Distinguished Lawyer Memorial Honoree

Hon. Gerald Brown

Gerald Brown served as an Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, from 1963 until 1965; and as that court’s Presiding Justice for the next 20 years. He was appointed by the Chief Justice to serve as the Administrative Presiding Justice for the entire Fourth Appellate District in 1970 – an office he held until his retirement in 1985. Justice Brown also served twice as a member of California’s Judicial Council (1971-1975 and 1981-1985). As a jurist, Justice Brown was renowned for his concise and plainly written opinions; as a Presiding Justice, he was widely known for overseeing a collegial and extremely efficient intermediate appellate court. Born on June 4, 1915, in Chamberlain, South Dakota, Gerald Brown was the son of the first president of the South Dakota State Bar Association and grandson of a justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court. Justice Brown, a Rhodes scholar, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Southern California in 1937. He received his law degree from Yale University Law School in 1941. After being admitted the California Bar in 1942, Justice Brown was a successful trial lawyer with O'Melveny & Myers (1942-1943), the Santa Fe Railway Company (1944-1947), and Best, Best & Krieger (from 1949 until his appointment to the bench in 1963). In 2003, the Gerald Brown Inn of Appellate Court was established in his honor to promote bench/bar collegiality and enhance the legal profession.