Lawyerly Lairs

Are you tired of reading about lawyers and law students struggling under massive educational loans? The debt-saddled law student has become something of a walking cliché — and the stereotype is not universally true. According to the 2009 Law School Survey of Student Engagement (p. 14), between 10 and 15 percent of full-time law students have zero law school-related debt.

One such lucky law student is “Jimmy,” featured this week in Urban Turf, a D.C. real estate blog:

[Jimmy is] a 27-year-old law student who is about to graduate and join a corporate DC firm with a starting salary of $160,000. Jimmy has excellent credit with a FICO score of 781, and has $140,000 in the bank for a down payment. He is in the fortunate position of graduating without any student loan debt. Given these factors, a loan for his target price of $450,000 to $550,000 (less his down payment) should not be a problem.

Wow — Jimmy is in a great position. He’s snagged a Biglaw job, in a job market that’s still a bit tough, in Washington, which ATL readers crowned the best city for lawyers. He has $140K in the bank, a strong credit score, and zero educational debt. Did he have a lucrative pre-law school career, some well-to-do (and generous) parents or relatives, or both?

Given his income and savings, his target price range is fiscally conservative — which is a good thing. If Jimmy ever wants to leave Biglaw, he won’t have to worry about golden handcuffs.

So what kind of digs can Jimmy get for his money? Help him decide between three options….

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A few blocks west and south of Orrick’s nice new offices, another law firm is planning to make a move: Proskauer Rose, currently on Broadway between 47th and 48th Streets. Proskauer’s move even made the New York Times:

A prominent law firm is expected to sign a lease next week for a new home in the vacant 40-story tower called 11 Times Square, ending months of speculation about the deal and providing another sign that the commercial real estate market may have hit bottom. The developer of the 1.1-million-square-foot glass tower, which is nearing completion at the southeast corner of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, is also negotiating with several companies who want to build an aquarium filled with sharks, rays and penguins….

Sharks and penguins. So Weil and Cleary are moving into the building too?

According to the Times, the Proskauer name might be displayed at the entrance to the tower, and possibly at the top, too. Given the high-traffic location of the building — in the heart of Times Square, across the street from Port Authority — it’s a nice bit of free publicity.

In addition to getting to brand the building, there are many other reasons — tens of millions of reasons, in fact — behind Proskauer’s move….

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No, not that CityCenter. We’re talking about D.C., not Las Vegas.

The Washington office of Skadden might be moving. The Washington Business Journal reports:

The Skadden law firm is on the verge of agreeing to lease space at the new CityCenter D.C. project, kick-starting the first phase of the old convention center site after nearly two years of delay.

The firm signed a letter of intent to lease 350,000 square feet at the downtown project, but the nonexclusive letter is contingent upon the developer, Hines/Archstone, obtaining financing to begin construction….

But it’s not yet a done deal. What other options is Skadden considering?

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Last summer, we reported that Orrick would be moving into fancy new offices in New York. Earlier this week, the office move took place. From the firm’s press release:

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has moved its New York office to 51 West 52nd Street, the same building that houses CBS headquarters and which is also known as Black Rock. The innovative design of the space reflects Orrick’s progressive culture, integrating technological, environmental and social advantages that enable the firm to better and more efficiently serve its clients.

Non-traditional features for law firms are incorporated throughout the office. Numerous public spaces, transparent glass office fronts and an open floor plan, with low-height components for greater visibility and interaction among staff, contribute to a sense of community. To better connect with other offices and clients, Orrick invested in state-of-the-art telepresence conferencing equipment.

As it turns out, the Orrick offices have a Telepresence Room — not to be confused with the Cryogenic Room, where Ralph Baxter plans to live forever.

So, what do the new Orrick offices look like?

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Back in the summer of 2008, we wrote a post entitled “Summer Associates of the Day: Sapphic Summers in Lesbianic Lip-Lock.” The title of the post pretty much says it all.

Well, it turns out that a partner at the same firm, Minneapolis-based Lindquist & Vennum, may have been misbehaving too. The Pioneer Press reports that Michael S. Margulies, a leading Twin Cities real estate lawyer, has been accused of professional misconduct — in the form of “misappropriat[ing] significant sums from a limited number of clients and from the firm,” according to a statement by the firm. Margulies has withdrawn from the firm’s partnership, reported his conduct to Minnesota’s professional responsibility office, and agreed to be disbarred. He has also resigned from the St. Paul Planning Commission, where he served several terms under different mayors.

What prompted this alleged theft? It seems that Michael Margulies, former head of Lindquist’s real estate group, may have loved real estate not wisely, but too well. From the Pioneer Press:

Margulies, 56, of St. Paul, and his personal company, Triad Services, were sued in Ramsey County District Court by a real estate development company for which he had worked as an attorney, secretary and treasurer. In the lawsuit, CMB Minnetonka LLC alleged that Margulies “made numerous illicit withdrawals” from CMB’s bank account and line of credit at Highland Bank and used the money — $1.5 million or more — for his own purposes.

Specifically, the suit claims Margulies spent the money to overhaul the historic mansion at 516 Summit Ave. in St. Paul that he owned with his former wife.

