Biglaw, Deaths, Mergers and Acquisitions, Partner Issues, Private Equity, Suicide

Biglaw Partner Jumps 22 Stories To His Death

455 Central Park West

At the corner of Central Park West and West 106th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, you’ll find a very distinctive building: 455 Central Park West. The luxury condominium building consists of an elegant French Renaissance chateau — a former hospital, actually — attached to a 26-story tower.

It’s a magnificent building, combining the best of the old and the new. Its beautiful apartments have been used as weapons in the law school faculty recruitment wars.

On Friday night, however, 455 CPW was the site of tragedy. A prominent M&A partner at a top law firm jumped from his 22nd-floor apartment to his death.

Over the weekend, the New York Post reported that Stephen Hertz, a 54-year-old partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, sent a suicide letter to his ex-wife on Friday night before jumping out of his 22nd-floor window. He landed in a tree, where he was found by a building manager. The tree had to be cut down to recover his body, according to the Post’s police sources.

When his ex-wife received Hertz’s suicide note, she forwarded the email to a psychiatrist, who contacted 911. But efforts to save Hertz were too late; he was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to his Debevoise bio, Hertz graduated from Middlebury College in 1982 and from the University of Chicago Law School in 1985. He joined the firm in 1985 and made partner in 2000. His practice focused on M&A matters for private equity clients and on general corporate matters for public companies.

We’ve mentioned Steve Hertz in these pages before. He was an old friend of Aaron Sorkin, which explains why Debevoise received frequent shout-outs on The West Wing.

Stephen Hertz was an extremely talented and accomplished lawyer. We extend our condolences and sympathies to his family, friends, and colleagues at this time.

(Stephen Hertz’s full bio and links to additional news coverage appear on the next page.)