About Attorney Brooke
I was born in Terre Haute, IN in 1959 because that was the closest hospital
for my parents. The doctor that delivered me was the son of the doctor
that delivered my father—that happens in a small town. After my
birth, my parents stayed in Casey, IL for a while before moving to Indianapolis,
and then Delaware County. I graduated high school from Cowan along with
63 other Blackhawks.
I attended Ball State University and graduated, cum laude, with a BS degree
and a double major in Political Science and History. During college I
decided that to receive a really well rounded education, I would need
to gain experience. The best education/experience I received was to drive
a taxi cab during college. I learned a great deal about people, and about
how they work and interact with each other. I also had a number of other
jobs—security guard, hospital cafeteria worker, washing pots and
pans, dispatcher, teaching assistant to the Con Law/American Government
professor, and investigator for a law firm. All of these experiences lead
me to believe that there is no such thing as a bad experience, just some
are better than others.
Time in Law School
I attended law school in Indianapolis full time, but soon found that I
needed additional experience than just going to class. I started out as
a law clerk for a small public organization and then a bailiff in one
of the civil courts and then a law clerk at a large law firm. All while
going to law school at night and in the summer. Having experienced the
law in a big city, I decided to go back to Muncie where I knew people
and could start a general practice.
When I started my practice, it was a general practice, anything that walked
through the door, I was willing to learn and handle. I started out doing
collections, family law, criminal law and insurance defense. The firm
I joined had a vibrant insurance defense practice and very soon I was
handling my first civil jury trial in the first year of practicing law.
Later that same year came my first criminal jury trial and I was hooked
as a litigator. After two years, I decided that I needed more experience
so I joined the county prosecutor’s office. I started out handling
misdemeanor cases and when I left after 3 years, I was prosecuting murder
cases and serious felony cases. I was eager to try anything and everything.
In three years, I tried over 30 jury trials. I decided to start my own practice.
Work with Richard Shields
It was while I was starting my private practice, I met Richard Shields
at a local watering hole with several other people. I didn’t know
Richard at the time, but we had a few acquaintances in common, namely
my wife. As we were sitting around eating and talking, I found out from
Richard that he was in the fireworks importation, wholesale and retail
business. He asked to help him collect several bad checks that customers
had given him form the most recent 4th of July season.
Having just started my practice, I jumped at the chance for work (I was
willing to do anything for food). Richard gave me a number of checks to
collect and I got most of them. He then started asking me questions about
issues in the legislature as he was the President of the state fireworks
association (back then the membership was Richard’s company and
about 4 of his customers.) Richard then invited me to a fireworks convention
Introduction to Fireworks Law
I thought Richard was wanting a friend to visit the nightspots and clubs
in Chicago, which was ok with me, Chicago is a great town for this sort
of thing. Once in Chicago, Richard introduced me to several fireworks
dealers that he worked with and were friends. All of them told me that
in the fireworks business, lawyers are used all of the time. The worst
thing that all of them told me was that when they hire an attorney, they
would spend half of their legal fees on teaching the lawyer about the
fireworks business and the other half about the case at hand. I thought
to myself that if I went about learning the fireworks business, I could
help the industry.
So I started learning the business. I helped unload shipping containers
for Richard, worked at the retail stands on the 4th of July, helping to load assortments on the line and then eventually to
making my own fireworks and shooting displays. I now serve as a backup
pyrotechnician when a client needs someone to help out on a show in the area.
Passionate & Driven
Fireworks are a passion for me. I love watching them, making them and using
them in my yard for my neighbors and friends. Over the past 28 years,
I have dedicated myself and my practice to helping the fireworks industry
as an advocate that understand the needs of the industry and how fireworks
really work. I understand the interplay of chemical and thermodynamic
reactions in a pyrotechnic devices as well as the inter-workings of the
various laws and regulations that govern fireworks.
Brooke Stevens, PC, is the only law firm in the United States that spends
so much time and effort representing only the fireworks industry. We have
clients in 48 states and 22 foreign countries. We represent manufacturers,
importers, dealers, wholesalers, retailers, users, hobbyists and anyone
that wants to keep fireworks legal and safe. We have dedicated a significant
amount of our time and legal expertise to representing the fireworks industry, only.
