Obituary

  JACK EDWARD BROWN

March 15, 1927 - January 6, 2000

Jack Brown was everybody's brother, father, grandfather, friend. He was exceptional, yet he was Everyman. He was passionate about ideas, books, art, music, law, government and public policy, but if he could have written his life's script he would have cast himself as a professional basketball player. He traveled among the leaders of the world, but he never forgot his humble beginnings. Educated in liberal arts, he reinvented himself time and time again to place his lasting mark on the law governing the arcane world of computers.

The early facts are easy to recite, though they do not give the true measure of the man: born in Omaha and raised across the river in Council Bluffs; service in the Army at the end of World War II; bachelor's degree in speech from Northwestern University in 1949, then a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1952; law clerk to Charles Wyzanski, revered Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts; associated with Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York, where he was exposed to high-stakes litigation for world-shaping business enterprises; relocated to Phoenix in 1959; law clerk to Charles C. Bernstein, Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, 1959; and associated with Evans, Kitchel & Jenckes in Phoenix, 1959-60.

Jack hit his professional stride when he opened The Law Offices of Jack E. Brown in 1960, then built it into the law firm of Brown and Bain, leading that firm by the example of his absolute dedication to uncompromising quality, his unquestionable integrity, and his legendary capacity for hard work. His creativity and tireless effort led him to the forefront during the formative years of technology-related litigation, when he was described as the "dean of the high tech bar." The same kind of dedication and effort earned him a reputation as a champion of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. He was listed in the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the United States.

Jack loved words: spoken words and written words. He took unimaginable delight when he finally settled on a finely crafted paragraph or a perfect turn of phrase, often after fifteen or twenty drafts. He devoured books.

He was a prolific writer and lecturer: university teaching assignments; law journal articles on a wide array of subjects; lectures and papers on intellectual property and antitrust at conferences such as the Salzburg Seminar, the Moscow Conference on Law and Bilateral Economic Relations, and the Law and Computer Association of Japan. His services were sought as an arbitrator for the International Chamber of Commerce, International Court of Arbitration and the American Arbitration Association. He held leadership positions on the Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the National Conference for Community and Justice and committees of the American Law Institute and American Bar Association.

But that was only the professional side of Jack. One of his favorite cartoons from the New Yorker showed a man explaining, "I consider myself a passionate man, but, of course, a lawyer first." Jack's passion knew few bounds. His lifelong interest in government and politics led him to stand as the Democratic Party candidate for Congress in 1972 and later to serve as the national chair of Kids Voting U.S.A. For a couple years in the mid-1970's, he delivered a weekly statewide radio address on topics of his choice, one of which is printed elsewhere in this program. His love of the written word and dedication to the First Amendment drew him to serve on the national boards of Reading is Fundamental and Libraries for the Future, and to become a major force in construction of the new Phoenix Public Library. His love of music pulled him to the board of the Phoenix Symphony and his appreciation for talent and beauty led him to assemble a magnificent art collection.

Jack was frequently recognized for his professional and community achievements, receiving awards from Arizona State University School of Law, Northwestern University School of Speech, First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, American Jewish Committee, Friends of the Phoenix Library, Arizona Center for the Book, and Phoenix Public Library.

But Jack's true reward was the love and admiration of his family and his amazing, ever-widening circle of friends and colleagues. He cherished his wife of 49 years, Suzanne. He treasured his four children, Charlie, Abigail, James and Amanda. Jack doted on his five grandchildren, Charlie, Amelia, Eden, Nancy, and Alexandra, and valued every moment he was able to spend with his brother, Milt, and his family. He bragged about the accomplishments of his colleagues, but never his own. He always had the knack for remembering his friends with just the right gift from the bookshops and print galleries of the world, covered by a personal note betraying the incredible care he had invested in his choice of gift.

Jack's greatest gift to all of us, however, was himself: his time, his wise counsel, his concern, his hearty laugh, the twinkle in his eye, and his passion for life.

We are all richer for those gifts and we thank you, our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend.

KOOL radio remarks, 1975
Dean of the High Tech Bar..., 1998
Motorola vs Fairchild, 1968





National Museum of American History


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