Lawyerly Lairs

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.

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(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]

Keith Rubinstein Keith G Rubinstein Above the Law blog.jpgA struggling personal injury lawyer was disbarred last month, for splitting fees with non-lawyers, aiding the unauthorized practice of law, and other offenses. Sounds pretty unexciting, right?
But Keith Rubinstein is no ordinary PI lawyer; don’t cry for him, Argentina. Last year, he beat out Evita — i.e., Madonna, the Material Girl herself — in a bidding war for a $35 million townhouse on the Upper East Side. For more about Rubinstein, see this interesting article, by Anthony Lin in the New York Law Journal.
Rubinstein is used to swanky digs. He previously lived in a West Village townhouse that Will Smith rented for $60,000 a month during the filming of “Hitch.”
Speaking of lawyerly landlords, Charles T. Munger, a founder of Munger, Tolles & Olson, has been in the news lately for real estate reasons. Munger owns the building that houses the popular Dutton’s bookstore in Brentwood, Los Angeles. Dutton’s is closing its doors in April, in part due to rising rents.
But don’t blame the bookstore’s fate on Charlie Munger. From the Los Angeles Times:

Charles T Munger Charles Munger Charlie Munger AboveTheLaw blog.jpgThe property [housing Dutton's] is owned by billionaire investor Charles T. Munger and his wife, Nancy. A founder of the Los Angeles law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson, he partnered in 1978 with Warren E. Buffett to run Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a holding company.

Munger was in Washington on Monday and could not be reached. He said in a statement that he would allow Dutton’s to use the space rent-free during the liquidation and that he would cover the $550,000 debt in exchange for the store’s closing. Dutton described the offer as “very gracious and generous.” As part of the deal, Munger said, Dutton would retain the Dutton’s trade name.

With a net worth of $2 billion, Munger can afford to be “very gracious and generous.” Anyone know how bonuses were at Munger this year?
Of course, Keith Rubinstein and Charlie Munger made their fortunes outside the law — through real estate and investing (Berkshire Hathaway), respectively. The moral of the story may be: if you want really big bucks, look beyond the law.
Lawyer Disbarred For Splitting Fees, Other Misconduct [New York Law Journal]
Dutton’s shelf life finally runs out [Los Angeles Times]

Jonny Lee Miller Eli Stone Angelina Jolie Above the Law blog.jpg* A shout-out to the Elect on TV tonight. The lawyer protagonist of the new ABC drama, “Eli Stone” — portrayed by Jonny Lee Miller (pictured), an ex-husband of Angelina Jolie — is supposedly a former law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. [New York Times]
* A novel approach to the legal job hunt: build your own website, then advertise it in the ABA Journal. If Loyola 2L doesn’t have a job lined up already — although rumor has it that he does, which may explain his “retirement” from blogging — here’s something for him to consider. [3L for Hire and ABA Journal, via WSJ Law Blog]
* More proof that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is a wannabe Eliot Spitzer. [DealBreaker]
* Lawyerly lairs: Tunisia. [flickr]

Michael Haverland Philip Galanes Above the Law blog.jpgWhy do the gay lawyers land all the fabulous real estate? Just a few days after this installment of Lawyerly Lairs, profiling the palatial pads of two same-sex couples, we learn of a third such couple living large in New York.
A reader sums it up nicely: “This seems right up our alley for Lawyerly Lairs: Manhattan / East Hampton real estate, Yale Law alum (then Paul Weiss before going in-house), Ivy League pedigree on both sides of the same-sex partnership, and shout-outs by the New York Times.”
Indeed it is. Read about the charmed life of architect Michael Haverland and lawyer-turned novelist Philip Galanes, follow their successful adventures in NYC real estate (and furniture collecting), and ogle photos of their luxurious Upper East Side and East Hampton homes, in this NYT article.
Starting Over, and Over, and Over [New York Times]
Philip Galanes biography [galaneshaverland.com]
Earlier: Lawyerly Lairs: Gay Gotham Edition

455 Central Park West 455 CPW Above the Law blog.jpgIn Chicago, gay lawyers get to attend exclusive parties. In New York, they enjoy a finer prize: luxury real estate.

The law schools of Columbia and NYU have been battling over faculty superstars for several years. And now NYU is bringing out the heavy artillery: multimillion-dollar condo purchases. From the New York Times:

Columbia University, in a never-ending search for a larger campus, has long had an outpost for faculty housing at 455 Central Park West — 53 apartments in an 26-story tower attached to the French Renaissance chateau at West 106th Street.

So it was something of a surprise when a foundation associated with New York University bought a large condominium in the complex. The unit, which cost $5.2 million, is built into one of the huge turrets of the chateau…. The duplex apartment has a round living and dining room with 37-foot high ceilings and Central Park views, along with three more conventional bedrooms.

Sounds fabulous! Who gets to inhabit this fabulous pad?

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One year ago, we wrote about how Columbia law professor Hans Smit was trying to unload his 12,000 square foot home — the only freestanding single-family mansion in Manhattan — for a cool $29 million.

One year later, the good professor’s home is still on the market. Its white-marble-clad facade greeted us when we visited the New York Times homepage this morning (screencap and link to listing below).

The only difference from last year? The asking price, now up to $30 million.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And up your asking price by a million!

(In all seriousness, Professor Smit’s decision to round up to $30 million probably isn’t as crazy as it might seem. Despite the weak real estate market in the rest of the country, the market in New York City — especially at the high end — continues to be strong.)

Hans Smit mansion still for sale Above the Law blog.jpg

Magnificent Mansion [Brown Harris Stevens]

Earlier: Lawyerly Lairs: Professor Smit’s Uptown Mansion

Eugene Stearns Eugene E Stearns 250 Cape Florida Drive D John Devaney Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s a sign of changing times: lawyers are picking up luxury real estate holdings that hedge fund guys can’t afford to keep.
From the Daily Business Review:

A high profile Miami litigator is expanding his real estate holdings on Key Biscayne.

Attorney Eugene E. Stearns and his wife, Diana, purchased a two-story home at 250 Cape Florida Drive for $8 million Aug. 31 from United Real Estate Ventures owned by trader D. John Devaney.

The 7,852-square-foot house has eight bathrooms, six bedrooms and a first-floor master suite. The house built in 1985 features cathedral ceilings.

Who says the Miami real estate market is dead? A thousand bucks a square foot, for a single-family house not on the island of Manhattan, doesn’t sound half-bad.
Discussion continues after the jump.

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