Although several legacies have studied within the walls of Campbell Law School, few have followed a path as similar as the father-daughter tandem of Don and Mary Claire Brown.
Don forged his way to Buies Creek in 1984, enrolling as a first-year student and beginning to work towards a successful legal practice. Three years later he was an active member of the student body, participating in the advocacy program and serving as president of the Campbell Law Student Bar Association. Following graduation he served five years in the United States Navy as an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. During his tenure, he worked at the Pentagon, authored pieces in the Naval Law Review, and received the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
The author of seven highly acclaimed and popular military fiction novels, including Treason and The Malacca Conspiracy, his name can be routinely found near the top of Amazon.com’s best sellers list.
“Within weeks of passing the North Carolina bar exam in the summer of 1987, as a young lieutenant at the Naval Justice School in Rhode Island, I saw in an up-close-and personal way that I had received the best legal education in America,” said Don. “The second-to-none advocacy training under Professors Jenkins and Anderson, the sharp moot court mentoring under Professor Lord, along with the rigorous, innovative academic approach taken by the entire faculty, gave me a significant advantage coming out of the gate.
“Two months later, I was solo prosecuting felony-level jury trials in military courts-martial, and the level of training I had received made the work seem almost second-nature. My legal education at Campbell Law, I realized within a year of graduation, had been a professional gold mine. I was, and am, lucky and fortunate to be a Campbell lawyer.”
Today his oldest of three children, daughter Mary Claire, is nearing the finish line of her second year as a student at Campbell Law. Like her father, she has been an active member of the law school community throughout her tenure, competing with trial teams and serving as the law school’s student representative to the American Bar Association. In October 2012 she received the Rick Edmundson Award during the Richard A. Lord Moot Court Competition, roughly 25 years after her father collected the same honor as a third-year student.
“I didn’t know that my dad had won the same award until I called him to tell him that I won it,” said Mary Claire. “My father’s always been a mentor to me, and he’s been a great resource for me as a student because he can provide tips for moot court competitions and advice on other issues. It’s a great help to know that he’s done this all before.”
”Although I was convinced that she was well-suited for the profession, I never said a word to Mary Claire about law school,” said Don. “When she announced to me her junior year in college that she wanted to go into law, I kept my fingers crossed that Campbell Law would become her destination. As it turned out, she had several options with a number of excellent law schools. When she chose Campbell Law, I was excited that we would have the unique Campbell experience in common.
“When she won the Rick Edmonson Award at the Rick Lord moot court competition, the same award that I was very fortunate to receive 27 years before, I was a grateful and proud papa to say the least. Having her at Campbell is heartwarming for me, and I know that she is in the best hands with our outstanding faculty and staff.”
This summer Mary Claire will head to Charlotte to gain experience at Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo LLP. She is on track to graduate and sit for the North Carolina Bar Exam in 2014. Regardless of where her legal career takes her, she’s confident in the sound education that she’s enjoyed at Campbell Law.
“I came to Campbell Law knowing that my father had a great experience here,” said Mary Claire. “I know that I made the right decision.”
Whatever the future holds, the story of Don and Mary Claire Brown has all the makings of a good read.