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    January 3, 2011  

How did you spend your holidays? We’d love to run a few pictures of local attorney-types in exotic locales. You know, like New Jersey. Send photos of your vacations, staycations, and other fun activities (with a description) for inclusion in Bisnow!


With the sun setting on ’10 and the Lehman bankruptcy now 828 days behind us, we sat down with Sullivan & Cromwell senior chairman Rodge Cohen for his reflections and prognostications on economic recovery.


Sullivan & Cromwell Senior Chairman Rodge Cohen

As he stared the financial apocalypse in the face, the “trauma surgeon of Wall Street's” central involvement in 17 financial deals (Bear Stearns, JPMorgan, AIG, Goldman Sachs, etc.) dramatically transformed the landscape for financial institutions and primed the pump for global recovery. Now he tells us it’s unlikely the economy will continue to stagnate. If the economy doesn’t improve, he says there’s a risk it will regress, but he’s optimistic that improvement is ahead even with areas of concern like state and local gov’t defaults (without a bankruptcy option, states’ leverage in negotiations is crippled), the Euro (Europe and America’s fate is tied to its success), and America’s true jobless rate (a whopping 17% as of November). Rodge tells us the broader M&A market has picked up, but until the last 10 days or so, there were only faint indications that financial institution M&A is increasing.

Sullivan & Cromwell Senior Chairman Rodge Cohen

We snapped Rodge with his favorite coffee mug, a gift from his assistant when his son was admitted to NYU. This September, Rodge and his wife visited their 20-year old son in Florence during his semester abroad. After a business meeting in Munich, the trio met up again for a tour of the second to last King of Bavaria’s palatial abode. The U.S. might go the way of the Bavarians, Rodge argues, if Congress can’t agree to raise the debt ceiling this spring. He tells us this important issue isn’t getting enough attention and he hopes politicians will transcend partisanship as they did with the Bush tax cuts. He’s also been working on the implementation of Dodd-Frank and says that the final law can go from "incomplete" to a B+ (not bad, but he says the August ’09 Obama Administration proposal was an A) if regulators correct the Lincoln Amendment drafting error (which, as written, disadvantages foreign banks), minimize the impact of the Durbin Amendment (to the extent it benefits merchants and not consumers), and implement a moderate interpretation of the Volcker Rule. (You know, easy stuff.)



co-chair of Gibson Dunn’s Fashion, Retail, and Consumer Products practice group, Lois Herzeca

M&A in the fashion industry is steaming hot, so we stopped in for a chat with co-chair of Gibson Dunn’s Fashion, Retail, and Consumer Products practice group, Lois Herzeca. We snapped Lois with a cutout from a recent collaboration she worked on between Target (we'll accept the pronounciation Tar-Jay in this case) and luxury womenswear label Proenza Schouler. Lois tells us she’s repped Proenza for years, including the deal in which Valentino Fashion Group took a 45% interest in the company. Lois says that private equity and strategic corporations have significant amounts of cash on hand and are looking to acquire brands, as seen in the recent Vanity Fair acquisition of the trademarks/brand from the bankrupt Rock and Republic.

co-chair of Gibson Dunn’s Fashion, Retail, and Consumer Products practice group, Lois Herzeca

Lois showed us this candy dispenser her children, 19 and 23, bought for her five years ago. The machine satisfies two needs: her sweet tooth and her desire to give back. She tells us she donates all collected quarters to charity (or, indirectly, her dentist). Lois recently joined the board of Woman In Need, a charity that provides temporary and permanent housing, childcare, and job placement assistance for some of the 28,000 women and children in NYC who will sleep in homeless shelters tonight. This past October's AmLaw Dealmaker of the Week enjoys oil painting and museum trips. She says she recently enjoyed the Otto Dix works on display in the Chaos and Classicism exhibit at the Guggenheim. If you’re interested in seeing some of the best European contemporary work between WW I and WW II, you have until Jan. 9.



Rising Currents MoMA exhibit

Much of NYC’s coastlines could be underwater in the next 50-100 years (sooner if you believe Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich), says Mary Jane Augustine, construction attorney, sustainability advocate, and NY office managing partner of McCarter & English. She showed us this picture from the Rising Currents MoMA exhibit that brings together interdisciplinary teams to re-envision the NY and NJ coastlines in ecologically friendly ways. Mary Jane’s no stranger to the MoMA; she negotiated the design contract with Yoshio Taniguchi for its renovation (and 25 other museums), as well as the contracts for the New Meadowlands Stadium, the Gazprom Tower in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the renovation of Grand Central Station. Mary Jane tells us she’s currently working on some of the transactional aspects of the San Fran MoMA design and the Memorial/Visitors Center at the WTC.

McCarter English's Mary Jane Augustine
Though the firm just had two of its best three financial years in its 166 year history (without any layoffs or furloughs), Mary Jane’s not taking a breather. While simultaneously practicing law and managing the NYC office, she’s putting in long hours at night doing grad work in sustainability through Harvard online courses. She started the program in January ’10, right before she became the managing partner to enhance her knowledge in an increasingly hot area that is closely related to construction. Mary Jane, one of only 500 attorney LEED APs (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Accredited Professionals) in the country (the firm has five), says to draft and negotiate effectively, it's critical to understand green building principles like energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, and sustainable materials.

New year, new stories! Send transactions, exciting wins, trends, hot topics, and especially event invites to Jeff.Gamsey@Bisnow.com

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