David Margules
David Margules ()

The firm formerly known as Bouchard Margules & Friedlander has reorganized as Friedlander & Gorris after two of the firm’s named partners departed to pursue different paths. Former managing partner Andre G. Bouchard left to head the Delaware Court of Chancery while David J. Margules joined Ballard Spahr’s Wilmington office earlier this month.

Margules told Delaware Law Weekly that he and Joel Friedlander talked about the firm’s future roughly six weeks ago. The conversations began after Gov. Jack Markell nominated Bouchard to become the next Delaware Court of Chancery chancellor. Bouchard was later confirmed in early April.

“We had a terrific firm and a terrific practice, but when Andy decided to go into public service, Joel and I began a series of conversations about our visions for the future of the firm,” Margules said. “For a variety of reasons, we just wanted very different things. Joel and I are friends but it didn’t make sense for us to stay together wanting different things for the firm.”

Margules added that his initial discussions with Friedlander focused on keeping the law firm together.

“Our assumption was that we were going to stay together and our assumption was that we were going to maintain our independence as a firm, but as we got into the details, we realized that we just wanted different things,” he said. “It just made sense for each to pursue what we want.”

After the departures of Bouchard and Margules, the firm rebranded itself as Friedlander & Gorris on May 1. It will be led by both Friedlander and Jeffrey M. Gorris, who joined the original firm in 2010 and became a partner last year, Friedlander told DLW.

“Jeff and I are both managing the business affairs of the firm,” Friedlander said. “He was an integral part of the trial team in the Rural/Metro case and he will have a leading role in other cases.”

The firm has reorganized on two other occasions. Bouchard and Stephen P. Lamb launched the practice in 1996 as Lamb & Bouchard. However, Lamb left a year later when he was confirmed as a Chancery Court vice chancellor. The firm was rebranded as Bouchard & Friedlander and then again in 1999 when Margules joined the firm. All three attorneys had worked together at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Friedlander said the firm will continue to focus on Chancery Court litigation.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” he said. “We are going to continue representing the same clients on the plaintiff and defense side in the Chancery Court.”

Friedlander & Gorris expanded its roster of attorneys earlier this month with the addition of Christopher M. Foulds as counsel. Foulds joined his new firm May 5 after five years at Skadden.

Margules started at Ballard Spahr on May 1. He said the move came about after he spoke with Ballard Spahr partner M. Norman Goldberger. Both were colleagues at Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg and the firm known then as Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen.

“It was a combination of Norman, an individual that I have a tremendous amount of respect for, and a firm that I thought offered me a platform to do the kind of work I want to do.”

In the past, Margules has represented plaintiffs and defendants in fiduciary duty claims, corporate valuation proceedings, corporate and partnership control issues and insurance coverage defense. He said he expects his work at Ballard Spahr to focus on corporate litigation in the Chancery Court.

“The vast majority of my work is the Delaware Court of Chancery and I expect that to continue,” he said. “I’m not looking to build an individual practice, but instead be a resource for the firm. To the extent that people think I can be helpful in some other case in some other court, then I want to be of help to my partners.”

Margules said the move will not have a significant impact on his billing rates.

“I expect my rates will be roughly comparable to what they were,” he said.

Although Margules has brought some cases to Ballard Spahr, he said he will also be reaching out to new clients.

“I am working on strategies to expand the particular reach that I have as a business generator,” he said. “Plenty of times in the past I represented someone and they later needed help because they got sued outside of Delaware. That was not something we tended to do. Those opportunities exist now because I have a relationship with a national organization that has a superb reputation. That will enhance my ability to get into the door and broaden existing relationships. I will have a visibility that I never had before.”

Jeff Mordock can be contacted at 215-557-2485 or jmordock@alm.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffMordockTLI.