Dedicated Advocate and Citizen: Ralph E. Brown (1929-2008)

We are sorry to announce the death of a highly-esteemed colleague, Ralph Brown. For nearly two decades, Ralph was a valued member of our firm and his career was characterized by a principled and dynamic commitment to a wide range of clients. He was also a man who devoted himself to a myriad of causes and interests in his lifetime.

In 1989, Ralph merged his firm, Walsh, Case & Brown, Ltd., with Schuyler Roche, where he specialized in commercial and employment litigation. He often worked with clients on acquisitions, sales and litigation — and how to avoid litigation, which was always his first goal, according to one colleague.

"He was a student of the law and loved the thoughtfulness of the law," says Ed Copeland, an attorney and shareholder at Schuyler Roche. "Ralph was a person of high principle, and there was nothing wishy-washy about him."

Ralph was a hardworking attorney who was especially adept at strategizing and planning. "He really worked with clients in a big-picture way," says Schuyler Roche attorney and shareholder Michael Braun, who joined the firm with Ralph as part of the merger in 1989. "What he did was counsel clients — if one of his clients called with a problem, Ralph would walk that client through legal, and even business, implications."

He was also a generalist in the best sense of the word, a man who was comfortable focusing on a wide range issues -- a key attribute that is easily understood when one considers the breadth of his career as an attorney. His career reflected a deep and varied passion for social justice issues, evidenced by his work as a public defender and employment litigator, as well as being the attorney who won the first lawsuit seeking to desegregate the Chicago public schools. His early years as an attorney were also highlighted by advocacy on issues related to overpopulation, reproductive rights and choice. In fact, he was a cofounder of several groups, including the Midwest Population Center. After the Supreme Court ruled that abortion was lawful, the Center became the first provider of abortion services in Chicago.

Remembering Ralph, Braun says he had "about as varied a set of interests as anyone I know." Through his mother-in-law, a native of Cheyenne, Wyoming, he grew to love the rodeo; his interests also included the American Indian, medicine, arts and theater, and politics.

Ralph's wide-ranging skills and interests were matched by his ability to work with others. "He was terrific in terms of training and mentoring," says Braun, "and was never too busy if someone wanted a second opinion. And if he asked "What do you think about this?," he really wanted to know what you thought."

Passionate about the law and numerous causes, generous in his treatment of others and infinitely curious about the world, Ralph was deeply engaged, committed and accomplished as an attorney and citizen. His life and legacy will be cherished.

Ralph was survived by his wife, Sue, and his stepdaughter, Nina.

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