March 16, 2015 - DLA Piper announced today that Justice Henry duPont Ridgely, who retired on January 31, 2015 from the Delaware Supreme Court, will join the firm effective March 16, 2015. He will be a member of the firm’s Corporate and Litigation practices, based in the Wilmington, Delaware office.
Justice Ridgely has a distinguished record of more than 30 years of service on the Delaware bench. Before his tenure of more than a decade on the Delaware Supreme Court, Justice Ridgely was a judge on Delaware’s Superior Court for 20 years, including 14 years as President Judge with a full caseload and statewide responsibility for the court’s budget and personnel. During that period, the Delaware courts earned a number one ranking from the United States Chamber of Commerce, which Delaware has maintained for more than ten years.
While on the Delaware Supreme Court, Justice Ridgely participated in more than 700 published opinions, including every major decision issued during his tenure involving directors’ and officers’ liability, merger and acquisition disputes, contests for corporate control, and other issues impacting corporate law and govrrnance.
“Justice Ridgely’s knowledge and experience will be invaluable to our corporate clients and lawyers,” said Roger Meltzer, global co-chairman of DLA Piper.
“It is an honor to have Justice Ridgely join us,” said Jay Smith, chairman of DLA Piper’s US Corporate practice and co-chair of the firm’s global Corporate practice. “With 66 percent of the Fortune 500 and half of all public companies incorporated in Delaware, he has played a significant role in shaping the country’s corporate law.”
At DLA Piper, Justice Ridgely’s practice will focus on advising corporations, boards, special committees and individual directors and officers on transaction structure, fiduciary duties, and managing and defending litigation. He will also act as a mediator and arbitrator.
“It was an honor to serve on one of the world’s preeminent judiciaries and, as I move to the next phase of my career, I am equally honored to be joining one of the world’s most respected business law firms,” said Justice Ridgely. “For many years, I have known and respected several of DLA Piper’s Delaware lawyers, and I am looking forward to now being one of their colleagues.”
Justice Ridgely has received numerous honors and awards and, in 2015, was presented with the Order of the First State, which is the highest recognition awarded by the Governor of Delaware. He is a Member of the American Law Institute and is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. For the last six years, he represented the Appellate Judges Conference (which includes federal circuit judges and state supreme court justices from across the nation) in the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates. He also served as the Judicial Advisor to the ABA’s Business Law Section and as a Member of the American Inns of Court Leadership Council. He has served as a Trustee of the American Inns of Court Foundation and as a Director of the American Judicature Society.
In addition to his judicial activities, Justice Ridgely has authored law review articles and has participated in national and international panels for legal and policy organizations such as the ABA, Practicing Law Institute, the Tulane Corporate Law Institute and the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance. He has also lectured throughout the world on corporate law topics, including at Leiden University and Erasmus University in The Netherlands where, in 2014, he delivered remarks at The Hague for the P.R.I.M.E. Finance Annual Conference. In 2013, he delivered the opening address to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants National Audit Committee Forum in New York and, in 2012, he delivered a plenary address at the Asia-Pacific Forum on Corporate Law in Vladivostok, Russia.
Justice Ridgely taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School and serves on the law school’s Business and Financial Law Advisory Board. His community service includes his present role as a Trustee and Vice President of the Biggs Museum of American Art and a Trustee of St. Andrew’s School.
Justice Ridgely received his B.S. in Business Administration from Syracuse University in 1971, his J.D. from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law in 1973, and his LL.M. in Corporation Law from George Washington University Law School in 1974. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by Widener University School of Law in 2010.
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