Okla. Leadership in Law Profile: Maribeth D. Snapp, Okla. Corporation Commission

Article excerpt

In the more than two decades Maribeth Snapp has worked for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, she has worked on many cases that have had a significant financial impact on the ratepayers and utility companies in Oklahoma.

Snapp conducts hearings regarding regulated gas, electric and water utilities, telecommunications carriers and motor carriers. She joined the staff at the Corporation Commission after working six years in private practice and was the deputy general counsel for the public utility section before becoming an administrative law judge in July 2003. She is working to encourage a positive shift in attitude toward attorneys who, like her, choose to practice in the public sector.

"Because the pay is often less than an attorney could make if they worked for a large firm, some people discredit the professional value of the services rendered by attorneys who make a choice to be a government attorney," she said. "The attorneys I have worked with regularly put in more than 45-hour weeks, with no additional monetary compensation and often with no appreciation or recognition for their efforts."

Snapp calls her entry into the legal profession "blind luck."

"I switched from pre-med to business when I realized I couldn't stand the smell of the fetal pig we were dissecting in freshman biology. I couldn't find a job with my bachelor's of business administration degree and considered getting a degree in education until I worked at a day care for six weeks and came home every day with a splitting headache," said Snapp, who was then encouraged to go to law school by her dad.

Her father, who was an attorney in the U.S. Air Force, instilled in her a strong work ethic.

"We must do the 'right thing' even if not a popular point of view. If I'm going to be criticized, I want the criticism to be because I did what I thought was right and fair," she said. …