Vice Chancellor Donald F. Parsons, Jr. Joins Morris Nichols

Firm News

Wilmington, DE (February 17, 2016) - Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP is pleased to announce that former Vice Chancellor Donald F. Parsons, Jr. will be joining the firm as Senior Counsel in March 2016. Vice Chancellor Parsons retired from the Delaware Court of Chancery in October 2015. During his tenure on the bench, Vice Chancellor Parsons issued hundreds of opinions and rulings addressing important and cutting edge questions concerning corporation law, alternative entities, trademark and intellectual property law, and other complex commercial matters. As a former member of the Court of Chancery, Vice Chancellor Parsons will help Morris Nichols continue to deliver the highest caliber of legal services to its clients in the areas of alternative dispute resolution, corporate governance, special committee assignments, internal investigations, mergers and acquisitions, and stockholder activism. In addition, with the benefit of his twelve years on the bench and previous years of experience in patent and other complex litigation, Vice Chancellor Parsons will be a tremendous asset for Morris Nichols in developing its alternative dispute resolution practice, including serving as a third party neutral in mediations and arbitrations. 

“We look forward to working again with our former partner and friend,” stated Rodger D. Smith II, chair of the firm’s executive committee. “We expect the former Vice Chancellor will be a tremendous asset to the firm and a valuable resource for us to share with our clients and friends.” 

Vice Chancellor Parsons spent the first 24 years of his legal career at Morris Nichols, litigating over 100 intellectual property cases as lead counsel and Delaware co-counsel. He was appointed to the Court of Chancery in 2003 by Governor Ruth Ann Minner. “It has been a privilege to serve on the Delaware Court of Chancery,” said Parsons. “Serving as Vice Chancellor has been a great honor that I will always cherish. Now, I am looking forward to returning to Morris Nichols to practice alongside some of the state’s, if not the nation’s, most respected practitioners.” 

While on the bench, Vice Chancellor Parsons presided over many high-profile cases including: Third Point v. Ruprecht, a challenge to Sotheby’s adoption of a novel “poison pill” takeover defense during a proxy contest; In re Bear Sterns Companies, Inc., a class action challenge to the then-proposed merger of Bear Stearns and JPMorgan brokered with the assistance of the Federal Reserve and the Department of the Treasury at the inception of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis; In re Cogent, Inc., addressing the validity of rapidly developing transaction structures and “deal protection” provisions in negotiated public company merger agreements; Zucker v. Andreessen, a derivative case challenging the severance benefits paid by Hewlett-Packard to its CEO following his unexpected termination; PharmAthene v. Siga, which resulted in an approximately $195 million damages award for breach of a binding agreement to negotiate a pharmaceutical license in good faith; and numerous cases involving the governance of private and publicly traded alternative entities, such as Twin Bridges v. Draper, Zimmerman v. Crothall, In re Encore Energy Partners, and In re K-Sea Transportation Partners

Outside of the courtroom, Vice Chancellor Parsons is well-regarded for his contributions to the legal community. Under the auspices of 10 Del. C. §  347, Vice Chancellor Parsons served from 2005 to 2015 as a volunteer mediator in the Federal Circuit Mediation Program. A past-president of the Delaware State Bar Association, he helped create Delaware’s award-winning Combined Campaign for Justice to provide legal services to those in need. From 2012 to early 2015, he co-chaired the Permanent Advisory Committee on the Delaware Uniform Rules of Evidence. In 2009 and 2010, he served as president of the American College of Business Court Judges, consisting of judges from commercial, business, and technology courts in more than 25 states. He also has been active for years in the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association. In that context, he brought a number of the Section’s Diversity Law Clerks to Delaware, served as a Business Court Representative and a Business Law Advisor, and in August 2013, he began a four-year term as a member of the Section’s governing Council. In addition, in 2009, he became an “ASTAR” fellow of the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center. 

Vice Chancellor Parsons graduated from Lehigh University (B.S. 1970, M.S. 1972) and Georgetown University Law Center (J.D. 1977). He clerked for the Honorable James L. Latchum of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware before first joining Morris Nichols in 1979.

About Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP

Morris Nichols combines a broad national practice of corporate, intellectual property, business reorganization and restructuring, commercial law and litigation with a general business, tax, estate planning and real estate practice within the State of Delaware. The firm is regularly involved as lead counsel or co-counsel in matters of national and international significance, as well as those affecting its immediate community. Follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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