Temple Law Careers in Delaware

Temple Law Career Services hosted a “Careers in Delaware” panel on January 21st, with presentations from Temple Law alumni and Delaware practitioners. The panel included Doneene Keemer Damon LAW ’92, President of Richards Layton & Finger, Kathryn Bartolacci LAW ’12, Litigation Associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and Jeffrey Lyons LAW ’17, Associate at Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell. The participants discussed their path to Delaware practice and responded to student questions.

Why Delaware?

Size of the Delaware Bar

The Delaware bar may be small, but it is mighty. The Delaware bar’s unique size allows lawyers of all levels to get to know each other more quickly. As an associate, Mr. Lyons explained it gives his firm the opportunity to leanly staff cases, dividing the work in order for each lawyer to gain substantive experience and work closely together regardless of title. Similarly, Ms. Damon is active in the Delaware Bar Association and has had the opportunity to get to know a number of Delaware judges even though her practice is transactional in nature. The size of the Delaware bar is small in relation to surrounding metropolitan areas, but practitioners often have the opportunity to work on international and national matters.

Collegiality of the Delaware Bar

Delaware firms compete, but the motto remains “Delaware first.” Learning to practice in Delaware is similar to Temple Law’s approach to legal education, Ms. Bartolacci remarked. It is “unique and meaningful” in that it prepares you for practice immediately. Gaining meaningful experience at the associate level teaches new practitioners to think strategically and critically, rather than in a theoretical way, allowing them to have impact early in their careers.

Favorable Corporate Law

As any law student who has taken Corporations knows, Delaware law is favorable to those who manage and control corporations. Many companies are incorporated in Delaware, which makes the state an attractive place to sue for disputes involving matters of Delaware corporate law. Delaware law gives much deference to corporate directors, and provides tax benefits for incorporating in Delaware. Over the years, corporate litigation in Delaware has promoted a sophisticated and specialized bar. For example, Delaware has the most advanced law governing alternative entities, which requires a certain level of expertise on the part of legal counsel.

Student Q&A

Q. I am interested in clerking in Delaware, how can I set myself apart?

A. When interviewing at a firm or for a clerkship, you will be asked “why Delaware?” You should be able to answer that question and distinguish yourself by displaying an interest in both Delaware and corporate law.

Q. Is the Delaware bar exam harder than others?

A. Yes, but the Delaware bar exam is passable. Not only does taking the Delaware exam look great on a resume, but it carries weight in other states, especially if you are pursuing an in-house counsel position for a large corporation.

Q. As local counsel, do you become the point person people from other states call?

A. Some firms handle all their matters within the law firm, while others serve as local counsel as well as first chair. However, you are never “just local counsel.” Serving as local counsel is a business opportunity in that you become a practice area expert.

For more information on pursuing a career in Delaware contact Temple Law Career Services at lcareer@temple.edu.


Doneene Keemer Damon (LAW ’92) is the president of Richards Layton, co-chair of the firm’s Business Department, and chair of the Corporate Trust and Agency Services Group. Ms. Damon’s practice focuses on Delaware statutory and common law trusts in commercial and business transactions.  

Kathryn Bartolacci (LAW ’12) is an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Ms. Bartolacci focuses her practice on white collar criminal defense, internal investigations, and corporate compliance.

Jeffrey Lyons (LAW ’17) is an associate in the Intellectual Property Litigation Group at Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell. Mr. Lyon’s practice focuses on patent, copyright, and trademark matters.

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