Steven S. Alkema

Steven S. Alkema

Sole Practitioner
Location:
Vista, California
Phone:
760-659-3309
Fax:
760-643-4093
Email:

I grew up in the construction business. My father was a contractor and I began working with him and my older brother on various building sites when I was 8 years old. My father had me working prior to that when, at age 5, I was required to pull nails out of boards that he had recovered after demolishing a building.  He set a daily quota I had to meet. The restored boards were going to be used to build a home for our family, and my father made it clear that nothing subpar was acceptable. I learned early the value of hard work and diligence, and the satisfaction that comes from completing a job that is well done.

I continued working in construction throughout my school years eventually relying on it to help finance both my undergraduate education and, later, my law school education. I was not initially intent on becoming an attorney, however. Instead, I began studying construction management. Then there came a pivotal moment that compelled me to pursue a career in law. My father had just finished a project when the homeowner refused to pay him for the work he and his crew had successfully completed. The homeowner did not claim that my father’s work was deficient in any way. He simply did not want to pay. He told my father, “I know I owe you the money, but I’m not going to pay you. You might as well walk away.” The implication was that, when all was said and done, there was nothing my father could do about it. But, there was, of course. My father could file an action in the courts. The homeowner banked on my father not doing so. This experience highlighted for me the reality that there are many honest, hard-working, ordinary individuals who, at times, will benefit from or even require the services of a legal professional. I decided then that I wanted to become an attorney.

After graduating from law school I began working at a small firm in Northern California, where I had grown up and had settled my young family. I worked countless hours on cases that covered a broad spectrum of law—family, criminal, business, etc. But some of the work I was doing was disagreeable to me. It was not long before I knew that I had to make some changes and I left the firm. With a growing family to support, I did not have the luxury of taking time to pursue varied avenues in law. I had to provide for my spouse and children and ensure that they were cared for. I returned to construction.

My construction business quickly flourished, but it required me to spend an increasing amount of time at distant job sites far away from my family. I made a decision then to return to the practice of law. This time I knew, however, that I had to do so on my own terms. I went into practice for myself as a solo practitioner. I was thus able to practice in an area of law that appealed to me, in an area that I felt good about where I could implement standards of practice consistent with my conscience and without compromise. I located my practice in Vista across from the San Diego North County Courthouse in 2000 and have been practicing probate, trust, and estate law in the area ever since.

I chose to practice probate, trust and estate law because it affords me numerous and varied opportunities to help others. Some of the things that matter to me in my practice:

  • Providing my clients with the peace of mind that comes from knowing they have prepared appropriately for themselves and their loved ones;
  • Aiding in the protection of the elderly and the vulnerable members of our community, and rescuing those who have become victims of abuse;
  • Ensuring that, when an individual is not capable of making health care or financial decisions, designated loved ones are authorized to do so without having to go to court;
  • Ensuring that the plan my client leaves behind is followed after death according to the true wishes of my client;
  • Ensuring that my clients receive exceptional service by staying current on the law and maintaining the highest standards for my work; and,
  • Understanding my clients; truly getting to know them, their particular circumstances and concerns, and building a genuine relationship with them. My clients, therefore, know they can trust me to properly guide them and I know how to best help them. 

I have been practicing in this area of law for 14 years now. I receive as much gratification today by working in this field—one in which I can really help people—as I did when I began. I sincerely look forward to working with you.

Areas of Practice

  • 15% Estate Planning
  • 10% Probate
  • 30% Trust Establishment/Trust Administration
  • 20% Conservatorships
  • 25% Trust and Probate Litigation

Litigation Percentage

  • 25% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1992

Education

  • Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Provo, Utah
    • J.D. - 1991
  • Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
    • B.A. - 1988
    • Major: Philosophy

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • San Diego North County Bar Association, Member, 2000 - Present
  • Trust and Estates Section California State Bar, Member, 1999 - Present

Pro Bono Activities

  • San Diego Superior Court Guardianship Clinic, 2000 - 2012
  • San Diego North County Local Rules Committee-Probate, 2008 - 2012

Languages

  • English
  • Italian