What law school ought to be.

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Louis M. Brown: A Remembrance

by Robert M. Shafton

Of Counsel, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, Los Angeles

 

The Time: Fall of 1955

The Place: Beverly Hills and Los Angeles

The Actors: The Mentor and Mentee under the auspices of the Beverly Hills Bar Association Young Lawyer Mentor Program

That is the setting under which I first met Louis M. Brown. He was younger (by a long shot) than I am today and he was to become my guide and friend through a good portion of my legal life.

He had volunteered to become a member of the Beverly Hills Bar Association Mentor Program and I was fortunate to be assigned as his very young and very green, almost-admitted member of the bar. I had just been accepted as an attorney on the staff of the civil division of the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California and it was Lou Brown who began to direct me into volunteerism through the various bar associations as well as the community at large. To this day, some of the most lasting legal relationships and friendships that I have came through volunteering.

Lou of course was (and will always be remembered as) a man of many talents: musician (viola) with the Doctors Symphony, practicing attorney, consultant to law firms, Professor of Law, founder of several institutes and the dreamer and the father of Preventive Law. He would begin some of our meetings by posing hypothetical questions to me. Some of these were as basic as: "So Bob, why shouldn't one go into a lawyer's office once a year for an Annual Legal Check Up just as one should go into his physician's office for an Annual Medical Check Up? It should be noted that this concept was never to become a "hot seller" in the legal market but it certainly formed the foundation for many ground breaking areas including Compliance Reviews and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Lou (or Louis as he is more formally called) always prodded this area of prevention but at the same time he kept a very open mind when it came to the pragmatism of selling the product. He was often disappointed but never disillusioned. He was patient and a pack rat when it came to the saving of clippings, articles and new conceptual ideas. He was always thinking, writing and lecturing; he never gave up.

Meeting with Lou, whether it be in a kosher delicatessen on Pico Boulevard or over a cup of coffee, was always a mentally challenging and sometimes mind boggling experience. He always knew that there would be a National Center for Preventive Law. He just didn't know where it would be. Thanks to Ed Dauer, Woody Mosten, Lou's loving wife Hermione and his whole family, an important first step was taken at the University of Denver School of Law. We are now about to embark upon a very important second step.

Just as we learn to walk and climb mountains one step at a time, so this development at California Western School of Law under the leadership of Tom Barton will continue to propel us along. Legal Compliance, Client Counseling Competitions, Problem Solving and Alternative Dispute Resolution are today all very much part of law school curriculum and the realpolitik of the world of law.

Lou, you have been the dreamer, the father and the midwife, all rolled into one; we hope and pray that a firm foundation has been laid and that we will continue to build and expand your concept of preventive law. The term itself may sound like an oxymoron, but then again you were a "pragmatic optimist."