LEONARD M. ROSEN

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ROSEN--Leonard M., All of us at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz are deeply saddened by the death of our dear colleague and friend, Leonard M. Rosen, at age 83. We will miss him greatly. We will be inspired by him always. Leonard was a founder of our Firm, and was instrumental in making it what it is today. He was a partner from 1965, when, intrepidly, together with Martin Lipton, Herbert Wachtell and George Katz, all graduates of NYU Law School, he launched our practice, until 1997, when he retired. In his retirement, he served as Of Counsel to our Firm until his passing on April 16, 2014. Leonard created, and led, the Firm's creditors' rights group. He transformed it into one of the nation's leading bankruptcy practices, representing banks, insurance companies, bondholders, and other institutional creditors. He counseled, advised, and advocated and negotiated for his clients on all manner of bankruptcy matters. He was a student of the law -- author of numerous articles on bankruptcy law, and a draftsman of sections of the leading treatise in the field. He was also a teacher of the law, serving for many years as an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Law, where he introduced aspiring lawyers to the subject he so loved. He was a leader of the bar, and a shaper of the law. He contributed to the drafting of the Bankruptcy Code and, as Chairman of the National Bankruptcy Conference from 1984 to 1992, played a leading role in the Code's development. He received the American College of Bankruptcy's Distinguished Service Award in 2003, along with many other accolades for his accomplishments during his decades of distinguished practice. As the leader of the Firm's bankruptcy and restructuring practice, Leonard was the attorney to whom our major institutional creditor clients so often turned first when credit problems arose with a major corporate borrower. To him they looked for judgment and leadership. And to him we looked for wisdom and guidance. By the time he retired, he had built a practice group so eminent that it was called upon by the United States Department of the Treasury to design and implement the immense government rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- the largest ever. Throughout his career, the matters Leonard handled were enormously consequential. In 1975, his client was the City of New York. It was on the verge of bankruptcy. The federal government had refused to help, and the Daily News headline famously screamed, "Ford to City: Drop Dead." After President Ford relented, Leonard stayed up round the clock with virtually the entire Firm, in the effort to prepare the complex and myriad agreements, securities, legislation and tax rulings needed so the City could obtain critical financing before year-end. At almost the same time, Leonard led the Firm's team that represented W. T. Grant during its historic bankruptcy -- the first billion-dollar Chapter 11 case, and the last in which the Firm was the lead counsel for a bankruptcy debtor. The list of historic matters goes on: Leonard represented the bank lenders to Chrysler during its government bailout in the early 1980s. He masterfully forged an agreement among Chrysler and each of its more than 400 bank lenders, an agreement that enabled Chrysler to survive and prosper during a period in which its failure appeared imminent. Leonard was also the lead attorney for the principal lenders in the debt restructurings and bankruptcies of many other major corporations in the real estate, financial, energy, agricultural equipment, steel and aircraft industries. But above all, Leonard was a good man. A generous man. A kind man. A man you could trust with your most difficult problems and deepest concerns, a superb partner who represented, and will always represent, all we strive to be as lawyers, citizens, and human beings. He was much sought after for his judgment, as well as for his marvelous ability to resolve disputes and reconcile disparate views. He shaped the culture of our Firm. He was the glue that cemented a group of hard-working and talented attorneys into a leading law firm that has served as a model for other firms. He was not only admired and respected by his colleagues; he was beloved. Leonard was deeply involved in the work of the Lymphoma Research Foundation and the Children's Cause for Cancer Advocacy. The entire Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz family sends its deepest condolences to Leonard's wife Phyllis, his sons Adam, Steven and David, his daughter Carol, and his nine grandchildren. We share your loss, and your love for our dear friend Leonard.

Published in The New York Times on Apr. 17, 2014
Leonard M. Rosen
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