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Quinn Emanuel Opens in Delaware

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Prominent Delaware lawyer Michael Barlow joins as partner from Abrams & Bayliss, bringing two decades of experience in Delaware Chancery litigation.

WILMINGTON, Del. – Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, the renowned leader in global business litigation, announced today the opening of its office in Wilmington, Delaware. Michael A. Barlow – a widely respected practitioner with deep roots and experience in Delaware – will lead the new office, the firm said. Barlow joins Quinn Emanuel as a partner from Abrams & Bayliss LLP.

“Delaware plays a unique role in the American legal system, where its world-class judiciary presides over many of the most high-profile and cutting-edge disputes. Quinn Emanuel has been practicing and winning significant cases here for years,” said Michael B. Carlinsky, Co-Managing Partner of the firm and Global Head of Complex Litigation. “Opening an office here is the next logical step, and we are delighted to have Mike Barlow to lead us forward.”

The firm is securing office space in close proximity to the courts in Wilmington and will begin recruiting immediately to grow the office, Carlinsky said.

As a litigation-only firm, Quinn Emanuel has long excelled at the complex and often expedited litigation that typifies Delaware practice. In recent years, Quinn Emanuel’s M&A litigation and Delaware practices have soared, achieving unparalleled success in cases concerning pending merger and stock purchase transactions; the enforcement of financing agreements; shareholder activism including proxy contests and tender offers; contests for control; shareholder class actions and derivative suits; fiduciary duty claims against officers, directors and controlling shareholders; post-closing disputes; Section 220 actions and other matters.  Quinn Emanuel has represented a wide array of sophisticated clients in the Delaware courts, including many leading private equity firms and large public companies as well as their boards and directors.

“Our M&A litigation practice has exploded in the last few years – nowhere more so than in the Court of Chancery and, increasingly, Superior Court. Because of our reputation as a trial firm, clients come to us with their most demanding and often intractable disputes. We have tremendous respect for the Delaware court system and its unique legal culture, which is why we’re so excited to join its legal community,” said Andrew J. Rossman, Chair of M&A Litigation at Quinn Emanuel.

“Mike Barlow is the ideal fit, having already tried almost a dozen cases with us,” Rossman added. “Mike hails from a top litigation shop, Abrams & Bayliss, with whom we’ve had a long and valued partnership.  We fully expect that will continue, as will our relationships with a number of outstanding Delaware firms.”

Barlow specializes in fiduciary litigation, corporate governance, and complex commercial disputes arising under Delaware law. He has served as lead Delaware counsel in numerous corporate transaction disputes, including representation of the prevailing parties in both the first and the second “busted deal” cases resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic that went to trial – both with Quinn Emanuel – setting important precedent on ordinary course covenants, material adverse effect clauses, and specific performance obligations. He often serves as counsel to Delaware corporations, directors, officers and stockholders in derivative and class actions.   

Before joining Abrams & Bayliss, Barlow served as Chief of Staff and Chief Legal Counsel to former Delaware Governor Jack Markell. In those roles, he led a staff of 30 and worked with 16 cabinet agencies to develop and execute the Governor’s priorities. He serves as Chair of the Delaware Compensation Commission, which makes quadrennial recommendations for compensation changes in state government, and on various court-appointed committees.

Said Abrams & Bayliss LLP Managing Partner A. Thompson Bayliss, “Mike is a real talent.  We will miss him as a partner, but we are thrilled that he’ll be joining our friends at Quinn and leading their Delaware office.  We look forward to working closely with Mike and Quinn for years to come.”

“I am thrilled to be joining Quinn Emanuel, widely acknowledged as the world’s preeminent business litigation firm,” Barlow said. “The firm is already well-known and highly respected in Delaware, and I look forward to helping them expand here and continue bringing in big wins for clients.”