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The Reavis Era

Jack Reavis' Firm history discussionJack Reavis took over the position of Managing Partner in 1948, a critical time in the history of the Firm. It was recovering from the strains placed upon it by the manpower drains of World War II and reintegrating returning partners into its ranks. Clients were busy unwinding government contracts, and the Truman Administration tried to force through an inflationary steel labor settlement by seizing the nation’s steel mills. Luther Day and other counsel representing the nation's major steel companies successfully opposed this effort in the Supreme Court. All of this involved a period of intensive activity for Jones Day.

Reavis was a brilliant tax lawyer as well as a savvy businessman. At one time, he sat on eleven Fortune 500 corporate boards of directors, and whenever he spoke, he captured the room. His major priority for the Firm was a concentration on excellence in the delivery of legal services. Reavis’ initial ambition for Jones Day at the beginning of his tenure was for the Firm to be known as the best between New York and Chicago. As a result, he placed great emphasis upon recruiting law review editors from schools of national standing and law clerks of prominent judges and the Supreme Court. He also instituted a strict anti-nepotism rule, which he applied to his own son. These efforts were rewarded with a bumper crop of highly talented new recruits who were to fuel the growth in the reputation of the Firm for the next several decades. These included Hugh Calkins, an exceptional tax lawyer and eventually chairman of the Harvard Corporation; Antonin Scalia, a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Patrick F. McCartan and Richard W. Pogue, both to become Managing Partners of Jones Day; James T. Lynn, later Secretary of HUD and Director of OMB under President Ford; and the future State Department Legal Advisor Herbert Hansell, among many others. Reavis also institutionalized the practice of confidentiality of partner and associate compensation.

In 1967, Jones Day took advantage of a confluence of opportunities to expand its Washington presence. It merged with a small but fast-growing aviation and government contracts firm known as Pogue & Neal (led by Welch Pogue, the first General Counsel and second Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board), and recruited Erwin Griswold, former Solicitor General of the U.S. and Dean of Harvard Law School (who had grown up and briefly practiced law in Cleveland before going to Harvard). The office grew rapidly, helping Jones Day to grow to almost 200 lawyers by the early 1970’s. By that time, it was clear that much of the nation’s future economic growth would be outside of Cleveland and the Midwest, and thus the Firm began to look at opportunities in other parts of the country. In 1973, it opened a small office in Los Angeles, in part because of the presence of the aerospace half of one of its clients – TRW – and with the hope that the government contracts lawyers in the Washington Office could service aerospace clients based in California. This initiative got off to a rocky beginning; indeed, the California Bar Association threatened to adopt a rule that would prohibit the use of a national firm name unless a name partner lived in the state. This seemed nonsensical and parochial; the Firm hired very effective local counsel and the Bar Association subsequently decided the rule was not appropriate.

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