In Memory of Leonard Court
January 11, 1947 – April 17, 2023
Leonard Court passed away peacefully on Monday, April 17, 2023, surrounded by his loving family after a long battle with cancer, which he won 8 out of 9 innings. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Jody, their children Chris, Todd and Brooke Court, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren—all of whom were the joy of his life.
Leonard was a giant in every sense of the word. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, lawyer, colleague, and Oklahoma State fan. Leonard was an extraordinary trial lawyer, honing his skills at an early age as a debate team legend and member of the J.A.G. in the United States Air Force. Following his service to country, he began his legal career at Crowe & Dunlevy and remained a lawyer, colleague, mentor and friend for over 50 years. He was a pioneer in labor and employment law in not only Oklahoma, but around the country, establishing the labor and employment department at Crowe & Dunlevy and serving as the chair of the practice group for most of his career. While Leonard was not defined by his professional accomplishments, he collected many over the years.
He is one of five Oklahoma attorneys to be inducted as a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers; he served as a member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Labor Relations Committee and was appointed Chairman of the Wage, Hour and Leave Subcommittee, and in that role he served several times as a witness at various U.S. Congressional hearings; he was a former president of the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association, receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998, and subsequently being inducted into the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association Hall of Fame; he is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, Guide to Leading U.S. Labor and Employment Lawyers, Best Lawyers (Labor and Employment Law), Who’s Who in American Education, The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers (Labor and Employment Law), and Who’s Who Legal Labor, Employment and Benefits.
Leonard also found time to be a servant leader. He served as the Chairman of the Board of Elders at Memorial Christian Church. He was an active member in the human resources industry and was awarded the Oklahoma City Human Resources Society HR Legend award in 2014; the Oklahoma Human Resources Council Annual Excellence in Human Resources award in 2015; and the Oklahoma County Bar Association Community Service award in 2016. He was actively involved with the American Bar Association, the Employment Law Alliance, the Council for Education in Management and LEI/BNA, and was a frequent speaker at seminars and webinars for these organizations. He also served as an adjunct law professor at the University of Oklahoma School of Law and Oklahoma City University School of Law.
Leonard received his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University in Political Science and continued his education at Harvard Law. At Harvard Law, Leonard won the prestigious Ames Moot Court Competition and was awarded Outstanding Oralist. That honor is still displayed on a plaque still hanging in the halls of Harvard. Despite graduating from one of the best law schools in the world, if you asked Leonard where he graduated from, he would simply respond with one answer only, his beloved Oklahoma State University. He was an avid supporter of the school’s academic and athletic endeavors, namely Oklahoma State football, basketball, baseball, wrestling and women’s tennis, a love he passed down to his children and grandchildren. He was America’s Brightest Orange.
“So much of who I am as a man, a father, and a lawyer can be traced directly to the last twenty-five years in which Leonard has been my unwavering friend and mentor. I truly cannot fathom life without his wisdom to guide me, his stories to make me laugh, and his unyielding optimism to brighten my day and provide me much-needed perspective. Even in his final days he was teaching me, and all who knew him, how to leave this Earth with the same dignity he displayed throughout his life. Even for someone like me who is Sooner born and Sooner bred, my heart is bleeding orange, and I honor my friend Leonard by saying, “Go Pokes!”
– Adam W. Childers
“All of us will greatly miss our colleague, friend, and shareholder Leonard Court. While Leonard was an accomplished and skilled lawyer, who pioneered employment law practice in Oklahoma, he was a great deal more than just a lawyer. He was one of the kindest and most decent men that I ever met. He genuinely cared about everyone around him, whether he knew them or not, and his love of life and other people always came through. Those attributes, in addition to all of his professional accomplishments made him a truly remarkable man.”
– Roger Stong
“It is with profound sadness that I write this tribute about my colleague and dear friend Leonard Court. Without this fine man at the head of the Labor and Employment department at Crowe & Dunlevy, it would not have grown and flourished as it did under his guidance. His reputation as an outstanding lawyer and individual extend far beyond the borders of Oklahoma. In all matters, he exemplified professionalism, excellence, honesty, and humility. He was an outstanding example and mentor to all who knew him, not only in the practice of law but in the living of life as well. I benefited personally from his friendship and mentorship. I am going to miss him greatly.”
– Gayle Barrett
“Leonard taught me and numerous others to be professional and exhibit the utmost respect in a profession that is adversarial by nature. Leonard wanted to win every case, and he did often, but he would not do it at the expense of his reputation or integrity. But more importantly, he taught me that being a lawyer is secondary to being a good husband, father, and friend. I hope that when I reach the end, my wife, kids, colleagues, and friends can remember me as fondly as I remember H. Leonard Court. Go Pokes!”
– Allen Hutson
“Leonard was family. It did not matter why, where and when we needed him, he was there for us. We looked up to him as an extraordinary lawyer, and as a remarkable human being. Learning from the best of the best is a great honor. We will continue to learn the lessons in life he taught us every time we think, what would Leonard do? We are all better for knowing him and we will miss him dearly.”
– Tanya Bryant
Tomorrow, Friday (April 21) there will be visitation from 3-5 p.m. and a time of sharing memories that will follow from 5-6 p.m. in the Chapel at Smith and Kerneke Funeral Home. The address is 14624 North May, OKC, 73134.
On Saturday, April 22, there will be celebration of life services at St. Charles Borromeo, 5024 North Grove Avenue, OKC, 73122, starting at 1:00 o’clock p.m.