The primary focus of Rodgin Cohen’s practice is acquisition, regulatory, corporate governance and securities law matters for U.S. and non-U.S. banking and other financial institutions and their trade associations.
Mr. Cohen and S&C are at the vanguard of critical issues and developments affecting financial institutions, and S&C has remained the chosen firm of leading global financial institutions.
Recent press stories attest to the preeminent stature of Mr. Cohen in the financial institutions sector:
“Rodgin Cohen is repeatedly referred to as ‘a force of nature,’ and as ‘arguably the best banking lawyer in America.’ He is a legendary transactional lawyer, and is also extremely highly regarded for his enforcement and regulatory expertise. He has played a pivotal role in many of the highest-profile matters in the industry, including leading the team that acted as counsel in all ten of the largest FDIC purchases last year.” (Chambers Global, 2012)
“The iconic Rodgin Cohen is widely considered to stand head and shoulders above other lawyers in the financial services arena, and has achieved near-legendary status for his M&A, enforcement and compliance work: ‘He has done more deals than anyone, ever. He has a thoughtful, even-handed, no-nonsense approach and the courage to say what he thinks without screaming or pounding the table. He has a long history of results because people trust him.’” (Chambers USA, 2012)
“‘Simply the best’, Rodgin Cohen is ‘very approachable and grounded’ and is recognized as ‘the bank regulatory authority’. At the forefront of some of the most important and cutting-edge mandates at the heart of the economic crisis, as well as his well-known expertise for handling banking M&A mandates, he is also frequently the first name on the list of bank bosses regarding Dodd Frank-related compliance issues.” (Legal 500, 2012)
“Sullivan & Cromwell is the practice of choice for critical and often unprecedented issues in the financial institutions sector. . . . Paramount to the success of the practice is the venerated Rodgin Cohen. He is ‘the guru of financial services regulation – no one can touch him in terms of his reputation, experience and clout.’” (Chambers Global, 2010)
“Under the leadership of chairman H. Rodgin Cohen, Sullivan & Cromwell has become synonymous with the cutting-edge regulatory work being done as a result of the financial crisis. AIG, Barclays, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Goldman Sachs – the firm’s high-profile client list reads like a who’s who of the financial sector. In the words of one rival partner, ‘You can stand Sullivan & Cromwell in a corner all by themselves.’” (IFLR1000, 2010)
“Rodgin Cohen has played a pivotal role in the recovery of the financial markets, not only for clients but on a wider legislative level as well. ‘He has an incredible understanding of what regulators desire and how boards of directors need to act to optimize situations,’ notes one client. In addition to his phenomenal reputation on the regulatory compliance side, he is equally praised for his enforcement and transactional practice.” (Chambers USA, 2010)
“Mr. Cohen’s influence over Wall Street is both legendary and pervasive, reaching back to the 1980s, when he helped to consolidate the industry, and then to the 1990s, to shape the regulatory scheme that permitted last year’s unprecedented outlay of federal dollars.” (The New York Times, November 15, 2009)
“With virtually all of Wall Street as his client, [Mr. Cohen] has solidified his role as one of the most influential private-sector players in the financial crisis. Over the past five weeks alone, Mr. Cohen and his team have advised Fannie Mae, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Wachovia, Barclays PLC, American International Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in a blitz of mergers, rescues and cash infusions.” (The Wall Street Journal, October 9, 2008)
“For Mr. Cohen, virtually every day in September was a workday, including the weekends. Long regarded as one of the top counselors to major financial firms, Mr. Cohen has, in the past 30 days alone, advised Fannie Mae; A.I.G.; Lehman Brothers; and JPMorgan Chase & Company in its government-brokered purchase of Washington Mutual.” (The New York Times, October 7, 2008)
“During the chaos of the post-credit crunch financial world, Rodgin Cohen has popped up everywhere. Over the past two weeks of historic, market-reshaping events, he has been ubiquitous.” (The Lawyer, September 29, 2008)
He also worked on major capital-raising activities by a number of major financial institutions, preceding and following the financial crisis.
In the acquisitions area, Mr. Cohen has been engaged in most of the major bank acquisitions in the United States, including Hudson City-M&T, Wells Fargo-Wachovia, PNC-National City, Toronto Dominion-Commerce, Bank of New York-Mellon Financial, Regions-AmSouth, Wachovia-SouthTrust, Chase-Bank One, First Union-Wachovia, U.S. Bancorp-Firstar, Wells Fargo-Norwest, Wells Fargo-First Interstate, Chemical-Chase, First Union-First Fidelity, Key-Society, NationsBank-C&S and Bank of New York-Irving, as well as numerous other acquisitions.
