Top Lawyers 2013: Mark J. Gentile, Corporation Law

Meet one of Delaware’s best lawyers of 2013: Mark J. Gentile.

In a place known far and wide as the corporate capital of the world, it’s easy to take for granted—or be unaware of—the caliber of law practiced in Delaware. To a young attorney looking in from the outside, “It was like, whoa,” says Mark Gentile. “It’s just incredible. There’s a reason why most companies who decide to go public come to Delaware first.” Almost 30 years ago, Gentile was fresh out of law school, working for a firm in Denver, when he started working with Delaware attorneys in a chancery case. What impressed him was not only the knowledge and dedication of the lawyers, but the quality of state staff and the sophistication of the judges. He knew then that he needed to practice here. “There’s far more accountability with a smaller government than there is elsewhere,” Gentile says. “That’s a real benefit. And our courts are the best.” A management major as an undergrad, Gentile became interested in how the law affected business practice, so he headed to law school. He considers American capitalism the most successful economic model in the history of the world, and he is fascinated by the changes in business over that time—the dissolution of old corporate giants and the emergence of new ones, the changing technology, the evolving body of law and shifts in the ethic of business, all of which changes legal practice. The instant transmission of digital information and the increased access provided by cellular telephones, for example, have enabled “four or five lawyers to do the work of eight or nine,” he says. So what is trending in business is also trending in the business of law: a move toward leaner firms, a growing sophistication among clients, and a greater appreciation for preventative measures instead of curative actions. Being part of that “keeps me going every day,” Gentile says. “You can’t do this for so long unless you really like what you do. And there are few places in the country where you can do what we do.”

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