

Guilty pleasures: Prada shoes and bags

Favorite TV shows: “Modern Family,” “Celebrity Apprentice” and HGTV though, with her hectic schedule, it typically takes her four days to watch a one-hour program she's recorded.

Favorite pastimes: Family trips to Science Museum Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City Zoo. They're planning a trip to Disney World.

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