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Litigation firm Quinn Emanuel opens Wilmington office 

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WILMINGTON Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP,  a leading global law firm known for its work in business litigation, has opened a Wilmington office led by a former chief of staff for then-Gov. Jack Markell.

Michael Barlow Quinn Emanuel Wilmington law firm


Michael A. Barlow, most recently a partner at the Wilmington litigation firm Abrams & Bayliss LLP, is joining Quinn Emanuel after working with the Los Angeles-based firm for many years as local counsel on cases in Delaware courts.

I was convinced by the opportunity to work with a team of lawyers who are friends, who are committed to the Delaware community, and who like taking matters to trial as much as I do,” he told Delaware Business Times.    

Although a lease of office space has not been completed, the firm is reportedly securing space “in close proximity to the courts in Wilmington.” Barlow is reportedly already eyeing additional attorneys to staff the office.

“Quinn Emanuel has had at least half a dozen matters go to trial in Delaware in the last year. There is a lot of opportunity for growth to serve clients,” he said.

As the 26th largest firm in the U.S. per annual revenue at more than $1.6 billion, according to the 2023 AmLaw 100, Quinn Emanuel is among the largest firms to bring a local presence to Wilmington, which is home to the standard-setting Delaware Court of Chancery, but also increasingly complex cases in the state’s federal and state Superior courts as well.

“Delaware plays a unique role in the American legal system, where its world-class judiciary presides over many of the most high-profile and cutting-edge disputes. Quinn Emanuel has been practicing and winning significant cases here for years,” Michael Carlinsky, co-managing partner of the firm and global head of complex litigation, said in a statement. “Opening an office here is the next logical step, and we are delighted to have Mike Barlow to lead us forward.”

The opening of Quinn Emanuel’s new office breaks a lull in the growing legal industry in Wilmington, which saw more than a half dozen firms open offices from 2020 to 2022. Last year, no new firm brought a presence to the First State though.

Quinn Emanuel only works on litigation, and specializes in cases related to mergers and acquisitions and shareholder disputes, including pending merger and stock purchase transactions; the enforcement of financing agreements; shareholder activism including proxy contests and tender offers; contests for control; shareholder class actions and derivative suits; fiduciary duty claims against officers, directors and controlling shareholders; post-closing disputes; Section 220 actions and other matters. 

Last year, Quinn Emanuel represented shareholders of Dell Technologies in a $1 billion case where they were allegedly short-changed in a huge 2018 acquisition deal.

“Our M&A litigation practice has exploded in the last few years – nowhere more so than in the Court of Chancery and, increasingly, Superior Court. Because of our reputation as a trial firm, clients come to us with their most demanding and often intractable disputes. We have tremendous respect for the Delaware court system and its unique legal culture, which is why we’re so excited to join its legal community,” said Andrew J. Rossman, chair of M&A litigation at Quinn Emanuel, in a statement.

The firm recruited Barlow, who has already tried nearly a dozen cases with Quinn Emanuel and specializes in fiduciary litigation, corporate governance, and complex commercial disputes. Before joining Abrams & Bayliss, he served as chief of staff and chief legal counsel to former Gov. Markell from 2009 to 2016.

“Mike is a real talent.  We will miss him as a partner, but we are thrilled that he’ll be joining our friends at Quinn and leading their Delaware office.  We look forward to working closely with Mike and Quinn for years to come,” Abrams & Bayliss LLP Managing Partner A. Thompson Bayliss said in a statement.

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