Mr Brown, who was 69 years of age, passed away on the weekend at St Vincent's hospital in Sydney after a courageous battle with leukaemia.
Commencing with the Sydney firm of Minter, Simpson & Co. as an articled clerk in 1973, he became a Partner in 1979 and was Managing Partner from 1984 until 1987. In addition, Mr Brown was a member of MinterEllison's Partnership Board for 16 years until 2003, and then became Corporate Division Head (now called Capital Markets & Corporate).
"As Managing Partner, Leigh was a key driver and played a central role in the 1987 merger of Minter Simpson, Ellison Hewison & Whitehead and Gillott Moir & Winneke to form MinterEllison," said Nathan Deveson, MinterEllison's current Sydney Managing Partner. "Leigh was an architect of the success of MinterEllison and the culture that binds us today. He was a true legend of the Firm who left an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of working with him."
"Leigh was not driven by personal gain or self-aggrandisement – it was always about the clients and the Firm. He was dedicated to the profession, unfailingly polite and always respectful and appreciative of everyone at MinterEllison," said Mr Deveson.
It was these qualities that saw Mr Brown become one of the country's leading corporate lawyers, recognised as such not only in Australia but around the globe.
"Leigh always made it clear that while what we do is tremendously satisfying, the practice of law is a privilege and we each have a responsibility to give back to the Firm and to the next generation of the profession," said Stuart Johnson, MinterEllison Managing Partner Capital Markets & Corporate. "He brought through to partnership, from his own practice, at least a dozen Partners and influenced the careers of so many more professionals."
"Leigh's client skills were legendary, working on some of Australia's most significant transactions over the years with his outstanding commercial insight, judgment, clarity of thought and ability to cut to the heart of an issue," said Mr Johnson. "He pioneered many of our deep relationships formed with law firms around the world through organisations such as the World Law Group."
"Leigh wrote the book on being a successful corporate Partner before there was a book," said Mr Johnson. "Leigh was renowned for his commitment to our summer clerkship program and was responsible for bringing many lawyers into the Firm and launching their careers."
MinterEllison will celebrate Mr Brown's significant contributions to the Firm and the role he has played in inspiring so many of us at MinterEllison.