People on the Move – Jan. 22
People on the Move is a rundown of recent hirings, promotions, appointments and other notable movements by professionals in the state. If you’re interested in submitting an entry, please contact [email protected].
Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP is pleased to announce that William M. Lafferty has been elected chair of the Delaware law firm’s Executive Committee, succeeding Andrew M. Johnston.
“I am humbled and excited to move into this role,” Lafferty said. “Andy did a terrific job leading Morris Nichols over the past three years, especially through the unprecedented challenges of 2020. We are blessed with excellent clients and hard-working, talented attorneys and staff. I look forward to maintaining and growing Morris Nichols’ reputation as trusted Delaware law advisors.”
Lafferty grew up in Delaware, graduated from the University of Delaware, and returned to practice law in Delaware after graduating from The Dickinson School of Law. He joined Morris Nichols in 1990 following a judicial clerkship for the Delaware Court of Chancery and has spent his more than 30-year career at Morris Nichols focusing on Delaware corporate and commercial litigation and acted as lead or co-counsel in numerous significant litigations involving Delaware corporate law issues.
Top-ranked by Chambers USA and The Legal 500, Lafferty is a fellow to the American College of Trial Lawyers and serves as a member of the advisory board for the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, and the NYU School of Law Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance. He also co-chairs the Tulane Corporate Law Institute and speaks and teaches regularly about Delaware corporate law issues.
Lafferty is an active leader in the Delaware Bar and in the broader Delaware community. He currently serves as a co-chair of the Combined Campaign for Justice, serves as chair of the Court of Chancery Rules Committee, and previously chaired the Delaware Continuing Legal Education Commission and served two terms on the Board of Bar Examiners. He also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Delaware, and the Sanford School in Hockessin. He also serves on the board or advisory board of three charitable organizations: Unidel Foundation, Arsht-Cannon Fund, and the Heald Scholarship Committee.
Benjamin Smyth has been made a partner in McCarter & English’s Wilmington office.
Smyth focuses on litigation involving complex commercial disputes and statutory actions relating to Delaware business entities. An experienced litigator, he represents clients in a wide range of corporate, business, and commercial disputes, including matters involving trade secrets, contracts, and litigation arising from mergers and acquisitions.
Managing Partner Joe Boccassini said: “I am very excited to welcome a talented and diverse class of partners. Our new partners have distinguished themselves as exceptional practitioners and trusted advisors to their clients, and exemplified the skill and integrity that have defined our firm for 175 years. We congratulate them on this tremendous achievement, and look forward to working with them as they continue to develop their practices.”
Patrick M. McKenna has been elected chair of Gawthrop Greenwood’s management committee.
At 45 years old, McKenna is the youngest chair of the management committee in the firm’s 117-year history. Before heading the firm’s Government & Education Law Department, McKenna became a shareholder in 2011 and is celebrating his 20th year practicing law. Recently, he served as president of the Chester County (Pa.) Bar Association and president of the Chester County Bar Foundation.
“I’ve always appreciated the firm’s impressive mentorship program, clear path for advancement and opportunity to assume greater responsibility,” said McKenna who joined the firm just three years after graduating from law school. “While longevity at a single firm may seem unusual in the current legal landscape, it is a mainstay at Gawthrop Greenwood, and I plan to grow opportunities for the next generation of talent during my leadership.”
“The term limits embedded into the structure of our firm’s management committee, with a year off required between terms, allows for a true partnership where each of us has the opportunity to take on management responsibility. We believe that is essential to the success and growth of law firms in the modern economy,” McKenna said.
He succeeds Sandra Knapp, who led the firm as chair of the management committee for the last three years.
McKenna is a board member for the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union. He is also a past president of the Board of Directors of Safe Harbor of Chester County, a shelter for single homeless men and women in Chester County.
Duane Morris LLP is pleased to announce that it has promoted to Jarret P. Hitchings, of the firm’s Business Reorganization and Financial Restructuring Practice Group in Wilmington, to partner.
Hitchings practices in the area of commercial finance and corporate restructuring. He regularly represents business debtors, committees, lenders, trustees and creditors, particularly with respect to bankruptcy litigation. Hitchings also represents agents, lenders and borrowers in financial transactions, and lenders, servicers, corporations and management in connection with governance issues and commercial disputes.
Hitchings is a graduate of Villanova University School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2010), where he was elected to the Order of the Coif, and the Pennsylvania State University (B.A., 2007).
Mia Burch, a Realtor and associate broker with Long and Foster, has been installed as the 2021 president of the 4,000-member Delaware Association of Realtors (DAR). The virtual event included the installation of the organization’s full slate of officers and directors for 2021.
As president, Burch will preside at all meetings of the DAR Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and will serve as an ex-officio member of all DAR committees and work groups. In her capacity as president, Burch will serve as the official spokesperson for the association on issues related to the real estate industry as well as local residential and commercial markets in Delaware. She also will represent DAR and its members on the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Board of Directors and at local, state, and national functions.
Burch served as treasurer of the Delaware Association of Realtors in 2018 and its president-elect in 2020. In 2017, Burch served as president of the New Castle County Board of Realtors and was also recognized as their Realtor of the Year. She holds certifications from the National Association of Realtors as a certified distressed properties expert (CDPE) and commercial real estate specialist (CRES). At Long and Foster, she has achieved both Silver Team, Gold Team, and Chairman’s Club.
The full slate of 2021 DAR officers includes President-Elect Susan Giove (Sussex County); Vice President Monica LeBlanc (Kent County), Treasurer Kevin Thawley (Sussex County), Immediate Past President Beau Zebley (Kent County), and Secretary Wesley Stefanick, DAR Chief Executive Officer.
Amanda Kelly Thompson has been named director of political and legislative affairs at the Delaware Association of Realtors (DAR).
A native of Delaware, she comes to DAR from the Delaware branch of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), where she served as director of advancement.
Thompson served as deputy finance director for Sen. Tom Carper’s 2018 re-election campaign, and before that as a legislative intern with the senator. She was a graduate research assistant at the Homeless Planning Council of Delaware, and undergraduate research assistant at the Center for Community Research and Service at the University of Delaware (UD). She earned three degrees from UD, including bachelor’s degrees in psychology and organizational and community leadership, and a Master of Public Administration. Studies abroad included Vietnam and Malaysia.
In her position at DAR, Thompson will direct DAR activities in the legislative, political action committee (PAC) fundraising, and political arenas. She will also serve as the staff liaison for DAR’s Public Policy and DelPAC committees.
Whisman Giordano & Associates announces the hiring of Senior Accountant Carolyn Craven.
Craven comes to Whisman Giordano with over 10 years of experience. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, Moore School of Business, where she was a double-major in both accounting and finance. Her specialties are audits and attest services, defined benefits, not-for-profit organizations, and private equity hedge funds.
Craven, a resident of Texas, initially joined the firm through The Mom Project on a consulting basis. The Mom Project is an organization “committed to helping women remain active in the workforce in every stage of their journey,” as stated on their website, themomproject.com. However, she almost instantly joined the Whisman Giordano team full-time.
“I am thrilled to officially join Whisman Giordano and am looking forward to delivering for our clients. I am fortunate that the firm is forward-thinking and has all the technology in place to make remote work seamless,” Craven said.
President and Managing Partner Joseph V. Giordano added, “We are always looking for talented and decent humans to deliver the very best for our clients, and if that means partnering with The Mom Project and bringing a little of that famed Lone Star swagger to Delaware, then that’s what we do. We always hire with our motto, Building Extraordinary Relationships, in mind and I have no doubts that Carolyn will be a client favorite for a long time to come.”