For Alex Brown, the law is a truth-finding mission. Whether bringing an antitrust case against Google or a false advertising case on behalf of sugar farmers, he is meticulous and thorough, never stopping until all the facts are uprooted and the path to justice is clear.
Before switching to over to fight for the “little guy” doing plaintiffs’ work, Brown was a partner at heavyweight Texas defense firm Thompson & Knight (now part of Holland & Knight), where he had a robust complex commercial practice. The perspective gives him invaluable insight in his current role as the Managing Attorney for the Business Litigation group at the storied Lanier Law Firm.
Lawdragon: Can you describe the mix of work you do within your practice?
Alex Brown: We handle all kinds of business litigation cases across a variety of industries. From simple breach of contract to complex antitrust and environmental contamination cases on behalf of state governments.
LD: Out of all the work you’ve done in your career, what would you say is the most interesting matter you’ve handled?
AB: I tried and won an arbitration in London against the federal government of Nigeria. When the government refused to honor the judgment, I froze a billion-dollar oil and gas trading account held in the U.S. They quickly paid after that.
LD: Are there any trends you are seeing in your practice in terms of the types of matters keeping you busy these days?
AB: I’ve noticed that businesses have become more profit-motivated and consumer-unfriendly than ever before. Consumers and small businesses have to be on guard constantly to avoid being harmed. Money and stock prices have taken precedent over safety and ethical business practices.
LD: Was there an early experience or mentor who really helped shape the course of your professional life?
AB: I have been fortunate to work with and against some of the best trial lawyers out there. I also served as the head of Mark Lanier’s trial team for more than four years. I learned tremendously from each of them, especially Mark.
LD: Can you share a lawyer you have come up against in a negotiation or case that you admire, and why?
AB: I handled a case against a rifle manufacturer for a young man who lost his leg in a misfire accident. The company lawyer took a very practical and compassionate approach to the case, and we were able to settle for a fair amount very quickly.
LD: How would you describe your style as a lawyer? Or, how do you think others see you?
I like to think that I am diligent and practical, and a careful strategist. But if the other side insists on a “knife fight” so be it.
AB: I like to think that I am diligent and practical, and a careful strategist. But if the other side insists on a “knife fight” so be it.
LD: There are many high-quality firms out there. What do you try to “sell” about your firm to potential recruits, peers or even the public – how is The Lanier Law Firm unique?
AB: Our firm has the resources to take on the largest companies in the world that can’t bury us in paper in the hopes of driving up costs. And they certainly can’t out-work us. We are nimble and practical, always keeping our clients’ goals front and center.
LD: What do you do for fun when you’re outside the office?
AB: Anything with my wife and three children. I especially enjoy traveling and being outdoors.
LD: Do you have a favorite book or movie about the justice system?
AB: Several. John Grisham’s “The Rain Maker” and “The Verdict” starring Paul Newman come to mind. Both are about courageous lawyers pursuing a righteous cause against the odds. And of course, “My Cousin Vinny” because it’s hilarious.
LD: If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be doing now?
AB: Something similar to practicing law, which requires truth seeking, such as a homicide detective or investigative journalist.