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The co-chairman of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Herlihy is one of the most prominent M&A lawyers in the U.S.


Herlihy began his career working as a staff attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission. In 1984, he joined WLRK, the boutique firm founded in 1965 by Herbert Wachtell, Martin Lipton, Leonard Rosen, and George Katz. Since then, he's established himself as one of the most formidable experts in the field of banking mergers and acquisitions. Some of his most notable deals to date: the $60 billion merger of BankAmerica and NationsBank in 1998; the $30 billion Banc One-First Chicago merger; and the sale of Bankers Trust to Deutsche Bank for more than $10 billion in 1999. (Other clients include Bank One, MBNA, FleetBoston, General Re, and Berkshire Hathaway.) More recently, he was retained by Jamie Dimon at J.P. Morgan to lead its high-profile acquisition of Bear Stearns following the bank's sudden collapse.

On the job

Although it was the firm's founding partners who put WLRK on the map in the early days, it's Herlihy who deserves a good deal of the credit for keeping up the firm's reputation as an M&A powerhouse, particularly when it comes to giant bank mergers. Indeed he's so well respected, Herlihy has actually represented both sides in several transactions—a highly unusual arrangement— including the merger that brought Wells Fargo and Norwest Corp. together in a $34 billion combination. With founding partners/senior statesmen Marty Lipton and Herb Wachtell preparing to head off into retirement in the near future, it's the fiftysomething Herlihy who now manages the firm's day-to-day management. Along with Daniel Neff, Herlihy is co-chairman of WLKR's executive committee.

Off hours

Don't get between Herlihy and his golf game. He's a member of Augusta, possibly the most exclusive club in the country, as well as Deepdale, the Long Island country club that boasts Sidney Poitier, Sean Connery, Michael Bloomberg, and Matt Lauer as members. When the village of North Hills threatened to take over Deepdale, Herlihy stepped in and filed suit to keep the course privately owned. He also wrote an impassioned editorial for the Wall Street Journal on the subject.


Ed and his wife Patty have two grown kids. They live in a three-story townhouse in Brooklyn Heights. In 2005, they bought a home in North Palm Beach, Fla. for $3.1 million.