First African-American nominated for premier corporate court

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 13, 2015 6:03 PM

By Tom Hals

(Reuters) - Delaware Governor Jack Markell nominated the first African-American to the state's Court of Chancery, one of the country's premier venues for shareholder disputes.

Markell nominated Tamika Montgomery-Reeves to become vice chancellor, succeeding Donald Parsons, whose term expires on Oct. 22.

Montgomery-Reeves must be confirmed by Delaware's senate, which will consider her nomination on Oct. 28.

If confirmed, Montgomery-Reeves will be the first woman on the five-judge court since 1994, when Carolyn Berger was elevated to the state's Supreme Court.

Montgomery-Reeves is a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Wilmington, Delaware, where she focuses on corporate governance and corporate litigation. She was part of the Wilson Sonsini team that represented Chevron Corp in a key 2013 case in which the Court of Chancery upheld the use of corporate bylaws to force shareholders to sue in Delaware courts.

“Tamika Montgomery-Reeves has the intellectual ability and strong work ethic necessary to serve on Delaware’s Court of Chancery,” said Markell in a statement. “She also has substantial experience practicing corporate law and clerking for the Court of Chancery."

Prior to joining Wilson Sonsini, Montgomery-Reeves practiced securities law at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York. She also served as a law clerk for William Chandler, the former chancellor, or chief judge, on the Court of Chancery.

Judges are appointed for 12-year terms on the non-jury Court of Chancery, which is favored by business for its relatively quick proceedings and protections from liability for corporate directors.

If Montgomery-Reeves is confirmed, she will be the fourth judge on the court appointed by Markell, a Democrat in his second term. Markell has also appointed four of the five members of the Delaware Supreme Court, which hears appeals from the Court of Chancery.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Andrew Hay)