Trump World Tower

Why are so many lawyers interested in making the jump to business? One obvious reason: money.

Look at the list of lawyers who made this year’s Forbes 400. Of the almost 40 lawyers / holders of law degrees who made the cut, only one, Joe Jamail, is a practicing attorney. And he’s all the way down at #269, with a net worth of just $1.5 billion. Poor Joe!

If you’re a partner at a major law firm in a big city, you might someday own a $3 million apartment. But if you want a $30 million apartment, you need to move into business.

A $30 million-plus apartment, in the Trump World Tower. That’s what lawyer turned businessman Dominick D’Alleva, a 1977 graduate of Yale Law School and a former Simpson Thacher associate, has placed on the market.

It’s the weekend, when people like to attend open houses for fun real-estate voyeurism. So let’s take a take a look at D’Alleva’s digs….

D’Alleva has already received an offer on his apartment, as reported in the New York Times:

[A Saudi] prince made an offer recently on [D'Alleva's] sprawling penthouse on the top floor, listed as the 90th, and with an asking price of $34.5 million. The broker on the listing, Dolly Lenz of Prudential Douglas Elliman, said that the prince — whose name she declined to disclose — could not fathom the idea that anyone might live above him.

Ms. Lenz also declined to discuss the specifics of the offer.

So we don’t know how close the princely offer came to the $34.5 million asking price — but we do know the apartment is fit for a king. It boasts 5,500 square feet of living space, four bedrooms, and five and a half marble baths.

Check out the floor plan:

Thanks to the penthouse’s high elevation — at one point, the Trump World Tower was the world’s tallest residential building — and the floor-to-ceiling windows, the apartment enjoys panoramic, 360-degree views. You can see Central Park, the GW Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and even the Atlantic Ocean.

Dominick D'Alleva

How did Dominick D’Alleva come to own such an amazing apartment? With all due respect to Simpson Thacher — one of the nation’s most profitable firms, with profits per partner of $2.415 million in 2009 — it wasn’t from practicing law. As D’Alleva told BlackBook:

I knew I wanted to go to law school and went to Yale Law School before I worked for a big Wall Street Firm: Simpson, Thacher [& Bartlett] — which then represented Lehman Brothers.

I always leaned towards business, and wanted to do more than law, which I always thought was a little boring.

Boring — and insufficiently lucrative. So D’Alleva left STB for the world of business. After spending a few years as an in-house lawyer, he moved into the world of real estate acquisition and financing, where he did very well for himself. He also encountered success in the restaurant and nightlife business, launching a series of successful establishments (including Conscience Point, Home, and Sway).

Now, some 30 years after he left Simpson as an associate, Dominick D’Alleva owns an apartment more fabulous, or at least more valuable, than any Simpson partner’s home (with the possible exception of the $30 million uptown mansion inhabited by Robert Smit and his family).

Let’s look at some pretty pictures, shall we?

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