Francis practices primarily in the areas of corporate and commercial litigation. His practice includes representation in high-stakes disputes for a wide-range of clients in many industries as well as for utility companies, governmental entities and non-profits in multiple states. He also has enjoyed success in litigating, in both federal and state appellate courts, groundbreaking Second Amendment cases and related constitutional issues on behalf of civil rights organizations. In 2015 and 2019, he was honored with The Chief Justice William Killen Award for Distinguished Second Amendment Appellate Advocacy.
He is the Vice Chair of the Commercial Litigation Group of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC. For many years he served as the managing member of the Wilmington, Delaware, office of the firm, as well as serving on the firm’s Executive Committtee. Martindale-Hubbell has given him its highest rating of “AV” based on peer review of ability and ethical standards. He has been described as “a brand name in Delaware corporate litigation” and has also been referred to as the “dean of Delaware law bloggers”. Another publication has written: “Pileggi’s blog is the premier online resource for coverage of the Delaware Chancery Court”. Yet another called his blog “essential reading for anyone interested in Delaware corporate law”. He was selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a “Recognized Practitioner” in Chancery – Delaware.
His litigation practice emphasizes representation in complex disputes of corporations, stockholders, members of boards of directors, members and managers of LLCs, and those with managerial or ownership interests in other forms of entities. He has extensive experience in matters involving fiduciary duties and corporate governance as well as summary proceedings under the Delaware General Corporation Law. He recently published a book entitled: American Legal Ethics, a Retrospective from 1997 to 2018, available on Amazon.com.
He is a Guest Contributor for The Harvard Law School Corporate Governance Blog. He has served as the Chair of the Indemnification Subcommittee of the Business and Corporate Litigation Committee of the ABA’s Business Law Section. Recognized as one of the top lawyers in Delaware by Delaware Today magazine, Francis has a strong legislative background, having served as legislative counsel for the Delaware House of Representatives from 1994 through 1998. During that time, he wrote legislation and testified before the Delaware General Assembly about pending legislation. He is a former member of the Executive Committee and a former assistant treasurer of the Delaware State Bar Association, as well as the current Vice Chair of its Professional Ethics Committee. He is a former member of the Steering Committee for the Superior Court Trial Practice Forum.
Francis served until recently on the Board of Trustees of Neumann University in Aston, Pennsylvania, and was named in 2005 by the Prime Minister of Italy as a Cavaliere. Also in 2005, he was appointed by the Governor of Kentucky as a Kentucky Colonel. He is a member of the National Italian American Foundation and Legatus International. He is also a member of the Order of Malta. He is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association.
Since 1997, he has written an ethics column for The Bencher, the national publication of The American Inns of Court, and for many years he wrote a column for the publication of the National Association of Corporate Directors. He is the former Editor for the Newsletter of the ABA Business Law Section’s Business and Corporate Litigation Committee, and former co-chair of the Ethics Subcommittee of the ABA Litigation Section’s Business and Commercial Litigation Committee.
He wrote the Foreword to the Second Edition of The Lawyer’s Business Valuation Handbook, by Dr. Shannon Pratt. His Delaware Corporate and Commercial Litigation Blog at www.delawarelitigation.com has been selected as a Top Blog by LexisNexis, and in 2011 and 2012 was selected by the American Bar Association as one of the Top 100 law-related blogs in the country. Selected articles and seminars presented as well as recent quotes from publications are available in the bio on my firm’s website.