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Scott + Scott opens new office in downtown Wilmington

Katie Tabeling

WILMINGTON — Global law firm Scott + Scott LLP announced Tuesday it has opened an office in Delaware, marking its 12th location across the globe and its first one in the heart of the incorporation capital.

The firm handles complex litigation matters with a large institutional buying base that represents stockholders that may take issue with a corporate transaction or other consumer and antitrust matters. Scott + Scott has offices in New York, Connecticut, Virginia, Arizona, Ohio, Nebraska, Texas and California, as well as London, Amsterdam and Berlin.

“When you build such a ship to handle governance-related litigation, I don’t think there’s any other place you want to have a hub other than in Delaware,” said Justin Reliford, the partner in the firm’s Firm’s Corporate Governance and Shareholders Rights practice. “We litigate the types of cases where a sheriff isn’t knocking on the door of a CEO when they’re wetting their beak in a way that they shouldn’t be. Delaware law serves as an important function by setting the standard of fiduciary conduct of what executives should be doing when they’re trusted with other people’s assets.”

Scott + Scott’s Delaware office is now in the PNC Bank Center at 222 Delaware Ave., just steps away from the Delaware Court of Chancery. That court is home venue to the legal disputes for the state’s more than 1 million legal incorporations; and it is the judges on that court who hear the cases that involve shareholders, executives and corporate boards.

For Reliford, opening an office in Delaware reaffirms Scott + Scott’s commitment to holding corporate offers accountable when and if their actions hurt shareholders. The firm has handled many landmark cases like a record-setting $310 million settlement with Google’s parent company Alphabet that also forced the company to overhaul sexual harassment policies.

“When you think about some of the larger cases we’ve litigated, there’re some derivative cases that don’t result in payment to stockholders, though recouping that is ideal,” Reliford told the Delaware Business Times. “But often the best we can do is change corporate governments and increase oversight.” 

Along with Reliford, the firm’s Delaware office will be led by Paige Alderson-Smith. Admitted to both the bars of Delaware and Pennsylvania, she has focused her career on mass tort matters. Reliford’s expertise lies in merger & acquisition issues, having secured significant recoveries for corporate stakeholders in high-profile matters in the Court of Chancery and other courts across the country.

Alderson-Smith also has roots in Delaware, having clerked for Judge William C. Carpenter in the Complex Commercial Division in the state’s superior court. She  also serves on several local boards, including the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Delaware and the Executive Board of the Hillel at the University of Delaware. 

Three other Scott + Scott attorneys are relocating to Wilmington, as well, including Karen Kam, Elizabeth Dragovich and Kassandra Nelson. The trio bring decades of experience in corporate finance, institutional client services, federal securities litigation and other complex matters.  Reliford noted that the attorneys have been pushed to find local civic and professional organizations to support.

“We’ve found talented folks both inside and Delaware and out. And we really want to make a mark and do something for this legal community,” Alderson-Smith told DBT. “There’s a lot of good that can be done. We have a very passionate and diverse team that I think is going to bring something in this legal market that I hope is celebrated.”

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