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 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 222 Delaware Avenue, in Wilmington’s downtown business district. In the fall of 2017, the firm moved to Courthouse Square on King Street.