In 1912 an irate representative at a U.S. congressional hearing accused William Nelson Cromwell of being “the most dangerous man this country has produced since the days of Aaron Burr – a professional revolutionist.” At first glance, it seems an odd charge to have been leveled at the founder of what has since become the nation’s archetypal white-shoe Wall Street firm: Sullivan & Cromwell. Or at the counselor who advised financier J.P. Morgan to form the United States Steel Corporation in 1901. Or at the fixer extraordinaire who, in 1916, managed to arrange for two former presidents of the United States – Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft – to appear as character witnesses for several banker clients who were then being tried on criminal charges. (The jury acquitted after ten minutes.)
But if Cromwell pioneered the concept of the modern corporate lawyer, he never typified the breed. The charge of the irate congressman, who was investigating Cromwell’s arguably manipulative role in the building of the Panama Canal, was not wholly without basis.
This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.
To view this content, please continue to their sites.
LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.
For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]