The legal community in North Texas turned out in force Wednesday to witness the renaming of the federal courthouse after Judge Paul Brown.

The legal community in North Texas turned out in force Wednesday to witness the renaming of the federal courthouse after Judge Paul Brown.


"Judge Brown was a judge’s judge and a great inspiration to me and all of those who had the privilege of working with him," said Leonard Davis, chief judge of the Eastern District of Texas.


Judge Brown, a native of Pottsboro who graduated from Denison High School and the University of Texas Law School, was appointed to the bench in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan. Brown took senior status, a type of semi-retirement, in 2001 and retired completely in 2006. He died in November of 2012.


On Wednesday it was Judge Brown’s sons and grandsons who pulled away the cloth that covered the new marker in front of the building bearing the new name: Paul Brown United States Courthouse.


"From the moment I came on the Court, Judge Brown was a real inspiration to me," said Davis, who was appointed to be a federal judge after Brown took senior status. "The example that he set and they set, and that the other judges on our Court set, is one that makes the Eastern District of Texas what it is today and continues to this day and into the future. And that is one of collegiality. It is that collegiality that I think sets our district apart from others"


Carl. E. Stewart, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, said he didn’t know Judge Brown as well as most of the people gathered in front of the courthouse Wednesday. Stewart said it was a powerful statement on Brown’s impact as a jurist to see so many of his former law clerks in the audience. He said those people will take Judge Brown’s legacy into the future.


"This is not just a ministerial act of naming a building after someone because they’re dead and it ought to happen," Stewart said. "This is an act of love to name a building on behalf of someone whose breadth and depth in the community is so far swept that it is a fitting tribute to him and something that the family can be very proud of."


Stewart said that Brown’s involvement in the community translated to a "giant footprint of public service that spans from his young adult to his senior years." He commented on the fact that Brown joined the Navy at 17 and served in the military then began to serve in his community when he returned home.


"He didn’t have to be a judge to figure out that being a public servant was a very good thing to do," Stewart added. Brown continued that public service as he worked as an attorney and served on the state bar before being named as an assistant United States Attorney and then as the United States Attorney. Then eventually he was appointed as the a judge for the eastern District Texas.


"I think the best testament to his dedication to the rule law is when I went into the courtroom and saw his portrait. He is sitting there turned with his robe, but he has his pen in his hand. He was actually working. He took the time and said you can take the picture, but I am just gonna keep doing," Stewart said. He added that the courthouse itself casts a giant shadow, but not nearly so big a shadow as that cast by Brown’s reputation for public service.


Clyde Siebman, a Sherman attorney who clerked for Judge Brown said, "It is appropriate that this building is named after Paul Brown. It was Paul Brown that put it on the map of modern jurisprudence. The intellectual property law docket and patent docket that we have heard so much about of recent was actually started here in Judge Brown’s courtroom in the late 1980s. Some of the most prominent and greatest lawyers in the United States have walked through those very doors to do battle for the rights of their clients appearing before Judge Paul Brown."


Siebman said he was there when Brown moved into the courthouse in 1985. "Judge Brown literally brought this building back to life after decades of it having only occasional use as a courthouse. Judge Brown served in this building as a district judge longer than any other district judge has ever in this courthouse."


Siebman said he was just "a pup lawyer" when he first entered the courthouse and helped to move law books into Brown’s offices. Siebman said the quarters back then were "real cozy." He then added that that was fine with him and the others who worked with Judge Brown. Siebman said while clerking for Brown he and others learned that being on time equaled respect for the people with business before the Court, and they learned that Paul Brown thought everyone who appeared in the Court deserved respect.


Judge Ron Clark, a long-time state representative for the Grayson County area, represented the Brown family in the ceremony Wednesday.


Clark, who will become the senior judge for the Eastern District of Texas next year, teased that it was odd for him to be on Travis Street two weeks from Election Day knowing that he wasn’t there to ask for votes.


"It is such an honor for the Brown family to have this building renamed in honor of Judge Paul Brown," Clark continued. "It is a building that he loved, that he took pride in and the family is sure that in the years ahead, Judge Brown would be pleased to know that as you pass by this building or as you enter this building, you’re going to feel the same pride."


Clark then remarked on a Stewart’s statement about the shadow of the building being equal to the shadow of Paul Brown himself.


"But it is not just a shadow. Think for a minute of his influence and how it is still going forward today. Law clerks like Judge Corky Henderson, law clerks like Judge Amos Mazzant who was also on the Court of Appeals and then you have Clyde Siebman who is a well-known leader in this area in political parties and member of the state bar and his wife who was with him when he was (Judge Brown’s law clerk) and Judge Brown influenced her and she is now Judge Carol Siebman. And then we also have others here such as his nephew Joe Brown who is our County Attorney," Clark said.


He also pointed out Sherman attorney Roger Sanders who was served as Paul Brown’s magistrate judge and went on to be a state representative. Clark said a look at Brown’s other law clerks shows that his influence reaches into the top tier law firms in the state and into many government offices and corporations.


"Nobody who was in front of Judge Brown as I was, or who clerked for him as these law clerks did, failed to pick up from him the standards that Clyde Siebman talked about and that is all still going on today," Clark said. "So it is not just the shadow of a building. It is a living legacy of judges and attorneys and people in our community and through out the state."