1925 – 2014
Before retiring in 2008, William Prickett was the firm's senior member. He was a son of William Prickett, Sr. and grandson of William S. Prickett, the original founder of the firm in 1888. Mr. Prickett received a B.A. from Princeton University and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1954. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the U.S. Marine Corps as a Lieutenant during the Korean War. Mr. Prickett was admitted in Delaware and the District of Columbia in 1955 and later in Pennsylvania as well as the Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, and to the United States Supreme Court. He traveled extensively in Europe, Russia, China, Tibet, Mongolia and Japan, both professionally and privately. Mr. Prickett was bilingual in French.
Mr. Prickett was President of the Delaware State Bar Association in 1974. He was a member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Association, and was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. The American Judicature Society awarded Mr. Prickett its Special Merit Citation in 1988. He was the original Chairman of the Delaware IOLTA Committee and conceived and instituted the "opt out" feature of the Delaware IOLTA program. He was a member of Delaware Supreme Court's Clients' Security Trust Fund Committee starting in 1981. Mr. Prickett was a member and later Chairman of the Governor of Delaware's Judicial Nominating Commission.
Originally, Mr. Prickett did general litigation work in the State and Federal Courts in Delaware. He served as Chairman of the Rules Committee of the Superior Court. He was appointed by the Governor of Delaware and served for a number of years as a Special Deputy Attorney in cases seeking recovery for the State for overpayments in highway work. Mr. Prickett, together with Mason E. Turner, Jr., another firm director at the time, were retained by the Governor and the Attorney General to represent the State of Delaware in the school desegregation litigation stemming from Brown v. Topeka.
Mr. Prickett represented Delaware conservation organizations in Duke v. Shell Oil Co.
For the last 15 years of his active practice, Mr. Prickett was primarily involved in Chancery and Federal corporate litigation. He served on the Rules Committee of the Court of Chancery as well as the Corporate Law Committee. Mr. Prickett was the successful lead counsel in significant corporate cases, including Weinberger v. UOP, Smith v. Van Gorkom, In re Tri-Star Pictures, Inc. Litigation and Malone v. Brincat. Together with other members of the firm, he published Law Review articles on these and other corporate cases.
Mr. Prickett's career included substantial pro bono work for the Bar, the Courts and the public as well as work for charities and educational institutions. In addition, Mr. Prickett was a founding member of the Brandywine River Museum created to house locally the works of the Wyeth family and other Delaware and Pennsylvania artists. Mr. Prickett was the first President of the Grand Opera House, Inc. During his tenure the Grand Opera House, originally built in 1873 in Wilmington, was completely restored and made Delaware's Center for the Performing Arts.
In honor of Mr. Prickett’s many accomplishments, in 2012 the directors of the firm created the William Prickett Corporate & Business Law Scholarship Fund at the Widener University School of Law. The endowment provides up to a year’s tuition annually for one highly qualified law student who has demonstrated academic excellence in both corporate law and civil procedure and an annual graduation prize for outstanding achievement in corporate law to a graduate who is preparing to take the Delaware Bar.
Professional and Community Activities
- The Association of the Bar of the City of New York
- Delaware State (President, 1974; Member, Corporation Law Section; Chair, Judicial Nominating Commission, 1984-1985) and American Bar Associations
- American Law Institute
- In My Father's House (Essays)
- More Ado (Essays)
- Risk in the Afternoon - Some of the Pleasures and Perils of Foxchasing
- The Road to Jericho - A Contemporaneous Tale of Good and Evil (Novel)
- Dearly Beloved (Novel)
- Pandorian Consequences (Novel)
- Princeton University (B.A., 1949)
- Harvard University (LL.B., 1954)