Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo E. Strine Jr., a 13-year veteran of the specialty business court, was nominated as chief judge by Governor Jack Markell.
The governor today also named Sam Glasscock III, a long-time court master, to fill a vacancy left by Chief Judge William B. Chandler III, who is leaving to join the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
Strine “has been a leading voice in corporate America,” Markell said in a statement. The nominations must be approved by the Delaware Senate.
Chandler led the five-member court since 1997 and ruled on high-profile business cases involving companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Walt Disney Co. Strine’s recent cases included lawsuits over the buyout of West Virginia coal producer Massey Energy Co. and a challenge to an anti-takeover defense for bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc.
The Delaware Chancery Court, founded in 1792, is a major forum for litigating business disputes because more than 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in the state, according to legal experts such as University of Pennsylvania law professor Jill Fisch.
Companies incorporate in Delaware to take advantage of laws that give their directors wide latitude and to gain access to the chancery court, which provides fast-track trials that are heard strictly by sophisticated judges.
Strine, 47, served as counsel to Tom Carper, a Democrat who was Delaware’s governor from 1993 until 2001. Carper is now one of Delaware’s two senators. Strine also worked for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
Strine earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, according to the court’s website.
“If the Senate confirms me, I will do my utmost to continue our court’s tradition of delivering timely and well-reasoned decisions in all our cases,” Strine said in a statement provided by the governor’s office.
Glasscock, 53, a native of Erie, Pennsylvania, grew up in Lewes, Delaware, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Delaware, and received a law degree from Duke University, the court’s website shows. He has worked for Prickett, Jones, Elliott, Kristol & Schnee and for the Delaware Department of Justice, and has been with the Chancery court for 12 years.
“It’s a tremendous honor being associated with this court,” Glasscock said in a phone interview. If confirmed, he expects to hear cases in all three Delaware counties, he said.
The chancery court’s other judges are Donald F. Parsons Jr., J. Travis Laster and John W. Noble.