(Adds Jacobs comment in first, third paragraphs)
By Tom Hals
April 1 (Reuters) - Delaware Supreme Court Justice Jack Jacobs notified the state’s governor that he planned to retire on July 4 and told Reuters on Tuesday that he hopes to return to private practice.
Jacobs has been on the court, which plays an important role in Wall Street dealmaking, since 2003. He previously spent 18 years on the Court of Chancery, the state’s nationally-recognized venue for shareholder disputes.
“No one can or should occupy these positions of trust for too long,” Jacobs wrote to Delaware Gov. Jack Markell on Monday. Jacobs provided a copy of the letter to Reuters and said in an email his hope is to practice law after he leaves the court.
The state’s highest court has the final say on Delaware corporate law, which governs a majority of U.S.-listed corporations.
Last month, for example, the court held that buyouts of companies by controlling shareholders could be subject to less rigorous court review if certain protections are in place for minority shareholders.
Delaware’s Supreme Court lineup was unchanged for nine years until Myron Steele retired last year as chief justice. He was replaced by the Leo Strine, who had been chief judge on the Court of Chancery.
Many in Delaware’s tight-knit legal community have speculated that the four remaining justices might be more likely to consider retirement after Steele’s departure. (Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; editing by G Crosse and Lisa Von Ahn)