“Great result,” she says. “Equity wasn’t wiped
out, the investors did really well, and all the
creditors were paid in full. It was a classic use of
More prominently, she was an adviser during
the near-collapse of AIG, American Investment
Group, the multinational insurance company
with tens of millions of customers around the
world. Economists feared that if the company
collapsed, credit markets around the world
would freeze and commerce worldwide would
Goldstein was in Shanghai when she got the 2
a.m. call to return to New York, where she faced
an AIG boardroom full of grim-faced executives
and lawyers. The question on the table: Was it
better to take the company into bankruptcy or
seek a controversial federal bailout loan that
would keep it operating? She advised the latter.
“To me that was a no-brainer,” she says.
“And I was right. Because the federal loan was
“Our client is island-wide, and committed
restructured and satisfied, and the company not
only exists but is doing well today.”
On the 27th floor of Weil’s offices on Fifth
Avenue in Manhattan, Goldstein’s corner office has
three big windows offering expansive views over
Central Park, where hawks and falcons patrol the
skies. On this particular afternoon, she has Puerto
Rico on the mind. Not for a vacation, she says with
a laugh. She’s one of the lead attorneys trying to
ease the U.S. territory out of financial crisis.
long-term,” she says. “The issues are interesting.
In some instances they are constitutional. We
have congressional action; we have Puerto Rican
legislative action. It is a very interesting thing
to work on because it’s not standard. It’s not
something where we, or anyone, has a playbook.”
And that’s about as much as we get on Puerto
Rico. The deeper into the conversation, the
shorter her answers. Ditto the rest of her career.
She’ll tick off the names of big Chapter 11 filings
and refinancings that have been in the news,
but she won’t talk particulars. And she definitely
won’t say anything about the clients she has kept
out of the headlines.
“She is so respected,” says Tim Coleman,
“It’s hard to find aha moments,” he says.
a partner at PJT Partners, a public spinoff of
The Blackstone Group, who has worked with
Goldstein since 1982. “Whatever she does,
she carries a certain amount of gravitas in
the industry. She maintains the respect of her
adversaries in every deal she’s in.”
He won’t discuss the particulars, either, but
he does emphasize how tough Goldstein can be,
whether “taking it to” other lawyers or “getting
aggressive” with politicians. At the same time, he
says, Goldstein is good at making collaboration
happen among groups of people with often
opposing viewpoints and goals.
“There is no one brilliant idea. Brilliance evolves.
Creativity evolves. It’s all extremely collaborative.”
Much of her behind-the-scenes work is crisis
communications, advising companies and
executives on what to say—and what not to
The Goldstein Collection
Marcia and Mark Goldstein have an unusual
collection: Japanese Ningyo dolls from the 18th
through early 20th centuries. The dolls represent
a range of characters from history and folklore,
including Kabuki actors, samurai, dancers and
rulers. The Goldstein Collection, as it is known,
has been shown at the Johnson Museum at their
alma mater, Cornell University. The collection
includes a 5-foot Bunraku puppet, but most
of the dolls are more traditional-sized. “I like
Japan, and I think it is one of the most fascinating
countries,” she says. “Their art generally, not just
this, is very special.”
say. “Every Chapter 11 is a crisis story, and the
“Marcia can see the end zone and lay out a
communications that a company makes are
critical,” she adds. “We make sure our clients
don’t forget about that. They can’t just file for
Chapter 11 and not have a strategy.”
When a client with operations around the world
is going to file Chapter 11, Goldstein may help
coordinate the timing of the announcement for
when and how not only creditors and investors
but also the company’s employees find out.
strategy for everyone to get there,” Roof says.
MARCIA LANDWEBER GREW UP in a working-class Jewish family in the Midwood section of
Brooklyn, attending public schools and pretty
much paying her own way through Cornell
with scholarships, grants and summer jobs.
She married Mark Goldstein when both were at
Cornell Law, and she got the job at Weil in 1975
after he couldn’t make a scheduled interview and
she filled in for him.
Weil had about 130 lawyers then, and only
a handful of women. It was a transitional
time, often awkward, but Goldstein had the
good fortune to train under Harvey Miller, a
legendary figure in business law for showing how
bankruptcy could be used not merely to wrap
up companies but to restructure and refinance
complex corporations. “He appreciated the
quality of my work,” she says. “If you were purple,
he would work with you. I hate to put it that way,
but he clearly did not present a gender barrier.