Morgan Richards "Dick" Jones, 71, of Wyndmoor, former chairman of the Drinker, Biddle & Reath law firm in Philadelphia, died of pneumonia Friday, Dec. 17, at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del.
Mr. Jones joined Drinker Biddle in 1965 and became a partner in 1970. During his tenure as chairman, from 1989 through 2000, the firm grew from fewer than 200 lawyers, primarily in Philadelphia, to nearly 400 lawyers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia. Drinker Biddle now has more than 650 lawyers in 12 offices nationwide.
"We have lost one of the firm's greatest builders," said Alfred W. Putnam Jr., Drinker Biddle's current chairman. "Dick was a great mentor to many of our lawyers over many years. Our collective high regard and fondness for him cannot be overstated. He will be sorely missed."
Mr. Jones was the current chair of Drinker Biddle's intellectual-property practice group. Though he had been in ill health, he was fully engaged with his work and was attending committee meetings until two weeks ago, colleagues said.
A specialist in corporate law, he helped Drinker Biddle's investment management practice group in the 1980s. In 1991, Mr. Jones oversaw the reorganization at Drinker Biddle that resulted in a more centralized management. He told The Inquirer at the time that the firm was adopting a more corporate style because "there's a national perception that we need to do a much better job of responding to the needs of our clients and how much they're prepared to pay for the services we offer."
Mr. Jones grew up in Luzerne County, Pa., where his father, Benjamin, was a judge. He graduated from Wyoming Seminary, where he played football and basketball. He earned a bachelor's degree from Princeton University, where he managed the football team. He then graduated from Dickinson Law School, where he was editor of the law review. He was a law clerk for a justice on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court before joining Drinker Biddle.
Mr. Jones collected American arts and crafts and enjoyed winter vacations on Amelia Island, Fla. He often traveled to Wales to explore his heritage, his family said.
He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Carol Jones; sons Morgan Jr., Brynley and Evan; stepchildren Tucker, Amanda and Stephen Lamberton; two brothers; three grandchildren; and his former wife, Helen Christy.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21, at St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church, 8000 St. Martins Lane, Chestnut Hill.
Donations may be made to Wyoming Seminary, 201 N. Sprague Ave., Kingston, Pa. 18704.