Spring 2016

Professor Heidi K. Brown Named New Director of Legal Writing

Professor Heidi K. Brown joined the Law School this spring as director of the legal writing program and associate professor of law, bringing two decades of experience in legal practice and academia to the position. Brown previously served as associate professor of law at New York Law School, where she helped launch the school’s legal practice program. Before that, she was an associate professor of legal research and writing at the Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law in Orange, Calif.

“Heidi’s years of practical expertise, combined with her passion for and dedication to teaching, make her an outstanding addition to the Law School’s world-class faculty and our distinguished legal writing program,” said Dean Nick Allard.

Brown spent numerous years with Moore & Lee, LLP, a boutique litigation firm with offices in the Washington, D.C., area and New York City, where she handled all aspects of litigation and arbitration of complex construction contract and building development disputes. She specialized in brief writing for state and federal cases throughout the United States, and mentored the firm’s junior associates in civil procedure, litigation strategy, and legal writing. Before that, she was an associate at the Manhattan firm of Thacher, Proffitt & Wood and at the Washington, D.C., area firm Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP.

“I’m thrilled to join Brooklyn Law School,” Brown said. “I look forward to building on the already strong writing program, established by Professor Marilyn Walter, and continuing to innovate in ways that directly prepare our students for success in law school, the job market, and their future practice.”

Brown has published three books on legal writing and federal litigation, as well as numerous scholarly articles for law journals. She is currently working on her forthcoming book The Introverted Lawyer, which aims to help law students and lawyers “find their authentic lawyer voices” and overcome anxiety about Socratic legal discourse. Brown was inspired by her own experience overcoming the fear of public speaking as a law student and litigator.

“I was an introverted student, and I suffered from public-speaking anxiety during the early part of my career, which definitely posed a challenge as I sought out my niche in the tough construction litigation world, negotiating contracts and resolving contentious disputes,” Brown said. “However, I felt most comfortable and natural in my role as a legal writer, and eventually established my advocacy voice through writing briefs, drafting transactional agreements, and crafting deposition and trial outlines. Now as a teacher, I try to convey to my students how writing can serve as a solid backbone for every other activity we undertake as lawyers, and strengthen how we orally communicate.”

Brown recently was appointed to the Fulbright Specialist Roster, making her eligible for two international teaching grants in the next five years through the J. William Fulbright Scholars Program. She received her bachelor’s degree in foreign affairs and French literature, and her J.D. from the University of Virginia. She enjoys studying Italian, and recently spent a month teaching legal writing at the University of Trento in Italy.