Jay M. Jaffe: Visionary. Pioneer. Leader. Friend.

This is a hard post to write, one that I’m not sure I’m prepared to write. Not only did the legal marketing world lose one of its brightest lights with the passing of Jay M. Jaffe this week, but we have all lost a leader, mentor and friend.

As I speak to my Jaffe PR colleagues about this tragic loss, the two main emotions coming up are sadness and shock. The sadness is easy to understand. The shock is only understandable if you truly knew Jay.

We all believed him to be indestructible. The one constant in our work lives was that Jay would endure. He was a persistent presence in this company. Jay took a particular interest in planning the company’s future, with the backing of a talented executive board. He was integral to the process. It was – and is – his legacy, after all, and a fine legacy at that.

In 1977, when the Supreme Court’s Bates decision blew the doors off the staid and stodgy traditions of how law firms could market themselves, Jay saw an opportunity. In fact, he saw an entire new industry. He envisioned a PR agency devoted exclusively to the needs of business law firms, and set about making it a reality.

It took nearly 10 years for Jay to create demand in the legal industry. He always joked that the idea was initially received “with a giant thud.” But Jay persevered. He’s not known as the “Father of Legal Marketing” for nothing. His development of the first successful, traditional advertising campaign for a commercial law firm was recognized for its industry-changing impact in the 25th anniversary issue of the influential legal magazine The American Lawyer. And his impact as a trendsetter in the field has been recognized again and again. In 2010, Jay was inducted into the PR News “PR People Hall of Fame.”

Today, more than 30 years later, Jaffe PR is the benchmark agency for legal marketing. We count as clients some of the world’s largest law firms, as well as prominent mid-sized firms and well-respected niche boutiques throughout the country, along with legal associations as well.

Jay made his dreams of a legal marketing agency a reality – and then some. He took an idea based on what he foresaw as the implications of a Supreme Court decision, and ran with it. Along the way, he gathered talented professionals who learned from him, and put that knowledge to work in building a whole new way of thinking about marketing law firms. He was disruptive change personified.

In short, he was our industry’s Steve Jobs.

Though Jay has passed on, his company remains. It is an enduring legacy and testament to a life spent in pursuit of a singular purpose: Be a leader in all that you do.

We are all honoring Jay privately in our own ways, and our hearts go out to his daughter Sara and sister Judi. You are in our thoughts.

But, outwardly, we are doing what Jay would want: We’re carrying on. There’s a company to run and there are clients to serve. This is how he’d want it – for us to take good care of Jaffe PR and his legacy.

And we do it with deep gratitude for all that he gave and meant to us.

Read Jay M. Jaffe's biography

Comments

I was just preparing to send Jay his birthday card today when I read this devestating news. Please someone out there please ask Sara or Judy to contact me. I loved Jay Jaffe with all my heart.

Carol, please send us your phone number and Judi will get in touch. You can send it to info@jaffepr.com. Thanks.

My sincere condolences to Jay's family, friends, colleagues and clients. He personified that overused superlative -- creative genius. Rest in peace, Jay.

I am so saddened by the news of Jay's passing. The Jaffe PR family has lost it's driving force but will endure with great future success because of Jay's genius. My thoughts are with Sara, Judi and the entire Jaffe family.

Jay was such a good friend to me ...My granddaughter and I came to Jays in May and stayed with him. Even though he really didn't feel too well....he didnt want to disappoint us and wanted us to be there and enjoy the wonderful colorado scenery and enjoy the country he loved so much. We talked about the upcoming skiing season and plans for snowmobiling as he thought his skiing days were over...as mine were....
I am so shocked and saddend by his death....but I know he is looking down on me and i will always remember the good times and talks we had..

Jay's neighbors are saddened to hear of his passing and want Jay's family to know that he had many friends that also were neighbors here in Eagle, Colorado.
We enjoyed his companionship very much and he will definately will be missed.

Is there funeral home or family spokesperson contact information avaliable?
Can you let us know how we can express our condolences?
Where and when will the memorial service be held?
What is a preferred charity for a memorial gift?
Can we help Jay's family in any other way?

We have spoken with many of our neighbors today and will contact others when they return home.
The families listed below join us in expressing our condolences.

