Describes Lazard's situation in 2001, and supplies context for the subsequent negotiation between its Chairman and his hand-picked successor. In 2001 Lazard, the last of the great investment houses to remain both private and in the control of its founding family, is in a state of decline. Infighting throughout the 1990s led to a defection of talent that left many wondering if Lazard could compete with the diversified financial behemoths of the 21st Century. It also left Chairman Michel David-Weill looking for a successor. David-Weill believes he has found one in M&A star Bruce Wasserstein: going into their negotiation, what should Wasserstein's strategy be?