Volume 3, Number 1 • November 2004
Proving His Patriotism Every Day: William E. Brown
By Amy Lin Meyerson
Before joining the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division, I never had much contact with military lawyers. My impression of military lawyers was based largely on the character portrayed by Tom Cruise in the movie A Few Good Men. I often hear the Section’s leaders say, “GP Solo is the home of the military lawyer.” Having had the pleasure of getting to know several dozen military lawyers through the Section, I now realize that most military lawyers are general practitioners, and GP Solo is indeed the ideal ABA home for them.
Our nation faces new and difficult challenges across the globe and here at home. To maintain our freedoms, interests, and way of life, the United States must not only react to these changes, but also anticipate, plan, and prepare for further challenges. Much of that responsibility falls on the men and women who serve in the United States Army JAG Corps as military lawyers.
The brave members of this agile, highly skilled force prove their patriotism every single day, and they are committed to serving our country at a moment’s notice even during the most turbulent times.
One such military general practitioner is William E. Brown. William is a Captain with the U.S. Army JAG Corps. The Army JAG Corps is the oldest and second-largest law firm in the world, with offices throughout the United States and overseas. The Army JAG Corps provides attorneys with immediate experience and responsibility, and an opportunity to practice law in a wide variety of areas.
In his practice, Captain Brown has handled a vast array of matters. Currently, Captain Brown is the chief of military justice at Headquarters, First U.S. Army, in Atlanta, Georgia. As the chief of military justice, he is the principal military justice advisor to the staff judge advocate, commanding general, deputy commanding general, First Army staff, and twenty-three subordinate commanders in thirty eastern states. Captain Brown provides legal advice on a full range of issues including military justice, domestic operational law, rules of engagement, law of war, military support to civilian authorities in times of natural or man-made disasters, and administrative separation cases.
Like many judge advocates, Captain Brown has worked extensively on criminal law cases. While serving in Oklahoma at the U.S. Army Field Artillery Center on Fort Sill, Captain Brown prosecuted soldiers at courts-martial. He has also served as a special assistant to the U.S. attorney for the western district of Oklahoma and prosecuted civilian offenders in U.S. Magistrate Court or U.S. District Court for offenses committed on federal property (i.e., military installations). These criminal cases ranged from misdemeanor offenses to felony cases. In the civil law area, Captain Brown has handled administrative law issues, which include military and civilian personnel law, and he has had limited exposure to environmental law, labor law, personal injury, and contract law matters.
While serving as a legal assistance attorney, Captain Brown has provided counsel and limited representation to soldiers, retirees, and their families in areas such as estate planning, family law, landlord-tenant law, federal and state tax matters, and consumer protection. As an international and operational law attorney, Captain Brown provided legal advice to military leaders in the international arena, interpreting treaties (e.g., Hague Treaties), international conventions (e.g., Geneva Convention and Geneva Protocols), and rules of engagement.
As Captain Brown’s career progresses in the Army JAG Corps, he will have the opportunity to represent individual soldiers or the Army before different levels of appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States; or he may specialize in different areas of law, such as employment law, international law, contract law, labor law, or environmental law. Some senior judge advocates (and perhaps one day Captain Brown) will serve as military judges at the trial and appellate levels. For more information on the U.S. Army JAG Corps, click on the following website: www.jagcnet.army.mil.
Captain Brown earned his Juris doctorate and certification in labor and employment law from St. Louis University School of Law. While at St. Louis University, he served as president of the Black Law Students Association. Captain Brown received a bachelor of science degree from Vanderbilt University, where he was a member of the varsity football team and served as president of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity chapter. Captain Brown continues to serve on the board of directors for the Vanderbilt University Alumni Football Players Association “Gridiron Club.”
While serving on active duty in the U.S. Army, Captain Brown received numerous awards and accommodations including the National Defense Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Superior Unit Award, and the Army Service Ribbon. In addition, Captain Brown received awards and recognition from military leaders with whom he provided legal support, including the commander of the 3rd Brigade/85th Division, for outstanding legal support, and the commander of the First U.S. Army for service as a judge advocate in providing legal support during the mobilization and deployment of military forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Captain Brown is actively involved in a number of civic and community organizations. Notably, he has served as a judge for the Teen Court Program, a nationally renowned youth crime prevention program that trains teenagers to serve as advocates and jury members for teens who have elected to have their misdemeanor cases held in Teen Court in lieu of the juvenile court system. As a volunteer for the Habitat for Humanity Program, he has helped build homes for the indigent in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Captain Brown spends a great deal of time mentoring to students at local public schools. During the mentoring sessions, he spreads a message of hope, patriotism, and success through education to students.
Captain Brown and his wife, Dr. Marilyn A. Brown, a pediatrician with WellStar Pediatric and Adolescent Group in Atlanta, established the Brown Family Foundation that provides educational scholarships to students interested in attending law school or medical school. For his nonprofit work and other services to his community, Fort McPherson’s Channel 21 recently spotlighted Captain Brown in its weekly show Focus on People. Click on the link below to view the reprinted transcript of the show detailing Captain Brown’s volunteerism and community service. http://www.abanet.org/genpractice/military/williambrown.html
How can you get to be this incredible lawyer/soldier’s friend you ask? Just join the Section! Captain Brown is extremely active within the Section. This year he is taking on the following:
While Captain Brown, his wife, and their three children call Atlanta, Georgia, home, his ABA home is with the GP Solo Section.
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