So he allegedly did it all for love of a house. Was it worth it? Just how nice is this pile o’ bricks?

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covington burling logo.jpgThis morning, we wrote about the partners at DLA Piper sharing in the pain of 2009. The trend at many firms reporting 2009 numbers has been the revenue line heading south while the profits-per-partner line heads north. At DLA, however, revenue and PPP were down at the firm, so Elie gave them a shout-out for not cutting deeply enough.
But perhaps more striking is Covington & Burling: Last year’s revenue was actually up at the D.C.-based firm — but PPP was down.
Covington is über white-shoe, but this seems oh-so-radical-populist. What happened?

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Sherry Netherland hotel condominium.jpgIn between Christmas and New Year’s, while most of us were stuffing our faces, celebrated litigator David Boies was stuffing his own stocking — with a magnificent New York apartment. Last year was a good one for Boies Schiller associates, at least based on their bonuses. And it probably was a good one for their boss, at least based on his latest real estate purchase.

There’s no need for Boies to feel guilty, though, since it seems he got a bargain. From Bloomberg:

David Boies, the antitrust lawyer who took on Microsoft Corp. and represented Al Gore in the contested U.S. presidential election of 2000, bought a seven room apartment overlooking New York’s Central Park for $7.75 million after the price was reduced by more than 20 percent.

Boies, chairman and founder of New York-based law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, purchased a two-bedroom unit at the Sherry-Netherland hotel on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, according to city property records. The original asking price was $9.95 million, according to listing service StreetEasy.com.

More details, plus photos of the fabulous pad, after the jump.

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The legendary litigator snaps up an $8 million apartment.

Paul Weiss 1285 6th ave.jpgYou know who is in a strong position right now? Companies that are renting a large amount of office space in Manhattan. The real estate market is terrible, and landlords are offering sweetheart deals to keep tenants in the building.
Paul Weiss was apparently looking for an office upgrade, but the owners of 1285 6th Ave. convinced the firm to stick around. Crain’s New York Business reports:

In one of the largest real estate deals of the year, law firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison reached a deal to renew its lease and take an additional two floors at 1285 Sixth Ave. for a total of about 550,000 square feet, sources close to the transaction said.

That doesn’t sound like a bad deal. It’s one that will save the firm the expense of relocation. And the fact that Paul Weiss is getting extra floors can’t be a bad thing, right? Maybe they’ll have to hire more lawyers for that additional space?
Paul Weiss had a lot of options for office space. After the jump, we look at the midtown ghost town.

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Marc Dreier courtyard.jpgLaw professors generally don’t earn as much as Biglaw partners. Legal academic salaries, while generally in the low six-figures, rarely go over, say, $400,000.

But some law profs own very, very nice homes. See, e.g. (in descending order by value):

  • Columbia professor Hans Smit ($30 million mansion — yup, that’s seven zeros);
  • Yale professor James Whitman ($5.7 million co-op);
  • NYU professor Cathy Sharkey ($5.2 million apartment);
  • “Feldsuk,” aka Harvard professors Jeannie Suk, who has a new book out that looks quite interesting, and Noah Feldman ($2.8 million mansion);
  • Columbia professor Edward Morrison ($2.6 million townhouse); and
  • Columbia professor Sarah Cleveland ($2.5 million townhouse).

Sometimes the professors get financial assistance for these purchases from the schools that employ them. But sometimes the professors buy them on their own, without any university help.

For example, as reported in the New York Observer, Daniel Fischel, former dean of the University of Chicago Law School, just picked up an $8.45 million Manhattan pied-à-terre. As breathlessly described by writer Max Abelson, the apartment features “custom electric shades, a steam shower, and a Sub-Zero wine refrigerator.”

Sounds fabulous! Maybe Professor Fischel can donate a weekend in this apartment to the CLF public interest auction?

Fischel’s famous neighbors, plus the story of how he got this rich — being a law school dean pays well, but not that well — after the jump.

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Bryant Edwards Bryant B Edwards Paris pied a terre.JPGEarlier this year, Latham & Watkins laid off some 400 employees (190 associates and 250 staff). This caused many to wonder about how tough times were getting at Latham.
Well, don’t shed tears for LW partners just yet. From the New York Times:

If a tourist passing along the Rue du Cloître Notre-Dame just looks up, it is not hard to glimpse, through the open windows above, the rich colors of old master paintings that have been stretched across a ceiling in Linda and Bryant Edwards’s first-floor apartment.

And from the home itself, in an elegant Haussmann building dating to 1905, the family has its own view — of the garden behind Notre Dame Cathedral….

When her husband, 54, presented her with the apartment as a gift for her 40th birthday, Mrs. Edwards envisioned a kind of “Tale of Two Cities” life, split between Paris and what was then the couple’s home in London.

The generous husband in question, Bryant Edwards, is a partner at Latham & Watkins. Last year he moved to Dubai, where he serves as managing partner of the firm’s Middle East office. The Edwardses now use their Paris apartment as a pied-à-terre when they return to the Continent.
So, the question you’re all wondering: How much did this amazing apartment cost?

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