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A Cabinet secretary or a high-ranking White House official probably has scores of attorneys clamoring for his business when he gets out of government. Yet when William Cohen left the Pentagon after serving as President Bill Clinton’s defense secretary, and when Thomas “Mack” McLarty left the White House after serving as chief of staff in the same administration, they both turned to Theodore Segal of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary for help with their next endeavors. After their government service, both Cohen and McLarty wanted to launch a private sector business. And Segal, a partner in DLA Piper’s D.C. office who focuses on corporate and securities law, was the man to call. “I had just gotten out of the Pentagon and hadn’t had to deal with setting up a company, and I hadn’t practiced law since 1972,” says Cohen, who launched the Cohen Group, a business consulting firm, in 2001. “He was the first person we talked to.” Segal helped Cohen develop strategic affiliations for the new firm and still serves as the Cohen Group’s legal counsel. McLarty also continues to seek Segal’s legal advice for his various business affiliations, including Kissinger McLarty Associates, a strategic advisory firm in Washington, D.C., formed by McLarty and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1999. “He’s a trusted adviser and a great sounding board and a great reality check,” says McLarty. “He doesn’t overstep his bounds, but you do rely on his sage counsel.” Advising multiple former high-profile government officials in their business efforts is not the only way in which Segal, 50, differs from the typical corporate lawyer. In the late 1970s he worked for a nonprofit housing developer in the District. His job was to organize low-income tenants into cooperatives and help them purchase their rental-apartment buildings before the buildings were turned into condominiums. The work piqued Segal’s interest in negotiating business deals. So his next step was to earn a law degree, which he received from Georgetown University Law Center in 1984. “Most people go to law school thinking they’re going to be litigators,” says Segal. “I went to law school informed by the belief that I would find corporate transactions most interesting and satisfying.” His first job out of law school was a two-year clerkship with then-Chief Judge William Pryor of the D.C. Court of Appeals. In 1986, Segal signed on with the D.C. office of Piper & Marbury, where he honed his interest in mergers and acquisitions. (After several mergers of its own, Piper & Marbury is now DLA Piper.) Today, Segal’s practice focuses primarily on M&A work. Aside from Cohen and McLarty, he counts as important clients industry leaders such as the Johns Hopkins Health System in Baltimore; spice maker McCormick & Co., based in Sparks, Md.; and Marriott International, based in Washington, D.C. In the late 1990s he helped Johns Hopkins acquire Howard Health System of Howard County, Md. In 2004 he advised McCormick in its $180 million acquisition of Zatarain’s, seller of New Orleans-style food products. And he has helped Marriott with the development and transfer of franchised properties since 2001. “From the day I began doing this work, I was struck by the fact that every deal is different,” says Segal. “There’s a variety to it in that each deal is its own story waiting to unfold.”

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