Morris Nichols works closely with counsel and boards of directors on cutting edge corporate governance practices. We advise on the drafting and interpretation of corporate governing documents, including on how those documents impact board and committee structure and composition; board processes, including compliance with duties to maintain an adequate corporate information and reporting system; director liability, including indemnification and advancement rights; takeover defense; director and officer compensation; and everyday aspects of corporate governance for publicly traded and privately held corporations.
Contests for Corporate Control
We also have substantial experience handling matters involving proxy contests and other contests for corporate control. We provide advice on a diverse range of issues including compliance with a corporation’s advance notice bylaws; implementation of stockholder rights plans (also known as “poison pills”); the strengths and weaknesses of takeover defenses such as classified boards; actions by written consent and at stockholder meetings; and Delaware fiduciary duty law regarding “defensive actions”. In this capacity, we work closely with other advisors such as proxy solicitors and investor relation professionals, recognizing that these situations often involve a team effort.
Our lawyers work with boards of directors to develop legal strategies in response to actions taken by activist stockholders, including demands for certain actions by the board, as well as litigation initiated by activists. We also have substantial experience representing stockholders, including providing advice on how to comply with a corporation’s advance notice bylaws; the implications of selecting stockholder-affiliated nominees to a board; and negotiating agreements relating to a proxy contest.
Public Benefits Corporation Governance
Morris Nichols is well-versed in the nuances of the Delaware benefit corporation law. Our attorneys advise clients setting up Public Benefits Corporations and provide guidance relating to their operation. In addition, we provide counseling on Public Benefits Corporation alternatives that can achieve a similar model in a limited liability company or limited liability partnership.
- Speaking Engagement, 11.06 to 11.08.2023
Patricia Vella moderates a panel on “Delaware Developments: The Latest from the First State.”
- Firm News, 11.02.2023
The 2024 edition of Best Law Firms® ranks Morris Nichols in 20 Delaware practice areas.
- Speaking Engagement, Virtual, 10.27.2023
Corporate counseling partner Patricia Vella joins the Society for Corporate Governance’s Northern California, Nevada & Hawaii Chapter for their monthly Roundtable Series.
- Firm News, 10.26.2023
Alexandra Cumings and Kyle Pinder have been invited to join the firm partnership, effective January 1, 2024, and Elizabeth Mullin will be promoted to special counsel.
- Event, Newark, Del., 10.12.2023
Patricia Vella is programming co-chair of the 2023 Delaware Governance Institute.
- Media Mention, 08.17.2023
The Best Lawyers in America has released its 2024 edition, listing 39 attorneys from Morris Nichols. The results are based on peer-review evaluations from more than 76,000 eligible attorneys.
- Speaking Engagement, Salt Lake City, UT, 06.20.2023 through 06.23.2023
Patricia Vella will serve as program faculty and speak on the June 21 session, “Recent Delaware Law Happenings.”
- Media Mention, 04.12.2023
Morris Nichols partner Patricia O. Vella has been elected Vice Chair of the Ameican College of Governance Counsel.
- Speaking Engagement, New York, NY | Virtual, 04.11.2023
Eric Klinger-Wilensky will moderate the panel, “Hot Topics for Boards and Directors.”
- Media Mention, 11.03.2022
Morris Nichols was selected for inclusion in a range of Delaware business law categories including corporate law and transactions; bankruptcy and reorganizations; and M&A, IP and patent litigation.
- Media Mention, 08.18.2022
The Best Lawyers in America has released its 2023 edition, listing 35 attorneys from Morris Nichols. The results are based on peer-review evaluations from more than 71,000 eligible attorneys.
- Media Mention, 06.08.2022
Morris Nichols was again ranked in The Legal 500 US, a nationwide guide to the foremost law firms in the United States.
- Media Mention, 11.04.2021
The 2022 edition of U.S. News - Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” ranks Delaware law firm Morris Nichols in 25 areas.
- Media Mention, 08.19.2021
The Best Lawyers in America has released its 2022 edition, listing thirty-two attorneys from Morris Nichols. The results are based on peer-review evaluations from more than 66,000 eligible attorneys.
