M & A Law Prof Blog

Editor: Brian JM Quinn
Boston College Law School

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beware of the devil from Delaware

Following up on a recent flattering feature on Leo Strine in The Globe and Mail, Conrad Black is sending warnings to his fellow Canadians not to fall for that " influential small-town American judge" in Delaware.  I think he's still angry over the Delaware case against him in the sale of Hollinger: 

Strine is, I am reliably told, conversationally and socially rather aggressive, and improbably, given his physical stature and Mr. Peepers likeness, is an ostentatious sports fan. He rules his court like a full-time martinet and constantly inflicts what he evidently considers to be his unfailingly rapier-like wit on all those to whom his judgments are too important to permit the groans that commend themselves. He will get to any plausible speaking event (including one in Toronto not long ago), if necessary by flapping his arms. He fancies himself a crusader for the little person, a holy terror against “hinky” boardroom and executive suite practices, a shoot-from-the-hip authority on almost anything, and a crack philologist, constantly adding funky new words to the language; what isn’t “hinky” is apt to be “freakin” and so forth. A bright, energetic little man, seeking attention and trying to become a celebrity despite his rather dry and technical occupation, is not unprecedented and need not be exceptionable.

In Strine’s case, there is cause for concern. While, (unlike Posner as far as I am concerned), he reads the papers filed in his court, he has an untrustworthy and even bigoted (not in any racial or sectarian sense), intuition and a whim of iron. Because few judges have the ambition to attract public attention as Strine does, and most are happy not to be bothered with the media, whom Strine pursues with the shameless tenacity of a vendor of fake religious relics hustling pilgrims in Bethlehem, he is becoming an eager go-to default source for the media on any aspect of commercial law, (and doubtless, would expand his repertoire of pontifical opinion to a range as vast as the great outdoors, if asked).

He goes on about how Strine is "feckless and flippant" and has little regard for shareholders when he inserts himself into board decisions.  Given the recent result in El Paso, Black is either wrong in his broad characterization or Stine has changed since Hollinger.



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