Another alumnus of the Wilmington office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP may be poised to become a Delaware judge. Andre Bouchard appears to be in the lead for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.
Bouchard, 48, began practicing at Skadden in 1986 after graduating from Boston College and Harvard Law School. As a Skadden associate, he helped represent the state of Delaware in a case resulting in the federal courts approving the end of mandatory busing in New Castle County. Among his colleagues on the case was Leo E. Strine Jr., then a Skadden associate and now a Delaware vice chancellor.
Bouchard's friendship with Strine may give him the edge for the federal seat, since Strine is close to U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, the senior Democrat in Delaware's congressional delegation. Carper interviewed candidates for the judgeship earlier this year and, in late May, sent the names of three nominees to the White House: Bouchard, Leonard Stark and Mary Graham.
Bouchard left Skadden in 1996 with partner Stephen Lamb with plans to start their own shop. But Lamb was appointed to Delaware's Court of Chancery the next year, and Bouchard went on to Bouchard Margules & Friedlander PA, which he has headed since.
He represented Walt Disney Co. in the litigation arising from Michael Ovitz's ouster, and his firm was one of several on the defense side in a shareholder suit brought in Delaware against American International Group Inc. that settled for $115 million last year.
Graham, meanwhile, is a 57-year-old intellectual property partner at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP in Wilmington. The Delaware district court has a significant IP caseload, which led to conjecture that Vice Chancellor Donald Parsons Jr., himself an IP partner at Morris Nichols before he moved to Chancery in 2003, might ascend to the federal bench. Stark, 40, is a Rhodes Scholar and a U.S. magistrate judge in Wilmington. He, too, is a former Skadden associate.
The seat in Delaware has been open since Kent Jordan moved to the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006. Former President George W. Bush nominated Delaware's then-U.S. attorney general, Colm Connolly, to fill the opening, but the nomination didn't come to a vote in the U.S. Senate before Bush left office.