With Election of New Officers, Richards, Layton & Finger Achieves Another First in Delaware

July 1, 2016

Firm News

WILMINGTON, Delaware (July 1, 2016) – Richards, Layton & Finger has elected Gregory Varallo as president and Doneene Damon as executive vice president of the firm. Lisa Schmidt has been appointed to serve as the firm’s senior vice president. Mr. Varallo, Ms. Damon, and Ms. Schmidt assume their new roles on July 1, and will each serve a three-year term.

“Richards Layton has long been known for extraordinary lawyers and leaders of the Delaware bar,” said Mr. Varallo, “and we are proud to be a part of this tradition of excellence.” Indeed, the firm’s new executive leadership team has already achieved a historic first for large Delaware law firms: it is the first time the top leaders of a major Delaware firm include a female majority and an African American. Ms. Damon, who was elected to the firm’s second-highest office, is among only a handful of minority women in executive leadership positions in major law firms in the United States.

“We are honored to be selected to serve our firm in the new generation of leaders at Richards Layton,” Mr. Varallo said, “and we look forward to continuing the firm’s success through our commitment to our clients, our people, and our community.”

Mr. Varallo focuses his practice on corporate and business litigation and corporate governance. He has litigated many complex business disputes in the Delaware courts and in state and federal courts throughout the U.S., and has served as lead counsel in numerous high-profile matters. Mr. Varallo co-authored Special Committees: Law and Practice, the first authoritative reference on special committee law, and The Practitioner’s Guide to the Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act, which introduced the innovative Delaware arbitration statute that Mr. Varallo was involved in drafting.

With a long history of leadership in Delaware, Mr. Varallo serves on the Delaware Supreme Court Rules Committee. He is co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Delaware Business Law Forum, a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, and a founder, fellow, vice president, and secretary of the American College of Governance Counsel. Top-ranked in Chambers USA, Mr. Varallo has also been named in Benchmark Litigation, The Best Lawyers in America, The Legal 500 United States, Super Lawyers, Delaware Today, and Who’s Who Legal.

Ms. Damon counsels clients on formation and operational issues relating to Delaware statutory and common law trusts in all types of commercial transactions, representing issuers, underwriters, investors, and trustees. She also represents banks and trust companies in connection with their trust and agency services under Delaware and New York law in a variety of commercial transactions, particularly in their roles as trustee, collateral agent, custodian, master servicer, depository agent, and exchange agent.

Active in many legal and community organizations, Ms. Damon serves as vice chair and director of diversity of the ABA Securitization and Structured Finance Committee, chair of the Lawyers of Color Subcommittee of the ABA Diversity Committee, and chair of the board of directors of Christiana Care Health System. In addition to her recognition in Chambers USA, Ms. Damon received the ABA’s prestigious Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award in 2015, and was named to the National Association of Professional Women’s VIP Woman of the Year Circle for 2015-2016.

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

Well versed on issues of Delaware corporate law and litigation, Ms. Schmidt is a regular speaker at the Federal Securities Institute. She chairs the Board on Professional Responsibility of the Delaware Supreme Court, and serves on the board of the St. Francis Hospital Foundation. Ms. Schmidt has been recognized in Benchmark Litigation, The Best Lawyers in America, and Super Lawyers, and she is a senior fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

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