Let's Ask Rebekah
Why did you become a lawyer? I grew up in a home where my father, Buck Watson, was a lawyer. I was a little like Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird, I think. I had a lot of respect for him and what he did, though I did not understand exactly what it was. The seed was planted though. I knew he helped people and that he was important to people. He had a way with people that I admired and respected. I didn’t set out to be a lawyer. In fact, I worked for a few years before I decided to go to law school. Just like Buck. I think I was destined though.
What do you like best about being a lawyer? Without a doubt, my absolute favorite thing about being a lawyer is helping people. To be able to speak for someone is a tremendous honor that I take very seriously. And there is no feeling like it. There is no other way to get that feeling, not that I’ve found anyway. And, at this point, I’m not looking.
There are a lot of lawyers out there. How are you different? There are lots of lawyers out there. There are some great lawyers out there. And there are some that aren’t so great. I have a lot of respect for lawyers. I love lawyers. But it makes me sad to hear about bad ones. We are all different. It’s important that you find the right lawyer for the right case and the right client. It has to be a good match. You can’t pick a lawyer by how many billboards they have. Some of us choose not to advertise like that because we don’t have to. I have the benefit of being a woman. Unfortunately, when many think of hiring a lawyer, they automatically think of a man instead of a woman. I understand a woman’s perspective, and I have a different perspective than men do. That gives me an advantage. I’m not intimidated by men or other women. I pride myself on holding my own with anybody. The tougher the challenge, the more I like it. I’m fiercely independent and not easily influenced or persuaded by anyone or anything. If I’m on your side, no one is more loyal or faithful to your purpose and your goals. I take my job seriously.
What’s the funniest thing that has happened with a client? We all do embarrassingly funny things. However, I firmly maintain the confidentiality of everything about my representation. So, I’ll never tell. I can tell a funny story on myself or actually on my father, Buck. He had a bad habit of leaving his keys in his car. We were in Montgomery working on a case together. We went to breakfast at the Farmer’s Market. We came out and couldn’t find his car. He thought someone playing a joke on him and had moved it. We looked and looked for it. We called his “friends” that we had run into at breakfast. No one knew anything about his car. It wasn’t a joke. Someone had stolen his car. Pretty funny, except my suitcase was in the trunk.
You are involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities, why? I am proud to be a lawyer. And, as a lawyer, I am blessed with the ability to help a wide range of people and causes. I believe we have a duty to give back. It’s part of our profession. Lawyers render service. So, I am very involved in professional organizations like the Alabama State Bar and the Alabama Association of Justice. I also think that we need to give back to our communities, so I am active in many local organizations.
What would you tell a young woman who is thinking about becoming a lawyer? If you do it for the right reasons, there is nothing like it. You must do it. But, if you enter the profession with unreasonable expectations, it will eat you alive. If you like people, like helping people, and are self-confident, you will do well, and there is no profession and no job that can give you the same satisfaction. But, if you get in it for the money, you’ll be miserable.
Why don’t you practice in a large law firm? I have a lot of great friends who practice in large law firms. And, there are some great lawyers in those firms. It’s just not for me. We are fortunate that our profession allows us to work in whatever way works best for us. I work best in a small firm. I enjoy the freedom, the independence, and the autonomy. I can do what I want. I can take the cases that I want. And, I have the ability to refuse the cases and clients that I don’t want. That freedom is a must for me. And, it allows me to better serve my clients.
Where did you go to school? I attended Vanderbilt University for undergrad. I received a degree in Organizational Behavior. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but those courses interested me. I graduated from The University of Alabama School of Law, which was a great experience. Not only is it a great school, but at that time, as an Alabama lawyer, you could make great friends and numerous acquaintances that you continue to see throughout your career as an Alabama lawyer. I’m sure that dynamic has changed as the law school has grown in stature and become a destination degree for many out-of-state law students.
What do you do for fun? I have three teenage boys. They occupy a lot of my free time. I love spending time with them, and I realize those times are fleeting. I also like to run, which is good because I like to cook – and eat. I took up track and running when I was in high school. In fact, I was on the track team and cross-country team there and at Vanderbilt University. I also love to travel. So, I’m pretty good at combining all three – going somewhere to visit with good food and an occasional scenic run.