In Memoriam: James B. Hurlock


he Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with sorrow the death on April 27, 2016, of former Life Trustee, James B. Hurlock , age 82.

Jim began his affiliation with WHOI when he was elected to the Corporation in 1993; he joined the WHOI Board of Trustees three years later.  He was elected an Honorary Trustee (now Life Trustee) in 2005.

Jim was born in Chicago on August 7, 1933, and grew up in Cleveland.  He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1955, where he graduated summa cum laude and received the Pyne Prize, the "highest general distinction conferred on an undergraduate.”  He also received a Rhodes Scholarship and attended Oxford’s Magdalen College where he read law for two years, concluding with a series of oral exams conducted in Latin.  He graduated from Harvard Law in 1959 and joined the firm of White & Case. 

Jim’s focus was always international, and he became a leader in efforts to expand the firm’s client base overseas.  Early in his career, he worked on disputes over major projects in Saudi Arabia and India.  Starting in 1963, when he and his young family moved to Paris, he spent 10 of his first 15 years outside of the United States. He became a partner in 1967, and opened White & Case’s London office in 1971 and led it until 1975, when he returned to New York.  His influence steadily grew, and Jim was elected by his partners as Chairman in 1980, a position he held until his retirement in 2000.  Under his leadership, White & Case grew from 190 lawyers in six offices to more than 1,000 in 31 offices in 24 countries.

An avid sailor who completed a transatlantic race and seven Bermuda races, Jim was a dedicated advocate of the Oceanographic’s mission.  Always active in volunteer service, he was also a founding member of the International Development Law Organization, which he served as chairman from 2001-2004.  He was a trustee of the New York Presbyterian Hospital and the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law at Columbia University, and in 2010, the New York State Bar Association conferred on Jim its Root/Stimson Award for exemplary commitment to community service.

Jim is survived by his wife of 55 years, Lyn, who always accompanied him to Board and Corporation meetings at WHOI, and who delighted in the work of the Oceanographic as much as Jim did.  He is also survived by his and Lyn’s three sons, James III, Burton and Matthew (a Member of the WHOI Corporation), as well as eight grandchildren.  A memorial service is planned for May 12 in Greenwich, CT, and the family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to WHOI or New York Presbyterian Hospital.


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