Delaware’s new chief justice
ALUMNI | A judge whom The Wall Street Journal calls “about the closest thing to a celebrity in the buttoned-up world of corporate law” has been named to the highest judicial post in Delaware.
Leo E. Strine Jr., AS85, who had led the state’s internationally influential business court, the Court of Chancery, since 2011, now serves as the chief justice of the Delaware Supreme Court. He was nominated to the post in early January by Gov. Jack Markell and was confirmed unanimously and without debate by the state Senate a few weeks later.
“Delaware’s judiciary is widely recognized as the finest in the nation,” Markell said. “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.”
The state Supreme Court, whose five justices serve 12-year terms, settles many major corporate disputes because so many U.S. corporations—more than half—have their legal headquarters in Delaware. The chief justice position became open late last year with the retirement of Myron Steele.
Strine has been in public service for more than two decades and in 1998 became the youngest judge ever to sit on the Court of Chancery, which handles corporate litigation. Before joining the bench, he was legal counsel and policy coordinator for Gov. Thomas R. Carper, BE75M, who awarded him the Order of the First State.
At the time Strine was nominated as chief justice, he said that, if confirmed, he would “work 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.”
During his years on Chancery Court, he was widely praised for his legal analyses and is well known for bringing humor and popular-culture references to courtroom proceedings and to his written opinions.
Strine, who majored in political science at UD and then earned his law degree at the University of Pennsylvania, is a frequent lecturer and author on the subject of corporation law. He has been an adjunct professor or lecturer at law schools including Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt, Duke and UCLA.