The important person in the life of Musk is the judge.

The judge in Delaware gave Mr. Musk until Friday to close the deal. The trial in November could end with Mr. Musk being forced to make good on his deal with the micro-blogging site.

There will be another case involving Mr. Musk in November. Mr Musk is accused of enriching himself with his compensation package while running the electric vehicle company, which is his main source of wealth. The package is now worth $50 billion based on the company's share price.

There are at least three other shareholder lawsuits against Mr. Musk, but it's not clear if they will go to trial.

The woman who has a lot of influence over Mr. Musk is from a different world than the South African billionaire. The daughter of a high school football coach and an English teacher was raised in a town with over a thousand people that is 14 miles away from the state capital.

The 230-year-old court that adjudicates disputes over mergers and acquisitions is now overseen by a judge. In the hearings for the lawsuit, she has been both quick-witted and caustic. Unusual flexibility and pragmatism were displayed by her decision to grant Mr. Musk a delay to the trial.

ImageOutdoors, Judge McCormick holds up her right hand and places her left on a Bible being held by her daughter as she is sworn in.
Judge McCormick being sworn in as chancellor of the Delaware Chancery Court as her daughter, Fiona Fawcett, holds a Bible in 2021. She is the first female chancellor of the court.
Outdoors, Judge McCormick holds up her right hand and places her left on a Bible being held by her daughter as she is sworn in.

Ronald Barusch, a retired mergers and acquisitions lawyer, was surprised when he heard Skadden was representing Mr. Musk. She will be a hero if the deal closes. If not, Musk will look bad.

She played first base on the softball team and managed the high school football team as a child. She has a soft spot for the book " To Kill a Mockingbird" about a Black man who was wrongly accused of sexual assault.

Harvard University and Notre Dame Law School were where Judge McCormick obtained her undergraduate and law degrees.

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The deal was a big one. In April, Musk made an offer worth more than 40 billion dollars for the social network, saying he wanted to make it a private company.

She was an attorney with the Community Legal Aid Society, where she represented the needy and victims of domestic violence. She worked at Young Conaway Stargatt and Taylor as a mainstay in the Delaware legal circuit.

She was nominated by the governor of Delaware to serve on the Delaware Chancery Court. The first woman to lead the court would be nominated by the governor.

More than one million businesses are incorporated in Delaware and they all look to the court for guidance. The lawsuit against Mr. Musk was filed in Delaware because the company is incorporated there.

One of the most high profile corporate court battles in years was overseen by the judge who had first dibs on any proceedings that came before the court.

As lawyers for Mr. Musk argued to delay the trial to take into account new claims from a whistle-blower, she poked at the billionaire's decision to skip due diligence. The lawyer argued that it would be impossible to find out about the whistle-blower before the deal. There wasn't any due diligence, she said.

ImageJudge McCormick, top center, at the Delaware Chancery Court in September.
Judge McCormick, top center, at the Delaware Chancery Court in September.
Judge McCormick, top center, at the Delaware Chancery Court in September.

She made clear in hearings that she did not believe Mr. Musk had handed over all of the messages sent by text. There was a text message exchange between Mr. Musk and a Perella Weinberg partner. 18 minutes later the bankers wrote "OK" after texting a question. It's got it. Mr. Musk didn't reply.

One would expect some evidence of Musk's reply if it was not telepathy.

Lawrence Hamermesh is a professor of law at Delaware Law School.

The trial was put on hold to allow Mr. Musk more time to complete his financing for the acquisition. The judge gave him a three week delay.

The two sides did not seem ready for a trial just two weeks away and she had one eye on the clock. It was on potential appeals. She wants to say that she pushed him to the trial when he wanted to close the deal.

There are trials where buyers try to walk away. She worked on deals that went awry when the stock market crashed in 2008. The private equity firm Apollo Global Management scuttled a deal to combine the chemical company with another it owned, and that was represented by the company.

The kinds of contracts that were signed with Mr. Musk are a result of that deal. Buyers will try escape hatches if sellers don't prevent them. Specific performance clause allow companies to force a deal to close.

The chief judge of the Delaware Chancery Court presided over a lot of cases involving buyers trying to break off deals they struck just before the swine flu hit. In one of those cases last year, she forced a private equity firm to follow through with its acquisition of a cake supplier after it argued that the H1N1 swine flu had hurt the business.

The debt financing of the company had fallen apart. The judge didn't agree with that argument.

Legal experts say that Mr. Musk's credibility could be in danger if he doesn't come through with the money by Friday. The trial involving Mr. Musk and his compensation is going to be presided over by the same judge.

The case was assigned to another judge before he retired. The case was picked up by the judge on January 12th.

A professor of corporate governance at a law school said that it was not ideal for Mr. Musk to have run-ins with the judge. She is different from Musk.