National trial firm Reid Collins opens Wilmington office
WILMINGTON – Reid Collins & Tsai, a national boutique trial law firm, announced Wednesday that it has opened a Wilmington office.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Reid Collins also has offices in Dallas, New York and Washington, D.C. Its Wilmington office is located in the Nemours Building off North Orange Street.
Leading the office is new partner Jonathan M. Kass, who left Offit Kurman after less than two years, and joining him as a counselor is Norman Monhait, a longtime leading state corporate litigator who will return from retirement.
The 11-year-old Reid Collins has quickly made a name for itself in handling high-profile, complex business disputes on a success-fee basis. It is a frequent foil of big law firms, investment banks, and accounting firms by representing fund managers, investor groups, trustees, receivers, and more.
Reid Collins co-founder Bill Reid said that the firm has long wanted to operate a Delaware office, but was waiting for the right fit. Reid has been friends with Monhait for more than 15 years and depended on him as local counsel many times. His firm had also worked with Kass on a case in recent years, and Reid was impressed with his work.
While other plaintiff firms may shy away from Delaware’s non-jury Court of Chancery, Reid said that he enjoys trying cases here because of the strength of the judges and the predictability of its case law.
“Although Delaware is certainly deferential to business judgments that turned out wrong … I think that equally true of Delaware is that they don’t tolerate blatant wrongdoing,” he said.
Kass, who has built his career representing institutional investors in corporate governance disputes, appraisal rights litigation, and securities cases, said the opportunity with Reid Collins came together quickly late last year.
After deciding to leave Offit Kurman to start his own boutique firm, Kass mentioned his plans to a contact who shared them with Reid. Less than 24 hours later, he got a call from Reid to see if he’d be interested in joining his firm and running the new office.
“It was the easiest decision because, ultimately, the firm is the perfect platform to do everything I wanted to do with my own practice, but at a different level because of the Reid Collins platform and deep bench of lawyers,” Kass said. “It was an absolute no-brainer.”
In a city often geared toward representing large companies and high-profile clients before the Court of Chancery or the state’s federal courts, Kass said that he was drawn to representing investors as courts grapple with how or whether to consider intrinsic valuation of companies. He said that he believes the state’s courts are “at a crossroads” on the issue as plaintiffs seek to convince judges to consider factors other than stock prices.
“The firm’s advocacy coupled with its judgment on how to pursue these matters is exactly why I’m here,” he said. “I think there’s a clear consensus that for a myriad of reasons, mergers, acquisitions, and asset transactions, don’t always happen in a kosher manner.”
Kass will be able to consult Monhait, who handled complex business litigation and plaintiff investor representation as a partner at the former Rosenthal Monhait & Goddess in Wilmington for decades. Reid said that he wanted his longtime friend to help guide their local strategy and was able to convince him to unretire.
“It certainly was not something I had contemplated, but I’ve always enjoyed working with Bill and his team of very talented lawyers,” Monhait said. “I was at a point where I was open to the possibility of engaging in some enjoyable intellectual challenge.”
For now, Reid said he’s envisioning “smart growth” in the firm’s Wilmington office, taking advantage of the right opportunities but not entering the year with a firm plan to expand its workforce.