April 26, 2023
My friend and colleague, Jeff Buley, passed away on Tuesday, April 25. He was 62 years old. Jeff was a giant in the business; first with state government and later with the state Republican party and Senate Republican Campaign Committee. He was a top healthcare lawyer and policy expert and one of the best election lawyers in the country. Jeff was the first lawyer and government relations consultant we hired almost 20 years ago. He was critical to our early survival and ultimate success. Elected officials and staff sought him out as much as he sought them out. He gave us instant credibility and cache with the senate majority and Republican leadership throughout the state.I could not believe my good luck to partner with someone as talented as Jeff, who I also admired professionally.
Jeff lead the way by recommending we bring on Neil Benjamin, himself a pillar in the healthcare world. It was the shot heard ‘round the world for us – Jeff did that. Later, he suggested we hire Alex Betke and Louann Ciccone, two future hall of famers. We would not be who we are as a firm without Jeff Buley. He inspired confidence among our clients and was a true mentor to many of the people at the firm. He was always there to help and to, of course, make people laugh. His humor knew no bounds – both a good thing and a thing to manage, but laugh we all did. His birthday “videos” and tributes on special occasions are legendary. The younger people at the firm felt a special bond with Jeff; it was easy because he was a friend, teacher and a father figure to them. He even managed to fall in love with Carolyn Kerr, our healthcare practice group leader. They were with each other for a decade, through his last days.
Jeff was, in many ways, my ballast too. He always told me straight, with precision and thoughtfulness. Whether it was firm advice, a perspective to help me through personal challenges or especially when we pretended we were the Mets front office calling the shots – we made a good team. He was my guy, through thick and thin. I am so very grateful to him and so very sad he is not here with us. But of course, I know he is; and I know he’s swinging easy, hitting the golf ball straight and far.