About Us

Bayard, P.A. is a commercial law firm that also provides personal legal services. The firm combines the experience in complex legal transactions and litigation found in larger firms with the accessibility and personal attention typical of smaller firms. We make it our mission to understand our clients’ business or personal legal challenges without the inefficiencies associated with multiple layers of professionals. At Bayard, we are committed to our clients’ success through innovative approaches to their most demanding business and legal challenges.

How can we help you?

People

We are a group of uniquely qualified attorneys with years of experience in, and familiarity with, commercial and corporate law. We are extremely conversant with the practices, customs and procedures of Delaware’s state and federal courts. We are skilled in Delaware commercial business entity law. We also provide an array of personal legal services.

We are comfortable as lead, special or co-counsel. Our clients and co-counsel rely on us because of our legal knowledge, strategic experience, advocacy skills and reputation within the legal and business communities. Our moderate size encourages teamwork and permits us to combine diverse legal specialties to formulate creative solutions for our clients. We take seriously our commitment to problem-solving, client collaboration and professional integrity.

Additionally, we are the exclusive Delaware member of Meritas®, the world’s largest international affiliation of independent commercial law firms. Our Meritas membership provides us and our clients with immediate access to legal and business expertise throughout the world.

Click here to read more about Meritas

Bayard, P.A. - Delaware Meritas member law firm logoBayard Ranked in Chambers 2016 Bayard Best Law Firms badge 2017Button to visit Bayard, P.A.’s profile page on the Delaware Better Business Bureau website

Our History

Bayard’s half-century history is populated with an abundance of accomplished attorneys. The firm was founded in 1958 by two giants of Delaware’s judiciary, Daniel L. Herrmann and William Duffy. Both men were graduates of the University of Delaware and World War II veterans. Mr. Herrmann received his legal training at Georgetown University Law Center and was admitted to the Delaware bar in 1940. Mr. Duffy attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School and was admitted to the Delaware bar in 1948.

During the 1950s, Mr. Duffy was a solo, general practitioner in Wilmington while Mr. Herrmann served as a judge on the Delaware Superior Court. When Mr. Herrmann resigned from the bench in 1958, the two opened Herrmann & Duffy, with offices in the Continental American Building at 11th and King Streets in Wilmington.

In 1961, Mr. Duffy left the firm to accept an appointment to the Delaware Superior Court, marking the start of a distinguished judicial career. The following year, he was named the Superior Court’s President Judge. In 1966, he was named Chancellor of Delaware Chancery Court, where he served until 1973 when he was appointed to the Delaware Supreme Court.  He retired in 1982.

Alexis I. du Pont Bayard filled the vacancy left by Mr. Duffy, joining the firm in 1961. He had previously served as Lieutenant Governor of Delaware from 1948 to 1952, and ran a family publishing business. The Bayard family included five successive generations of Delawareans who served as United States Senators. Mr. Bayard’s mother was a direct descendant of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, founder of the DuPont Company, a world-renowned chemical company headquartered in Delaware.

Mr. Herrmann left the firm in 1964 when he was appointed to the Delaware Supreme Court, where he rejoined Justice Duffy.

Until 1974, Joseph J. Longobardi, Jr. was a member of the firm. Judge Longobardi received his B.A. from Washington College and his LLB from Temple University. Prior to joining the firm he served as a Deputy Attorney General for Delaware. In 1974, he left the firm when he was appointed to the bench of the Delaware Superior Court, where he served until 1982. In 1982 he was appointed to the Delaware Chancery Court as vice chancellor. And in 1984, he became a federal judge on the United States District Court for Delaware. Judge Longobardi sat on the District Court bench until he retired in 1997.

In 1974, former U.S. Senator J. Caleb Boggs joined the firm following his lost bid for a third term in the U.S. Senate. His opponent, Joseph J. Biden, now the Vice President of the United States, won by approximately 1.4 points. Senator Boggs was a graduate of the University of Delaware and Georgetown University Law School and served in World War II. In addition to two terms as Delaware’s U.S. Senator, Boggs served as U.S. Congressman for three terms and Governor for two terms. He practiced law at the firm until his retirement.

