John Beerbower

2007.jpgLast week was short, thanks to the New Year’s holiday; but it sure was busy. Here are some highlights from a very momentous week:
* No more jokes about Harriet Miers: the ill-fated ex-SCOTUS nominee has resigned as White House counsel. Speculation about her successor abounds.
* No more jokes about the Dewy Orifice: the ill-fated merger between Dewey Ballantine and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has been called off.
* Turns out that Chief Justice Rehnquist was a painkiller junkie. Once, while suffering withdrawal symptoms, he tried to bust out of a hospital in his PJs.
* Chief Judge David Levi, of the Eastern District of California, will be the new Dean of Duke Law School.
* All About Jan? Just as the aging Margo Channing’s reign over Broadway was threatened by the comely Eve Harrington, the aging Linda Greenhouse’s reign over One First Street is being threatened by the comely Jan Crawford Greenburg.
* Who knew? Law professors and legal bloggers sure know how to party! Photos of drunken legal academics available here and here.
* Cravath partner John Beerbower has enjoyed some amazing apartments over the years. Cravath partnership + Wealthy wife = $20 million, Park Avenue pad.
* Who’s your favorite First Circuit judge? Cast your vote here.
* If you’re a right-winger hoping that Justice Stevens will step down soon, don’t hold your breath.
* Today’s D.C. Circuit: Despite the occasional catfight, it’s not as bitchy as it used to be. Sigh.
* Oppressed law clerks, your Devil Wears Prada is on its way. Coming soon to a bookstore near you: Chambermaid, by former Third Circuit clerk Saira Rao.

720 Park Avenue New York.jpegHere’s an addendum to our earlier coverage of the lavish, multimillion dollar residence(s) of John Beerbower, a litigation partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. John and Cynthia Beerbower lived in a $20 million apartment in 720 Park Avenue (at right), then “downsized” to a $5.1 million pad.
From David Hoffman, a former Cravath associate, over at Concurring Opinions:

David Lat offers this post about a Cravath partner’s recent real estate sale. David makes some hay about a supposed tax break that made the sale even more profitable.

John Beerbower, the partner in question, was the lead attorney at Cravath on a recently resolved pro bono suit on behalf of the City of New York that resulted in a tax refund of $280,000,000 for New York’s police, firefighters, and sanitation workers injured in the line of duty. The refund resulting from the suit was the second largest in NYC history.

Excellent. It’s nice to know that Mr. Beerbower — whom Dave Hoffman describes as “a terrific lawyer and a wonderful person” — favors tax relief not just for Park Avenue tycoons, but for the “little people,” too.
Professor Hoffman confirms our speculation that the Beerbowers hosted lavish Cravath summer associate affairs in their former apartment at 720 Park Avenue. He also provides additional information about its interior, available in the full post .
We thank Professor Hoffman for so menschily supplementing our prior write-up.
David Lat Misses a Trick [Concurring Opinions]
Earlier: Lawyerly Lairs: Tax Breaks for Cravath Partners?

720 Park Avenue New York.jpegThis super-luxurious, prewar building — 720 Park Avenue, one of New York’s most prestigious addresses — is the former home of Cravath partner John Beerbower, and his wife, Cynthia Beerbower. In case you’re wondering, they lived in apartment 7A.
According to Steven Gaines in The Sky’s the Limit (2005), winning admission to this exclusive coop requires a net worth of at least $50 million. Financier Henry Grunwald and Revlon exec Michael Bergerac call it home.
But despite the vast wealth of its residents, 720 Park receives highly favorable tax treatment from New York City:

The New York Times looked at the vagaries of the tax laws — a result of several decades of political compromises — through the uncommonly low taxes paid at 720 Park, which is at 70th Street, and other Upper East Side co-ops. It found that some owners of small two-family brick and shingle houses near Kennedy International Airport paid three times the effective tax rate as their Park Avenue peers.

In the last year, while property tax assessments across the city rose by more than 9 percent, the assessors reviewed 720 Park. But rather than raising taxes on the building, they reduced them. City records show the official market value of the building and the tax burden on it were cut by 12 percent.

Property taxes on 720 Park went DOWN? How on earth did that happen?
Find out the answer, plus information about the Beerbowers’ new home, after the jump.

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