Attorney of the Month Award for Pima County
By Michele Mirto
Luke Brown was honored as the Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney of the Month for October. He received his award at the VLP’s Annual Awards Luncheon on November 5. Luke began volunteering with the Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) of Southern Arizona Legal Aid in 2013. Luke assists the VLP with domestic relations clinics. He also accepts domestic cases for direct representation. Recently, Luke completed work on a case for a VLP client. With Luke’s help, and after multiple hearings, the client was awarded spousal maintenance. He dedicated 63 hours to the matter.
The VLP’s monthly award is a distinct honor: of the 1,100 attorneys who volunteer their time with VLP, only 12 receive the VLP’s Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney award each year.
Q & A with Luke Brown
Where are you from? Tucson, Arizona.
Where did you go to college? University of Arizona
Where did you go to law school? Baylor University
How long have you lived in Tucson? Since 1984.
What is the history of your practice of law? While going to the U of A, I worked at the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade. While in law school I volunteered at Catholic Charities of Central Texas and Lone Star Legal Aid. In 2009, I worked for an attorney in Texas doing debt collection work. Since 2010, I’ve practiced family law here in Tucson.
What are your current practice areas? Family law.
What drives you to volunteer with VLP? Our family law commissioners mention VLP whenever given the opportunity. Peer pressure was a factor. Also, I had a background working with legal aid service provider in Texas and it was a natural fit volunteering at the VLP clinics. I think it’s the right thing to do.
Anyone you would like to acknowledge for contributing to your legal career / pro bono service? I would like to acknowledge Buddy Mizelle for being a mentor, giving me a job, and being an example of what it means to serve others.
A great anecdote from your VLP experiences? Through VLP I met with a client in a divorce case who found herself in a desperate situation. Her husband was well off while she was on public assistance. On top of that, she had signed a pre-marital agreement disclaiming any spousal support or property from her husband. As it turns out, the law provided that she was eligible for spousal maintenance notwithstanding the terms of her pre-marital agreement. We ultimately obtained spousal maintenance. This is currently my greatest memory from the VLP.
Favorite Tucson restaurant? El Guero Canelo
Things you do when not working or volunteering your legal services? I have done Judo since I was five years old. We have a team that meets at Wakefield Middle School. I would go everyday if I was able.
What is something you would like people to know about you? It’s by fate that I ended up in Tucson. I intended to be a JAG officer in the Marine Corps. I was accepted into the January 2010 class for Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA. A week before I was to leave, I received a phone call saying that I would have to wait until the summer to start OCS. This call was followed up by a letter and ultimately I was deemed unfit because I had childhood asthma. It was April 2010 and I had a week left to sign up for the July bar exam. I passed the exam, started working with Buddy Mizelle, and got married a year later. Things didn’t work out as I had planned--they worked out better.
Best vacation destination? Kauai, Hawaii.