Joe M. Fears



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  • Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.S. 1977
  • Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, J.D. 1980

Admitted To Practice

  • Oklahoma 1980
  • United States District Court for the Northern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Oklahoma  1981
  • United States Court of Appeal for the Tenth Circuit  1981
  • United States Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit 2010


  • Oklahoma Bar Association, Litigation and Indian Law Sections
  • Tulsa County Bar Association, Litigation Section
  • Cherokee Nation Bar Association
  • Muscogee (Creek) Nation Bar Association


  • Adjunct Professor, University of Tulsa College of Law, 1993 and 1996


I was born in 1955 in Fort Smith, Arkansas and raised in a secluded, largely Cherokee community in the hills of northeastern Sequoyah County.  I am a citizen of the Cherokee Nation; my line descends from the Gunter and Ross families, and my clan is the Bird Clan.  My family were all school teachers, but I wanted to be a lawyer as long as I can remember.  After graduating from law school, I began private practice with a firm in Tulsa, and have practiced here ever since.  I joined Barber & Bartz on January 1, 1992.  My wife Rhonda and I were married in 1988 and we have four children.  We lived in Tulsa before moving to far eastern Broken Arrow in 2014.  We are charter members of Evergreen Baptist Church, where I teach an adult Sunday School class and serve on the Board of Trustees.

My chief hobby has always been history, primarily Civil War history with an emphasis on Northwest Arkansas and the Indian Territory—a relatively unknown part of the war—and have written drafts of both fiction and nonfiction books on the subject.  I also do quite a bit of Biblical history, including the period between the Old and New Testaments, and incorporate a lot of that material into my teaching.  Rhonda and I have always spent a great deal of time being involved in our children’s activities as they have grown up and she finds great enjoyment working with our three horses, which we board at a nearby ranch.  I help a little, when I can.