Let’s talk about two of our favorite topics here at Above the Law: Dewey & LeBoeuf and real estate. They’re two great tastes that go great together.

There’s certainly news on both of these fronts. In Washington, for example, the firm is facing an eviction lawsuit. Dewey’s D.C. landlord, Property Group Partners, claims that the firm hasn’t paid $927,052 in rent on its 140,000 square feet of space.

In New York, home of Dewey’s headquarters at 1301 Avenue of the Americas, there’s bad news too. The Ben Benson’s steakhouse in the building, which was something of a company canteen for Dewey, is closing next month. Said a source: “Could it be that the building is cursed, ever since JC Penney moved out decades ago?”

Near the top of the 45-floor building, the office of Steven H. Davis, Dewey’s ex-chairman, is also getting packed up. This space, described to us as the “Taj Mahal” of law offices, is not what it once was.

Dewey have pictures? Most certainly….

Steven Davis

Steven Davis’s office was a corner office, of course. It occupied the northeast corner of the 43rd floor, which was Dewey’s highest floor in 1301 Avenue of the Americas (fka the Calyon Building). The space was previously occupied by some European bank, which had the space “fitted out like the Taj Mahal,” in the words of one former Dewey partner.

When Dewey & LeBoeuf took over the space, it decided that this luxurious level would be the “executive floor.” The power players of the firm — chairman Steven Davis, executive director Stephen DiCarmine, and CFO Joel Sanders — all took offices on 43.

“They were at the top, not with the rest of the hoi polloi, the huddled masses,” a former partner told us. (DiCarmine later moved down to another floor, though, “so he could watch people.”)

“Davis’s office was several times bigger than anyone else’s office,” said the ex-partner, “and it was stunningly nice.” It seems that Dewey’s firm philosophy of providing rich rewards to those at the top extended to office space as well as compensation.

I have to say, though — I was not that impressed by the photos a tipster sent to us. Perhaps it was because the office was mostly packed up. With the elegant Japanese art removed from the walls, it looked somewhat shabby and bare. I’ve definitely seen nicer law firm offices (e.g., Davis Polk, Proskauer Rose).

Maybe I’m being too picky? Take a look at the photos, and judge for yourself….


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