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Wherever Goldman Sachs & Co. is, New York’s Sullivan & Cromwell is sure to follow. The law firm has been the investment bank’s go-to legal counsel for decades, and Sullivan lawyers are devoted — really devoted — to Goldman. “I would do anything for Goldman because that’s the way I was trained,” said Matthew Hurd, a partner in Sullivan’s Palo Alto office. In fact, Goldman is largely responsible for Sullivan’s presence in the Bay Area. The firm has had a Los Angeles office for several years, but lawyers like partner John Savva often jetted to Silicon Valley to work on Goldman’s tech deals. Finally, in September 2000, Sullivan shortened the travel distance to Goldman’s Northern California offices by opening in Palo Alto. Savva doesn’t remember when the firm and the bank launched its working relationship, but it plays prominently on the firm’s emphasis on investment banking clients. “It’s been a very long and close relationship,” Savva said. Sullivan partners take their work for Goldman seriously, but say the perception among local competitors that they’re simply handed all of Goldman’s work is more assumption than fact. “We know people at Goldman, but like all investment banks, Goldman has many firms, and we’re competing for Goldman’s work just like every other firm,” Savva said. Andrea Rachman, a Goldman spokeswoman, said the bank does enjoy a prominent relationship with Sullivan, but it’s not exclusive. In fact, Goldman diverts less than half of its work to Sullivan, she said. Goldman has hired other local firms to handle its initial public offerings when there were deals being done, including Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and the now-defunct Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. Nevertheless, Sullivan has a reputation in the Valley as Goldman’s firm. And Sullivan lawyers acknowledge they place great value on the relationship. “It has benefited us over decades and decades to give these banks first-class service regardless of the two-year trend in the economy,” Hurd said. “And at the end of the day they know that.”

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