Perfectly Frank: A Reflection on Quality Lawyering in Honor of R. Franklin Balotti

31 Pages Posted: 5 May 2017

See all articles by Leo E. Strine, Jr.

Leo E. Strine, Jr.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

James J. Hanks Jr.

Ballard Spahr LLP

John F. Olson

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

A. Gilchrist Sparks

Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell, Attorneys At Law

E. Norman Veasey

Supreme Court of Delaware

Gregory Willilams

Richards, Layton & Finger

Date Written: April 13, 2017

Abstract

This essay honoring the late R. Franklin Balotti focuses upon certain of the key attributes necessary to practice business law effectively and ethically. Among these attributes are a strong work ethic, the integrity to stand behind your own advice and candidly admit when things do not go according to plan, empathy for how others will view your client’s actions and the ability to communicate that perception to your client, the confidence to change the pace of a transaction when a slow down or time out is warranted, and the ability to have some fun and laugh (even at yourself). Perhaps most importantly, the essay makes clear that the most effective business lawyers are those with the courage to make their clients face the key facts relevant to the issues before them, confront not just the legal but also ethical questions involved, and to make a reasoned judgment that involves self-awareness and an understanding of the larger context in which the clients are acting.

This essay begins with a preface by a group of lawyers who worked closely with R. Franklin Balotti offering a remembrance of his remarkable career and life. They recount not only his professional accomplishments as co-author of the multi-volume Balotti & Finkelstein on The Delaware Law of Corporations & Business Organizations and involvement in many important corporate law cases, among other things, but also his human qualities—his love of teaching, his inspiration to young lawyers, and sense of fun.

Keywords: corporate law, ethics, legal profession, empathy, Delaware, clients, directors, buyers, stockholders, mergers and acquisitions, M&A, business judgment, owners, judgment, integrity

JEL Classification: K10, K40

Suggested Citation

Strine, Jr., Leo E. and Hanks, James J. and Olson, John F. and Sparks, A. Gilchrist and Veasey, E. Norman and Willilams, Gregory, Perfectly Frank: A Reflection on Quality Lawyering in Honor of R. Franklin Balotti (April 13, 2017). Business Lawyer, Forthcoming, U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 17-19, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2963658

Leo E. Strine, Jr. (Contact Author)

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz ( email )

51 W 52nd St
New York, NY 10019
United States
212-403-1178 (Phone)

James J. Hanks

Ballard Spahr LLP ( email )

Baltimore Office
19th Floor 300 East Lombard
Baltimore, MD 21202-3268
United States
410-528-5678 (Phone)
410-528-5650 (Fax)

John F. Olson

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP ( email )

1050 Connecticut Ave.
Washington, DC 20036-5306
United States
202-955-8522 (Phone)

A. Gilchrist Sparks

Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell, Attorneys At Law ( email )

1201 N. Market Street
P.O. Box 1347
Wilmington, DE 19899

E. Norman Veasey

Supreme Court of Delaware ( email )

820 N. French Street
11th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801
United States
302-577-8425 (Phone)
302-577-3702 (Fax)

Gregory Willilams

Richards, Layton & Finger ( email )

One Rodney Square
920 North King Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
United States

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