Selena E. Molina, an associate at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, has been named to serve as the next master in Chancery, in a move that capped the recent expansion of Delaware’s pre-eminent business court.
Molina, a 2013 graduate of Widener University Delaware Law School, will replace Morgan T. Zurn, who was recently confirmed to fill one of two new judgeships on the Chancery Court. She joins Patricia W. Griffin, who assumed the role of master last May, following the retirement of Kim E. Ayvazian after more than 11 years on the court.
Masters in Chancery adjudicate cases that are assigned to them, sometimes making recommendations on how judges should proceed. They also play an administrative role in handling the court’s case load, particularly in the areas of trusts, estates and guardianships.
Chancery Court Chancellor Andre G. Bouchard announced Molina’s selection Wednesday, saying she had been chosen for her judgment, work ethic and active involvement in the state bar and in the community at large.
“She has demonstrated a passion for public service and we are fortunate she stepped forward to undertake the responsibilities of this important position,” Bouchard said in a statement. “All the members of the court look forward to the opportunity to work with Selena, and are confident that she will distinguish herself as a master of the court in the years to come.”
Unlike judges, masters are chosen by the chancellor after an interview process. They are not subject to term limits or reappointment procedures.
Molina, 29, has worked in the litigation departments of Saul Ewing and Richards, Layton & Finger. She has also clerked for former Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy J. Holland in 2012 and 2013 through Delaware Law’s Wolcott Fellowship, which is available to five students each year who rank in the top 15 percent of their class or otherwise distinguish themselves academically.
Her selection brings the Chancery Court to full strength at a time of significant change for the composition and structure of the 226-year old Delaware institution.
Earlier this year, the Delaware General Assembly approved Carney’s request to expand the court from five to seven judges. In October, the state Senate confirmed Zurn and Kathaleen S. McCormick, formerly a corporate litigator with Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor, to serve as vice chancellors on the court, the preferred venue for corporate litigation for most of the Fortune 500.
The appointment of Zurn and McCormick also brought a new gender balance to the bench, with three of the court’s seven seats held by women.
Molina will work out of the Leonard L. Williams Justice Center in Wilmington, where she is expected to assume her new duties Jan. 2, a spokesman for the court said Thursday.