Why are So Many Corporations Formed in Delaware?
I recently answered the question “Is it best to form an LLC in Delaware?” on Quora. In response to a user comment, I opined on why so many corporations are formed in Delaware. My opinion, slightly edited, is reproduced below.
First, I’ll point out that I have what may be a minority opinion, so others may well disagree.
My opinion is closely tied to the types of clients that I typically have: Small startups and early-stage companies that will never seek or receive institutional funding, that will never go public, and that don’t need to put time, energy and money into theoretical legal issues that are likely never to be of consequence to the success of their businesses.
There are good reasons to be a Delaware corporation if you want to maximize board power and flexibility relative to shareholders’ rights and, accordingly, minimize board liability for decisions it has made. (See “Directors’ Fiduciary Obligations: Delaware vs. California“.) In my experience, most companies do not fall into that category.
Beyond that consideration, I think most people (non-lawyers, especially) who choose DE do so out of ignorance, or because they heard somewhere that DE is where corporations are formed.
For example, I have a client for whom I formed two corporations. He had heard from one of the large international accounting firms that DE was where his corporations should be formed, so he insisted on DE, which is where I formed the corporations. He doesn’t mind paying fees in two states.
There is one area where DE stands out, though I have yet to see a client for whom this was important: If you need a corporation formed ASAP (within minutes), DE is the place to go.
- Why (not) incorporate in Delaware?
- In which State should My Startup Incorporate?
- Do VCs care where my company is incorporated?
Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law +1 510 547-0545 dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.