The Talent

September 19, 2008 12:01 AM

Dealmaker of the Week: S&C's H. Rodgin Cohen

Posted by Brian Baxter

798 This week's crisis on Wall Street presented The Am Law Daily with the right moment to launch a new feature. And it meant that Sullivan & Cromwell chairman H. Rodgin Cohen--our first Dealmaker of the Week--had a few more rescues of prominent financial institutions to add to his already lengthy resume.

Our choice was easy. Cohen has been the man in demand by companies struggling to ride out the latest subprime-related rollercoaster roiling the capital markets. His work this past week alone includes advising Lehman Brothers on its limited options prior to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday and counseling AIG in its $85 billion bailout by the Federal Reserve on Tuesday. The longtime S&C partner was on a roll even before these events unraveled last weekend--Cohen advised Fannie Mae on its seizure by the federal government on September 7.

In March, Cohen represented Bear Stearns's board of directors in the company's hastily arranged acquisition by JPMorgan Chase. And in late 2007 he led a team of S&C banking lawyers to secure financing from sovereign wealth funds for struggling Wall Street banks. (We should note that the two financial institutions Cohen and his partners advised on those foreign investments--Citigroup and Morgan Stanley--have thus far survived the credit crunch intact, but who can predict what tomorrow will bring.)

It's because of these and countless other matters that Cohen's bio describes the lawyer as one who "has been engaged in most of the major bank acquisitions in the United States" and has "participated in the resolution of most major bank failures." That's no exaggeration.

S&C partner Donald Toumey once told The American Lawyer that there are two Rodge Cohens: "[O]ne sleeps one day while the other works, and then they switch places."

Cohen has been with S&C since 1970. He made partner in 1977 and was elected chairman in 2000. Over the course of his career he's been profiled in publications like our own sibling paper, Legal Times, to The New York Times. And he has been anointed a "Dealmaker of the Year" by The American Lawyer three times: in 2002, 2006, and 2007. (Anyone care to wager on how soon he'll earn a fourth?)

With Washington Mutual fighting for survival and Morgan Stanley mulling a reported merger with Wachovia, perhaps the only thing Cohen need fear is a diminishing client base seeking out his specialized services.

Something tells us he'll manage.

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Rodge is the most knowledgable, most kind and most savvy lawyer I ever worked with.

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