Real Estate

A few blocks west and south of Orrick’s nice new offices, another law firm is planning to make a move: Proskauer Rose, currently on Broadway between 47th and 48th Streets. Proskauer’s move even made the New York Times:

A prominent law firm is expected to sign a lease next week for a new home in the vacant 40-story tower called 11 Times Square, ending months of speculation about the deal and providing another sign that the commercial real estate market may have hit bottom. The developer of the 1.1-million-square-foot glass tower, which is nearing completion at the southeast corner of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, is also negotiating with several companies who want to build an aquarium filled with sharks, rays and penguins….

Sharks and penguins. So Weil and Cleary are moving into the building too?

According to the Times, the Proskauer name might be displayed at the entrance to the tower, and possibly at the top, too. Given the high-traffic location of the building — in the heart of Times Square, across the street from Port Authority — it’s a nice bit of free publicity.

In addition to getting to brand the building, there are many other reasons — tens of millions of reasons, in fact — behind Proskauer’s move….

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No, not that CityCenter. We’re talking about D.C., not Las Vegas.

The Washington office of Skadden might be moving. The Washington Business Journal reports:

The Skadden law firm is on the verge of agreeing to lease space at the new CityCenter D.C. project, kick-starting the first phase of the old convention center site after nearly two years of delay.

The firm signed a letter of intent to lease 350,000 square feet at the downtown project, but the nonexclusive letter is contingent upon the developer, Hines/Archstone, obtaining financing to begin construction….

But it’s not yet a done deal. What other options is Skadden considering?

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Last summer, we reported that Orrick would be moving into fancy new offices in New York. Earlier this week, the office move took place. From the firm’s press release:

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has moved its New York office to 51 West 52nd Street, the same building that houses CBS headquarters and which is also known as Black Rock. The innovative design of the space reflects Orrick’s progressive culture, integrating technological, environmental and social advantages that enable the firm to better and more efficiently serve its clients.

Non-traditional features for law firms are incorporated throughout the office. Numerous public spaces, transparent glass office fronts and an open floor plan, with low-height components for greater visibility and interaction among staff, contribute to a sense of community. To better connect with other offices and clients, Orrick invested in state-of-the-art telepresence conferencing equipment.

As it turns out, the Orrick offices have a Telepresence Room — not to be confused with the Cryogenic Room, where Ralph Baxter plans to live forever.

So, what do the new Orrick offices look like?

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Back in the summer of 2008, we wrote a post entitled “Summer Associates of the Day: Sapphic Summers in Lesbianic Lip-Lock.” The title of the post pretty much says it all.

Well, it turns out that a partner at the same firm, Minneapolis-based Lindquist & Vennum, may have been misbehaving too. The Pioneer Press reports that Michael S. Margulies, a leading Twin Cities real estate lawyer, has been accused of professional misconduct — in the form of “misappropriat[ing] significant sums from a limited number of clients and from the firm,” according to a statement by the firm. Margulies has withdrawn from the firm’s partnership, reported his conduct to Minnesota’s professional responsibility office, and agreed to be disbarred. He has also resigned from the St. Paul Planning Commission, where he served several terms under different mayors.

What prompted this alleged theft? It seems that Michael Margulies, former head of Lindquist’s real estate group, may have loved real estate not wisely, but too well. From the Pioneer Press:

Margulies, 56, of St. Paul, and his personal company, Triad Services, were sued in Ramsey County District Court by a real estate development company for which he had worked as an attorney, secretary and treasurer. In the lawsuit, CMB Minnetonka LLC alleged that Margulies “made numerous illicit withdrawals” from CMB’s bank account and line of credit at Highland Bank and used the money — $1.5 million or more — for his own purposes.

Specifically, the suit claims Margulies spent the money to overhaul the historic mansion at 516 Summit Ave. in St. Paul that he owned with his former wife.

So he allegedly did it all for love of a house. Was it worth it? Just how nice is this pile o’ bricks?

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Last summer, we wrote about an apparent drafting error by lawyers at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan that “could cost Stroock’s client millions.”

Time for an update: it looks like the mistake will cost Stroock’s client millions. The Wall Street Journal reports:

A long-simmering dispute between Extell Development Co. and individuals who agreed to buy condominiums in one of the developer’s new luxury Manhattan buildings ended Friday when the New York Attorney General ordered Extell to refund $15 million in down payments.

The ruling is a setback for the New York-based developer, which stands to lose more than $100 million in apartment sales, according to person familiar with the matter.

It is also a potential embarrassment for the white-shoe law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, which prepared the offering plan for the building. The plan included a mistake that contributed to the ruling in favor of the buyers.

In our last post about this situation, several ATL commenters offered legal analysis. How did they fare?

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The high cost of living in New York is no secret. It may be contributing, at least in part, to D.C.’s current thrashing of New York in our 2010 March Madness competition.

But could New York’s expensiveness also be contributing to… a wave of rampant illegality in NYC? If you’re a Gothamite, is your living arrangement in violation of the law?

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covington burling logo.jpgThis morning, we wrote about the partners at DLA Piper sharing in the pain of 2009. The trend at many firms reporting 2009 numbers has been the revenue line heading south while the profits-per-partner line heads north. At DLA, however, revenue and PPP were down at the firm, so Elie gave them a shout-out for not cutting deeply enough.
But perhaps more striking is Covington & Burling: Last year’s revenue was actually up at the D.C.-based firm — but PPP was down.
Covington is über white-shoe, but this seems oh-so-radical-populist. What happened?

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Haynes Boone logo.jpgThe number of Paul Hastings real estate partners fleeing for Haynes and Boone keeps growing. Initially, Paul Hastings admitted that three of its real estate partners were leaving. But then Haynes and Boone sources confirmed that they were poaching four PH RE partners — including Steven Koch, the administrative head of Paul Hastings’s real estate practice.
Today, HayBoo is out with an announcement that they’ve picked up six PH partners, all in the real estate group. From the Haynes and Boone press release:

In a major expansion of its East Coast real estate, finance and real estate restructuring practices, Haynes and Boone, LLP announces the addition of six partners who bring a wealth of experience, particularly representing top-tier New York financial institutions, real estate funds and private equity groups.

Sources report that the additional two partners had tried to keep their pending defection secret from the general Paul Hastings public. Maybe they didn’t want to become the subject of a bidding war between the firms?
The other two names and more details after the jump.

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haynes and boone logo.JPGEarlier this morning, we reported that three (or four) real estate partners were on their way out of Paul Hastings. Now we’re hearing that the partners weren’t “forced out.” Instead, they were actively recruited by Haynes and Boone and gave notice to Paul Hastings management on Monday.
Haynes and Boone sources confirm that Bob Grados, Ken Friedman, and Walter Schleimer will start at Haynes and Boone’s New York office on Monday.
And a fourth Paul Hastings partner will be joining them. It might help to explain why Paul Hastings sources thought the first three partners were pushed out in the first place.
Details after the jump.

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Paul Hastings logo.JPGUPDATE: We have additional coverage on this story here.
Associate layoffs are sometimes conducted in a stealth manner. Partner layoffs are always conducted in secret. Forcing out partners has been a big part of the Great Recession. But when firms “quietly ask partners to leave,” the information actually stays pretty quiet.
But last night, the Above the Law inbox started buzzing with news that four real estate partners had been asked to leave Paul Hastings.
UPDATE: Sources now report that only three partners are being asked to leave.
How do we know this? Well, Paul Hastings may have quietly asked these people to leave, but their offices were packed up loudly.
We understand that all of the departures are in Paul Hastings’s New York real estate department. We’ve got the names, details, and a firm statement, after the jump.

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