A Durable Legacy
Our Founding Partners
Judge Hugh M. Morris founded the firm in 1930. As a judge, Morris won wide acclaim for his fairness, his mastery of complex patent and corporate law matters, and his progressive approaches to citizenship classes and to juvenile sentencing. The values manifest in Morris’ judicial career also characterized his law practice. In 1931, Alexander Nichols, a tax and estate lawyer, joined Judge Morris. He was followed in 1934 by S. Samuel Arsht, who was to become nonpareil master of Delaware’s influential corporate statutes. By 1958 the Morris firm had welcomed its last name partner, former Delaware Supreme Court Justice and outstanding trial lawyer, James M. Tunnell, Jr.
Achieving a National Reputation
By the time of Judge Morris' death in 1966, at the age of 88, Morris Nichols had earned a national reputation that attracted long-term clients like The Coca-Cola Company and Ford Motor Company.
Shaping Delaware General Corporation Law
Delaware’s path-making 1899 incorporation law, which the state’s General Assembly and judiciary honed over the years to fit changing conditions, became a virtual proxy for a national statute. In 1967 partner S. Samuel Arsht chaired a committee that revised and updated the Corporation Code, thereby helping to sustain Delaware’s historic prominence in the field of corporate law and jurisprudence. Today, several of the firm’s partners continue to play key roles in the drafting and updating of the Delaware General Corporation Law.
Drafters of Delaware’s Financial Center Development Act
Morris Nichols attorneys drafted the Financial Center Development Act of 1981 and steered it successfully through the Delaware General Assembly. The act opened doors for national banks and credit card companies to start operations in Delaware, which transformed the state’s economy. Over the next fourteen years the partners of Morris Nichols drafted twelve additional major pieces of legislation affecting the banking, credit card and securities industries in Delaware.
As the firm has grown in size and reputation, Morris Nichols has continued to rely on its core values, instilling these principles into class after class of newly-minted attorneys. Young associates quickly learn that their keys to success are dedication to client objectives, unflagging work ethic, efficient problem solving, and high ethical standards. Hired for their talents and character and guided by the example of their mentors, new generations of attorneys increase the firm’s capabilities in a growing number of specialties, while winning numerous awards for pro bono work.
Morris Nichols’ core values serve as a solid foundation upon which the firm builds its future.