Monday Profile- Kathleen Brown


Kathleen Brown grew up in Beverly Hills and graduated with distinction from the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois College of Law.

She started her career as a high school Spanish teacher, then worked as an assistant public defender in Illinois for almost four years.  She and her former husband returned to Michigan when he got a job at the University of Michigan. When her younger child started kindergarten, she became the most-used lawyer on the Washtenaw County juvenile appointments list, which has since reorganized. 

Brown lives in Pittsfield Township with her children, Sarah and Christopher, who attend Huron High School.



By Jo Mathis
Legal News

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A balanced life with family, friends and work. I really love to travel.
What is your greatest fear? Poverty.
Which living person do you most admire? I really look up to my high school French teacher, John O’Donnell, who is now nearly 80 years old. He is like a second father to me and has been for about 35 years.
What is the trait you hate most in yourself? Procrastination.
What is the trait you hate most in others? Lying and/or bluffing attorneys in negotiations is irritating and thankfully, rare.
If you suddenly had an extra room in your house, what would you do with it? I’ve always wanted a patio made of river stone with a grape arbor overhead. 
Currently reading… I just finished “Wise Blood” by Flannery O’Conno. I’m starting “Silver Linings Playbook,”  with “The Great Gatsby” on deck.
How do you feel at 8 a.m. on Mondays? I don’t sleep well recently. I tell my clients they can reach me seven days a week, 9 to 9.  At 8, I’m often back to bed after launching my River Rats for the day.
My favorite item of clothing… shoes, bathing suits and down jackets, though not all at the same time.
What words or phrases do you overuse? “Um”
What was your most memorable meal?  When six months pregnant, I took the subway with Ron to Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago. I ate all the courses!
What is your most treasured material possession? My dog, Tia, a rescued mutt from Delta, Ohio.  People say she looks like a lamb.
If you could do one thing professionally… I would love to clerk for a judge in Washtenaw County.
If you could have any car in the world, what would you drive? Right now it’s a Saturn. Since my grandfather, a stage coach maker, arrived here at age 21 from Scotland and did cabinet work for GM, I always drive a GM. Dad and brother work(ed) there, too. 
Where have you been that you will never return—if you can help it? Making $14,800 a year teaching five Spanish classes a day, living near Altar Road and Jefferson.
Favorite Ann Arbor area hang-outs: Coffeehouses. I’m touring Ann Arbor, going to coffee somewhere new each time that I meet with a friend from fourth grade.
What was your most embarrassing moment? At a hearing to terminate a mother’s parental rights, I accidentally taped over my own evidence. I had a back-up.
Your proudest moment(s) as a lawyer?  As an assistant public defender, I won six of my nine first trials. Once I got a witness to admit that they’d called a security alert because some black youths entered the parking lot of a Kohl’s store. I won that trial. 
What would surprise people about your job? Bankruptcy law is not intuitive. For example, you don’t file some motions online under “motions” but rather under “other.” 
When and where were you happiest? In college, I stayed on an island in the Mediterranean Sea. The water is seven colors, the fields resplendent with red flowers and lizards.
What’s your greatest achievement: Raising my teenagers.
Do you have spiritual beliefs? I’d say I’m a moderate Catholic. I’ve sat in silence with Quakers, had a “private” audience with the Pope at the Vatican, chanted with Star Hawk the witch, waited on the sidewalk so I could get a ticket for the Dalai Lama, and participated in a Native American sage burning ceremony. And that’s just a few of my adventures.
What would be your ideal job? Besides clerking for a judge in Washtenaw County? Something else with benefits! My life’s work has been about serving children. I’d like to do foreign adoptions. 
What one thing do you wish people knew about your work? Even though I serve a very challenging clientele sometimes, I love them all.
What is something most people don't know about you? 1. I’m the first person in my family to go to college and can be naive. 2. My first job was counselor at Camp Al-Gon-Quain, through the Ann Arbor Y.  
What do you wish more people understood? Like Anne Frank said, people are really good at heart.
Who is your favorite character of fiction? Sara from the Little Princess. No matter what surprises are thrown at her, she thrives with creativity and panache. 
Favorite words:  “I am with you always.” 
Favorite movie:  A TV movie about the life of Christ made a big impression on me when I was age 13.
What’s one thing you can do now that you couldn’t do 20 years ago?  Since juvenile court reorganized, I lost about 90 percent of my work, so I’m learning new areas.
Favorite place to spend money:  I mostly just buy the basics these days at Ypsilanti Meijer. Yawn, I know!
What is your motto? Carpe Diem!
Where would you like to be when you're 90? Still playing the ukulele in John Reiser’s cajun band? Or remarried, taking my children, grandchildren and new husband on a cruise bound for the Greek Islands, where the colors are said to be transcendent.