This super-luxurious, prewar building — 720 Park Avenue, one of New York’s most prestigious addresses — is the former home of Cravath partner John Beerbower, and his wife, Cynthia Beerbower. In case you’re wondering, they lived in apartment 7A.
According to Steven Gaines in The Sky’s the Limit (2005), winning admission to this exclusive coop requires a net worth of at least $50 million. Financier Henry Grunwald and Revlon exec Michael Bergerac call it home.
But despite the vast wealth of its residents, 720 Park receives highly favorable tax treatment from New York City:
The New York Times looked at the vagaries of the tax laws — a result of several decades of political compromises — through the uncommonly low taxes paid at 720 Park, which is at 70th Street, and other Upper East Side co-ops. It found that some owners of small two-family brick and shingle houses near Kennedy International Airport paid three times the effective tax rate as their Park Avenue peers.
In the last year, while property tax assessments across the city rose by more than 9 percent, the assessors reviewed 720 Park. But rather than raising taxes on the building, they reduced them. City records show the official market value of the building and the tax burden on it were cut by 12 percent.
Property taxes on 720 Park went DOWN? How on earth did that happen?
Find out the answer, plus information about the Beerbowers’ new home, after the jump.
We’re reading Tony Mauro’s super-juicy article as fast as we can. Highlights and discussion will follow shortly.
Okay, we’re done. Here are some excerpts:
The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s Senate confirmation battles in 1971 and 1986 were more intense and political than previously known, according to a newly released FBI file that also offers dramatic new details about Rehnquist’s 1981 hospitalization and dependence on a painkiller….
In July 1986, when President Ronald Reagan nominated Rehnquist to be chief justice, the Justice Department asked the FBI to interview witnesses who were preparing to testify that Rehnquist had intimidated minority voters as a Republican Party official in Arizona in the early 1960s. According to a memo in the Rehnquist file, an unnamed FBI official cautioned that the department “should be sensitive to the possibility that Democrats could charge the Republicans of misusing the FBI and intimidating the Democrats’ witnesses.” But then-Assistant Attorney General John Bolton — who more recently served as ambassador to the United Nations — signed off on the request and said he would “accept responsibility should concerns be raised about the role of the FBI.” It is unclear whether the FBI ever interviewed the witnesses.
John Bolton? That guy is everywhere! Did he have the walrus moustache back then?
More discussion — including tales of Rehnquist’s “bizarre ideas and outrageous thoughts,” his paranoia that the CIA was out to get him, and his attempt to escape from a hospital while in pajamas — after the jump.
Big news for both the federal bench and legal academia: Chief Judge David F. Levi, of the Eastern District of California, has been picked as the next dean of Duke Law School.
If approved by the trustees, Levi will replace Dean Katharine Bartlett on July 1. Here’s the official press release.*
Chief Judge David Levi is one of the most highly-regarded district judges in the entire federal judiciary — and this should come as no surprise, given his pedigree. The 55-year-old judge is a Harvard College and Stanford Law grad, former Ninth Circuit clerk, and member of the Elect (OT 1982/Powell).
Legal genius runs in the Levi family. David Levi is the son of the late Edward Levi, former Attorney General under President Ford (and recently in the news in the wake of President Ford’s passing; he recommended Justice Stevens for the SCOTUS). As the WSJ Law Blog points out, David Levi’s older brother is also a high-powered lawyer: John Levi, a partner at Sidley & Austin.
When we clerked on the Ninth Circuit, we worked on an appeal from a decision of then-Judge Levi (he became Chief Judge in 2003). It was a bizarre an interesting case involving a transsexual ex-prison inmate, one Torey Tuesday South, who filed a civil action against California prison officials. She alleged that the officials improperly cut off her sex hormones (which she had been taking since she was a teenage boy). The officials asserted qualified immunity.
The record on appeal was really weird highly unusual. It included quasi-soft-porn photographs of Torey Tuesday South in various unusual positions, designed to showcase certain parts of her anatomy. It also included materials that gave us a crash course in gender dysphoria.
We’ll spare you the details; if you’re curious, you can look up the decision on Westlaw. In the end, Chief Judge Levi’s decision to allow the case to move forward was affirmed. The factual findings and legal reasoning he provided in support of his ruling were impeccable.
