Corporate Law

Meet Travis Laster, Unusual Delaware Chancery Judge Who Focuses on 'Darker Underside' of Cases

The newest judge in one of the nation’s most respected corporate courts is unusually outspoken about what he calls “the darker underside” of securities class actions and his opinion of lawyers on both sides of the case.

Vice Chancellor Travis Laster, who is in his early 40s, calls plaintiffs attorneys who rush to file suit as soon as a corporate deal is announced “pilgrims,” because, like those who came to this country on the Mayflower centuries ago, they are the first to arrive and quick to settle, reports Reuters. He refers to those who file often as “frequent fliers.”

However, he has also taken defense lawyers to task.

“Defense lawyers benefit from this game,” the judge said at a December hearing, reports another Reuters article. “They get to bill hours without any meaningful reputational risk from a loss. They then get to get a cheap settlement for their client. Disclosures are cheap.”

Laster declined to comment for the Reuters profile. But the judge did give the news agency an interview in 2009, shortly after he was appointed to the bench.

“My job is to decide the cases that come before me and decide them as narrowly as possible,” he said at that time. “What that means is, I’m not here with some personal agenda to Lasterize the law.”

Related earlier coverage: “Delaware Chancery Judge Dumps Class Counsel, Cites ‘Nonexistent’ Advocacy”

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