C. H. Rosenstein - Chapman Legacy Society
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Gifts Established:

  • C. H. Rosenstein Scholarship for Law | Est. 1974
brick engraved with name C. H. Rosenstein

C. H. Rosenstein

Claude H. Rosenstein founded Rosenstein, Fist & Ringold, one of Tulsa’s earliest law firms, which still operates today. One of his biographers, J. Douglas Mann, described him as “a man who stands not only for the majesty of the law, but the sanctity of human endeavor.” Mann noted that Mr. Rosenstein’s career had spanned the 20th century from the buggy to the train to the plane. His clients included the famous and occasionally the infamous. He argued cases before the U. S. Supreme Court, battled a controversial governor (“Alfalfa Bill” Murray), and “served as the guiding hand for desegregation of the Tulsa Public Schools.”

The son of an itinerant minister, the soft-spoken Rosenstein was born in Texas, but grew up in Bartlesville, Edmond and Norman, where he finished high school and went on to attend The University of Oklahoma for his undergraduate and law degrees. He had planned to become an electrical engineer, but out of curiosity, he attended a sensational murder trial in Norman. A former high school debater, the trial lit a fire in him; he realized he had found his calling. He graduated with his juris doctorate in 1913 and soon went to work for a Tulsa law firm. However, his ability to type and take shorthand began pigeonholing him as a stenographer. Fortunately, a Norman attorney gave him some work, advised him to quit, and then contacted a friend in Muskogee urging him to hire Rosenstein. He did, and it was destiny because Rosenstein met his future bride, Helen Fist, in Muskogee, and the couple wed in 1916. After working for another firm in Drumright, Rosenstein decided he wanted to work for himself, and he teamed up with other young lawyers in the booming city of Tulsa to start a new law firm. Rosenstein worked long hours and was sometimes paid with chickens rather than cash during the Great Depression.

When times improved, Claude Rosenstein’s firm grew and his name could be found among cases argued before the U. S. Supreme Court. He was the longtime attorney for philanthropist H. P. Taubman, and in 1943, he represented oil magnate J. Paul Getty. He had a reputation for fairness and good sense.

Beginning in 1932, Rosenstein applied his keen mind and his penchant for thorough research as the attorney for the Tulsa Board of Education, which he served for nearly half a century. One friend recalled that most attorneys considered the job honorary, passing the post from one to another; but Claude Rosenstein took the position seriously and became an advocate for Tulsa Public Schools. During the volatile days of desegregation, he studied the cases of 76 other communities before advising Tulsa on a course of action. Eventually, his firm represented more than 60 school districts in the state. He served his profession, the city, and its interfaith community with great devotion and was the recipient of several honors for his work. He passed away on July 13, 1990, at the age of 96.

Although he was not a graduate of The University of Tulsa, Mr. Rosenstein was a devoted Tulsan, and he took great pride in helping promising law students achieve their educational goals. As a result, TU received a generous gift in 1974 from the Edith C. Bernard Trust to establish the C. H. Rosenstein Scholarship for Law. For more than 40 years, law students have benefited from this generous investment. The entire TU community is grateful for this important remembrance of a man who helped shape the Tulsa community and its educational future.