In Memory of



Obituary for Jared Kaplan

OBITUARY: Jared Kaplan (December 28, 1938-December 12, 2020)
Jared Kaplan, Mr. ESOP
Jared Kaplan, distinguished Chicago lawyer and long-time partner at McDermott, Will & Emery died of cancer at home on December 12, 2020. Mr. Kaplan was one of the first corporate lawyers who used the Employee Stock Ownership Plan, authorized by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as a means of doing corporate mergers and acquisitions. After engineering an ESOP for Cargill Incorporated in 1991-1992, a deal of about 750 million dollars, he became known in the profession as “Mr. ESOP.”
He went on to represent the Pilots Union which initiated an ESOP transaction in 1993-1994 with United Airlines, which led to the employees using an ESOP to purchase a controlling interest in the airline, which continued to be publicly owned.
Known as Jerry, Jared Kaplan was born in Chicago, and raised in Glencoe, Ill. He graduated from New Trier High School in 1956, University of California at Los Angeles in 1960 and Harvard Law School in 1963. He returned to Chicago and became a partner in the law firm Ross & Hardies and then Grossman Singer Mauck & Kaplan and went on to help steer McDermott, Will & Emery where he remained for 23 years, from 1994-2017. He was annually listed as a leading lawyer in numerous national rating and listing services, including Martindale-Hubbell, Best Lawyers in America and the National Law Journal.
One of Kaplan’s former law partners early in his career was Kirkland & Ellis, LLP lawyer William Singer. “He was an outstanding lawyer,” Singer recalled. “When we started GSM & K, Jerry was the glue that brought us together as a serious law firm, able to do major tax and corporate work.”
His passion was the intricacy of corporate and tax law. Jim Kaplan, his youngest brother and a lawyer at Quarles & Brady LLP, said: “Jared was an important figure in the development of corporate law. He entered it in 1963, just as it was beginning to assume outsized importance. He came of age when the legal profession grew vastly in size and influence, especially in his case by advising on corporate expansion through merger and acquisition.”
An avid global traveler with his wife Maridee Quanbeck, Jerry was truly a Renaissance man: He loved politics, art, music, theater and travel. He traveled with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. He supported those organizations and many others, including Music of the Baroque, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Grant Park Music Festival, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Chicago Architecture Foundation. He tried to get to New York and London at least once a year to see plays and attend museums.
Though he started his professional life as a Republican, he gradually migrated to the Democratic Party and remained interested in foreign affairs as a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. As one who challenged conventional wisdom, Kaplan was National President of the Ripon Society, a group of liberal and moderate Republicans, 1975-1976. He served as an Advisory Council member of the Republican National Committee, 1978-1980, and an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1980.
He is survived by Maridee Quanbeck. In addition, he is survived by his first wife Rosellen Monter (William), his sons Brian and Philip Kaplan (Kyla Klein) and their children Malcolm and Asha, brother Jonathan (Sara) and James (Elizabeth Taylor) and predeceased by his brother Joel.
Those who wish to make a donation should do so to the charity of their choice in Jerry’s name.
No services are planned at this time.
Please visit JARED KAPLAN BOOK OF MEMORIES. To express your thoughts or memories in the online guest book, or Arrangements by CENTRAL CHAPELS-Chicago. Info., 773-581-9000.