ILTACON attendees who weren’t at the ACEDS reception sponsored by Everlaw on Monday have been asking me about the toast I gave to Browning as we marked the 8th anniversary of his death.
So, for this who weren’t there, above is the picture I brought, a get well card a number of attendees at ILTACON that year signed and sent to him, and here is what I said, at least as best I can recall.
I started by saying that it was especially bittersweet for me to be at ILTACON this year since it was the first year I was here without Gayle. I noted that she particularly loved the Monday night vendor hall reception since she loved any excuse to costume and it reminded me that the first time I ever saw her was at a Halloween party in a restaurant lounge near my apartment in Seattle where she worked. She was wearing a Wonder Woman costume and I thought to myself, “my goodness that woman has a great, ah, tiara.”
Well, we met and became friends, and not long after we moved to first Sacramento and then San Diego on a very large case I was working on. We met Browning at a tech conference held at the Hotel Del Coronado and we all became fast friends.
It was an unlikely seeming friendship. I was a South Boston Irish Catholic working-class Democrat; Gayle was a Seattle rock & roller whose politics were closer to the Wobblies than any other party while Browning was a north shore of Boston Protestant Republican. But we had a shared love of Bob and Ray, the two and only, the Boston-based comic team who had started in radio back in the days before TV took off. Browning and I were both old enough to have grown up listening to the radio for home entertainment and our love of that old technology was our first common bond.
He was a great friend and mentor not just to me but to countless numbers of other people in the field of legal technology. He was never too busy to give advice and was courteous and kind to everyone. His sense of humor was notorious … I remember him saying about a technology expert with whom he disagreed on just about everything, “often wrong, but never uncertain.” … and of course, his list of swear words that he contributed to firms for their use in searching documents for offensive language was legendary.
He was the type of attorney I wanted to be when I was a young man. Learned and articulate without being pompous or overbearing and always polite and cordial. He was a great friend, colleague, attorney and technologist and he will be missed by us all.
I noted several of the people in the room who had been close to Browning and also a few other friends besides Gayle who have left us, including Jim Keane, Nigel Murray and Ross Kodner. I then finished by raising a glass in a toast with the phrase Bob and Ray used to sign off their radio show.
“ Good night everyone. Write if you get work.”