Richards, Layton & Finger Elects New Leadership Team

July 1, 2019

Firm News

Doneene K. Damon is first African American woman to serve as president; Lisa A. Schmidt to serve as executive vice president; Paul M. Altman to serve as senior vice president 

WILMINGTON, Delaware (July 1, 2019) – Richards, Layton & Finger, Delaware’s largest law firm, has elected Doneene K. Damon as president and Lisa A. Schmidt as executive vice president of the firm. Paul M. Altman has been appointed to serve as the firm’s senior vice president. Ms. Damon, Ms. Schmidt, and Mr. Altman assume their new roles on July 1.

The firm’s new executive leadership team represents a historic first: Ms. Damon is the first woman to serve as president of the firm, and the first African American to serve as president of a large Delaware law firm. In her new role, Ms. Damon is among only a handful of minority women in executive leadership positions in major law firms in the United States.

“I am honored to have been selected by my partners to lead such an extraordinary firm,” said Ms. Damon. “Richards, Layton & Finger’s tradition of excellence is based on a long history of remarkable lawyers and leaders of the Delaware bar. We look forward to continuing the firm’s success through our dedication to our clients, our people and our community.”

Ms. Damon’s elevation to the position of president follows in the normal course of Richards, Layton & Finger’s leadership succession process, which provides for a three-year term of office for the president, executive vice president, and senior vice president of the firm. As executive vice president, Ms. Schmidt will succeed Ms. Damon as president of the firm upon the expiration of Ms. Damon’s term of office as president.

Doneene K. Damon
Ms. Damon plays key roles within Richards, Layton & Finger and in the community at large. In addition to being the president of the firm, she serves as co-chair of the firm’s Business Department and chair of the Corporate Trust and Agency Services Group. Ms. Damon counsels clients on formation and operational issues relating to Delaware statutory and common law trusts in all types of commercial transactions, and also represents banks and trust companies in connection with their trust and agency services under Delaware and New York law.

Ms. Damon has held numerous leadership positions in the American Bar Association, the Delaware State Bar Association, and other legal organizations. She is an American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers Fellow, and serves on the boards of the Delaware Community Foundation, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and she is currently the chair of the board of directors of Christiana Care Health System.

In addition to being named in Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America, and Super Lawyers, Ms. Damon’s awards include the National Association of Professional Women VIP Woman of the Year Circle, the American Bar Association’s Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award, the National Diversity Council Leadership Excellence in the Law Award, and the International Women’s Review Board for Excellence in Law. She was recently featured in an article in Super Lawyers and was honored as one of Savoy magazine’s Most Influential Black Lawyers.

Lisa A. Schmidt
Representing Delaware corporations, their directors, and other constituencies in complex corporate litigation, Ms. Schmidt has litigated numerous corporate control, corporate governance, appraisal, and contractual disputes in the Delaware courts. She also advises corporations, their directors, and special committees on corporate governance matters and fiduciary duties.

A frequent lecturer on issues of Delaware corporate law and litigation, Ms. Schmidt is a regular speaker at the Federal Securities Institute, where she currently serves as co-chair. She is a senior fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, and she has been recognized in Benchmark Litigation, The Best Lawyers in America, and Super Lawyers.

Paul M. Altman
Mr. Altman served for almost 20 years as the Chair of the firm’s Business Department and the Limited Liability Company and Partnership Advisory Group. His practice involves alternative entities, including partnerships and limited liability companies, and focuses on the formation of private investment funds.

Mr. Altman is the co-author of Lubaroff & Altman on Delaware Limited Partnerships, the seminal treatise of Delaware limited partnership practice. He is an emeritus member and a past chair of the Delaware State Bar Association committee responsible for drafting amendments to Delaware’s alternative entity statutes. Mr. Altman is named in Chambers USA, Super Lawyers, Who’s Who of Private Funds Lawyers, Delaware Today, and The Best Lawyers in America.

About Richards, Layton & Finger
Delaware’s largest law firm and one of its oldest, Richards, Layton & Finger helps sophisticated clients navigate complex issues and the intricacies of Delaware law. We advise global companies, business partnerships, leading financial institutions, local businesses, and individuals across a wide range of practices, including corporate law, alternative entities, commercial law, bankruptcy and restructuring, and litigation.

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