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October 3, 2008 5:30 AM

DEALMAKER OF THE WEEK: S&C's Mitchell Eitel

Posted by Brian Baxter

Mitch_eitel

Sullivan & Cromwell chairman H. Rodgin Cohen may not have the body double some have long thought existed, but in partner Mitchell Eitel he has a trusted protégé who's played a key part in sealing S&C's reputation as the preeminent banking law firm.

Now ordinarily, just two weeks after we named Cohen himself "dealmaker" in our inaugural column, we'd look further afield in bestowing our third such accolade. But this has been a week like no other...except maybe last week.

Throughout both, Eitel has been at the center of crucial events that have rocked and then calmed the financial world. Last weekend, Eitel and his team advised longtime client Wachovia on its $2.16 billion shotgun wedding to Citigroup. Days before, Eitel and financial institutions partner William Farrar represented JPMorgan Chase in its $1.9 billion takeover of faltering Washington Mutual. The work stems directly from longstanding relationships that Eitel has developed with the two banks.

Eitel, who made partner in 1996, is no stranger to dealmaker nominations.

Along with Cohen and fellow S&C partners Mark Welshimer and Alan Sinsheimer, Eitel was named a Dealmaker of the Year by The American Lawyer in April 2008 for securing $51 billion from sovereign wealth funds for two clients reeling from subprime-related writedowns: Citigroup and Morgan Stanley.

Eitel was honored again--in tandem with Cohen--for helping Merrill Lynch (remember them?) shed its investment management business through a $9.8 billion merger with investment firm BlackRock.

Cohen told The American Lawyer's Andrew Longstreth at the time that while he and Eitel have independent practices, the S&C chairman likes having Eitel around.

"I want Mitch working on deals with me so that I don't make mistakes," said Cohen, who is nearly two decades Eitel's senior.

Sounds like good company.

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