Lawyerly Lairs

A not-so-little house on the prairie. It looks like a Wright, right?

Are you having a difficult time finding a position in the depressed legal job market? Maybe you need to think about relocating. Have you considered moving to Iowa? As noted by Vivia Chen over at The Careerist, the “Life Changing” state is experiencing a lawyer shortage.

Lawyer jobs and husks of corn aren’t all that Iowa has to offer. The state also has a reasonable cost of living, including some very well-priced real estate.

Take the Iowa home of a former partner Biglaw partner and former general counsel to a major media company. This lovely residence is currently on the market for a surprisingly modest sum….

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The bankruptcy case of the dying Dewey & LeBoeuf rolls on. As we mentioned yesterday, other Biglaw firms are getting business out of its burial. For example, Brown Rudnick is representing the official committee of unsecured creditors, and Kasowitz Benson is representing the official committee of retired D&L partners. (This group is separate from the 60 or so ex-partners who have hired Mark Zauderer to fight potential clawback lawsuits and other claims that the Dewey estate might bring against former partners and their new firms.)

If asked to name people who might be worried about owing money to the Dewey estate, some observers might cite “the Steves”: former chairman Steven H. Davis, and former executive director Stephen DiCarmine. Some have accused the Steves of mismanaging D&L’s affairs (or worse), contributing to the collapse of a firm that was once in the top 30 U.S. law firms by total revenue.

But if you’re thinking that Steve DiCarmine wants to pay the Dewey estate some money and get on with his tanning life, think again. As it turns out, Steve DiCarmine is claiming that Dewey owes him money….

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(Plus pictures of his former office.)

It must be tough to leave an apartment like this one, with great views of Central Park, to go work in a drab federal office building.

Being a federal prosecutor is an amazing legal job, but it doesn’t pay particularly well. When I worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, I earned well under six figures. An assistant U.S. attorney can break the $100,000 mark after a sufficient number of years in practice, but AUSAs generally don’t earn Biglaw money.

(People who work as special AUSAs on secondment from better-paying parts of the federal government, such as Main Justice or the SEC, earn significantly more than regular AUSAs on the “AD” — Administratively Determined, aka Awfully Depressing — pay scale. But even these SAUSAs, not to be confused with the completely unpaid SAUSAs, make less than they would in comparable private practice positions.)

This brings us to the question du jour: how can a federal prosecutor afford to live in an apartment that is worth more than twice as much as the most expensive lawyer home in Washington, D.C.? We’re talking about a $25 million apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, in one of Fifth Avenue’s finest prewar buildings, with amazing views of Central Park.

Come up with some guesses, then keep reading….

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This $10 million house is owned by a lawyer at a top law firm. Which one?

What can we say? We can’t get enough of Washington real estate. And neither can you, judging from the traffic generated by our recent look at some million-dollar homes in the D.C. area. So let’s return to that well.

Our last story was about homes in the $1 million to $3 million range. Let’s class it up a bit and look at Lawyerly Lairs ranging in value from $7 million to $10 million….

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Let’s talk about two of our favorite topics here at Above the Law: Dewey & LeBoeuf and real estate. They’re two great tastes that go great together.

There’s certainly news on both of these fronts. In Washington, for example, the firm is facing an eviction lawsuit. Dewey’s D.C. landlord, Property Group Partners, claims that the firm hasn’t paid $927,052 in rent on its 140,000 square feet of space.

In New York, home of Dewey’s headquarters at 1301 Avenue of the Americas, there’s bad news too. The Ben Benson’s steakhouse in the building, which was something of a company canteen for Dewey, is closing next month. Said a source: “Could it be that the building is cursed, ever since JC Penney moved out decades ago?”

Near the top of the 45-floor building, the office of Steven H. Davis, Dewey’s ex-chairman, is also getting packed up. This space, described to us as the “Taj Mahal” of law offices, is not what it once was.

Dewey have pictures? Most certainly….

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Which former White House official lives in this charming abode?

As we move deeper into election season, more of the nation’s attention is turning to Washington. So it seems only fitting for Lawyerly Lairs, our peek into the homes and offices of top legal talent, to follow suit.

In our last visit to D.C., we looked at residences worth around $500,000, a perfectly respectable sum. But today, to enhance the voyeuristic thrill, we’re upping the price point. We’re limiting ourselves to seven-figure residences.

Let’s have a look at some million-dollar homes in the Washington metropolitan area, shall we?

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They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Here at Above the Law, we have given you many thousands of words about the troubles of Dewey & LeBoeuf. See, e.g., this lengthy post about the firm’s former leaders, ex-chairman Steven Davis and former executive director Stephen DiCarmine.

Now we bring you some pictures. As it turns out, the possible demise of Dewey has inspired the creation of art.

Keep reading, and check out the images below for a forthcoming portrait of former chairman Steven Davis, a chilling photograph, and an unfortunate D&L advertisement….

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In August of 2009, while driving around Silicon Valley after speaking at Santa Clara Law, I saw an office park in East Palo Alto with a sign that jumped out at me. Being a Biglaw groupie, I stopped and snapped a picture:

I parked, got out of my rental car, and walked around. I was struck by the beauty of the overall office complex, with its expansive plaza, immaculate landscaping, and fountains. It was a veritable law firm Xanadu!

Or maybe an old Indian burial ground….

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(Plus more potential partner departures.)”

New Yorkers: you can have this house for the cost of a one-bedroom in Queens.

We will admit to some bias in Lawyerly Lairs, our column about the fabulous homes of lawyers all across this great land. As you may have noticed, Lairs coverage focuses disproportionately on the East Coast and the West Coast. Most recently we’ve written about a $10 million beach house in Malibu, a $3 million condo in Manhattan, a $10 million mansion in Brooklyn Heights, and a variety of properties in Washington, D.C.

So we’re going to try something different today. We’re heading to the heartland, where there are some major real estate bargains to be had.

Have you ever fantasized about selling your $500,000 (or $1 million or $2 million) home in an expensive coastal city, buying a $250,000 place in a less expensive part of the country, and pocketing the difference (so you can live off it for a while)? Keep reading….

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Most of the coverage of this $10 million Malibu beach house changing hands has focused on the famous seller. Music mogul Irving Azoff, executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and the founder of Azoff Music Management Group, has represented such mono-monikered celebrities as Seal, Jewel, and Christina (Aguilera, of course).

But we’re more interested in the buyer, a phenomenally successful litigator. Who is he, and where does he work?

And what does the inside of his new home look like? We have photos, of course….

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(For A Cool $10 Million)”

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