In cross-border and non-U.S. transactions, he was engaged in Bank of Montreal-M&I, BlackRock-Barclays Global Investors, Banco Santander-Sovereign, Mitsubishi UFG-Morgan Stanley, Barclays-Lehman, MUFG-UnionBanCal, Standard Chartered-American Express Bank, Goldman Sachs-Sumitomo, Allianz-Dresdner, UBS-PaineWebber, Credit Suisse-DLJ, Société Générale-Paribas, Dexia-FSA, Mitsubishi-Bank of Tokyo, Credit Suisse-First Boston, Royal Bank of Canada-Bank of Montreal and acquisitions or divestitures by Barclays Bank, National Westminster, Midland Bank, Lloyds Bank, Bank of Ireland and Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino. He has also worked on a number of major cross-industry and private equity acquisitions, including JPMorgan Chase-Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch-BlackRock, J.C. Flowers-Sallie Mae, Mellon-Dreyfus and NationsBank-Montgomery, as well as acquisitions in the insurance industry, including Anthem-WellPoint and Manulife-Hancock.
In addition, Mr. Cohen has advised a number of major foreign banks in connection with the establishment of offices in the U.S., including China Merchants Bank Co., Ltd., the first Chinese bank to receive the Board’s approval to establish a branch in the United States since the adoption of the Foreign Bank Supervision Enhancement Act of 1991. Mr. Cohen advised the Bank of East Asia sale of 80 percent interest in its U.S. bank. The approval was the first of its kind for a Chinese bank and paves the way for other leading Chinese banks to acquire control of depository institutions in the United States.
Mr. Cohen provides corporate governance advice to a large number of financial and non-financial institutions, both regular clients and as special assignments.
Mr. Cohen has worked on a wide variety of bank regulatory matters with the banking regulatory agencies, as well as other governmental agencies, on behalf of many of the largest U.S. and non-U.S. financial institutions and trade associations. He was a member of the Group of 30 Study Groups on Financial Institution Reporting (2003) and on Global Institutions, National Supervision and Systemic Risk (1997) and the New York Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Transnational Banking Institutions (1992), and participated in the bank negotiations to free the Iranian hostages.
In the securities area, Mr. Cohen worked on the first public offering in the United States by a non-U.S. bank (Barclays) and on a number of other offerings in the United States by non-U.S. banks. He has also worked on public offerings by BancOne, Bank of New York, Chase, Chemical, Citicorp, Continental Illinois, First Bank System, First Fidelity, First Interstate, First Union, KeyCorp, MBNA, Mellon, Morgan Guaranty, Norwest, Republic New York, Security Pacific, Shawmut and Wachovia.
He has also participated in the resolution of most major bank failures, including Washington Mutual, Continental, First City, Southeast, Franklin National and Bank of New England and, at the recommendation of the Federal Reserve, the Ohio thrift crisis.
During the past several years, Mr. Cohen has devoted substantial time to regulatory, law enforcement and internal investigations of financial institutions. Publicly disclosed matters involve ABN AMRO, Bank of Montreal, Banco Popular, Bank of New York, Barclays, Fifth Third, First Horizon, IDB, KeyCorp, Lloyds, Mellon, Mitsubishi UFG, Royal Bank of Canada, Standard Chartered, SunTrust, Wachovia and Wells Fargo.
Professional and Community Involvement
Mr. Cohen is or has been a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative, the FDIC Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee, the National Security Agency Advisory Board’s Emerging Technologies Panel, The Pew Financial Reform Project, the IIF Special Committee for a Strategic Dialogue for Effective Regulation, the Treasury Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession, The New York State Commission to Modernize the Regulation of Financial Services and The Financial Services Roundtable’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Enhancing Competitiveness.
He is a frequent speaker on banking law matters and the author of numerous articles on issues in commercial banking. A partial list includes: Compliance by International Banking Organizations: The Need for Prioritization, Balance and Cooperation; The International Who’s Who of Banking Lawyers 2006; M&A Outlook 2005: Ten Factors for the Financial Services Industry, American Banker (2005); Avoiding Legal Landmines in Financial Services (2005); and Compliance and Regulatory Uniformity: The Two Principal Issues for the Banking Industry and Bank Regulators.
Mr. Cohen is a trustee of New York Presbyterian Hospital, Rockefeller University, the Hackley School, Deerfield Academy, Hampton University, Lincoln Center Theater, New York City Partnership and, formerly, the Economic Club of New York, and is a member of the Harvard Law School Visiting Committee and the advisory boards of Wall Street Rising, United Way of Westchester-Putnam and the University of Charleston. He is also a member of the New York Lawyers’ Division Executive Committee for the Anti-Defamation League.
In February 2012, Mr. Cohen was presented with the George A. Katz Torch of Learning Award at the 42nd Annual Luncheon of The American Friends of the Hebrew University in New York City.
In May 2011, he received the Deus Caritas Est Award from the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, recognizing him for demonstrated support to the charitable and social mission of Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of New York.
Mr. Cohen and his wife Barbara were honored in May 2010 with the Servant of Justice Award at the Legal Aid Society’s 33rd Annual Dinner in New York.
In December 2009, Mr. Cohen was honored at the Episcopal Charities Annual Tribute dinner in New York.
