September 24, 2010
Celebrate Everything from the "Lowly Comma" to the "Ever-Mysterious Ellipsis" This National Punctuation Day!!!
Ray J. Schoonhoven, 1921-2010. A much bigger hat tip to a dear old friend from Seyfarth, Shaw, Ray Schoonhoven, who passed away on July 10, 2010. [obituary] "Ray J." was famous at the firm for his use of triple exclamation marks in his labor arbitration briefs, most likely frowned upon by the promoters of the "proper use" of punctuation marks.
Ray Schoonhoven was also known for being the "instigator" of the great 1959 Steel Strike by being the author of a labor arbitration analysis of Basic Steel's pattern "local conditions" labor contract clause, one of the most anti-productivity improvement clauses in labor-management history. I will never forget going into his office in 1985 after having performed some research on this topic to ask him, "was this really the issue that resulted in more than 85 percent of U.S. steel production being shut down for almost four months (but also resulting in SCOTUS upholding the constitutionality of the Taft-Hartley Act in Steelworkers v. United States, 361 U.S. 39 (1959))?" He smiled, turned around to his corner office credenza and pulled from the top of a stack of papers, the original memo he wrote to the firm's Little Steel clients. The passing of another giant in labor law.
Ray was always a pleasure to work with, always had time for everyone, always was a deep well of sound advice for many young SSF&G labor attorneys and law librarians like myself, and always happy to help pick up the tab at Friday night gatherings at the local bar we all used to go to.
One of Ray's legal research stories. After exhausting all the tools back in the day long before online search, Ray told me how he just started pulling Fed Reporters off the shelves. Going through each and every one until he found the authority he needed. Talk about persistence in client representation. I believe there is a commemorative plaque on a wall somewhere in Northwestern's Law Library because of the donation he made to his law school. So to Ray, here's a !!! [JH]