20 Under 40: Chip Brooker

Chip BrookerLEGAL
Business: Law Offices of Frank L. Branson
High School: Orangeburg Prep
College: SMU Deadman School of Law
Faith: Highland Park United Methodist Church
Community Involvement: Supports the work and mission of Operation Underground Railroad, which rescues child victims of human trafficking; served on the host committee for each of Operation Underground Railroad’s Break the Chain galas; served as a Director of Soul’s Harbor, Inc.–a recovery home for homeless men battling addiction.

What do you get when you combine a love of sports, a passion for mentorship, and a yearning to help those in need? Chip Brooker. As a trial lawyer with the Law Offices of Frank L. Branson, his work has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America, Texas Super Lawyers and D Magazine’s Best Lawyers in Dallas – just to name a few. When Brooker’s not helping resolve catastrophic personal injury claims and complex business disputes, he serves on the Operation Underground Railroad host committee, a worldwide anti-human trafficking organization, and coaches children’s bantam lacrosse in Highland Park.

What is the best advice you received when beginning your career? Find a mentor. When you begin your career, you think that you know it all, but in reality, you don’t even know what you don’t know! Find a mentor that you admire. Find someone who does know it all and has the skins to prove it, and, then, watch, listen, and learn.

What is your business philosophy? I work in a reputation-driven business built on high-quality referrals. Character, honesty, and integrity are of paramount importance to me. At the end of the day, credibility is the key to winning over clients, opposing counsel, and juries.

What inspires you? Inevitably, I am introduced to my clients at their most vulnerable. Some have sustained a catastrophic personal injury; others have tragically lost one of their most precious family members. Either way, these clients simply want someone to tell their story. They ask us to stand in their shoes and seek justice.

These are real, salt-of-the-earth people who genuinely need our help. We get to know their families. We watch their home movies. We study family photos. We talk to friends, teachers, pastors, co-workers, and doctors. We study ordinary people in detail, and we learn what made them extraordinary to those who loved them.

Our work is not about defending a brand, securing the bottom line, or minimizing risk. Our practice is about defending the fatherless and pleading the case of the widow. It is inspiring because it is not a job – it’s a calling.

If you could tell 16-year-old you anything, what would you say? Thank you for being bold enough to introduce yourself to that beautiful, smart brunette from Huntsville, Texas, while you were visiting Washington, D.C. in July 1996. She’s the best thing that ever happened to you and the mother of your three kids!

What is your proudest career accomplishment? In the spring of 2016, Frank Branson and I tried a complex case concerning a fatal commercial bus crash that killed three people and injured more than three dozen while en route to an Indian casino. Our deceased client was 84-years old, and quite frankly, the defendants did not believe that the life of an ordinary 84-year old woman was worth much money.

At trial, we were able to emphasize what made our client special. She was the glue that held her local retirement community together. She raised three good children and loved her grandchildren. However, she was also a master seamstress who designed costumes for high-level competitive figure skaters and ballroom dancers. Even at 84 years old, she was working around the clock designing and creating magnificent costumes. During trial, we were fortunate to have one of her costumes to display on a mannequin during opening statements and closing arguments.

Prior to trial, the defendant casino offered to settle our clients’ case for $50,000. However, they grossly underestimated the jury, who did the right thing and awarded our client more than $4.9 million. More than anything, our clients felt that they had received justice for the loss of their mother, who was anything but an ordinary 84-year old woman.

What did you learn from your best boss or mentor? I could sit and listen to Frank Branson tell stories all day long. Ultimately, trial lawyers are just storytellers, and Frank is one of the best ever. Listening to him distill complex issues into simple concepts is like magic. Hopefully, some of it has rubbed off on me!

What was your first summer job? I worked as a janitor at my high school getting the facilities ready for the next school year. We would paint halls and classrooms, strip and rewax floors, move furniture, pressure wash walkways, and even remove gum from the desks.

What do you love about your community? Rebekah and I both grew up in small towns. For us, living in the Park Cities allows us to replicate the small-town charm and community-spirit that we felt growing up.

Where is the best place for a business power lunch in Park Cities or Preston Hollow? Growing up in the southeast, I am partial to seafood. I don’t think that you could ever go wrong with a business lunch at Lovers Seafood & Market. Tracy Rathbun always has something fresh and delicious on the menu!

What is your fondest Park Cities or Preston Hollow memory? Our family loves the Fourth of July Parade that the Rotary Club of the Park Cities puts on each year. We always find a spot on Lakeside Drive across from Exall Lake. It is a picturesque way to celebrate the Fourth and the spirit of this community.

Where will we find you enjoying your hard-earned time off? Enjoying the mountains in Crested Butte, Colorado, or with my feet in the sand at Rosemary Beach, Florida

What do you want your last meal to be? Fresh cold-water oysters to start, Porterhouse steak cooked medium-rare with bearnaise sauce on the side and fresh vegetables.

What is your favorite color? Blue

What fictional world or place would you like to visit? Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory

If you could be on a reality TV show, which one would you choose? The Amazing Race because I love a good competition and to get to travel to some places that I would never go to otherwise.

What would your superpower be? As a trial lawyer, telepathy would be the ultimate superpower. It would be invaluable to know what the jurors are thinking!

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Bianca R. Montes

Bianca Montes is an award-winning journalist and former Managing Editor of Park Cities People. She currently serves as a Senior Editor with D Magazine's D CEO publication. You can reach her by email at Bianca.Montes@Dmagazine or follow her on Instagram @Bianca_TBD. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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