Lawyerly Lairs

Lawyerly Lairs: Who Cares If You’re Disbarred, If You Own a $35 Million Mansion?

Keith Rubinstein Keith G Rubinstein Above the Law blog.jpgA struggling personal injury lawyer was disbarred last month, for splitting fees with non-lawyers, aiding the unauthorized practice of law, and other offenses. Sounds pretty unexciting, right?
But Keith Rubinstein is no ordinary PI lawyer; don’t cry for him, Argentina. Last year, he beat out Evita — i.e., Madonna, the Material Girl herself — in a bidding war for a $35 million townhouse on the Upper East Side. For more about Rubinstein, see this interesting article, by Anthony Lin in the New York Law Journal.
Rubinstein is used to swanky digs. He previously lived in a West Village townhouse that Will Smith rented for $60,000 a month during the filming of “Hitch.”
Speaking of lawyerly landlords, Charles T. Munger, a founder of Munger, Tolles & Olson, has been in the news lately for real estate reasons. Munger owns the building that houses the popular Dutton’s bookstore in Brentwood, Los Angeles. Dutton’s is closing its doors in April, in part due to rising rents.
But don’t blame the bookstore’s fate on Charlie Munger. From the Los Angeles Times:

Charles T Munger Charles Munger Charlie Munger AboveTheLaw blog.jpgThe property [housing Dutton’s] is owned by billionaire investor Charles T. Munger and his wife, Nancy. A founder of the Los Angeles law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson, he partnered in 1978 with Warren E. Buffett to run Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a holding company.

Munger was in Washington on Monday and could not be reached. He said in a statement that he would allow Dutton’s to use the space rent-free during the liquidation and that he would cover the $550,000 debt in exchange for the store’s closing. Dutton described the offer as “very gracious and generous.” As part of the deal, Munger said, Dutton would retain the Dutton’s trade name.

With a net worth of $2 billion, Munger can afford to be “very gracious and generous.” Anyone know how bonuses were at Munger this year?
Of course, Keith Rubinstein and Charlie Munger made their fortunes outside the law — through real estate and investing (Berkshire Hathaway), respectively. The moral of the story may be: if you want really big bucks, look beyond the law.
Lawyer Disbarred For Splitting Fees, Other Misconduct [New York Law Journal]
Dutton’s shelf life finally runs out [Los Angeles Times]

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