2019 Vault Rankings
Richards, Layton & Finger, Delaware’s largest law firm and one of its oldest, has been committed from its founding to helping sophisticated clients navigate complex issues and the intricacies of Delaware law. The firm advises Fortune 500 companies, global law firms, financial institutions, hedge funds, venture capital firms, local businesses, and prominent individuals on their most significant Delaware law issues.
Richards Layton is home to the largest corporate practice in the state, with a transactional team that handles the M&A mega-deals governed by Delaware law and a litigation team that has been involved in many of the landmark cases defining the state’s influential corporate laws. For the past 17 years Richards Layton has topped the storied M&A league tables in The Deal, serving as Delaware counsel on more transactions valued at or above $100 million than any other firm in the state. Richards Layton has litigated many textbook case law staples, including The Walt Disney Company Derivative Litigation, Lyondell Chemical Co. v. Ryan, and Unocal Corp. v. Mesa Petroleum Co., and continues to be a go-to firm for complex, high-stakes corporate litigation.
The firm’s influence extends far beyond the corporate realm. Richards Layton also houses the state’s largest alternative entities practice, working hand-in-hand with BigLaw teams to structure sophisticated LLPs and LLCs for a wide range of high-profile clients.
Richards Layton has one of the state’s leading intellectual property litigation practice, nationally recognized for tackling some of the most difficult IP matters that emerge in the Delaware District Court, one of the leading venues for IP litigation in the United States. The firm’s top-notch bankruptcy and corporate restructuring practice is widely considered a leader in the Mid-Atlantic region, described by Chambers USA as the “cream of the crop.” Respected bankruptcy firms throughout the country regularly tap Richards Layton to serve as their co-counsel in many of the largest and most complex bankruptcy cases filed in Delaware.
The firm also has highly regarded real estate and employment practices. Richards Layton’s real estate lawyers are nationally recognized for expertise in handling all phases of commercial property transactions, and the employment team is known for its customized solutions to ensure compliance with labor laws, minimize employee conflicts, and maximize advantages in employment law disputes. Richards Layton’s Tax and Trusts & Estates lawyers advise many of the nation’s most prominent financial institutions, trust companies, and high net worth individuals on tax and estate-planning strategies that reflect the unique advantages of Delaware law.
Richards Layton attorneys have long played key roles in drafting and amending many of the state’s influential business statutes, including the Delaware General Corporation Law, the Delaware Limited Partnership Act, the Delaware Limited Liability Company Act, and the Delaware Statutory Trust Act. The firm and its lawyers are regularly acclaimed by prestigious legal directories such as Chambers USA, Benchmark Litigation, The Legal 500, The Best Lawyers in America, Lawdragon 500, IAM Patent 1000, and Who’s Who Legal.
The firm’s origins date back to the end of the nineteenth century. In 1899, Robert H. Richards moved to Wilmington to begin his law practice. He was soon joined by Aaron Finger, who enviably managed to escape the gruel of law school and became a partner sans college or a law degree by “reading” for law under Richards. Next was Caleb Layton, whose arrival as partner in 1929 gave the firm its current name of Richards, Layton & Finger. As it grew, Richards, Layton & Finger set several diversity precedents in Delaware; in 2016 it became the first major Delaware law firm with an executive leadership team comprised of a female majority and the first to appoint an African-American partner.
Summer Associate Rotations and Mentoring
Richards Layton’s summer associate program is noteworthy for the heavy level of experience and mentoring it offers. Before joining the program, summer associates are asked to rank practice areas in order of preference and, upon joining, follow a rotation system designed to promote exposure to different legal areas. Summer associates are assigned one area to start in, and then, halfway through the summer, change to another area in which they work until the end of the program. Extensive mentoring is also part of the program. Summer associates receive two mentors, a director and an associate, who provide them with general guidance, manage their assignments, and answer their questions.
IN THE NEWS
February 7, 2018 marked the one-year anniversary of Richards Layton’s state-of-the-art, on-premises fitness center. Free and open to all employees 24/7, the fitness center is the only one of its kind among Wilmington law firms. It features weekly classes and professional trainers, and the firm has just added two Peloton bikes to the fitness center’s collection of high-end equipment.
Each year Richards Layton attorneys and staff donate their time, money, and energy to Martin Luther King Day service projects. This January the firm held a food drive for a local elementary school that serves children living in poverty, many of whom are homeless. We bought, donated, and delivered over 1500 pounds of food and over 400 pounds of non-food items to help these needy children. Our attorneys, staff, and their families also went to a local Boys and Girls Club for a day of painting, decorating, and furnishing a teen recreation room—including donating a PlayStation!
Richards, Layton & Finger has been recognized for excellence in 23 practice areas in the U.S. News - Best Lawyers 2018 “Best Law Firms” rankings. The firm received the survey’s top Tier 1 Delaware ranking in 19 practice areas, the most Tier 1 rankings of any firm in the state. In addition to its Delaware ranking, Richards Layton’s Mergers & Acquisitions Litigation practice was also ranked nationally. Several clients praised Richards Layton’s “outstanding knowledge and experience,” with one commenting, “Superb legal service and excellent responsiveness make Richards, Layton & Finger our go-to firm.”
Richards, Layton & Finger has been named by Law360 as a Delaware Regional Powerhouse, recognized as one of the sophisticated law firms that are “on the cutting edge” of Delaware law. Richards Layton stands out in a field of extraordinarily talented firms for its expertise in advising clients on groundbreaking corporate litigation, high-value M&A deals, and prominent bankruptcy filings. “Our clients know we have the knowledge and experience to handle their toughest issues, and the skill to dig deep and deliver innovative solutions,” says Gregory Varallo, president of Richards Layton. “We’re proud to be recognized as a Delaware Powerhouse.”
One Rodney Square
920 North King Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
Phone: (302) 651-7700
Employer Type: Private
President: Gregory V. Varallo
Hiring Partner: Matthew S. Criscimagna
Total No. Attorneys 2018: 158
1st year: $160,000
Summer associate: $3,077/week
13 out of 13 (2Ls only) (2017)
Bankruptcy & Corporate Restructuring
Business Trust and Agency Services
Corporate Advisory and Governance
Labor and Employment
Limited Liability Company and Partnership Advisory
Trusts and Estates