In his new role as dean of Duke Law School, David Levi will surely grapple once again with issues of transsexuality. But the questions presented will be less thorny. For example: Can transexuals use both the male and female bathrooms in the law school (as they can in the New York subway)?
The Duke deanship is an exciting new opportunity for one of our nation’s most distinguished jurists. Congratulations, Your Honor! Food for thought: Professor Orin Kerr wonders: Is Chief Judge Levi, regarded by both liberals and conservatives as a fair and thoughtful jurist, the kind of Supreme Court nominee who could win over Democratic senators?
David Levi is only 55 years old. He’s a moderate conservative with 16 years of judicial experience, as well as a civil procedure guru. Now he’s adding another feather to his cap: the deanship of a prestigious law school. If he steers clear of controversy as dean, he’s certainly a SCOTUS possibility.
* From the Duke alum who sent us the press release: “I can speak for many of my fellow Duke Law alums when I say good riddance to the former dean, Kate Bartlett.” Update: Some Duke alumni dissent from this assessment of Dean Bartlett. For further discussion, see the comments. Federal Judge David F. Levi selected as Dean of Duke Law School [Duke Law School] Duke Law School Selects Judge David Levi as Dean [WSJ Law Blog] Wonderful news for Duke Law School, but a sad loss of a very talented judge [How Appealing] David F. Levi bio [FJC] Ex-Inmate’s Suit Advances [Sacramento Bee] Transsexual inmate mistreated, court says [Sacramento Bee] More on 100-0 Nominees [Volokh Conspiracy]
We love lists: the Forbes 400, the U.S. News college and law school rankings, or Washingtonian magazine’s list of 40 top lawyers under 40. We love lawyers — which is good, since we spend all day writing about them. And we love fabulous things.
So you can imagine our delight upon seeing this feature from The American Lawyer: The Young Litigators Fab Fifty. It’s a list of 50 top litigators from around the country, all under the age of 45, whom the magazine “expect[s] to see leading the field for years to come.”
You can check out the list here. Regular readers of ATL will recognize many of these youthful luminaries. Here are some highlights:
– Latham & Watkins partner Sean Berkowitz,* the former prosecutor who rose to fame durring the Enron case;
– Paul Clement, the U.S. Solicitor General (who was very nice to us);
On the whole, it’s an excellent list. We can think of a few questionable omissions (and a few dubious selections). But with something this subjective, reasonable minds will differ.
Congrats again to the Fab Fifty!
* Does anyone know if Sean Berkowitz and Bethany McLean, the Fortune reporter who covered Enron, are still an item? The Young Litigators Fab Fifty [American Lawyer]
Before the holidays, we asked the Biglaw associates among you to tell us how you feel about your bonuses. (We’d use “boni,” since it sounds cooler, but we don’t think it’s a real word.)
We conducted a reader poll. The results, which we realize aren’t terribly exciting, are reproduced at right.
The most popular response, although not by an overwhelming margin, was “Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied.” The rest of the responses formed a bell-shaped curve around that general sentiment of “Eh” (but with slightly more votes on the dissatisfied rather than satisfied side).
What does this all mean? We think it shows that as far as the Greedy Partners are concerned, associate bonuses were “just right.” If they had been “too generous” — from the perspective of partners, that is — there would have been more satisfied responses, from pleasantly surprised associates. And if they had been “too stingy,” in a way threatening to firm morale, there would have been more dissatisfied responses.
Instead, associate sentiment in response to this year’s bonus levels fell right in the middle. This suggests that associate expectations were perfectly met — neither missed nor exceeded. So, as far as the firms are concerned, the 2006 bonuses weren’t so big as to eat into profits per partner, but just enough to keep the associate proletariat toiling away.
Are year-end bonuses the opium of the Biglaw masses? Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: How Does That Bonus Make You FEEL?
Well, not in so many words. But in his interview last night with Jan Crawford Greenburg of ABC News — his first television appearance network television interview ever — Justice John Paul Stevens seemed healthy, lucid, and far from death’s door.
(Our apologies to the ConfirmThem crew. We hate to be the bearers of bad news.)
