|Allen C. Holmes, Activist for Community Enhancement, 1920–1990
1987 SPECIAL CITATION FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE TO THE ARTS
When speaking to those who knew him, “indomitable” is
the word most often used to describe Allen C. Holmes. Whether in law,
business, community endeavors or the arts, Holmes would leverage his
intelligence and intense drive to rise above any obstacles and achieve
success. That included overcoming a serious, recurring disorder that
troubled him his entire adult life: Guillan-Barre syndrome, in which
the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.
was one of the most cerebral businessmen I’ve ever had the privilege to
work with,” said Dick Pogue, former managing partner of Jones, Day,
Reavis & Pogue. “He had a comprehensive, catholic knowledge of
almost everything, was a man of great energy and integrity, and he was
a real leader in our community.”
in Bethel, Ohio, Holmes received his bachelor of arts from the
University of Cincinnati (1941) and juris doctor from the University of
Michigan (1944), where he was a law review editor and a member of the
Order of the Coif. Shortly after graduating from Michigan, Holmes began
practicing law at the Cleveland firm then known as Jones, Day, Cockley
& Reavis, where he went on to become a nationally recognized expert
in antitrust law, which had begun to emerge as a major practice area
under the aggressive government prosecutorial thrust of U.S. Assistant
Attorney General Thurman Arnold during the 1940s. Holmes went on to
become a leader of the antitrust bar and chaired the antitrust section
of the American Bar Association.
his more than 40 years at Jones Day, of which he became managing
partner in 1975, Holmes demonstrated that he was ahead of his time in
his perception of law as more of a business than a profession.
1975, the practice of law was regarded as a 'learned profession’ and,
as such, was exempt from the antitrust laws, which applied only to a
‘trade or business,’” Pogue explained. “In 1975, the U.S. Supreme Court
shocked the profession by declaring it a business (as well as a learned
profession), thus dramatically changing the way in which law firms
conducted themselves. Holmes was prescient among lawyers in
envisaging the tremendous implications of this decision.”
vision and commitment helped build his firm into a national
organization, which, 25 years after his retirement in 1986, employed
more than 2,400 attorneys and maintained offices in 31 cities around
the globe, making it one of the world’s largest law firms.
In 1981, Town & Country
magazine named Holmes the most powerful man in Cleveland. Other kudos
included the Statesman Award from the Harvard Business School Club of
Cleveland (1982), the Charles Eisenmann Award from the Jewish Community
Federation of Cleveland (1983) and the Humanitarian Award from the
National Conference of Christians and Jews (1987).
his deepest passions were the arts, and over the years he contributed a
significant amount of his time and leadership skills to the Cleveland
Institute of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Cleveland
Orchestra. He also frequently attended art, music and ballet events,
and he subscribed to several art journals and “studied them with a care
that was reflected in his knowledgeable conversation,” according to a
chapter dedicated to Holmes in a history of Jones Day.
his greatest enthusiasm, however, was his interest in gourmet foods and
fine wines. For 25 years he and his wife, Louise, belonged to the Wine
& Food Society, which recognized Holmes with several gold and
silver medals for his expertise, and he eventually became one of the
first Americans to serve as the organization’s international president.
he held several leadership positions on the Case Western Reserve
University (CWRU) board of trustees on which he served from 1971 until
his death in 1990. He also chaired the board of Cleveland's PBS
station, WVIZ-TV Channel 25, and headed the Kulas Foundation,
dedicated to music education, institutions and performances. His civic
activities and corporate directorships are too numerous to mention.
matter how severe the periodic attacks of his disease became, Holmes
always continued to conduct business, even during the 12-month period
he was laid up in an intensive care unit at University Hospitals of
Cleveland in 1984.
“He was the bravest patient I’ve ever
had,” observed Robert Daroff, MD, who was Holmes’s neurologist at
University Hospitals. “He was basically running the city of Cleveland
from his hospital room. He had his secretary working there, and
appointments were scheduled with corporate executives and the mayor and
clients who needed his advice.”
his terrible affliction and total paralysis, his mind never stopped
working,” recalled Pogue, who would visit him every Sunday to discuss
company business. “Even then, he always had great ideas and insights
into everything that was going on.”
and Louise, who married on September 2, 1944, had four sons. Holmes
died at 70 in his home in Bratenahl, and in his memory, CWRU
established the Allen C. and Louise Q. Holmes Endowment Fund.