Lawyerly Lairs

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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Souter Obama Supreme.jpgI guess Justice Souter no longer has to play the role of humble civil servant, and can now start living the life of a former uber-powerful person. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that Souter is getting new digs:

When he retired from the Supreme Court in June, it was expected that Justice David H. Souter would return to his beloved family farmhouse in Weare, N.H., a rustic abode with peeling brown paint, rotting beams and plenty of the solitude he desired….
On July 30, he bought a 3,448-square-foot Cape Cod-style home in neighboring Hopkinton listed at $549,000. The single-floor home, for which he paid a reported $510,000, sits on 2.36 well-manicured acres.

The ABA Journal notes that Souter needed more space for his books.
At least he’s staying in New Hampshire. But his neighbors in Weare are acting like Souter is leaving the neighborhood to move to Havana or something. More details, plus photos, after the jump.

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runaway groom trial lawyer Above the Law blog.jpgRemember James Ferraro, aka the Runaway Groom? He’s the multimillionaire trial lawyer who, back in January 2008, left his wife — Patricia Delinois, a well-known real estate broker — standing at the altar.
Their story ended happily: Ferraro and Delinois reconciled and eventually did get married, a few weeks later. And Mrs. Ferraro is probably very glad they did.
At least if she likes nice real estate. From the New York Observer:

James L. Ferraro, the prominent Miami trial lawyer who owns the Cleveland Gladiators arena football team, is finally buying a nice Manhattan apartment. This week he’s spending $8,175,000 on a penthouse at the glassy Park Imperial on West 56th Street.

Even though Mr. Ferraro owns places in Miami and a 14-bedroom Martha’s Vineyard mansion, it had been years since he felt he could get a good bargain in New York. “I thought about it after 9/11, but I didn’t want to buy on a calamity–be a vulture on someone’s property; not that it’s bad karma, it is what it is. But this now is the best buying opportunity you’re going to have in the next 25 years.”

So, how much did he pay per square foot?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: The Runaway Groom Plants His Feet”

CBS Building 1 Black Rock Blackrock Wachtell Lipton WLRK Orrick.jpgMega-fraudster Marc Dreier, who recently traded a magnificent penthouse for a cell at the MCC (look him up in the handy Inmate Locator), isn’t the only New York lawyer with new digs.
The iconic CBS Building (aka “Black Rock”), longtime home of Wachtell Lipton, has another prestigious legal tenant. From the New York Observer:

Law firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe was expected Thursday to sign a lease for approximately 220,000 square feet at CBS’ 38-story granite slab known as Black Rock, at 51 West 52nd Street, according to industry sources.

As part of the deal, Orrick is taking the space being vacated by UBS and Cushman & Wakefield, which will consolidate its midtown offices at 1290 Avenue of the Americas. Sources say that UBS paid more than $32 million to terminate its lease early, money which CBS applied to the Orrick deal to absorb the costs of Orrick’s build-out of the noncontiguous space to the tune of $150 a square foot, and which will reduce the firm’s rent in the building.

It’s a great building, with handsome, elegant architecture (courtesy of Eero Saarinen). Because the footprint is relatively small, it doesn’t have the impersonal, warehouse-like feel of many other New York office buildings. The midtown location is super-convenient, and the higher floors offer amazing views. (We know Black Rock well, having spent several thousand hours in it while working at Wachtell.)
An Orrick spokesperson confirmed to ATL that the deal, described by the Observer as “expected,” has closed. Congratulations to Orrick on the fabulous new digs!
Links and press release, after the jump.

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townhouse Professor Edward Morrison Ed Morrison 357 West 121st Street.jpgIn these dire times, academia is regarded as a refuge. Sure, endowments are down, some schools have imposed hiring freezes, and budgets are being trimmed here and there. But the academy, especially the legal academy, hasn’t seen anything like the carnage experienced by Biglaw.

Take the ivory tower of Columbia Law School, which apparently remains an impregnable fortress against the recession. Despite a few budget cuts at the university, the law school still provides professors with delicious digs. From the Sunday New York Times:

Many buyers say that jumbo mortgages are hard to come by these days. But don’t tell that to Edward R. Morrison, a law professor and economist at Columbia University, who is something of an expert on these troubled times.

Last month Mr. Morrison and his wife, Anne, bought a restored two-family town house at 357 West 121 Street in Harlem for $2.575 million. Brokers said it was a record price for a town house in the neighborhood — just down the hill from the Columbia campus in Morningside Heights, near Morningside Park — and one of the top 10 town house sales in Harlem in recent years.

As we’ve told you before, to the Elect go all the spoils. (Ed Morrison clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia.)

