Lori Walkley retired from the Judiciary on July 31, 2023, after having served 20 years as a District Judge and Special District Judge in the 21st Judicial District for the State of Oklahoma. As a trial judge, she presided on over 200 jury trials, over 700 non-jury trials and handled approximately 20,000 cases over her career. Her cases included complex litigation such as class action and mass tort cases and death penalty cases as well as general civil, criminal, and family law matters.
Walkley was appointed to the bench in 2003 by Governor Brad Henry. As a District Judge, Lori Walkley was President of the Presiding Judges Assembly and served two terms as Presiding Judge of the South-Central AdministrativeZone. She was elected as Chief District Judge of the 21st Judicial District six times. Walkley is also a Past President of the Oklahoma Judicial Conference and an active member of the Conference having also served as the Judicial Education Chair, the Bench Book Revisions Chair as well as Vice-President of the Conference. Lori served as an executive board member of the Dispute Resolution Advisory Board, helping to administer the state-wide dispute resolution program for the Supreme Court of Oklahoma for over a decade. She was also the Chief Judge of the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary, Trial Division and Vice-Presiding Judge of the Court on the Judiciary, Appellate Division. Until her retirement, she served as Chairman of the Council on the Interstate Compact on Adult Offender Supervision and a member of the Task Force on Criminal Costs and Fines.
Walkley also had the very rare distinction of being appointed as a Special Judge to the Court of Criminal Appeals and a Special Justice to the Oklahoma Supreme Court to serve as an appellate judge in instances necessitated by recusals in those courts. She has taught judicial and legal education seminars throughout the state, is a faculty member of the National Judicial College and consults with courts around the country regarding appropriate case management and the criminal justice system.
Lori Walkley was recently awarded the Donald L. Deason Judicial Award for Outstanding Service in Criminal Law by the Criminal Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association. In 2021, she was awarded the Mona Salyer Lambird Spotlight Award in recognition of her legal achievements over her career. Walkley has also received the Family Law Judge of the Year Award from the Family Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association and the Child Support Enforcement Judge of the Year. Prior to becoming a judge, Lori graduated from the University of Oklahoma with an undergraduate degree in Political Science and obtained her Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma as well. She practiced civil litigation and family law for the firms of Durbin, Larimore & Bialick in Oklahoma City, Bernstein & Walkley and Benedum, Benedum & Walkley in Norman, Oklahoma. While in private practice, Lori served as a Commissioner on the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission for the Oklahoma Bar Association, Editor of the Oklahoma Bar Journal, President of the Cleveland County Bar Association, Commissioner for the Norman Children’s Rights Commission and served as a board member of the Center for Children and Families.