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Episode description:

In this episode of Law, disrupted, John is joined by Michael A. Barlow, partner at Abrams & Bayliss LLP, and Silpa Maruri, partner at Quinn Emanuel’s New York office. Together, they discuss litigation in Delaware, which John briefly highlights as the epicenter of both corporate America and high-end corporate litigation.

The conversation begins with John asking Michael how Delaware managed to stake out a unique position of being the jurisdiction of choice for corporations, which has led to high-end and high-stakes litigation in Delaware courts. Michael notes the answer is two-fold. The first answer is former President Woodrow Wilson. He explains that Delaware largely adopted the same revolutionary law of New Jersey by the then Governor Wilson. The second answer is that Delaware has worked hard since to stay at the forefront by annually updating its laws and court system. They touch on how Nevada is trying to mimic Delaware but, unfortunately, is proving to be unsuccessful so far.

Silpa explains the difference between the two types of courts in Delaware: the Court of Chancery and the Superior Court. Silpa highlights how the former is a court of equity; therefore, it hears matters sounding in equity, whereas the latter is a court of law. Together, John, Michael, and Silpa chew over the role of the Delaware Court of Chancery, analyzing the history of the courts as a foundation for understanding the wider role of the courts.

John asks Silpa what lawyers and litigants should expect when they’re litigating cases in Chancery Court, with Silpa noting that all trials are bench trials. She highlights how the Court of Chancery is especially bespoke in that not only is it the case that you’re going to have the fact-finder be the judge, but that judge is going to be actively involved in deciding even minor things like motions to compel.

The conversation is then steered towards what a trial is like in the Court of Chancery. In many jurisdictions, the date set for a trial is often moved and shifted, but Silpa notes that this specific court respects set trial dates. In addition, she notes that the Vice Chancellors are proactive during the trial.

Finally, John, Michael & Silpa discuss the importance of certainty and predictability on matters of Delaware corporate law. Michael briefly notes how Delaware handles a significant number of sophisticated corporate transactions in the Court of Chancery. However, he notes that the court has a much broader role as a court of equity. Michael notes that there’s a pretty broad set of cases that the court handles with the same attention to detail and focus that it brings to these corporate disputes.

Published: Sep 14 2022

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