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Shelter Island Reporter obituary: David W. Brown

David W. Brown, a resident of Ram Island and Manhattan, passed away in his sleep on October 14 at the age of 47.

A funeral service was held at the First Presbyterian Church in Greenwich Village.

A graduate of Harvard College (’97) and Harvard Law School (’00), where he served as Notes Editor of the Harvard Law Review, Dave joined the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison as a summer associate in 1999 and returned to the firm’s litigation department in the fall of 2001, following his clerkship for Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Dave quickly established himself as indispensable for his first-rate legal work, dedication to clients and absolute professionalism. He was elected as a partner in October 2008 at the age of 33 — an unusually rapid rise to the partnership.

Dave was a brilliant lawyer, a loyal friend to many and a loving husband and father. Dave’s impeccable judgment, work ethic and commitment to seeking justice made him one of America’s most respected lawyers and a cherished member of the Paul, Weiss community. Dave’s charismatic personality, fierce wit and wise counsel earned him many best friends.

At home on Shelter Island with his wife, daughter and dog, is where Dave found comfort, love and peace. His time with his daughter was cut way too short for her to ever fully know his specialness.

Dave was a leader in the legal community and stood up for what was right and just. Dave was kind, generous, empathetic and passionate and his loss is irreplaceable.

Dave’s many professional achievements are too numerous to list, but his career at Paul, Weiss was extraordinary. He handled some of the highest-stakes litigations and most sensitive, high-profile investigative matters on behalf of the firm’s most important clients. Dave was a champion for social justice and fairness in the criminal justice system.

He led a team in the exoneration case of Pablo Fernandez, an innocent man who spent 24 years in prison in New York for a murder he did not commit. Dedicated to pro bono work on behalf of incarcerated clients, Dave believed in giving back and paying it forward. He was a valued mentor to countless law students and Paul, Weiss associates and frequently spoke at colleges and law schools about his career path, pro bono work and issues of social justice.

Dave was extraordinarily engaged in the community, serving on multiple public interest boards, including the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Harlem Link Charter School and the Council of Urban Professionals, among many others.

He leaves behind his wife, Claire Evans; their infant daughter, Fiona; two nephews, Henry and Simon Myers; and his loyal dog, Buddy.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Village Health Works — 45 W. 36th Street, 8th Floor, New York NY 10018 — a nonprofit focused on providing education and healthcare in Burundi, Africa. Dave and Claire traveled to Burundi in early 2020 to visit the rural hospital that the organization is building. That trip had a lasting impact on Dave.