And In This Corner.....

Sallie Mae has apparently lined up some big-time legal talent in its quest to force its one-time buyers to either follow through on their purchase or pay a $900 million breakup fee. According to the NYTimes DealBook blog, the student lending giant has retained Stephen D. Susman, whose hourly fee is reportedly $1,100.

Here's what DealBook had to say:

"Who is he? By all accounts, Mr. Susman is one of the best-known corporate litigators in the nation. Based in Houston, he has represented scores of clients in high profile cases: Alaskan fishermen in the Exxon Valdez class-action suit, the Hunt brothers, oil scions who defaulted on more than $1.5 billion in debt who sued then 23 banks in 1986; and former House Speaker Jim Wright as he faced an investigation by the House Ethics Committee in 1989. He has also represented defendants like the Philip Morris Companies, now known as Altria."

By Dan Beyers  |  October 10, 2007; 7:12 AM ET
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