Berger Follows Jacobs into Retirement, Governor Nominates Skadden's Valihura

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June 9 — Three days after Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) named his choice to replace the retiring Justice Jack Jacobs on the state Supreme Court, Justice Carolyn Berger said she, too, will be leaving the court.  

The Governor's Office announced June 9 that Berger, who was the first female member of the Delaware Court of Chancery and the state Supreme Court, will retire effective Sept. 1.

Berger joined the state Supreme Court in July 1994, after serving a decade as vice chancellor of the chancery court. She is the only woman currently on the state Supreme Court.

Her announcement comes two months after Jacobs said that effective June 24, he would retire from the state Supreme Court.

On June 6, Markell named Karen L. Valihura, a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP, as his pick to replace Jacobs.

“Karen Valihura is an attorney of uncommon skill, intelligence, and integrity who has earned a well-deserved reputation for excellence in her 25 years in private practice,” Markell said in a news release. “As important, she has a long track record of service to the community.”

Valihura, whose nomination must be confirmed by the Delaware State Senate before she can join the high court, has practiced law since 1989 and is author of Bloomberg BNA's “Portfolio 22: Attorney-Client Privilege and Work-Product Doctrine: Corporate Applications.”

“I am humbled by this great honor, and I wish to thank Governor Markell for having the faith in me to succeed retiring Justice Jack Jacobs who contributed greatly to making our Supreme Court a shining star among our nation's courts,” Valihura said in the news release.

Valihura's practice involves an array of corporate and commercial issues, including mergers and acquisitions, fiduciary duties of directors, and federal and state securities fraud claims. She represents business entities in federal and state trial and appellate courts throughout the country, according to the news release.

For 18 years, Valihura served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Delaware Special Olympics, and also served for eight years as a member of the Delaware Bar Foundation, the news release said.

She currently serves as a member of the advisory board of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance and as a member of the Delaware Supreme Court's Permanent Ethics Advisory Committee on Delaware Rules of Professional Conduct.

Valihura, 51, received a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from Washington and Jefferson College in 1985. She earned her law degree at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1989. She resides in Wilmington, Del.

Earlier this year, Leo E. Strine Jr. was sworn in as the eighth chief justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, replacing former Chief Justice Myron Steele, who served as chief justice from May 2005 until his retirement in November 2013.

The news release regarding Valihura's nomination is available at