In Memoriam

Louis M. Brown ’30

LOUIS M. BROWN, distinguished emeritus professor of law at USC and a former president of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, died of heart failure on Thursday, Sept. 19, at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 87.
A practicing attorney whose career spanned six decades, Brown was most widely known as the inventor of, and chief spokesman for, the legal specialization of “preventive law.” He was deeply concerned with such issues as client counseling, legal access and conflict prevention.
Recalling the genesis of preventive law, Brown said in a 1979 interview, “I first used the term in 1950, after observing that many of my clients could have avoided their legal difficulties.” Preventive law is analogous to preventive medicine, he pointed out. “The time to see an attorney is when you’re legally healthy – certainly before the advent of litigation and prior to the time legal trouble occurs.”
“Professor Brown made exceptional contributions toward improving legal education, enhancing the legal profession and educating the community,” said Scott H. Bice, dean of the USC Law School. “His concern for the betterment of society was evidenced by his strong dedication to popularizing preventive-law concepts and making them available not only to institutions and wealthy clients but to ordinary clients as well.”

BROWN WAS BORN in Los Angeles on Sept. 5, 1909, the son of an attorney. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy cum laude from USC in 1930, then attended Harvard Law School, where he earned his J.D. degree in 1933. Brown began practicing law with his father’s firm but spent most of his career as a partner, and later as counsel, at the Los Angeles firm of Irell & Manella.
He first lectured at the USC Law School in 1944. Concurrently, he continued to practice law until 1972, when he received a full-time teaching appointment at the school. Brown retired in 1980, having taught at USC for nearly 40 years.
A prolific author on legal topics, Brown’s bibliography included more than 170 journal articles, 10 books, reviews, book chapters and other works. He co-wrote (with Edward A. Dauer) Planning by Lawyers: Materials on a Non-adversarial Legal Process (Foundation Press, 1978), which focused on such noncourtroom aspects of lawyering as client counseling, negotiating and drafting arguments. During the ’90s, he co-authored a “Legal View” column in the Los Angeles Times.
As a hobby, Brown played the viola. He was a member of the American Community Symphony Orchestra and participated in its European tour in 1968.
Survivors include his wife, Hermione; the couple’s three sons, Harold, Marshall and Lawrence; his sister Ruth and brother Harry; and nine grandchildren.


Louis M. Brown, 1909 - 1996

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