Emphasis on Fireworks Law
During the process of creating this unique emphasis, I decided to become
and elected official. I ran for and was elected County Commissioner. In
Indiana, the Board of Commissioners (3) are the executive of the County.
Their position is similar to a mayor of a city, but since there are three
of them, they govern more by consensus than a mayor. I served 4 years
as County Commissioner, 2 of them as President of the Board. This experience
was invaluable to understand the interaction of local politics and issues
from constituents. I was able to use my time as an elected official and
advise and inform all of my client as to the importance of being involved
This experience also opened up a new area of emphasis for the law firm,
that being municipal law. Having been an elected official and sitting
in the “hot seat” for 4 years, I can offer a unique and valuable
perspective to my municipal clients. My time as a County Commissioner
uniquely prepared me for many different situations, both for my municipal
client and my non municipal clients.
Taking Pride in Our Work
We have always prided ourselves as being able to seek out solutions within
the law and also provide some “outside the box” thinking.
For many of our clients, the law does not provide them a complete remedy
so they look to us for assistance in crafting some unique and special
solutions to their problems. The other valuable feature to our firm is
to address a problem quickly. The fireworks business is time critical
because the season is so short. The law does not always respond quick
enough to keep commerce flowing, so we have to anticipate problems and
be prepared to address them.
The same is applied to our municipal and civil clients. Having a broad
experience and client base offers the client the chance that we have been
involved in a similar matter and “don’t have to reinvent the
wheel” each and every time. Whether it is a municipality that wants
an ordinance to address dilapidated buildings and structures (a very common
problem in lots of towns and cities) to a business client that needs some
type of tax relief or employee issue, we have “been there and done
that” so that we can face the challenge quickly and completely.
How We Can Help
For our fireworks clients, we offer a “one stop shop” for all
sorts of issues and problems. No reason to call around for lawyers experienced
in lots of disciplines because we can handle it or can get an answer quickly.
We may not know all of the answers immediately, but we know where to look
or we have seen this happen in the past and can help with moving the client forward.
As an attorney, I have been practicing law for more than 32 years and some
of my very first clients are still clients of the office. We pride ourselves
on the client relationship and continuing that relationship in the future.
Once we set up an attorney/client relationship we want that to continue
for a very long time. We have many, many clients that have been with us
for over 10 years. We want to have that relationship with all of our clients.
- Fireworks Law
- State and Federal Litigation
- Insurance Defense
- Governmental Relation
- 95% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
- Indiana, 1984
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Indiana
- U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana
- U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan
- U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
- U.S. Tax Court
Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis, Indiana
Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
cum laude - 1981
- Honors: With Honors
- Major: Political Science and History
- "Policies and Procedures Manual", Indiana Fireworks Users Association, 1994
- "Indiana Mechanic's Liens", Credit Manager's Survival Kit, 1994
- Cincinnati Insurance Company
- McQuik's Oilube, Inc.
- North Central Industries, Inc.
- Pyrotechnicians Guild International, Inc. (PGI)
- Western Pyrotechnics Association (WPA)
- Indiana Fireworks Users, Association (IFUA)
- Indiana Fireworks Distributors Association (IFDA)
- North Central Industries, Inc.
- Summit Bank
- American National Bank
Classes & Seminars
- Administrative Law, Muncie Bar Association
- Fireworks Law Update, Indiana Fireworks Dealers Association, 1992 - 2011
Honors & Awards
- Delaware County Good Government Award
- The Muncie Black Expo Trailblazer Award
- Appointed by the Governor of Indiana as a member of the Indiana Political
Subdivision Risk Management Commission
Professional Associations & Memberships
- Muncie Bar Association, Member
- Indiana State Bar Association, Member
- American Bar Association, General Practice Section, Member
- American Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section, Member
- American Pyrotechnics Association (APA)
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
- National Council on Fireworks Safety, Member
Past Employment Positions
- Delaware County , Deputy Prosecutor, 1986 - 1990
- Delaware County , Commissioner, 2004 - 2008
- Delaware County, Public Defender, 2009 - 2011
- Delaware County, County Attorney
- Delaware County, County Council Attorney
Call (765) 663-4009 now to get in touch with Brooke-Stevens, PC, a Muncie law firm.