Rebekah Steely Brooker

Interview by Eric Quitugua

Photo courtesy of Rebekah Steely Brooker

Position: Partner in Scheef & Stone in Dallas
Board Member: District 6, Place 5 since 2019

I am not from a family of lawyers.
I grew up in Phelps, Texas, a small community in Walker County between Huntsville and New Waverly. My father and his family have been in the timber business for more than a century, and my mother grew up on the island of Trinidad in the British West Indies. I didn’t have a single lawyer in my family. My knowledge of what a lawyer did for work came from watching Night Court and Matlock. But it seemed like a lawyer was always involved in helping better my local community. From involvement in education to local parks, it seemed like one of the local lawyers always played a part. I decided that a legal education was something that would be an asset to have. I wasn’t sure how I would use it, but I knew I wanted one.

My practice is focused in the area of estate planning, probate, and guardianship. The practice area was never really on my radar during law school.

In law school, I thought that I would be a litigator. Upon graduation I took a job at an established law firm in Dallas, and due to the size, I was fortunate enough to receive assignments in all different practice areas. But the majority of my work was in the litigation section. However, a year or so into my practice, my grandfather passed away. And shortly thereafter, my grandmother called and asked if I would come back home to help her probate my grandfather’s estate. She admitted to me that she did not really know what she needed to do, and she was nervous. Of course, I told her I would help and then hung up the phone and sprinted down the hall to ask a partner, Greg Sampson, for assistance. I’ll never forget how he assured me I could do it, and he walked me through the probate process. After proving up the will, I returned to Dallas with a new clarity on what I wanted to do. I had not been practicing law for very long but assisting my grandmother through the probate process was the first time in my short legal career that I felt like I was helping someone. And as cliché as it sounds, I went to law school to help people. Fortunately for me, Greg needed help, and he started giving me more probate matters to work on and then estate planning and guardianship. There has been no looking back.

Keep an open mind. I never would have predicted that I would have (and love) an estate planning and probate practice.

I was involved in moot courts and mock trials in law school. I was going to be a litigator. In school, I thought estate planning and probate was rather depressing—having clients who are sick or families who are mourning the loss of a loved one. But my practice is centered around people and families. Every day is different, and I find my field to be so incredibly rewarding.

As a young lawyer, I got involved in the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, or DAYL. My involvement in DAYL was the springboard to my involvement in the Texas Young Lawyers Association, or TYLA. I was fortunate enough to serve on the TYLA Board of Directors and had the honor of serving as TYLA’s president in 2014-2015. TYLA is the public service arm of the State Bar of Texas, and through TYLA, I was able to create and participate in projects that have greatly impacted Texas lawyers as well as Texas residents. As TYLA president, I also was able to serve on the board of the State Bar of Texas. It was eye-opening to see how much the State Bar Board of Directors does for its members and our profession.

After I rolled off the Texas Young Lawyers Association Board, I knew my bar service was not over.

I continued local bar service, and when the opportunity presented itself to run for a State Bar board position, I happily threw my name in the hat! TBJ


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