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Name and title: Eric Reicin, vice president and associate general counsel Age: 35 About the company: SLM Corp., or Sallie Mae as it is known, is the nation’s largest provider of education financing. According to Reicin, “Sallie Mae’s mission is to make education accessible and affordable for all Americans, at all times of their lives. Sallie Mae provides education financing and manages more than $107 billion in student loans for more than 7 million borrowers. Through its specialized subsidiaries and divisions, Sallie Mae also provides debt-management services and business and technical products to a range of business clients, including colleges, universities and loan guarantors. The SLM Corp . . . is a publicly traded corporation.” Congress created Sallie Mae in 1972 as a government-sponsored enterprise to further access to higher education by acting as a secondary market for federally insured student loans. A government-sponsored enterprise “effectively operates like any other private company except that its charter limits its business activities and it enjoys certain advantages, such as access to the agency debt market,” Reicin said. “In 1996, Congress enacted privatization legislation that allowed the company to expand beyond its restricted federal charter into other business activities, including loan origination and fee-based services such as debt management and guarantor services. On Dec. 29, Sallie Mae completed its transformation to a fully private, state-chartered company. As far as I am aware, Sallie Mae is the first [government-sponsored enterprise] to successfully conclude such a privatization process.” Sallie Mae is headquartered in Reston, Va. The company has a presence in most states and has employees located in Reston; Niles, Ill.; Killeen, Texas; Cincinnati; Summerlin, Nev.; Arcade, N.Y.; Novi, Mich.; Panama City, Fla.; Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; and Fishers, Ind. The company has more than 10,000 employees. The office: “The general counsel’s office has 22 attorneys and roughly the same number of support professionals,” said Reicin. “Half the team are located in Reston, and the rest are based at our subsidiary locations throughout the country. Marianne Keler, our long-time executive vice president and general counsel, recently moved into a senior business role, and is now an executive vice president at Sallie Mae. “The company also promoted Rob Lavet, who had served as senior vice president and deputy general counsel for several years, to senior vice president and general counsel. Lavet also is responsible for corporate compliance, our student loan servicing policy, and an operational unit that handles student loan bankruptcies and collection litigation under the Health Education Assistance Loan program. “Three of us are vice presidents and report to Rob Lavet. Mike Sheehan, recently promoted to deputy general counsel, heads our corporate finance, M&A and securities group. Andy Wachtel leads our core student loan group. “My group is responsible for providing legal support to our debt management operations division . . . , our IT [information technology] division, and two subsidiaries-the SLM Financial Corp. and Noel-Levitz Inc. We also provide companywide legal support for litigation other than that related to student loans, government contracts, and certain vendor contracts (particularly IT-related). “I also serve as the company’s chief labor/ employment and intellectual property attorney. My team members are in Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Reston.” Challenges: “For a company our size, we are leanly staffed,” said Reicin, “and I enjoy working with a group of very talented attorneys and support professionals. Unlike some companies that focus on a handful of big transactions or deals each year, Sallie Mae has millions of customer contacts each month. We strive to get each one right. Helping our clients achieve that goal shapes the way in which we practice law. We focus on the big picture and the important small details at the same time, from both a legal and business adviser perspective.” Outside counsel: “Like many Fortune 500 companies, we use multiple law firms throughout the country,” said Reicin, who is “fond of working” with Brian McDermott of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart and Tom Murphy of Hunton & Williams on employment matters; Jon Grossman and Leslie Cohen of Washington’s Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky for intellectual property and litigation; Joe Esposito of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld for litigation; Franklin Blackstone III of Franklin Blackstone III P.C. of Vienna, Va., for IT contracts; David Rogers of McDermott, Will & Emery for employee benefits; Michael Nemeroff of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood for election law; Stephanie Evans of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr on M&A matters; and Scott Hommer of Venable for government contracts. Sallie Mae also uses McKee Nelson on structured finance matters; Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft of New York on corporate finance matters; and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher of Los Angeles on securities matters. Background: Reicin received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1991, and his law degree from the University of Illinois in 1994. He then worked as an associate at Laner, Muchin, Dombrow, Becker, Levin and Tominberg in Chicago. He and his wife moved to Washington in 1995 and he worked as an associate with the D.C. office of Anchorage, Alaska-based Birch, Horton, Bittner and Cherot from 1995 until he joined Sallie Mae as assistant general counsel in 1999. Personal: Reicin grew up in Highland Park, Ill. He and his wife, Jodi, have three daughters, aged two, four and six. “With three young daughters, my wife and I have been spending considerable time playing with Barbie and American Girl dolls,” he said. “Golf and my old handicap are becoming a fond memory, as I am limited to a few rounds each summer with friends and a handful of ‘work’ events.” Last books and movie: Good to Great, by Jim Collins; The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell; The Zero Game, by Brad Meltzer; and Million Dollar Baby.

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