Mr. Cohen was honored at a 25th anniversary fundraiser gala in June 2008 for his support of The Partnership for the Homeless, a New York-based nonprofit organization.
In June 2006, he was honored by the UJA-Federation of New York, Wall Street and Financial Services division, at their annual Banking and Finance Dinner. Mr. Cohen was presented with an award in recognition of his more than 35 years of service to the legal and banking communities.
In October 2005, Wall Street Rising, a nonprofit organization formed after 9/11 and dedicated to the revitalization of Lower Manhattan, presented Mr. Cohen with its annual Leadership Award for his “steadfast commitment to Lower Manhattan.”
In March 2001, at a dinner in his honor, Mr. Cohen received the American Jewish Committee’s Learned Hand Award.
Honors, Rankings and Recognitions
Mr. Cohen has been named by the BTI Consulting Group as a Client Service Hall of Famer for his unprecedented level of dedication and commitment to exceptional client service. Inducted in 2007, he remains BTI’s sole recipient of this honor. Further, in February 2013, Mr. Cohen was recognized for the 11th time – more than any other attorney – as a member of the BTI Client Service All-Star Team. These honors have earned Mr. Cohen the distinction of being a BTI Client Service Super All-Star and BTI Client Service All-Star MVP.
Mr. Cohen was honored in March 2012 at IFLR’s Americas Awards with the Contribution to Regulatory Reform Award.
In December 2011, Mr. Cohen received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The M&A Advisor for his contributions to the M&A industry, and was inducted into the M&A Hall of Fame at the 10th Anniversary of the M&A Advisor Awards.
In November 2011, Mr. Cohen was the only lawyer named to Worth Magazine’s “The Power 100: The 100 Most Powerful People in Finance.” He was recognized for his involvement in “nearly every big financial M&A transaction of the last 30 years” and for serving as the “first call for bank bosses” regarding Dodd-Frank reforms.
Also in November 2011, Mr. Cohen was honored by the National Association of Corporate Directors as a member of the 2011 Directorship 100, honoring the 100 most influential people in the boardroom and corporate governance. Mr. Cohen had previously been named to the Directorship 100 – in 2010 he was inducted into the association’s Corporate Governance Hall of Fame and in 2009 he was among a group of distinguished individuals who were honored at the 2009 Recognition Dinner.
In March 2010, Mr. Cohen was recognized as one of “The Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers” by The National Law Journal. The publication noted that he has been “a superstar in the legal industry for years.”
In late 2009, he was among the top 25 people named to Institutional Investor’s “The Power 25: Leaders in Finance.” In its first-ever ranking, the publication named “the most influential people in the world of investment and banking today.” Mr. Cohen was the only lawyer on the list recognized for work done during the banking crisis of 2008-2009. He was also presented with an FT Special Achievement Award recognizing his work on nearly 20 substantial credit crisis-related transactions by the Financial Times.
In early 2009, Mr. Cohen was honored with the first-ever Leadership Achievement Award at the Global Major Markets M&A Atlas Awards, which recognized his accomplishment in leading the representation of more than a dozen major global clients in transactions that continue to reshape the financial services industry. He was also named Best Lawyers’ 2013 New York City Banking and Finance Law Lawyer of the Year, 2012 New York City Financial Services Regulatory Law Lawyer of the Year and 2009 New York Banking Law Lawyer of the Year. In its April 2009 edition, The American Lawyer ranked Mr. Cohen #1 among its 25 “Dealmakers of the Year,” noting that “he was Wall Street’s go-to lawyer during the most important months for the American banking industry since the Great Depression.” Mr. Cohen has been selected by The American Lawyer as a “Dealmaker of the Year” in 2002, 2007 and 2008, and as its first-ever “Dealmaker of the Week” (The Am Law Daily, September 9, 2008).
Chambers and Partners awarded Mr. Cohen a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2007 Chambers USA Awards for Excellence. He was also named Banking Lawyer of the Year in 2007, 2008 and 2010 in the Who’s Who Legal Awards. In its 2002 Best Business Lawyer Survey, Chambers ranked Mr. Cohen in a tie for first place as the best business lawyer in the United States. He was listed by CFO magazine in the “Global 100,” the 100 people that have the greatest influence on the world of the CFO, and by The National Law Journal as among “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” in 2000 and 2006. He has also been recognized as a leading lawyer in banking, corporate governance and M&A in consecutive editions of Chambers Global: Guide to the World’s Leading Lawyers and Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (Chambers and Partners), in both of which he appears at the top of his field as a Star Performer; The Best of the Best (Euromoney); The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers (Law Business Research); The Best Lawyers in America; PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook (Practical Law Company); Mergers & Acquisitions Yearbook 2005 (IFLR); The Lawdragon 500: Leading Lawyers in America and The Lawdragon 500: Leading Dealmakers in America (2007); and New York Super Lawyers, which has named him among “The Top 10 New York Super Lawyers” and “The Top 100 New York Super Lawyers.”