- Speaking Engagement, Virtual, 06.30.2021
On June 30, Morris Nichols partner Patricia Vella will speak in the session on “Delaware Law & Litigation Developments.”
- Speaking Engagement, Webinar, 04.28.2021
Morris Nichols partner Melissa DiVincenzo speaks in a webinar focusing on benefit corporations and corporate governance.
- Speaking Engagement, Virtual, 11.17.2020
- Morris Nichols Ranked in Twenty-Six Practice Areas in 2021 U.S. News - Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”Firm News, 11.05.2020
Morris Nichols was selected for inclusion in a range of Delaware business law areas, listed below, as well as a national tier for “Litigation – Mergers & Acquisitions.” The rankings are based on a combination of client feedback, survey responses, and peer review.
- Speaking Engagement, Virtual, 10.07.2020
- Firm News, 08.20.2020
Thirty-one Morris Nichols attorneys were recognized in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. The results are based on peer-review evaluations from more than 67,000 eligible attorneys.
- Chambers USA 2020 Ranks Morris Nichols Band 1 in Four Delaware Practices; 24 Morris Nichols Attorneys Recognized Among Leading Delaware PractitionersFirm News, 04.23.2020
- Article, Practical Law Corporate & Securities, 08.25.2020
Morris Nichols attorneys Eric Klinger-Wilensky and Melissa DiVincenzo published three guides on Delaware public benefit corporations for Practical Law Corporate & Securities.
- Client Alert, 04.16.2020
As COVID-19 continues to affect the legal community and the world in various ways, Delaware courts and state agencies have issued orders concerning COVID-19 measures. Here, we have consolidated key Delaware law resources on the unfolding situation. Our attorneys are committed to serving our clients through this challenging time.
- Delaware Governor Modifies State of Emergency Declaration to Address Annual Meetings of StockholdersClient Alert, 04.07.2020
In light of the health risks posed by COVID-19, on April 6, 2020, Delaware Governor John C. Carney issued a modification of Delaware’s state of emergency first declared on March 12, 2020, to provide some flexibility to Delaware public corporations that have already sent notice of meetings to be held at a physical location.
- Delaware Supreme Court Holds Federal Forum Selection Provisions for Claims Arising Under the Securities Act of 1933 Are Facially ValidClient Alert, 03.25.2020
The Delaware Supreme Court issued an important opinion holding that federal forum selection provisions adopted by Delaware corporations requiring that stockholders file actions arising under the Securities Act of 1933 (1933 Act) in federal court - and not state court - are facially valid.
- Client Alert, 03.19.2020
COVID-19’s disruption to the economy has prompted a number of questions from Delaware corporations about their ability to preserve capital if they have already declared a cash dividend. This memo, released jointly by the Delaware firms listed at the bottom, addresses some of the issues a board of a Delaware corporation might consider in such circumstances.
- Morris Nichols Partner Patricia Vella Serves as Editor of New Governance Handbook on “The Role of Directors in M&A Transactions”Publication, American Bar Association, 05.07.2019
The American Bar Association Business Law Section has published a new book titled, The Role of Directors in M&A Transactions: A Governance Handbook for Directors, Management and Advisors. Morris Nichols partner Patricia O. Vella is one of four editors of the Handbook that gives directors, management, and legal and financial advisors a framework for providing effective oversight of merger and acquisition deals.
- Article, 03.01.2012
Jeffrey R. Wolters, Tom Kellerman, “Corporate Governance for Venture-Backed Companies,” The Review of Securities & Commodities Regulation (March 2012)
- Article, 05.18.2009
Eric Klinger-Wilensky, “Corporate Governance Developments in a Recessionary Environment,” Securities Regulation & Law Report, Vol. 41, No. 20 (May 18, 2009)
- Stockholders in Corporate Governance: Power to the Franchise or the Fiduciaries?: An Analysis of the Limits on Stockholder Activist BylawsArticle, 01.01.2008
Frederick H. Alexander, James D. Honaker, “Stockholders in Corporate Governance: Power to the Franchise or the Fiduciaries?: An Analysis of the Limits on Stockholder Activist Bylaws,” Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, Vol. 33 (2008)