We lost our great friend and partner John Hyland over the weekend. On Sunday, after a short but fierce struggle, John—peacefully and at home—succumbed to cancer. His wife, Sandy, whose devotion sustained him throughout the ordeal, reports that John retained and exercised his dry wit to the very end. He was 66.
John joined the New York Office in 1986 as part of the Surrey & Morse acquisition, a seminal development in our transformation into a leading international law firm. Due to his disease, John retired in 2017, after three decades as the quintessential Jones Day partner.
John was a leader in this Firm, serving as, among other positions, Administrative Partner for the global M&A Practice and head of the New York corporate group. He was the chief lawyer on many of the Firm's marquee transactions, including the merger of R.H. Donnelly and Dex Media, R.H. Donnelly's purchases of the Sprint and SBC Communications directories businesses, the Hachette companies' acquisition of the Time Warner Book Group and CBS Magazine Publishing, Pernod Ricard's sale of its Orangina and Yoo-Hoo beverages to Cadbury Schweppes, and the sale of the New York Islanders.
Although clients came to John seeking transaction-related advice, they, recognizing his candor, business sense and devotion to their cause, returned to him for a variety of other important matters. Perhaps most valuable to clients was John's ability to help them identify their key objectives. Once he helped clients realize what truly mattered, John persistently counselled them to keep those objectives foremost and resist irrelevant sideshows and noise.
He was firm and tough, but always respectful, and treated everyone on his team as a valued contributor. He was devoted to the professional development of associates and got to know them on a personal level. This continued once those associates made partner or even if they left the Firm for other opportunities. He knew the names of spouses and children, knew where people lived and what they did on the weekends, and offered to help with admissions to schools and golf clubs, among many other things.
Many of us, and his clients as well, valued John as a friend whose imposing demeanor could not disguise his warm-hearted devotion to the Firm, its clients and his family and friends. John made it his mission to cross-sell Jones Day lawyers to his clients and was quick to praise other lawyers, both within the Firm and to his clients. He was generous to a fault with his time and his hospitality. John's fierce loyalty and commitment to this institution exemplified the best qualities of a Jones Day partner.
John was very proud that he attended Regis High School, which is an all scholarship Jesuit high school in New York City. For a kid growing up in NYC, getting admitted to Regis was an unbelievable recognition and point of pride for John and his family. He went on to Holy Cross College and St. John's Law School. John was heart and soul a New York kid.
John is survived by his wife Sandy, his two children John Jr. and Megan, and two grandchildren.
Stephen J. Brogan
April 23, 2018