Now, a $2.6 million townhouse is pretty sweet — but it’s not the nicest piece of real estate owned by a CLS faculty member. That title surely belongs to Hans Smit’s $29 million mansion.

(Actually, make that $30 million, the price reflected in the current version of the listing. What recession?)

More details about the Morrison manse, plus a picture of the super-cute professor, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: It’s Good To Be King A Law Professor”

DeLaney-Thomas.jpgRemember Kathleen DeLaney and Courtney Thomas? Almost a year ago, this comely couple was named an ATL couple of the week. In the words of Laurie Lin, “Team DeLaney-Thomas, you’ve shaken LEWW out of our winter doldrums with your sterling credentials and sizzling good looks. Congratulations!”

Now ATL would like to congratulate the DeLaney-Thomases on something else: a fabulous new home. Once again, they make their appearance in the New York Times:

For three years, Kathleen DeLaney Thomas and her husband, Courtney Thomas, lived in a Chelsea rental of 900 square feet. “That apartment felt big when we moved in and small when we moved out,” Mrs. Thomas said….

The place had scarce closet space and an unnecessarily large second bedroom, carved from the living room, that made for a claustrophobic feel. Wedding gifts were stacked in the hall or stored at Mr. Thomas’s mother’s house in New Jersey.

ATL readers from Texas, this is your cue: “In Texas, you could live in a 5,000 square foot mansion for the same amount!”

The sluggish elevator drove the couple mad. If they were paying so much in rent — around $3,300 a month — they would rather get a return on their outlay. Once they saved enough for a down payment on a condominium, Mrs. Thomas said, “we were totally ready to go.”

And go they did — to Brooklyn, where all the cool kids live nowadays.

Read more about their fabulous new pad, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Young Legal Eagles Feather Their Nest
(Or: At least some Americans still live within their means.)”

Cate Edwards Georgetown mansion.jpgNo Gropius dorms for her, thank you very much. Harvard Law School student Cate Edwards, oldest daughter of prominent politician John Edwards, just purchased a million-dollar property in Washington’s tony Georgetown neighborhood.

From an item in Washingtonian:

Buyer: Harvard law student Cate Edwards.

Famous dad: Former presidential hopeful John Edwards.

Price: $1.3 million.

Amenities: Two bedrooms, five baths.

An NPR internship with Nina Totenberg doesn’t pay like a summer associate gig. Perhaps Cate was able to draw upon the fortune amassed by her father during his career as a top trial lawyer.

The property has two bedrooms and five bathrooms. A high bathroom-to-bedroom ratio is a token of a luxuriousness. But does Cate really need all those bathrooms? Does Papa Edwards — who might crash occasionally at Cate’s place, having sold his own mansion around the corner in 2006 (for $5.2 million) — really have that much ickiness to wash off?

The children of Senators Ted Kennedy and John Warner also snapped up some swank properties. Read about them over at Washingtonian.

Chips off the Old Blocks [Washingtonian]
No Conflict? NPR’s Nina Totenberg Takes on John Edwards Daughter As Summer Intern [NewsBusters.org]

Here’s an idea for how Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft — America’s Firingest Law Firm™, which laid off 35 lawyers in January, and then 96 more last month — can keep its surviving attorneys (plus all those incoming first-years) gainfully employed.

Have them work on the litigation over managing partner Robert Link’s Hamptons house.

Cadwalader Managing Partner In Hamptons Real Estate Squabble [Am Law Daily]
Robert O. Link, Jr. v. Richard Sarcona: Complaint (PDF) [Am Law Daily]
3 Halsey Path, Southampton, NY [Zillow]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Robert Link (scroll down)
Prior ATL coverage of CWT (scroll down)

605 Third Avenue.jpgIf you’ll be interviewing at law firms this fall, make sure you double check the address of the place you’re headed to. Law firms are constantly on the move and trading spaces. From the New York Observer (which follows commercial real estate as obsessively as we follow law firm layoffs):

Entertainment law powerhouse Pryor Cashman, whose clients include Penthouse founder Bob Guccione and numerous American Idol contestants, is in negotiations for 100,000 square feet at 605 Third Avenue, the 44-story glass box of a building owned by Fisher Brothers….

[T]he firm right now occupies about 100,000 square feet of contiguous space in three buildings, which means three leases–all of which expire at the end of next year–and three landlords.

That sounds rather inefficient — and annoying. But there are other firms that occupy multiple buildings in the same city. E.g., Skadden and Mayer Brown, in D.C.
Pryor Cashman isn’t the only law firm in search of new digs. The Observer reports that Paul Weiss and Fitzpatrick Cella are also in search of over 100,000 square feet apiece.
Favored American Idol Lawyers Negotiating Lease at 605 Third [New York Observer]

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