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A Chronical of our durable legacy.
Our Story

Our Story Starts Here

1930

1930

Judge Morris Opens Law Offices

Judge Morris resigns from the bench and re-enters private practice.


1930-1934

Early Growth of the Firm

Judge Morris strives to hire the best young lawyers available.



1931

Alex Nichols Joins

Judge Morris Hires Penn Law graduate Alexander Nichols


1933

Judge Morris Declines Senate Nomination

Judge Morris declines nomination as the Democratic Party's candidate for Senate.



1934

Samuel Arsht Joins

Judge Morris hires Penn Law graduate S. Samuel Arsht.


1939

G. Burton Pearson Becomes First Vice Chancellor

Partner, George Burton Pearson leaves the Firm to join the Delaware Court of Chancery, becoming its first Vice Chancellor.




1940

1942

Sole Proprietorship Grows to Partnership

Ed Steel, Alex Nichols and Sam Arsht had been with the Firm for years and by 1942, the sole proprietorship had become "Morris, Steel, Nichols and Arsht."


1949

Sam Arsht Revises All Existing Delaware Law

Partner S. Samuel Arsht selected as a member of a three-person panel to revise all existing Delaware laws; work completed in 1953.




1950

1950s

Morris Nichols Handles High-Profile Case

Morris Nichols handles high-profile case, Associated Aviation Underwriters v. United Aircraft Corporation.


1958

Ed Steel Appointed to Bench

Partner, Ed Steel appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.



1958

Judge Tunnell Joins; Firm Becomes Known as Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell

When Judge James M. Tunnell joins, the Firm becomes known by its present-day name "Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell."



1960

1960s

Long-Standing Work Begins with Aviation Billionaire Howard Hughes and His Affiliates

Morris Nichols begins representation of Howard Hughes' aircraft corporation, through to settling Hughes' estate in the 1980s.


1966-1967

Sam Arsht Heads Commission to Revise Delaware's General Corporation Law

Ten years after Sam Arsht worked to revise all Delaware laws, he is appointed to the three-man Delaware Corporation Law Revision Committee.



1966

Judge Morris Passes Away

On March 18, 1966, Hugh Morris passed away in his apartment, just a few weeks shy of his 89th birthday.



1970

1970s

Landmark Antitrust Work Begins

Morris Nichols begins work on landmark antitrust case for Outboard Marine Corporation involving a control system for powerboats.


1970s

Rise of Intellectual Property Litigation

Technology and the legal practice were about to intersect and create a national boom in intellectual property litigation.



1970

Stapleton Becomes Youngest D. Del. Judge

Thirty-five year old partner Walter K. Stapleton joins the bench.


1976

Alex Nichols Retires

Name partner Alex Nichols retires after 45 years with the Firm.



1977

Green v. Santa Fe Ushers In Takeover Boom

The door to the Delaware bar's participation in the takeover boom in 1980s was opened wide by the 1977 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Green v. Santa Fe.


1979

James Tunnell Retires

Having mentored dozens of younger attorneys, Justice James M. Tunnell, Jr. retires at the end of 1979.




1980

1980s

Roaring Eighties

Contributed to Morris Nichols growth


1980s

Morris Nichols Litigates on Behalf of Beverage Giant Coca-Cola

Beginning in the 1980s, Morris Nichols represents Coca-Cola in litigation with bottlers over cost of sugar and use of artificial sweeteners.



1981

Drafters of Delaware's Financial Center Development Act

Morris Nichols attorneys write The Financial Center Development Act of 1981, transforms economy of the state and sends ripples through the national economy.


1981-1987

Morris Nichols Shepherds Texaco through Bankruptcy

Morris Nichols represents Texaco board through bankruptcy and defeats Carl Icahn's bid for hostile takeover.



1982

Landmark Patent Win for RCA

Morris Nichols represents Data General, wins landmark patent case against RCA.


1985

Successfully Defend Unocal against T. Boone Pickens

Morris Nichols successfully represents Unocal against corporate raider T. Boone Pickens.



1985

Allen Appointed to Delaware Chancery Court

Judge William T. Allen left Morris Nichols in 1985 to join the Delaware Court of Chancery.


1986

Holland Appointed to Delaware Supreme Court

Justice Randy J. Holland left Morris Nichols in 1986 to join the Delaware Supreme Court bench.



1988

Delaware Corporation Law and Practice Treatise Published

Morris Nichols partners David Drexler, Lewis S. Black, Jr. and A. Gilchrist (Gil) Sparks, III write Delaware Corporation Law and Practice, the definitive work on Delaware corporation law, published by LexisNexis.


1989

Chandler Appointed to Delaware Chancery Court

Chancellor William B. Chandler III joined the Delaware Superior Court in 1985. He went on to join the Chancery in 1989.




1990

1990

Bankruptcy Practice Grows from Work with Continental Airlines

Representing Continental stockholders, Morris Nichols defeats efforts of pilots to obtain stockholders list; brings Continental bankruptcy case to Delaware inaugurating a new era of burgeoning bankruptcy practice.


1990s

Representation of DuPont in Joint Venture with Merck

DuPont was launching a joint venture between its thirty-year-old pharmaceutical operation and Merck & Company. The transaction was challenging not only because of the billions of dollars at stake, but also because it required the working out of hundreds of unusually complicated details.



1998

Diverse Patent Litigation Work with Pharmacia, Inc.

Morris Nichols represents Swedish pharmaceutical company Pharmacia, Inc. (later bought by Pfizer) in patent litigation regarding patents on a glaucoma medication.


Late 1990s

Morris Nichols Prevails in Trade Secrets Case for Merck

Morris Nichols represents Merck in trade secrets case. Wins injunction in the Court of Chancery in May 1999 and prevails in subsequent appeal.




2000

2003

Parsons Appointed to Delaware Chancery Court

Vice Chancellor Donald F. Parsons, Jr. left Morris Nichols in 2003 to join the Delaware Court of Chancery Court bench.


2003-2005

Handles Rouge Industries Bankruptcy Proceedings

Morris Nichols serves as counsel Rouge Industries through Chapter 11 filing and $285 million sale to Russian steel producer Severstal.



2003-2006

Morris Nichols Takes on High-Profile Case Involving The Walt Disney Company Shareholders

Morris Nichols represents Roy Disney and Stanley Gold in defending claims by shareholders of The Walt Disney Company challenging severance payments made to Michael Ovitz.


2007

Morris Nichols Involved in Anandarko Petroleum & Caremark Rx Inc. Deals

Morris Nichols acted as Delaware counsel in two of the largest M&A deals of 2006.



2008

Morris Nichols Acts as Delaware Counsel to TPG

Morris Nichols acted as Delaware counsel to TPG in forming TPG Partners VI, L.P., which was one of the largest private equity funds in history with committed capital of more than $18 billion.


2009-2015

M&A Work with Berkshire Hathaway

Morris Nichols serves as Delaware counsel to Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. in three of its largest acquisitions, involving Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., J. Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods Group, Inc.



2010

Representation of eBay in Shareholder Dispute

Morris Nichols trial team contributed to eBay's victory in shareholder dispute with craigslist.


2013

Representation of the Special Committee of Dell Inc.

Morris Nichols obtained a favorable outcome for the special committee of Dell Inc. in litigation before the Delaware Court of Chancery.



2015

Morris Nichols Represents Family Dollar in Acquisition by Dollar Tree

Morris Nichols represented Family Dollar Stores Inc. in high-profile, $8.5 billion deal with Dollar Tree.



Photos from Durable Legacy: A History of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell.
© 2005 Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell, LLP. All rights reserved.