In Memoriam: Jonathan D. Morris

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Our Morgan Lewis community mourns the tragic and sudden loss of our partner and dear friend Jon Morris—an exemplary lawyer, advisor, role model, mentor, and friend—from an aggressive form of cancer at the age of 50. Jon was compassionate, funny, collaborative, patient, and approachable. He was a driving force in our New York office and across our global corporate practice, and he embodied the best of Morgan Lewis.

Jon Morris

Jon spent his entire career at Morgan Lewis. He was elected to the partnership in 2007, but his time at the firm began in 1993 as a document clerk while a student at the University of Pennsylvania. He returned in 1997 as a summer associate, and then joined the firm as an associate in 1998 after earning his JD from the University of Michigan Law School. Jon was part of our firm’s leadership team, most recently serving as a Deputy Practice Leader of our Corporate practice, and on the firm’s Advisory Board. During his career, Jon also served as a member of the Diversity and Recruiting Committees, as well as a co-leader of our M&A practice.

Jon was known as an outstanding lawyer and advocate for our clients, delivering exceptionally on every engagement. He loved being a transactional lawyer and his favorite thing to do was to negotiate. He served as trusted counsel to many key clients across industries on mergers and acquisitions, equity investments, and joint ventures. His stellar work included representing Dr Pepper Snapple Group in its high-profile merger with Keurig Green Mountain, creating “a North American beverage behemoth boasting roughly $11 billion in combined annual revenue,” and separately in its acquisition of Bai Brands. Other notable deal representations included Oaktree Capital Management in its sale of Vac One Acquisition and its subsidiaries to Gallant Capital Partners and Pro-Vac; Contract Pharmacal Corp. in the sale of 85% equity stake in FPP Holding; Spire Orthopedic Partners in its partnership with Orthopedic Associates of Dutchess County and affiliate The Surgery Center at Orthopedic Associates; and GCM Grosvenor in the acquisition of a significant ownership stake in Horizon Acquisition Parent (parent company of Horizon Telcom), among others.

A deeply respected deal lawyer, Jon was recognized often for his work, including being named as a BTI M&A Client Service All-Star by BTI Consulting, a Notable Practitioner in IFLR1000 Financial and Corporate for five years running including 2023, Recommended by The Legal 500 US, and as a Top 40 Under 40 for Legal Advisers by The M&A Advisor.

Just as important to him was his dedication to pro bono. Jon devoted many hours to providing free legal services to those in need, including 501c3 work critical to small organizations forming nonprofits to support their communities. He was also very meaningfully involved in the Jewish youth organization Moving Traditions. 

Jon was a superior mentor and he had a lasting impact on the careers of many lawyers, some of whom are clients today. Many note how they have benefited from his wisdom and had the good fortune of sharing laughs along the way. He loved to train junior lawyers, and he loved to advocate for the success of others. He was always generous with his time, his wisdom, and his humanity. 

Jon was a devoted husband and father and made sure that his colleagues understood the importance of family. He was deeply proud of and devoted to his wife Nikki and his children Devon and Reid.

We are grateful for everything we learned from Jon in our too-short time with him, and he will be deeply missed by us and our clients. Through his mentorship, warmth, and good humor, Jon will have enduring impact on our Morgan Lewis family.