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This essay honoring the late R. Franklin Balotti focuses upon certain of the key attributes necessary to practice business law effectively and ethically. Among these attributes are a strong work ethic, the integrity to stand behind your own advice and candidly admit when things do not go according to plan, empathy for how others will view your client’s actions and the ability to communicate that perception to your client, the confidence to change the pace of a transaction when a slow down or time out is warranted, and the ability to have some fun and laugh (even at yourself). Perhaps most importantly, the essay makes clear that the most effective business lawyers are those with the courage to make their clients face the key facts relevant to the issues before them, confront not just the legal but also ethical questions involved, and to make a reasoned judgment that involves self-awareness and an understanding of the larger context in which the clients are acting.

This essay begins with a preface by a group of lawyers who worked closely with R. Franklin Balotti offering a remembrance of his remarkable career and life. They recount not only his professional accomplishments as co-author of the multi-volume Balotti & Finkelstein on The Delaware Law of Corporations & Business Organizations and involvement in many important corporate law cases, among other things, but also his human qualities—his love of teaching, his inspiration to young lawyers, and sense of fun.


Corporate law, ethics, legal profession, empathy, Delaware, clients, directors, buyers, stockholders, mergers and acquisitions, M&A, business judgment, owners, judgment, integrity

Publication Title

Business Lawyer

Publication Citation

72 Bus. Law. 607 (2017)