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Morris James adds mergers, acquisition practice

Katie Tabeling
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Morris James law firm

Morris James has added a new mergers and acquisition practice, bringing on three veteran attorneys in that arena.| DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

WILMINGTON — Morris James has established a new mergers and acquisitions practice, signing on three veteran attorneys from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP as its first move in the expansion.

While the firm has handled complicated merger, acquisition and private equity deals in the past, the new practice shows that Morris James is ready to invest heavily in a competitive legal marketplace. Since hundreds of Fortune 500 companies have legally incorporated in the First State, most of the major corporate law decisions in the United States have worked their ways through the state’s Court of Chancery for decades.

Skadden has experience in advising public and private companies and private equity sponsors in the US and cross-border mergers, including spin-offs and other transactions. The trio of lawyers have experience advising on matters with a combined value of hundreds of billions of dollars, according to Morris James representatives.

“Our firm is committed to providing comprehensive and robust corporate law services to our clients. The arrival of these outstanding attorneys enriches our capabilities, ensuring that we continue to provide our clients the highest level of services,” Morris James Managing Partner Keith Donovan said in a prepared statement. “This expansion is a testament to our dedication to meeting the evolving needs of our clients and emphasizes our commitment to being at the forefront of corporate law in Delaware and beyond.”

Morris James has named partner Vincent J. Cannizzaro III to lead the new practice. Before joining the firm, he worked at Skadden for nearly 10 years and was a senior associate at the firm. He also served as a summer associate at Skadden. This will be his first turn as a practice group leader.

“The decision to bring my practice to a firm like Morris James that has a sterling reputation in Delaware corporate law and client service was an easy one to make,” Cannizzaro said in a prepared statement.  “The firm and my team are a perfect fit for each other, and I am excited about the opportunities it presents for delivering sophisticated legal solutions to our clients.” 

Cannizzaro will be joined by colleagues Aarish Sheikh and Justin Larsen. Sheikh was at Skadden for more than six years, while Laesen spent two years at Skadden after earning a law degree from Cornell Law in 2021.

Morris James has about 70 attorneys in several offices throughout Delaware, half of which practice corporate law while the rest work in litigation and transactions. The firm focuses on other areas, as well, such as bankruptcy and restructuring, labor, real estate, intellectual property and more. 

Morris James has also announced it would be moving its headquarters out of Wilmington by 2025, although it will retain satellite offices in the city. As of March 15, the firm consolidated its Broom Street with its 500 Delaware Ave. office. 

The law firm employs roughly 160 people, which includes the 70 attorneys, according to Delaware Business Times records. Morris James also has a physical presence in four other locations in the First State, including Dover, Newark, Georgetown and Rehoboth Beach.

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