Even before Meryl Streep’s Oscar for reliving the Thatcher years, 2011 brought a sense of déjà vu. There was the outsize role of the energy sector, highlighted by the year’s biggest deal, the Kinder Morgan–El Paso merger. And there were all those hostile takeovers: Many of the year’s biggest deals, see Kinder Morgan–El Paso, began with an unsolicited offer. Even the poison pill was back in court. A lawyer who went into a coma in 1985, it seemed, could wake up one day, dust off his Members Only jacket, and go back to work in the afternoon.

Or not. Dealmakers in 2011 worked on a global stage inconceivable in the eighties, handling work for buyers in South Korea and Israel, and mastering Luxembourg’s law in Microsoft’s biggest acquisition to date. Take another look at our cover subject—the lawyer from a U.S. firm who handled the biggest Internet IPO since 2004. It was for a search engine company. In Russia. Take that, Mr. Gorbachev.

Read the complete package, including video interviews and a dealmaker slideshow.