Ex-Delaware Chancery Court judge Slights joins law firm Wilson Sonsini

REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
  • Slights served on the Delaware Chancery Court starting in 2016
  • He was previously as a judge on Delaware's Superior Court and a litigator at law firms

(Reuters) - Former vice chancellor Joseph Slights III, who recently retired from the Delaware Court of Chancery, has joined Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati as a litigation partner, the law firm said on Monday.

Slights served for six of his 12-year term on the Delaware court, which is a well-known venue for large corporate disputes.

Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick in a January court filing first disclosed Slights' retirement.

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Slights said personal matters, including losses in his family, in part informed his decision to leave the bench after May 31. It "felt like a natural time" to return to practicing law, he said.

Delaware Governor John Carney nominated Nathan Cook, the managing partner of litigation firm Block & Leviton’s Delaware office, to fill Slights' vice chancellor seat. Cook was sworn in last month, according to a court statement.

Slights will be part of Palo Alto, California-founded Wilson Sonsini's corporate governance practice in Wilmington, Delaware, the firm said.

Wilson Sonsini said its 30-lawyer Delaware team includes former Chancery Court chancellor William Chandler III, who the firm hired in 2011. Slights said Chandler was a "big part" of his decision to join the firm.

Slights was sworn into the Chancery Court role in 2016 after practicing at Delaware law firm Morris James. He was previously a judge on Delaware's Superior Court and a litigator at two other Delaware firms, according to his online Chancery Court profile.

When his retirement from the Chancery Court was disclosed, Slights had been presiding over two lawsuits by Tesla Inc shareholders against CEO Elon Musk.

In one lawsuit, Slights in April ruled in favor of Musk, finding he did not unjustly enrich himself when guiding Tesla to acquire rooftop solar panel maker SolarCity Corp for $2.6 billion in 2016. Tesla shareholders have appealed the decision.

Wilson Sonsini partner Brad Sorrels is part of a team currently representing Twitter Inc in Delaware Chancery Court litigation against Musk over the Tesla leader's bid to walk away from his $44 billion deal to acquire the social media company.

Musk struck back with a countersuit, claiming he was hoodwinked into signing the deal by Twitter, which he said had not accurately disclosed user numbers.

Slights said he doesn't know what role, if any, he will play in the case. A Wilson Sonsini spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter Monday.

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Delaware Chancery Court Judge Joseph Slights III set to retire

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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.com