Felix Neboh and his three brothers have always tried to make their parents proud and he hopes being recently sworn in as a Texas attorney has achieved that objective for him.
Eugene Neboh is in his last year of pharmacy school at Southwestern Oklahoma State University; Richard Neboh is currently trying to get into medical school; and Dexter Neboh is a student at Odessa College.
Their parents are Stella Neboh, a pharmacist, and Eugene Neboh, a respiratory therapist.
A 2010 graduate of Permian High School, Felix and his brothers played football throughout high school. Felix was a wide receiver and also played in college.
Neboh, 28, recently came on board at the DeAnda and Sarabia law firm in Odessa. The firm handles mainly criminal defense, personal injury and family law. Along with the Odessa office, there is one in Midland.
Neboh started his college education at University of Texas El Paso and transferred to Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., where he completed a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in political science in 2015.
He earned his law degree from Oklahoma City University. Neboh was sworn in by 446th District Judge Sara Kate Billingsley.
The ceremony was a “top five experience” in his life because of all the work he put into it.
Neboh has a daughter who turned 1 in November.
“… Studying for the bar was definitely hectic. I had just had a baby girl at that time, so studying for the bar on top of being a dad is something I really had to balance. …”
Between college and law school, Neboh took a two-year break; part of that was spent pursuing his football dreams and part was managing a shoe store.
His mother, Stella, chided him saying he shouldn’t manage a shoe store all his life. A fan of “Law & Order” and other cop shows, Neboh said he knew he wanted to do something in criminal justice and ultimately decided on going to law school.
“… I had dreams of playing professional football, but I needed a backup plan. It doesn’t always work out like that. I knew I wanted to do something within that field. I wasn’t necessarily sure what until I graduated …,” Neboh said.
His first year of law school was challenging because a lot of the pressure is put on the students. It’s not just listening to the teacher. They pepper you with questions about cases.
“… Everything’s on you, so you’ve really, really got to be prepared for class …,” Neboh said.
Neboh graduated from law school in May and was preparing for his bar exam from May until September. He took the New Mexico bar exam and transferred his score to Texas.
“So I’m actually licensed in New Mexico and Texas.”
“I passed the New Mexico one and my score was high enough to where I could transfer it to Texas,” Neboh said.
Currently, most of the cases he works on are virtual. Neboh said he doesn’t anticipate being in court until around June.
He said he’s looking forward to in-person court.
“Because (with) technology, you never know when it’s going to mess up and that’s the bad thing. Having to communicate with clients over a computer is way different than being able to lean over them and tell them something. … I’m actually looking forward to being in an actual courtroom because I haven’t been able to do that since I’ve been licensed. Everything I’ve been doing is via Zoom, so (I’m) definitely looking forward to getting back to court.”
Born and raised in Odessa, Neboh said it was easy for him to return. He said his parents are known in the community and he and his brothers have always felt supported here.
Law, he said, seems never ending and you can never get too complacent or learn too much.
“… I’m really just looking forward to practicing and learning through experience. … This is my first year, so learning from people that have been doing it for 10-plus years … that’s something that I’m really looking forward to,” Neboh said.
His advice to younger people is to dream big but always have a backup plan.
“… You can really do anything that you want no matter where you’re from. It doesn’t matter if you’re from small Odessa or Houston. If you want something bad enough or if you’re able to put in the work or willing to put in the work, you can achieve anything. You shouldn’t let your location try to define where you’re going to go or your ceiling because I never did. Always be proud where you come from. I know Odessa isn’t much, but like I said it’s home and I carry it with me wherever I’m at.”
Sarabia said Neboh has real drive and passion. His desire to help his community also made him stand out.
“… There are other candidates who I talked to and (it’s) very clear from talking to them their goals are to learn, their goals are to be a good lawyer, but their secondary goal is to leave. We’re going to go back to Dallas for work and to Houston and they’re going to go improve those communities,” Sarabia said.
“(With Felix) all his questions were centered around the Permian Basin, Odessa-Midland. And his focus has been on coming back here, staying here and really wanting to be a pillar of the community and to be a professional in the community. That means a lot to me because I wasn’t born here, but I was raised here and went to Odessa High and went to Lubbock and came immediately back. Then that was my goal as well, so it really resonates to me when somebody wants to come back and they also want to be involved. He’s a coach. He helps coach kids with track, which is amazing to me and he already has community involvement where most people really don’t have that type of outreach.”
Sarabia said he feels Neboh will go far.
“He’s a shooting star,” Sarabia said.
Wherever Neboh lands, he said, he’s going to go high and far because he’s smart and sharp.
“He is learning at a rate that impresses me for a first- year lawyer. He embraces challenges. He doesn’t back away from a challenge. Even right now, we’re still in the handful of days that he’s been licensed and he just embraces these challenges and he’s ready to go. He’s ready to step in that courtroom when we’re going to go into the courtroom. He’s already active on Zoom, handling more contested hearings at this time than I did my first six months as a licensed lawyer,” Sarabia said.
“We’re his biggest supporters. We want him to succeed, not only because he’s part of the law firm but just because we need great lawyers in this community,” he added.