Riddle
Roleter
Aden
Fryklund
Frasco
Holmes
Hagerman
Baty
John and Pat 970/379-8606

Jay was a friend for 25 years and a business partner for seven. I find it hard to imagine him not being with us. He was energetic, a visionary and blazed a trail in marketing communications in the professions.

He will be missed.

I am so shocked and saddened by Jay's untimely passing. We had just exchanged messages about our upcoming birthdays which were one day apart. In addition to Sara and Judi's loss, I am so saddened because of Jay's unrelenting will to live and continue to lead the company he loved so dearly. The angels must be singing sweetly as they welcome Jay. Rest in peace, my friend.

Having worked for Jay for several years and seeing how energetic he always was to lead Jaffe PR, it was unimaginable that the PR world could loose Jay and that also this soon! My sincere condolences to Sara, Judi and the rest of the family.

My heart is broken, Jay and I had been together for quite some time. He was to be here for his birthday and Thanksgiving in Fort Lauderdale. I am retiring form Delta Airlines on Weds. after 38 years. Jay was to be on my flight to support me, had a playlist prepared and our lives were to fully begin. We kept saying Nov. 28th, Nov. 28th. I know so many loved him and he loved everyone. I am blessed to have had him in my life.

Jay was our next door neighbor in Eagle Ranch. He was a good friend and always a lot of fun. We will miss him very much.

Please let us know if we can help the family in any way.

The treasure of Jay exploded into my life last summer. This giant of a man overwhelmed me with his huge presence. He was not only enormous in size, his laughter and his energy were equal to the size of his warm heart. He was the great communicator to all who knew him. How I will miss his and Wilson's visits. How we are all going to deal with the sudden loss of this powerful, kind-hearted, generous, hilarious, brilliant, driven, compassionate, charming man is something I have not yet figured out. I was so blessed to meet this gentle giant before he left this earth. My life is enriched beyond measure by his memory. I am weathering waves of deep grief at the thought of never again receiving another phone call, email, text or bear-hug from my splendid friend. You will be missed, but never forgotten, my dear Jay. n, nt

I'm still in a state of numbness. Just can't believe it. A world without Jay Jaffe? Phew. I have to say that it was a privilege to have Jay as a good friend and Mentor. But most of all I'll miss the humour of the man, his humanity and his innate ability to make people feel good about themselves. Sara, Judi your Dad/Brother was a very rare man indeed and will be sorely missed. I'm so so sorry for your loss.

He was such a great man and he died so young. I feel so fortunate to have known you. My heart goes out to his family. I miss you already.

We remember the summer day that a sweet little red haired girl wandered into our shoe store and shortly after her Dad burst through the door (if you knew Jay, that's how he entered). We've been friends since and watched as he made his dreams of living in the mountains full time a reality. Fish, golf, ski....we are stunned and saddened. We will miss him.

Shocked to the core..... I had an email from Jay from his I Phone the day before he died. We sustained a vibrant relationship over the ocean all the way from the North of England and I was looking forward to the long visit we had planned.

I lost another beloved friend here on the same day and one of my childhood friends also lost his son that day too, so a black day indeed and I am reeling. But that doesn't lessen the sense of deep loss and grief I feel from losing Jay. He was something else that man ! Passionate and clever and witty and sensitive and sometimes despite his great strength of character, he was very vulnerable too.

I am so sorry for your loss Judi ( who I "met" ) on Skype, and Sara who he spoke of often.
I wish I could be there to celebrate his life on December 9th. Its very hard to not have that small comfort.
I loved him and will remember him always.
God Bless Darling. You were so brave through all you had to endure, so positive, and the most alive and the most fun person and a deeply loving man.
Part of my heart goes with you
Jacqui xxx

Beautiful written Kevin! My dad would be honored. Thanks to everyone for your condolences. They mean more than you know.

<3,
Sara

Sara,
I just heard about your dad's death and I'm still numb.
I've known your dad since 1976 when first I moved to DC. I met him on the first night of my arriva l and soon came to know and love him as my friend.He had the most incredible outlook on life.
I am so sorry for your loss.
A bright light has been dimmed here on earth but heaven just became a happier place.
Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Fondly,
Muffin

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