Jon Neff – Emeritus
What drew you to become a member of the OKGIT?
I was drawn to become a member of the Governor’s International Team in 1994 because I wanted to help Oklahoma find its place in the global community, and I wanted to become acquainted with like-minded people in Oklahoma. I had traveled abroad extensively and saw the value of the State of Oklahoma building international relationships at the state level to enrich our culture and encourage global understanding.
Tell us about your international experiences and how that is reflected in your life/work in Oklahoma?
Before attending law school, I traveled throughout Europe and Asia for several months, whetting my appetite for foreign cultural experiences. I became an attorney specializing in international business transactions and later obtained a Master of Laws degree in global business law by attending courses in Budapest over three summers. I’ve traveled in many countries for business and pleasure over the years, developing close friendships with individuals in many countries. My wife and I enjoy experiencing the great variety of cultures in the world, and I enjoy the challenge of understanding and operating in foreign business and legal systems.
Why is it important for you that Oklahoma has strong international ties?
I believe that many conflicts in the world can be avoided, minimized or resolved through understanding of cultural differences. In order to understand people, we must come to know them, and that can only be accomplished through personal contact. Cultural exchanges are vital to develop a global outlook and understanding. People around the world want the same things, but governments and politics tend to get in the way. Direct contact between people of different cultures provides an opportunity to develop better understanding and cooperation.
Jonathan Neff has practiced law in Tulsa since 1985, focusing on contract law, particularly in international trade and investment, manufacturing and distribution, construction and real estate, business formation, and corporate and securities law. His practice includes both domestic and international business transactions, as well as state and federal litigation and arbitration. He is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in Oklahoma and the United States Supreme Court, and has argued cases at the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
In the field of international law, in 1991, Mr. Neff co-founded the International Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association. His practice is focused on U.S. and international business law. He completed a Master of Laws (LLM) degree in Global Business Law at Suffolk University Law School, with High Honors. Serving on the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team since 1995, he has held all officer positions, including Chair in 2010. He has represented U.S. companies in business deals in more than twenty countries and has represented many foreign clients in their U.S. business dealings and in litigation. He has also served as an expert consultant to the U.S. federal court in Tulsa on foreign law issues, and was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the Oklahoma District Export Council.
Mr. Neff also represents U.S. companies engaged in manufacturing and distribution, real estate and construction, and other industries. He has particular expertise and experience in real estate and construction law. He has developed real estate and manages real estate and oil and gas holdings. In the field of corporate law and finance, he has assisted clients obtain equity investment and debt financing and has completed corporate sales, mergers, acquisitions and private placements. He has served or five corporate Boards, including an equipment manufacturer, a technology development company, a product distribution company, a mechanical contracting firm, and a restaurant chain.
Mr. Neff attended Cornell University and the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he obtained a Baccalaureate Degree in 1974. He attended Oklahoma State University for graduate studies before graduating in 1984 from the University of Arkansas College of Law, where he served on the Arkansas Law Review and as President of the Student Bar Association.