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On September 11, 2001, Fiduciary Trust Company International lost 86 of its 647 employees when the second of the two planes that attacked the World Trade Center hit its South Tower. Among the dead was chief corporate counsel Carol Demitz. The grieving company regrouped and within two weeks had signed a new lease in Rockefeller Center. Then it started hiring. Eleven months after the attacks, Edward Eisert, a 25-year veteran of New York’s Schulte Roth & Zabel, came on board to lead the legal group as senior vice president, general corporate counsel, and secretary. Eisert, 54, says Fiduciary Trust has now shifted from “a reactive crisis mode to a more forward-looking” one. The legal group has moved to permanent offices on Rockefeller Center’s seventh floor. And though the group lost all of its legal documents in the Trade Center attacks, the effort to rebuild those lost records is well under way. The company as a whole also has completed the transition — from public company to wholly owned subsidiary — that began in April 2001, when Franklin Resources, Inc., of San Mateo, California, acquired Fiduciary Trust. The legal group has adapted quickly to those changes, Eisert says. But there have been unexpected changes, too, like the heightened know-your-client requirements included in the USA PATRIOT Act, which Congress passed after the 2001 attacks. Still, the legal department has not had to increase its use of outside counsel, Eisert says, adding that his staff works well with Franklin’s legal group and its GC, Murray Simpson. Meanwhile, the Fiduciary Trust legal group has become a tight-knit one, joined together in grief. Eisert says he’s been welcomed into the group and that no one has left the legal department since the attacks. “Everyone here has been very supportive,” the lawyer says. “There is a rebirth here, and it is very fulfilling to be a part of it.”

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