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Industry News

Delaware Court of Chancery in transition period

Who will fill Leo Strine's position as Chancellor is still a mystery.

Who will fill Leo Strine's position as Chancellor is still a mystery.

With Leo Strine's nomination to be the next Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, there will likely be a vacancy on the state's Court of Chancery. For the last three years, Strine has served as Chancellor of that institution, and he was a Vice Chancellor for 13 years before that. Thus, his departure will leave that bench without a long-term stalwart.

Delaware's Chancery Court is of particular interest to the rest of the country because of its long history of setting precedents in business disputes. The benefits of incorporating in the state have lead many companies to set up shop there, which in turn means that its legal system has an unparalleled wealth of knowledge when it comes to making accurate decisions. If you are thinking about forming a limited liability corporation, even if it isn't based in Delaware, the direction of the Court of Chancery could very well have an impact on your business.  

There has not been an announcement on who will fill Strine's position should he leave, but many have discussed Travis Laster and Andre Bouchard as possibilities. Laster is currently the Vice Chancellor, and Bouchard is a longtime Delaware litigator and managing partner at Bouchard Margules & Friedlander PA.

"It's a very resilient bench and I think that while we'll be hard-pressed to have as many laughs with Strine gone, I think you're going to find that they're going to come up with somebody that, from a competence perspective, is pretty close," Sullivan & Cromwell LLP litigation partner John Hardiman said.

While there are unlikely to be wholesale changes — most rulings adhere to the judge's understanding of a precedent — there could be key changes in store. The direction of this appointment should be of keen interest to the entire business community.