Justice Holland, you have been on the Supreme Court of Delaware since 1986. Tell us a little about your legal experience before taking the bench.
When I graduated from law school, I returned to live in the same small town in Delaware where I grew up. I joined a small law firm with three attorneys. When two of those attorneys became judges, the remaining partner and I continued and eventually developed our small law firm into eight attorneys with two offices and a support staff of 25 individuals. After eight years, I became a lateral partner in a major law firm, Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell.
During the course of my law practice, I did half litigation and half transactional work. Since Delaware is a small state, I had the opportunity to appear before almost every judge in every court of the state.
What case did you handle in private practice that made the biggest impression on you?
While I was in private practice, the receptionist called me to say there was a gentleman who was very upset and did not have an appointment. I agreed to speak to him. He told me that he was injured at work, could not find new employment, and was living in his car. Although I did not handle workers’ compensation claims, I agreed to look into the matter for no charge (pro bono). His workers’ compensation claim was successful. The award enabled him to move out of his car. That case was one of many periodic reminders about why we all went to law school—in order to help other people.