500 West End Avenue: former home of Tina Fey, until she sold - to a law firm partner.
After suffering through a brutal recession that was fueled, in part, by the collapse of the real estate market, you’d think that nobody would want to read about real estate ever again. But that’s not what’s happening in the blogosphere, where real estate is hotter than ever.
Above the Law readers are similarly obsessed with real estate. Is it because everyone had to take Property as 1Ls? For whatever reason, Lawyerly Lairs is one of our most popular and well-trafficked features. The last installment, a visit to the $4.7 million Chicago townhouse of outgoing Northwestern Law dean David Van Zandt, continues to be a top post (even though it dates back to before Thanksgiving).
So let’s give you more of the real estate porn you want and deserve. In today’s Lawyerly Lairs, focused on ATL’s home city of New York, we look at the recently acquired, envy-inducing residences of partners at three leading law firms: White & Case, Sullivan & Cromwell, and Linklaters.
The first featured residence even has a celebrity connection: the seller was Tina Fey, fabulous television and movie star (and Sarah Palin impersonator)….
Isn’t it nice when people who do good also do well? David Van Zandt — the outgoing dean of Northwestern Law, and the incoming president of The New School — is a beloved figure, at NU Law and beyond. Professionally, he’s an innovator in legal education; personally, he’s a great guy. We’re big fans of his here at Above the Law, especially since he once wrote a guest commentary for our pages (on law school rankings).
When Dean Van Zandt announced his departure, Northwestern Law students were heartbroken. But don’t shed tears for DVZ: he’s going to a better place. Hello, New York City! [FN1]
And assuming The New School doesn’t provide its new president with housing, Dean Van Zandt should be able to snap up a fabulous pad for himself here in Gotham. He has put his Chicago mansion on the market, for a very pretty penny. If he succeeds in selling it for anywhere near the asking price, he’ll be able to live large in NYC.
Dean Van Zandt bought the home back in 1996, for $922,550. How much is it on the market for today?
Let’s find out — and ogle some pictures of the house, inside and out….
Why are so many lawyers interested in making the jump to business? One obvious reason: money.
Look at the list of lawyers who made this year’s Forbes 400. Of the almost 40 lawyers / holders of law degrees who made the cut, only one, Joe Jamail, is a practicing attorney. And he’s all the way down at #269, with a net worth of just $1.5 billion. Poor Joe!
If you’re a partner at a major law firm in a big city, you might someday own a $3 million apartment. But if you want a $30 million apartment, you need to move into business.
One of our odd obsessions around here: real estate. Just take a spin through our Lawyerly Lairs archives, which chronicle the adventures of attorneys in the world of real property, residential and commercial. We may not be as real obsessed as the folks over at Curbed, but we’re getting there.
As a former resident of Washington (2006 to 2008), I take a particular interest in D.C. developments. And not just litigation between law firms and burger joints.
So I was interested to learn about McDermott Will & Emery’s big move — to a building that will be named after the law firm. How many law firms get naming rights?
(Not many. The most prominent example might be the Paul Hastings Tower in Los Angeles, which had a cameo in the Transformers movie.)
Many real estate lawyers are also real estate investors. It makes perfect sense: they know the market, they know the intricacies of complex transactions, and they see a lot of deals in the course of their practice. For example, Jonathan Mechanic, the renowned real estate lawyer who heads the practice at Fried Frank, owns retail and office space in Bergen County, New Jersey (where I grew up).
Over the weekend, the New York Times documented the successful real estate investing of another top New York real estate attorney: Alan J. Pomerantz, currently a senior counsel at Orrick, and before that the co-CEO of a real estate investment fund and a longtime partner at Weil Gotshal. In 1994, Pomerantz and his wife, Carol Pomerantz, a psychotherapist, bought a fabulous Upper East Side apartment for $1.6 million. Now, “because they now spend most of their time with family in Northern California and are building a house in the Napa Valley” — sounds like a nice life, doesn’t it? — they are selling the apartment.
The asking price: $5.7 million. Even accounting for inflation and the costs of their renovation, it seems that the Pomerantzes made a wise investment (assuming the co-op sells at or near the asking price, as places are starting to do again here in NYC).
No, we’re not talking about thatDavid J. Stern, the lawyer turned NBA commissioner. We’re talking about David J. Stern of Plantation, Florida, a leading lawyer to banks and financial services companies in mortgage-related and foreclosure proceedings.
Over the holiday weekend, the New York Times ran a lengthy article, by Gretchen Morgenson and Geraldine Fabrikant, focused on Florida’s new foreclosures-only courts. Florida’s court system has been so overwhelmed by foreclosure proceedings that the state earlier this year set aside $9.6 million to establish foreclosures-focused courts around the state, presided over by retired judges.
One of the major players in the new court system is David J. Stern, whom the Times describes as “[t]he lawyer most closely identified with Florida’s foreclosure morass.” And for his troubles, this “mystery man within the foreclosure world” has been richly rewarded — very richly rewarded.
Stern went to a fourth-tier law school, but financially he’s running circles around all those Stanford and NYU law grads who wound up as Biglaw partners. His inspiring story shows that, in the end, success in the law is not about where you went to school, but what you’re capable of doing.
Even if you graduated from a non-top-tier law school, if you’re aggressive and smart and entrepreneurial, you can do quite well for yourself. Let’s take a look at David Stern….
An attorney's lovely suburban home was allegedly transformed into A DEN OF SEXUAL SIN....
This story — which could also qualify as a Lawsuit of the Day — is fine, funny Friday fodder. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:
Adam Bunge, an attorney, and his wife, Sarah Bunge, a Lutheran pastor, put their Maple Grove home up for sale and headed off to London this year for a four-month “work holiday.”
While they were gone, they allege in a lawsuit filed last week, their real estate agent used their house and possessions for “unauthorized sexual escapades,” staining their sheets, couch, carpet and other surfaces….
“It feels like we have been violated in every sense of the word,” Adam Bunge said in an interview.
The Bunges weren’t the only ones who were “violated.” In every room of the house. And it got pretty messy up in there….
Longtime Skadden partner Hilary Foulkes, recognized by Chambers and Partners for his expertise in cross-border M&A work, is quite distinctive-looking. And so is his Cape Cod vacation house, in Chatham — which is causing some trouble with the locals.
Hilary and Tina Foulkes — we thought they were lesbians, until we saw his photo — have given their house a very unusual paint job. The Cape Cod Times describes it as containing “[s]hades of neon green, lime green and citrus yellow.”
Village resident Norm Pacun calls the house “hideous” and “not what’s appropriate.” It certainly stands out in a neighborhood of New England white clapboards.
What do you think? Check out a photo and find out why the Foulkeses may have painted the house this way, below the fold….
This week seems to be Cardozo Law School week here at Above the Law. Yesterday we wrote about Jeremy Weg, a studious rising 2L who posed a question to The Ethicist. Today we bring you the story of Catherine Haldy Jarman, a 2010 Cardozo Law graduate who just bought a fabulous piece of real estate: the Manhattan condo formerly owned by television pundit Alan Colmes, ex-sidekick of Sean Hannity on Hannity & Colmes. The sale price: a cool $1.725 million (marked down from an original $1.99 million).
The triplex penthouse loft boasts two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and over 1,500 square feet of (gut-renovated) living space. It includes one of the most coveted commodities in Manhattan real estate: outdoor space, in the form of a private roof deck, accessed through a solarium. Fourteen-foot ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace — this is not a typical apartment for a law student, which Catherine Jarman was a few short weeks ago.
How could Jarman afford such an expensive place? And what other celebrities — Alan Colmes is admittedly C-list — have lived in the building?
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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