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Interest in a legal career can come from an unexpected source.
That’s what happened to Chad Burris.
He was focusing on a career in the entertainment industry Los Angeles when he needed some legal help.
Burris saw how an attorney represented him and realized the legal profession would be more in line with his own skill set and felt being a lawyer was something he really would enjoy.
Returning to Oklahoma, he attended the University of Tulsa College of Law, graduating in 2005.
He chose the school because of the Indian Law and Entertainment Law courses — and he also liked Tulsa.
The new associate at the Doerner, Saunders, Daniel and Anderson Law Firm, will be realizing more of his goal as he develops Indian and Entertainment law practices.
He is no stranger to Indian law because he was an associate with Legal Advocates for Indian Country in Owasso.
Burris’ Indian law practice generally will be more about transactional law, helping tribe clients develop businesses beyond gaming tables.
Transactional law can be any number of challenges including new business practices from within the tribe or in conjunction with outside firms looking to work with tribes, he said. ‘‘I can see business structure and models to compliment those plans.’’
Describing himself as a ‘‘people person,’’ Burris feels that he has skill sets to have well-rounded practice in both areas since creative and logical thinking is demanded.
‘‘I also think outside the box,’’ he added.
Even though he was studying to be an attorney, the member of the Chickasaw nation and Oklahoman didn’t give up his attraction to the entertainment industry and pursued a filmmaking effort even while in law school.
Getting involved in the entertainment world started long before law school.
‘‘I was trying to ‘‘break in’’ to the entertainment industry when I went to California by producing a series of short films,’’ Burris explained. They were student films and there was no particular single subject focus. It just depended upon the dictates of the funding source.
Burris delayed his legal career after graduation in 2005 to complete work on a film project developed through his film company, the Indian Entertainment Group. He also had his own private law practice.
When he started with the Indian Law Firm, he had a basic practice of law that allowed him to virtually work in every type of Indian law. It also gave him a focus when interviewing for a job at Doerner Saunders.
Now, he wants to develop and grow a strong relationship with Oklahoma tribes, particularly in economic development.
Simultaneously, he plans to continue to promote Oklahoma to the film industry by pointing out that his native state has good locations for making movies.
The state is under the radar screen for movie making, Burris said. This is a good place and there is a lot of local talent. It also is a good place to establish a law practice focused on both disciplines.
Burris can be contacted at 591-5221.



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