VICKI Z. BEHENNA
Vicki Zemp Behenna began her career as a trial lawyer as a very young lawyer. Her first federal trial in which she was the lead lawyer occurred within 3 years of graduating from law school. At the conclusion of that trial, she was asked by the trial Judge if she would be interested in working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She began working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1988. In the early 1990’s she was asked by the U.S. Attorney to join the bank fraud group that would be responsible for prosecuting major bank fraud cases. During her twenty-five year career as a federal prosecutor, she tried numerous fraud cases, including bank, wire, mail, corporate and healthcare fraud cases. In addition to economic crimes, she investigated and tried several complex public corruption cases. Behenna’s background and extensive investigative experience with complex investigations resulted in the convictions of many high profile defendants.
Behenna went into private practice in 2014 where she focused her practice in white collar defense, with an emphasis on health care fraud audits and investigations. She is also the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Innocence Project at Oklahoma City University School of Law. With the efforts of law students at Oklahoma City University School of Law and Behenna’s trial skills, the Oklahoma Innocence Project was able to obtain the release of two men in 2016 who had been wrongfully convicted of murder. She serves her clients with the same tenacious efforts she has always invoked.
Among her numerous prosecutions, Behenna was selected to participate in the prosecution of Timothy McVeigh one of the defendants charged and convicted of the Oklahoma City Bombing. She served as a special attorney to the U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. After she completed the trial and sentencing of Timothy McVeigh she was selected by the U.S. Attorney Pat Ryan to serve as senior litigation counsel for the Western District of Oklahoma. Behenna has also received numerous awards and recognition during her career. She was given the Distinguished Service Award from U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, Integrity Award presented by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, was recognized by the Western District of Oklahoma as the outstanding Assistant U.S. Attorney in 2012, was awarded Distinguished Law Alumna by Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2013, and received the Reflections of Hope Award by the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation in 2015.
Behenna is an active speaker, member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, Oklahoma County Bar Association, American Bar Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and William J. Holloway, Jr. American Inn of Court. She is a past president of the Federal Bar Association, Oklahoma Association of Women Lawyers and Blue Star Mothers. She is also an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University School of Law instructing students on trial practice and evidence.