We did catch the interview last night. Twice, actually — we watched the excerpt on World News Tonight, then the full version on Nightline. You can access a video clip of an abridged version by clicking here.
Our thoughts on the interview:
1. Justice Stevens gets style points for the turquoise paisley bowtie. Paisley is a fashion cliche here in D.C.; but JPS wears it in a “I don’t care what you think” sort of way, which is great.
2. Negative style points for the brown plastic eyeglasses. Justice Stevens, you can do better. We know the Chief is always bitching about how little you guys get paid. But your most recent financial disclosure forms reveal that you’re a millionaire. You can afford wire-framed glasses.
3. Throughout the interview, Justice Stevens is articulate and alert. Yes, his head is permanently stuck in a slight rightward tilt. But that’s par for the course for old people. (JPS is 86 years old, turning 87 on April 20 of this year.)
4. Jan Crawford Greenburg is still a hottie. The reddish brown hair — is that its natural color? — is simply faboo. (Click here, then scroll down, for our exclusive photos of her.)
5. Justice Stevens reminisces about his late friend, President Gerald R. Ford, who appointed him to the Supreme Court. JPS describes Ford as “a fine lawyer” and ” the kind of person I would really like to have as a friend, because you like him right away.”
6. Greenburg asks whether President Ford was surprised by how Justice Stevens turned out as a SCOTUS jurist. Ford was a Republican, and JPS has turned out to be one of the Court’s most liberal members.
Justice Stevens: Ford may have been surprised by “some of my decisions.” But “over the years, I gather he was not unhappy with the results on the whole.”
7. Greenburg questions JPS further about his ideology and jurisprudence. She notes that President Ford’s attorney general, Edward Levi, described Justice Stevens as “a moderative conservative.” She asks the justice: How do you see yourself today?
Justice Stevens says that he sees himself as a “moderate conservative.” He adds: “I don’t think I’ve really changed. I think there has been a lot of change on the Court.”
8. The coup de grâce: near the end of the interview, Justice Stevens says: “I see myself as a conservative, to tell you the truth.”
Okay, maybe the old man is losing it — just a little bit. Update: Orin Kerr’s thoughts on point #8 appear here. Can Justice Stevens perhaps consider himself a “judicial conservative” (even if he’s not a political conservative)? Justice John Paul Stevens: The Silent Justice [ABC News (video)] Justice Appointed By Ford Remembers the Late President [ABC News] Is Justice Stevens a Judicial Conservative? [Volokh Conspiracy]
Last month, shortly before Christmas, one of our favorite legal blogs — Southern Appeal — breathed its last.
Here is Steve Dillard’s farewell post. Steve, your contributions to the blogosphere will be missed.
We’ll be removing SA from our blogroll. On that subject, with a new year upon us, we’d like to do a periodic update of our link listing. If you’d like to be considered for inclusion in our blogroll — or if you’re already on it, but would like to be removed (perhaps you aren’t blogging much these days) — please email us (subject line: Blogroll).
If you have a blogroll of your own, and ATL isn’t on it already, please consider adding our site to your list. Thanks! SA: The Curtain Closes [Southern Appeal]
* A setback for people trying to download in the land down under. [ZDNet]
* MP3 mom is off the hook, but the kids are still very much on it. [MSNBC]
* “[F]ederal investigators probing steroids in sports can now use the names and urine samples of about 100 Major League Baseball players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, following a ruling Wednesday from a federal appeals court.” [MSNBC]
* “For activists who seek to change the law, nothing works better sometimes than losing a big case in the Supreme Court. This year saw two small, public-interest law firms convert losses in the high court into wins in the court of public opinion.” [Los Angeles Times via How Appealing]
Congratulations to these and all of the other deserving winners.
Also, check out Blawg Review #89, by clicking here. The #100 milestone is within sight! Blawg Review Awards 2006 [Blawg Review] Blawg Review #89 [Blawg Review]
* Donald Trump gives on-the-record comments to a blawg (albeit an MSM-affiliated one). The man is a total media whore. But he’s the little brother of a certain fabulous Third Circuit judge, so we forgive him. [WSJ Law Blog]
(Check out the photos at right. We see a definite family resemblance. Which may or may not be a good thing.)
