Gov. Jack Markell announced the nomination of Chancellor Leo E. Strine, Jr. to serve as the eighth Chief Justice of Delaware’s Supreme Court. If confirmed by the Delaware Senate, Strine will succeed Myron Steele as the highest ranking member of the state’s judiciary.
Strine’s nomination will be watched closely nationwide and even worldwide as it opens up a vacancy on Chancery Court., the nation’s top corporate court. In addition, the Delaware Supreme Court’s influence on corporate law is substantial, since it handles Chancery Court appeals.
Strine is well known for his Chancery Court rulings on corporate cases that are that feature sometimes witty observations on corporate cases. As the Wall Street Journal noted, he is prone to use pop culture references in corporate rulings and at times taking highly paid lawyers to task. As the Journal noted in a case regarding retailer Talbot’s, Strine criticized attorneys for receiving legal fees he believed were well in excess of the services performed. He approved the payments, since they were part of a negotiated settlement. Click here for a look at Strine’s rulings from The Journal.
“The choice for Strine for the state’s top judicial post was not a surprise,” wrote Francis G.X. Plleggi, who heads the Wilmington office of Eckert Seamans and writes a popular corporate law blog. “His superior intellect and exemplary work ethic cannot be reasonably questioned. His voluminous scholarship both on and off the bench has established him as an nationally recognized expert in corporate law.”
Pileggi also took note of Strine’s written opinions. “His opinions are frequently colorful and laced with humor that is rarely seen in serious court decisions but those characteristics are a refreshing departure from otherwise dry and complex topics that are covered in his written opinions that in more than a few instances approach and exceed 100 pages of text,” Pileggi wrote.
“Delaware’s judiciary is widely recognized as the finest in the nation. With his superior intellect, incredible work ethic, and substantial judicial experience, Leo Strine is well-positioned to build upon our courts’ deserved reputation for excellence if he is confirmed by the Senate,” said Markell.
Strine has served as a judge on the Court of Chancery since 1998 and as Chancellor since 2011. Prior to joining the bench, he was legal counsel and policy coordinator to Gov. Thomas R. Carper. Governor Carper recognized Strine’s efforts in that role by awarding him the Order of the First State—the highest honor for meritorious service that can be bestowed by a governor.
“For over 21 years, I have committed my professional life to serving the people of Delaware,” said Strine. “If the Senate confirms me to this important position, I will do everything I can to repay the confidence they and the governor will have entrusted in me by working cooperatively with my colleagues to preserve Delaware’s tradition of judicial excellence and address the new challenges and opportunities to our state resulting from a rapidly globalizing economy.”
Prior to working for Carper Strine was a corporate litigator at the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Prior to that, he was law clerk to Judge Walter K. Stapleton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Chief Judge John F. Gerry of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Strine graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1988, and received his Bachelor’s Degree summa cum laude from the University of Delaware.
A frequent lecturer and author on the subject of corporation law, Strine has also served as an adjunct professor or lecturer at Harvard Law School, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Vanderbilt Law School, Duke University School of Law, UCLA Law School, and other institutions. His contributions to the development of corporate law have been recognized by top universities and legal publications throughout the nation.
Strine grew up in Hockessin, where he currently resides with his wife and family.
Strine graduated from A.I. DuPont High School, Greenville, in 1982. He grew up in Hockessin, where he now lives with his wife Carrie and two sons, James and Benjamin.