In Memoriam—R. Franklin Balotti
On August 2, 2016 we lost our friend and mentor, R. Franklin (“Frank”) Balotti. Frank was a leader of Richards, Layton & Finger for decades. He will be greatly missed.
Frank graduated from Hamilton College and Cornell University Law School, where he was awarded the Order of the Coif. Frank joined RLF in 1967 and became a director of the Firm just three years later. Frank was one of the country’s leading corporate lawyers and litigators for decades. Clients and co-counsel viewed Frank as the consummate Delaware lawyer. During the hostile takeover era of the 1980s, Frank was a mainstay in the Delaware Court of Chancery and the Supreme Court of Delaware. Frank was honored in many, many ways by his profession, including serving as the President of the Bar Association of the State of Delaware, being elected a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American College of Governance Counsel, and serving in numerous leadership positions in the American Bar Association. Along with Jesse Finkelstein, Frank co-authored the seminal treatise regarding Delaware business law, The Delaware Law of Corporations and Business Organizations. Frank lectured on Delaware law around the world for decades. He also served as an adjunct professor of law at Cornell Law School, University of Miami School of Law, Widener University School of Law, the University of Iowa College of Law and Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
Frank’s professional accomplishments represent only a small part of the story of his life. He was devoted to his wife Marcia and his family, spending time with them was always a priority for Frank. He also advised, taught and mentored generations of lawyers at RLF. Among many other lessons, he taught us that being an effective advocate did not require being contentious with opposing counsel -- Frank’s adversaries in the courtroom were some of his best friends outside the courtroom. Nothing made Frank happier than hosting late Friday afternoon “beach parties” in his office, attended by younger attorneys working for him. In our hallways, Frank loved to cajole, tease and laugh with everyone who passed his way. Frank was instrumental in building the corporate practice at RLF—the current members of the practice each owe much of their success to Frank Balotti.
He was the most capable and generous among us. Thanks for everything, Frank.