Lawyerly Lairs

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)”

The people building 1 World Trade Center still seem to be having trouble attracting big-time tenants. Especially law firms. Previous reports have indicated that Mayer Brown and Morgan Lewis have backed out of deals to take up residency in the new tower.

The latest law firm deal to fall through appears to be that of Chadbourne & Parke. In January, the New York Times reported with much fanfare that Chadbourne & Parke would be a “prime tenant” a 1 WTC. But this week, the New York Post is reporting that the deal has fallen through.

Chadbourne, currently housed at 30 Rock, doesn’t have to go downtown, but it can’t stay where it is. So where will Chadbourne be going?

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845 West End Avenue

In the battle to stay high (or climb higher) in the all-powerful U.S. News law school rankings, law schools compete with each other to woo star faculty. And this makes sense. Because a school’s peer reputation score “appears to explain around 90% of the variation in overall USNWR score,” as noted by Professor Eric Talley over at TaxProf Blog, it pays for a law school to snag top talent.

How does a law school prevail in the battle for superstars? Well, despite their impressive academic pedigrees and their Big Ideas, law professors just like us: they love luxury real estate.

Check out the $3.6 million apartment, located in the magnificent prewar condominium at 845 West End Avenue, that NYU Law School just added to its collection of fabulous faculty housing….

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A lovely view of the National Cathedral (click to enlarge).

A congressman?

No, silly — we’re talking about real estate, an obsession that I share with many Above the Law readers. There’s a reason why Lawyerly Lairs is one of the most popular, well-trafficked features on this site.

Last month, we visited a few attorneys’ homes in Washington, D.C. This visit to our nation’s capital proved so popular that one of our D.C.-based readers volunteered up her own home for your scrutiny.

Let’s check it out….

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'So then I said to them, 'We have, like, a staggered board AND a poison pill. So suck on that!''

The halls are alive with… the sound of vermin? As we’ve mentioned earlier today, some top law firms (and even one top law school) are experiencing problems with rodents, insects, and other pests.

And, unfortunately, some of these critters have crept into company canteens. Thanks to New York City’s controversial system of rating restaurants, in which establishments receive letter grades based on their health and sanitation violations (or lack thereof), we know which law firm cafeterias are worth patronizing (and which ones are best avoided).

Let’s take a look at which Biglaw behemoths have the best — and the buggiest — dining rooms….

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Garden Place: one of the loveliest blocks in Brooklyn (or all of New York City, for that matter). If you have $10 million to spare, you can live here too.

A friend of mine recently made partner at a top New York law firm. A senior partner called to offer congratulations: “Now you can finally move out of Brooklyn!”

But my friend doesn’t want to move out of Brooklyn — and with good reason. Over the past few years, what was once viewed as a dangerous, dirty, and downmarket borough has become hot, happening, and high-end. It’s not for nothing that GQ famously dubbed Brooklyn “the coolest city in the planet.”

Brooklyn may be newly hip (and increasingly expensive), but some people have known about its charms for years. Take this partner at a leading New York law firm, a longtime resident, who has placed his Brooklyn Heights townhouse on the market — for an eight-figure sum….

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Which former Cabinet member sold the house with the blue door?

Are we too New York-centric in Lawyerly Lairs, our inside look at the homes (and occasionally offices) of lawyers and law students? Perhaps. It makes sense that we focus on Gotham, since Above the Law is headquartered here. But we realize that other cities and states boast great real estate too (and not just the 3500-square-foot houses enjoyed by the average associate at a Texas law firm).

Today let’s take a trip down to the nation’s capital. We’ll check out a few Lawyerly Lairs down in Washington, D.C. — including the $2 million Georgetown home shown above, recently sold by a former Cabinet member turned law firm partner….

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Penny Lane and Brian Frye, in the Catskills home they've placed on the market.

As we have mentioned, we’re trying to diversify the coverage here at Lawyerly Lairs. After all, the world does not consist entirely of Park Avenue apartments owned by mega-rich law firm partners (as seen here, here, and here). Toward that end, we recently wrote about the housing search of some NYU Law students.

But that was still in New York City. Let’s leave Manhattan behind and head to upstate New York, where we’ll visit the beautiful Catskills house of a law professor and his filmmaker wife….

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(Hey New Yorkers, Looking for a Country House?)”

They took on six figures of (non-dischargeable) debt to go to law school, and now they hang their laundry in the street.

Most installments of Lawyerly Lairs, our inside look at the nests of legal eagles, involve residences (and occasionally offices) of utter fabulosity. Just look at our latest Lairs: a $5.9 million apartment on Park Avenue, a $4.6 million prewar coop on the Upper East Side, and a $1.7 million penthouse on the Upper West Side.

We realize that most Americans, or even most lawyers, don’t live in such luxury. And we’re interested in learning about how the other half lives. If you’d like to have your home featured in Lawyerly Lairs, even if it isn’t a million-dollar mansion, feel free to email us, subject line “Lawyerly Lairs.” (If you’re trying to sell your home, send us the listing; exposure to Above the Law’s large audience could be beneficial.)

We’ll get the 99 percent ball rolling with a look at two current law students who braved the brutal renters’ market here in New York. What school do they attend, and how did their hunt turn out?

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1112 Park Avenue

Partners at high-powered Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, where profits per partner in 2010 clocked in at almost $2.4 million, appreciate the finer things in life. These include $6 million houses in the Hamptons and the company of former Playboy models (who used to date movie stars like Matt Dillon).

Now, fabulous though they may be, beach houses in the Hamptons and Playboy model girlfriends sound… a bit flashy, a trifle arriviste. Some might view them as not very white-shoe, and not what you’d expect from partners of the oldest continuing Wall Street law practice in the United States. (Sure, some old-money people have places in the Hamptons, but these days the locale appeals more to celebrities.)

Thankfully there are some CWT partners who are kicking it old school. They live in exclusive prewar coops on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. No lofts in Tribeca or Soho — or, God forbid, Brooklyn — for these genteel types.

Let’s look at the Lawyerly Lair that a senior Cadwalader lawyer recently acquired — on Park Avenue, one of the world’s legendary thoroughfares — for just a shade under $6 million….

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