Boutique Law Firms, Fabulosity, Lawyerly Lairs, Media and Journalism, Money, New York Times, Partner Issues, Real Estate, Small Law Firms, Sonia Sotomayor

Lawyerly Lairs: A Small-Firm Lawyer’s Big-Ticket Apartment

1010 Fifth Avenue is just steps away from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (visible in the background).

Biglaw isn’t the only source of big bucks. In fact, some of the wealthiest lawyers in America are plaintiffs’ lawyers who work on their own or in small law firms.

But you don’t need to be a plaintiff-side lawyer from Texas to strike it rich. A partner at an elite litigation boutique in New York just bought an apartment once owned by a famous business mogul.

Let’s see what $12.5 million buys in the Big Apple these days….

We bring you this news from the pages of the New York Observer, which in the pre-Gossip Girl age was “your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite”:

The newspaper industry may be in secular decline, but at least the Sulzbergers’ bank accounts will be buoyed in the coming months: the late Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger, Sr.‘s palatial pad just sold for a cool $12.5 million, according to city records.

The eighth-floor corner unit at 1010 Fifth Avenue, a 15-story limestone prewar, has three bedrooms, including the master, which overlook the Metropolitan Museum of Art, plus another overlooking East 82nd Street. And it also has no shortage of storage space: we count 18 closets, including a few walk-ins (the Times may need to find a new place to keep its archives).

Will those closets get filled by bankers’ boxes crammed with Redwelds? This palatial pad got purchased by a lawyer:

Alessandro Saracino

Now it’s the home of Alessandro Saracino and wife Maria de la Fe. Mr. Saracino works at is a partner at Pavia & Harcourt LLP, toiling in the firm’s litigation and arbitration practice group, which specializes in intellectual property. And it must pay well, because 1010 Fifth only allows 40 percent of a unit’s purchase price to be financed—the rest has to be paid in cold, hard cash.

That said, Mr. and Ms. Saracino did get a bit of a deal on the co-op: it was listed for $14 million at the beginning of December, and the Sulzberger heirs were apparently quite eager to sell, even at a discount, because the listing entered contract less than two weeks after it was put on the market.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Never heard of Pavia & Harcourt? Then you need to read Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s superb memoir, My Beloved World (affiliate link). Justice Sotomayor joined the litigation boutique after working at the Manhattan DA’s office, and she writes in her book about the fun times she had chasing after the makers of counterfeit luxury goods.

But the work wasn’t super-lucrative. According to her financial disclosures, even though she made partner at Pavia & Harcourt, Sonia Sotomayor earned a mere $151,761 in her final year at the firm. Granted, this was the early 1990s, but still — we’re not talking mega-bucks.

Has partnership at Pavia & Harcourt gotten much more lucrative over the years? Or does Alessandro Saracino have family money?

The latter, it seems. As Justice Sotomayor notes in her memoir (p. 265) and as has previously mentioned in speeches, Alessandro and Fe Saracino are part of the Fendi fashion family — one of Sotomayor’s biggest clients when she was at the Pavia firm.

Let’s take a look around the Saracinos’ new home, which is pretty spectacular….

(hidden for your protection)

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