* Speaking of siblings, our big brother wonders: “Do we smell a Jeff Skilling comeback in the air?” And hits the nail on the head with respect to Malcolm Gladwell, too. [DealBreaker]
* The start of a new year is a perfect time for blogospheric navel-gazing reflections upon the future of law-related blogging. [Opinio Juris via Volokh Conspiracy]
* As well as New Year’s resolutions. [Nasty, Brutish & Short; Jeremy Blachman; Althouse]
* And raucous law blogger parties. Woo-hoo! [Concurring Opinions; PrawfsBlawg]
Saira Rao, who wrote the New York Post article we discussed this morning, has a juicy debut novel coming out this summer. Check out the blurb for Chambermaid:
The devil holds a gavel in this wickedly entertaining debut novel about a young attorney’s eventful year clerking for a federal judge. Sheila Raj is a recent graduate of a top-ten law school with dreams of working for the ACLU, but law school did not prepare her for the power-hungry sociopath, Judge Helga Friedman, who greets her on her first day. While her beleaguered colleagues begin quitting their jobs, Sheila is assigned to a high-profile death penalty case and suddenly realizes that she has to survive the year as Friedman’s chambermaid — not just her sanity, but actual lives hang in the balance.
With Chambermaid, debut novelist Saira Rao breaks the code of silence surrounding the clerkship and boldly takes us into the mysterious world of the third branch of US government, where the leaders are not elected and can never be fired. With its biting wit and laugh-out-loud humor, this novel will change everything you think you know about how great lawyers, and great judges, are made.
A few of the more prominent moves within this noble profession: From government to private sector:
* Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton is joining Royal Dutch Shell, as general counsel for its “unconventional resources division” (e.g., extracting oil from “oil shale” and “extra heavy oil” — don’t ask us, we don’t know).
(A WSJ Law Blog commenter sniffs: “One would think that she could have secured a more lucrative and high profile job, given her resume.” We agree somewhat on the “high profile” part, but don’t know enough about the filthy lucre associated with this gig.)
* Former assistant U.S. attorney Mauro Wolfe, with whom we used to work, to Dickstein Shapiro. He will be a partner in the firm’s securities practice, in the New York office.
* Mark Paoletta and Andrew Snowdon, to the D.C. office of Dickstein Shapiro (as partner and of counsel, respectively). Paoletta previously served as served as Chief Counsel for Oversight and Investigations on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Snowdon previously served as a lawyer on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. They join the government law & strategy practice. Within government:
* The United States Attorney for Connecticut, Kevin O’Connor, has been named associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department. His DOJ work will focus on violent crime, gangs, and guns. O’Connor plans to retain his post as U.S. Attorney for at least six months. Lateral moves:
* M&A lawyer Michael Aiello, to Weil Gotshal, from Dewey Ballantine (as previously noted).
* Finance lawyer Philip Haber, to Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, from Nixon Peabody. New partners:
* Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft: Seven new partners. Names here (PDF).
* LeBoeuf Lamb: Five new partners. Names here.
* Patterson Belknap: White-collar defense lawyer Daniel Ruzumna, promoted from counsel to partner. Ruzumna served for six years as an AUSA in the legendary Southern District of New York. His final post in the S.D.N.Y. was Acting Chief of the Major Crimes Unit.
The voluminous links are collected after the jump.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
The proper hair styling product might just be the only thing standing between you and your dream job. And the best way to find what works for you is to try the best stuff on the market. Join Birchbox Man for $20 a month and you’ll get customized shipments of the best grooming and lifestyle gear on the market every month—everything from haircare and shaving supplies to style accessories and tech gadgets.
As the leading discovery commerce platform, Birchbox is redefining the retail process by offering consumers a unique and personalized way to discover, learn about, and shop the best grooming and lifestyle products out there. It’s a full 360-degree process: try, learn, buy. Once you sign up and fill out your profile, head over to Birchbox Man’s online magazine to find article and video tutorials on how to get the most out your monthly box products. Pick up full-size versions of anything you like in the Birchbox Shop and earn points for every purchase.
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!