"The opening of the medical school in the fall of 2013 will give us some fantastic opportunities for cross-disciplinary learning," Brown said. "Someday, we might have a joint JD and master's of social work, or even a JD and medical degree."
Brown received her JD from the University of Illinois College of Law, clerked for a federal court judge in Illinois and worked as an associate at the law firm of Winston & Strawn in Chicago from 1986-1989.
Prior to coming to Quinnipiac, she was an associate professor at Emory Law School in Atlanta, and over the course of her career she has taught at law schools including the University of Chicago, Georgetown University, Harvard University and Yale University.
Brown has been a senior research scholar in law at Yale University since 1998. Her husband, Ian Ayres, is the William K. Townsend Professor of Law at Yale.
At Quinnipiac, Brown currently teaches alternative dispute resolution, civil procedure, and professional responsibility.
Her research focuses primarily on dispute resolution, lawyers' professional responsibility, and gay rights. In the ADR field, she has published articles that have explored the theory and practice of negotiation, focusing on apology, creativity or the use of email.
She has also written about judicial bias on the basis of sexual orientation and about the applicability of consensus building to debates about equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. She is a co-author of the book Straightforward: Mobilizing Heterosexual Support for Gay Rights, published in 2005.
Back in 1990 or so, Brown explained, she and her husband were thinking about getting married. "Our concern was that so many of our [gay] family members didn't have the same rights that we had to get married," she said.
As a result, she got involved in researching and advocating for gay marriage and testified on behalf of the advocacy group Love Makes A Family during the push for same-sex marriage in Connecticut. "I tried to explain some of the concerns people had, to explain the need for equality under the law," she said.
Brown said that she will continue her teaching duties until the school year ends. She will then attend a conference and immerse herself in learning all she can about being the new dean.
"One advantage of already being here is I can begin learning all of these aspects of the dean's job right away," she said. "Maybe the learning curve won't be so vertical."