In 1983, Michael K. Newell joined the firm after serving as the executive assistant to the Honorable Robert O. Thompson, the chief judge of the Delaware Family Court and as a master in Family Court. Mr. Newell received an undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware, a master’s degree from Northeastern University and a law degree from Widener University’s Delaware Law School. Mr. Newell practiced family law at Bayard until the end of 1999. He currently serves as the Chief Judge of the Delaware Family Court. He was first appointed to the Family Court in 2004.

In 1984, the firm acquired the Wilmington law firm of Murdoch & Walsh, a tax boutique specializing in tax and business planning, and the combined firms became known as Bayard, Handelman & Murdoch. The firm relocated to the magnificent Art Deco office suite, once home to Hercules, Incorporated, on the 13th floor of the Delaware Trust Building in Wilmington.

With the merger, the firm not only added the skill of Constance Murdoch, a renowned tax attorney, it added the competencies of Peter J. Walsh. Mr. Walsh had received his undergraduate degree from La Salle University and his law degree from Georgetown University. His areas of concentration were commercial litigation and bankruptcy, and he spent nine years at Bayard practicing in those fields before being named to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in 1993. Judge Walsh served ably on the Bankruptcy Court bench until 2015.

In 1997, an evening fire broke out in the firm’s file room, ultimately spreading to several floors of the Delaware Trust Building. After the fire was brought under control, the building was deemed unfit for occupation, forcing the firm and other building tenants to relocate overnight. Although a number of files and a great deal of property were destroyed in the fire, the firm continued doing business the next day, initially operating out of a suite of rooms in the Hotel du Pont. A year later, the firm left its temporary post-fire quarters in the then Mellon Bank Building and moved to its present location at 222 Delaware Avenue, in Wilmington’s downtown business district.

The firm name has changed some over the years, but our rich tradition of delivering extraordinary expertise and service has remained the same.

Diversity & Inclusion

We are deeply committed to diversity. We work hard to recruit the best legal talent from all backgrounds and to develop and promote an evermore inclusive pool of lawyers and paraprofessionals within the firm. Our diversity is vital to providing the highest-quality legal services to our clients.

Community

Bayard and its attorneys are active and contributing members and volunteers in both community and professional organizations.

Bayard provides preliminary legal consultations and advice, without cost, to the Cancer Support Community of Delaware, a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to providing support services to persons stricken with cancer and their families. Cancer Support Community of Delaware helps people cope with and manage the emotional aspect of cancer, using the “patient active” concept in weekly support groups and various other activities. Bayard attorneys also volunteer their time for Cancer Support Community fundraising projects.

Bayard was instrumental in creating and supervises the Federal Re-entry Legal Assistance Program. Through the program, Bayard attorneys assist law student interns from the Widener University Delaware Law School in providing legal services in civil matters to releasees from federal prison who are being supervised by the United States District Court’s Probation Office. The services are intended to facilitate the releasees’ successful re-entry into the community.

Bayard attorneys are active in the following charitable organizations:

Delaware Access to Justice Commission
Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts
Delaware Humanities Council
Delaware Volunteer Legal Services
Domestic Violence Advocacy Program
Federal Re-entry Legal Assistance Program
Guiding Eyes for the Blind
Office of the Child Advocate
Reading Assist Institute

Bayard attorneys are also active in the following professional organizations:

ALMA – Associazione Italiana LL.M.
American Bankruptcy Institute
American Bar Association
Anne Arundel County Bar Association
Better Business Bureau of Delaware
Board of Governors of the Central Branch (DE) YMCA
Chester County Bar Association
Committee of 100
Delaware Bankruptcy American Inn of Court
Delaware Captive Insurance Association
Delaware District Court Rules Advisory Committee
Delaware Family Law Commission
Delaware State Bar Association
Estate Planning Council of Delaware
Federal Bar Association
Florida State Bar Association
The Forum of Executive Women
International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation
Italian Trade Agency
Maryland State Bar Association
Melson-Arsht Inn of Court
Meritas
National Association of Women Business Owners – Delaware Chapter
New Castle County Chamber Business Development Advisory Council
Pennsylvania State Bar Association
Philadelphia Bar Association
Richard S. Rodney American Inn of Court
Special Masters Panel, appointed by the United States District Court in Delaware
Tax Appeal Board of the State of Delaware
Turnaround Management Association
Widener University Delaware Law School National Advisory Council
Wilmington Tax Group
Women Lawyers Alliance

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