Law student remembered as bright, outgoing and optimistic

By Steve Thorpe

Legal News

The Wayne State University campus community and coworkers at a prominent local law firm are mourning the death of third-year Law School student Tiane Brown, reported missing early last week and found dead last Wednesday morning.

According to the law school, in addition to being a promising Wayne Law student, Tiane had earned a bachelor's degree in biology and two master's degrees, in business and biomedical engineering, all from WSU.

Brown joined the Bloomfield Hills office of Rader, Fishman, & Grauer in September as a law clerk. She assisted with patent prosecution at the intellectual property firm.

"We're shocked and saddened by the news," said Leigh Taggart, a senior member of the firm who worked closely with Brown as she learned the ins and outs of patent law. "Tiane was a very bright, outgoing and optimistic person. She was very engaged in the legal work she was doing, obviously as a law student under the close supervision of senior attorneys at the firm. But she was clearly a young woman who had an excellent future ahead in the field of intellectual property law."

The law school had planned to publish a feature story last week about Tiane and her work with the Business and Community Law Clinic, the Patent Procurement Clinic, and her community service work.

Brown had first-hand experience in the past with the city's chronic crime problems.

In an emailed letter to the Law School community, Interim Dean Jocelyn Benson recounted a poignant quote from Brown in the planned feature story:

"We want to help the children growing up in the city," Brown said. "My cousin was killed in Detroit. He was 25. We grew up together; he was like my brother. Seeing his life taken away makes you realize how short life is. You need to live each day like it's your last. That has helped me keep my focus. I stay involved because I want to make a difference."

Benson added, "Living those words of making a difference is the best way we all can honor her memory."

Police continue to investigate the fatal shooting of the 33-year-old student and mother of three, whose body was found near Detroit's long-abandoned Packard auto complex.

Detroit police Chief James Craig told reporters that two "people of interest" are in custody in the killing of third-year law student Tiane Brown. Craig has said he can't comment on the motive.

Craig says authorities found Brown's body last Wednesday morning in a vacant lot near the former auto plant.

Brown was last seen on campus last Monday. Her parents in Bloomfield Township, who had been watching her children, reported her missing last Tuesday.

In a statement, Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson described Brown as "an exceptional and active student" and said her loss was "devastating" to the campus community. He said that the school would offer psychological counseling to those who needed it.

A candlelight vigil was held Wednesday night, organized by the WSU Dean of Students Office, the Law School and the Wayne Law Student Bar Association Board of Governors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Fund established for children of Tiane Brown

At a candlelight vigil held last Wednesday night in remembrance of Tiane Brown and in support of her family, Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson announced that the university would establish a fund to assist Brown's children. The details on how to contribute are now available.

Checks should be made payable to Wayne State University and reference "The Tiane Brown Fund" on the memo line. If donors would like notification to be sent to the Brown Family, they should provide their full contact information.

Checks can be addressed to:

Wayne State University

Beecher House

5475 Woodward Avenue

Detroit, MI 48202

Credit card donations can be made by calling the Wayne State Fund Office at 313-577-2263 or 577-2275 or by visiting

Wilson also announced that, after discussion with the WSU Board of Governors, Wayne State will offer free tuition to Brown's three children if they choose to attend the university. Brown will receive her law degree posthumously in May 2014, when she was scheduled to graduate.

Published: Mon, Nov 4, 2013


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