May 2, 2008
From Securities Regulation to Jessica Simpson, Chris Barnstable-Brown (’08) prepares for family’s Kentucky Derby gala
Right now, Chris Barnstable-Brown (’08) is cramming for his Securities Regulation final, but as soon as he boards his plane to Louisville, Kentucky on May 1, he’ll transform from law student to event planner. Throughout his time at BU Law, Barnstable-Brown has continued to plan for his family’s annual Barnstable Brown Gala, an exclusive party and diabetes fundraiser following the Kentucky Derby. With the Derby on May 3, Barnstable-Brown is betting on “The Big Brown” and big fun at this year’s gala.
“The party itself is a blast, although I’m usually working pretty hard during it to make sure everything is running smoothly,” says Barnstable-Brown. Securities Regulation final aside, he will begin coordinating security, police, celebrity arrivals, and décor. Though he’s used to gala mania, Barnstable-Brown says, “You still have those moments when you stop and say, ‘Am I really standing in between Jessica Simpson and Michael Jordan? And I’m in my own backyard?’”
Now one of the most anticipated celebrity events of the year, the Barnstable Brown Gala started off as a small, diabetes fundraiser. Barnstable-Brown’s father, the late Dr. David Brown, founded the gala in 1988 to raise money for diabetes research. Proceeds from the event are donated directly to the Barnstable Brown Pediatric Diabetes Laboratories at the University of Kentucky and the Barnstable Brown Research Laboratory at the University of Louisville.
“I get the most satisfaction from knowing how much we’ve raised for diabetes, and the fact that we give it directly to research rather than just some charitable organization. We have our own scientists and endowed chairs, and we’ve raised millions over the years – including over $2 million just this past year. My father had diabetes and it’s the reason he can’t see me graduate from law school,” says Barnstable-Brown.
Barnstable-Brown’s law school experience and finance finesse have undoubtedly added to the fundraiser’s success. “The party is run like a business, and if my Mom is the CEO, I’ve long thought of myself as kind of like her corporate counsel, in the sense that when issues arise I’m there to help work through them and come up with solutions. I’ve always liked solving problems, which is a major reason I came to law school,” he says.
After graduating from BU Law this spring, Barnstable-Brown will clerk for Judge Boyce F. Martin of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, after which he will return to Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
However, before he embarks on his professional career, Barnstable-Brown has this year’s celebrity antics to look forward to. “We’ve had our share of celebrities falling down steps, dancing on the dance floor, and little ego conflicts with who gets to sing next on stage. Every year is different than the last,” he says.