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Meet Brian T. Maye

 

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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Brian T. Maye

By: Lynn Gosewisch

Brian, knew early on that he wanted to be a lawyer, and his family had a lot to do with that desire. He grew up in Auburn, New York, the youngest of four children, in an Irish family that frequently argued politics and sports around the kitchen table. The discussions were anchored by his mother, a third-grade teacher, and his father, a counselor. But it was his grandfather, a lawyer and judge, who gave Brian his first glimpse into his future career. Participating in the family debates forged in Brian the instinct for advocacy that made becoming a lawyer inevitable. On becoming partner, Brian says it is a high point in his career. He calls it, "a milestone every lawyer strives to reach."  This milestone compliments a career made up of service and hard work.

After graduating from The University of Akron School of Law, Brian delayed his law career and joined the Peace Corps. He was assigned to teach English at a University in Nikolaev, Ukraine. He immersed himself in Ukrainian culture, learning their language and their way of life. In the two years and three months he lived in Ukraine he never travelled back to the United States. His time living in a country where people struggled to get access to health care or help from their government gave him a new perspective on life back home. "We are a very fortunate society," he says of the United States.  

When he returned home from Ukraine, Brian joined the U.S. Navy and became a Judge Advocate General Corps officer.  His interest in the military evolved from his father's service in the Army and his brother's service in the Marines.  Within three months of arriving at his first duty station, Brian found himself as lead counsel trying a felony rape case. As he reflects back on that case he says, "I was very new. I had no idea what I was doing." He worked hard to compensate for his lack of experience and in the end it paid off. The jury came back with a full acquittal for his client. "I think one of the reasons we prevailed in that case was that we were far more prepared than the prosecutors," Brian says of that early experience.

One trial in his military career taught Brian that some cases require more than a knowledge of the law. In a difficult child abuse case, Brian was compelled to develop a special attorney-client relationship with a victimized child. He got to know the young victim and became more invested in the trial as he became her advocate. Brian claims that as a prosecutor it is "part of your job to help the victim and seek justice on their behalf." Brian secured a conviction, bringing some relief to the victim who saw the perpetrator sentenced to 14 years in prison. Brian describes that trial as being "very emotional." He will never forget standing up in court to deliver the closing argument to a jury full of military men and seeing some of them with tears in their eyes. 

In 2004 Brian was sent to Baghdad in the first group of Navy lawyers tasked with creating the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. As a Special Prosecutor he worked with the Iraqi judicial system, investigating cases and handing over evidence to Iraqi prosecutors in order build cases against insurgents. He dined and drank tea with Iraqi judges who helped him understand the culture and legal system. There is no jury in an Iraqi trial. Instead, the fate of defendants is decided by judges. According to Brian, "It didn't appear that there was due process. Defendants had few rights." It was another experience that made him grateful for his circumstances in life.

Home these days is Chicago, Illinois where Brian currently lives with his wife and their three children,  He left the military in 2006 and became an associate at Adler, Murphy and McQuillen LLP. Since then, Brian's practice has focused primarily on the defense of civil lawsuits with a particular emphasis in the firm's nationwide aviation practice. The practical experience Brian gained early in his career serves him well in his representation of airlines, product manufacturers and other aviation entities.