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Former LACBA President John J. Quinn, Jr. Passes Away

It is with great sadness the Los Angeles County Bar Association shares the news that past President John J. Quinn, Jr. passed away on Sunday, March 26, 2017, at the age of 84. Mr. Quinn was a highly respected litigator for his demeanor and dedication to the highest principles of the legal profession inside and outside of the courtroom. He was also the recipient of LACBA’s highest honor, the Shattuck-Price Outstanding Lawyer Award, in 1992.

“Jack was an amazing colleague: highly talented and effective advocate for clients, tireless volunteer for advancement of the legal system and the arts, and fierce supporter of his friends and family,” said former LACBA President and Executive Director Andrea Sheridan Ordin. “He made inclusion his theme, long before it was popular. As president of our Bar in the mid-seventies he put teeth in our anti-discrimination policy, nominated the first woman to join Chancery, and was a leading proponent of affiliating with all the bars of the County.  It was a joy to work with him when I was executive director of the Bar.

Adding, “With his smile, his laugh, whatever the issue, whatever the problem, he made it look so easy! His example and his friendship made it just a little easier for so many of us throughout our careers.”

Past LACBA President Margaret Morrow, a former partner of Mr. Quinn at the law firm of Quinn, Kully and Morrow said, “Jack played an incredibly important role in the lives of all of us in the firm. He not only taught us what it meant to be good and ethical lawyers, but mentored each of us so we could achieve our own professional goals and ambitions.  He made sure we had fun—organizing tennis and baseball games, exposing us to art and theater, and wandering the halls to make sure we were doing okay and ask about our families.

“Jack played a particularly important role in my professional life by introducing me to the bar association, appointing me to the first bar committee on which I ever served, and encouraging me throughout the years to remain active and seek leadership positions. He was very much my role model and supporter throughout my years of active service in the association and the State Bar, and I will always be grateful to him for paving that path for me and encouraging me to walk down it,” she added.

 John Quinn Photo

September 29, 1932-March 26, 2017

John J. Quinn, Jr., known all his life as “Jack,” passed away from this world peacefully, in the presence of his wife of 55 years, Joan Agajanian Quinn, and their daughters Amanda and Jennifer. 

Jack was born in San Francisco and early in his youth, the family moved to Los Angeles. He attended Washington High School and then took his undergraduate years at USC. After two years of service in the United States Army stationed in Germany, he returned to USC and graduated with his law degree, accompanied by the Order of the Coif award for academic achievement.

Jack then entered into more than 50 years of practice as a prominent and highly respected litigator. During these many years, he provided great legal and personal leadership to a series of law firms bearing his name, the last of which, Quinn, Kully and Morrow, merged into and became the core of the Los Angeles office of Arnold and Porter, a prominent international law firm.

Jack devoted a substantial portion of his time and skills to leadership in the Los Angeles Bar Association, first as Chair of the Junior Bar Association and later with the same role with the Senior Bar of the Association. He received the highest peer recognition in 1992, when he was awarded the Shattuck-Price Award for “the outstanding dedication to the improvement of the legal profession and the administration of Justice.” He also served as the Chair of the Senator Boxer Federal Judicial Selection Committee, overseeing the selection of nominees for federal judicial appointments.

The love of Jack’s life was his wife, Joan, and daughters Amanda Quinn Olivar and Jennifer Quinn Gowey and the latter’s two young girls, Paloma and Georgia. In his later years, hardly a day passed without a visit from these loved ones.

Jack’s rich life was shared by countless close friends, both within and outside of his legal practice, including many of Los Angeles’ leading artists. His leadership qualities were always evident, but that was only the bonus to his ability to make everyone around him feel as if he or she was their best friend. Jack’s friendship will be missed by so many but not forgotten.