Status of Appointment to Fill Vacancy on Delaware Court of Chancery

This Monday will be the start of "interview week" for those who have submitted applications to fill the vacancy on the Delaware Court of Chancery. We have written on these pages recently about the imminent empty seat on the Court of Chancery occasioned by the announcement last month of the retirement of Chancellor William Chandler, whom most readers know by now has accepted a position with the firm of Wilson Sonsini. The Chancellor's last day on the Court is scheduled to be June 17 and the last day of the regular session of the Delaware Senate is June 30.

The procedure for filling the vacancy was previously described at the above-linked post. Namely, the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) reviews applications and then sends the Governor a list of 3 names. Next, the Governor selects one of those names and forwards that nomination to the Senate, and then the Senate confirms (or rejects) the nomination. The selection of 3 names by the JNC is expected to be sent to the governor by the end of next week, which is Memorial Day weekend. The Governor is expected to send his nomination to the Senate by the first week or so in June. The entire process is expected to be completed before the Senate adjourns on June 30, but more likely the process may be conclude closer to the Chancellor's last day on June 17.  (Compare this process with the glacial approach taken regarding the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware which has had one empty seat for over 5 years.)

Although the names of the applicants who submit their names to the JNC is supposed to be confidential, the following aspirants reportedly confirmed, in reply to a request from The Delaware Law Weekly, that they submitted their applications to the JNC:

1. Richard E. Berl, Jr., Esq. of Smith Feinberg McCartney & Berl.

2. Kevin F. Brady, Esq. of Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz, LLC (whom readers of this blog will recognize as a frequent contributor to these pages with his summaries and analysis of corporate decisions from the Delaware Court of Chancery and Delaware Supreme Court.)

3. Richard Forsten, Esq. of Saul Ewing.

4. Joel Friedlander, Esq. of Bouchard, Margules and Friedlander. (His fellow law firm name-partner, Andre Bouchard, is the Chairman of the JNC.)

5. Master Sam Glasscock, who currently serves as Master in Chancery.

6. Hon. Mary Johnston of the Delaware Superior Court.

7. Bruce Silverstein, Esq. of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor.

Professor Stephen Bainbridge, a nationally prominent corporate law scholar, whose writings have been cited by the Court of Chancery, has suggested that he is "waiting by the phone" for someone to express interest in having him apply for the position. Delaware would benefit from his first-class scholarship, but the conventional wisdom is that the governor is seeking someone with more experience in the "litigation trenches". I am sure that the good professor is aware of the residency requirement in the Delaware Constitution, which would require a comparison of winters in Los Angeles with winters in Delaware.

Read more Delaware business litigation case summaries and commentary on Delaware Corporate and Commercial Litigation Blog, a blog hosted by Francis G.X. Pileggi, of Fox Rothschild LLP.

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