Chancellor Andre G. Bouchard plans to retire from the Delaware Court of Chancery effective April 30, the state announced Tuesday.
He said he wanted to enjoy more time with his family and pursue other interests.
“The Court of Chancery is a revered place with a 228-year tradition of excellence. But what ultimately makes the court so special are the people who dedicate themselves to its mission, not only in the high-profile world of corporate law but in attending to the needs of many of our State’s most vulnerable citizens and whatever else calls out for equity,” he said in a statement.
“It has been an honor of a lifetime to serve the citizens of Delaware as the steward of this special institution,” he wrote in his retirement letter.
In 2014, Bouchard joined the court, which is a very big deal in corporate law nationwide because so many companies are incorporated in Delaware and hence so many lawsuits are filed here. “Nearly 30 percent of Delaware’s state budget is made up of taxes and fees from incorporations,” according to an advocacy group called Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware.
Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware was created in 2016 as a voice on a complicated case involving the future of TransPerfect, a global translations firm, after the co-founders ended their romantic relationship. The group has spent more than a $1 million on advertising and other projects to complain about Chancery Court actions and Bouchard, who was the judge in the case.
Before his appointment, Bouchard spent 28 years in private practice, most recently as the managing partner of a corporate and commercial litigation boutique firm he founded in 1996. In 2018, he spearheaded the effort to expand the court from five to seven constitutional judicial officers.
Gov. Jack Carney will have the opportunity next spring to name his successor.
“Confronting a court expansion, a burgeoning caseload and a pandemic, Chancellor Bouchard led the Court of Chancery with humility, imagination and grace,” said Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Collins J. Seitz Jr. in a statement.
“For more than 225 years, the Delaware Chancery Court has been known for its excellence, its stability and objectivity,” Carney said. “Chancellor Bouchard has built on that legacy and has served the state of Delaware with distinction. During his time on the bench, Chancellor Bouchard also oversaw an expansion of the Chancery Court to keep pace with caseloads as more entities choose Delaware as their legal home.”
In 2017, the Delaware Historical Society gave Bouchard its Delaware History Makers Award. This year he was named one of the most influential people in the boardroom by the National Association of Corporate Directors.
Bouchard spent most of his youth in Delaware, graduating from Salesianum School in 1979. He received his B.A. summa cum laude from Boston College in 1983 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1986.