Real Estate

Earlier this week, we published a Lawyerly Lairs post about a graduating 3L named Jimmy. According to the blog Urban Turf, “Jimmy” is a 27-year-old law student with a job in D.C. Biglaw lined up, starting at $160,000. If that’s not enough to make you hate Jimmy, he also has a credit score of 781, $140,000 in the bank for a down payment on his first home, and no student loan debt.

Jimmy triggered envy, player-hating, and other strong reactions in the comments:

“F**k Jimmy. I graduated with 3.3 and couldn’t fund a job with a Biglaw firm in DC. Hence I make $75K, have $90K in student loans, $5K on credit cards and $0 for a down payment. Again, F**k Jimmy.”

“I’m sure there are several women here who are also thinking ‘Fuck Jimmy.’”

Meanwhile, blogger Jane Genova expressed doubt that Jimmy exists. A newly minted law school graduate, with zero debt and (at least) $140K in the bank — is this like believing in Santa Claus?

Jimmy is certainly very fortunate. But is he so fortunate that he’s incredible? No. His financial state could be explained by any number of factors, alone or in combination, such as (1) generous parents or other relatives, (2) a past inheritance, (3) a successful first career before law school (e.g., in finance), or (4) a full-ride scholarship to law school.

In the comments to the Jimmy post, ATL readers started to anonymously share details about their personal finances and net worths. If you found this interesting, be sure to check out this article in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, entitled “Net-Worth Obsession.” It’s about people who obsessively track their net worths over time and compare themselves to others on this front, sometimes with the help of websites (such as NetWorthIQ, featured prominently in the article).

Are you a net-worth obsessive? Tell us your net worth (anonymously), learn the net worths of some of your fellow readers, and see how your net worth stacks up against that of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan — after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: What’s Your Net Worth? (And how does it compare to Elena Kagan’s?)

Are you tired of reading about lawyers and law students struggling under massive educational loans? The debt-saddled law student has become something of a walking cliché — and the stereotype is not universally true. According to the 2009 Law School Survey of Student Engagement (p. 14), between 10 and 15 percent of full-time law students have zero law school-related debt.

One such lucky law student is “Jimmy,” featured this week in Urban Turf, a D.C. real estate blog:

[Jimmy is] a 27-year-old law student who is about to graduate and join a corporate DC firm with a starting salary of $160,000. Jimmy has excellent credit with a FICO score of 781, and has $140,000 in the bank for a down payment. He is in the fortunate position of graduating without any student loan debt. Given these factors, a loan for his target price of $450,000 to $550,000 (less his down payment) should not be a problem.

Wow — Jimmy is in a great position. He’s snagged a Biglaw job, in a job market that’s still a bit tough, in Washington, which ATL readers crowned the best city for lawyers. He has $140K in the bank, a strong credit score, and zero educational debt. Did he have a lucrative pre-law school career, some well-to-do (and generous) parents or relatives, or both?

Given his income and savings, his target price range is fiscally conservative — which is a good thing. If Jimmy ever wants to leave Biglaw, he won’t have to worry about golden handcuffs.

So what kind of digs can Jimmy get for his money? Help him decide between three options….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Law Student Edition”

We’ve previously covered a sticky situation involving an alleged drafting error by real estate lawyers at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. The dispute pits the buyers of luxury condos at the Rushmore, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, against the development company Extell, Stroock’s client. (Our prior coverage appears here, here, and here.)

When we last checked in, the New York Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, had sided with the buyers and ruled against Extell. But instead of just rolling over, which is what most folks do when attacked by the New York AG, Extell is fighting back. From the Real Deal (via Am Law Daily):

In a last minute and stunning move, the developers of the Upper West Side’s Rushmore condominium filed a federal lawsuit [on Monday] against state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo seeking to reverse his April rescission order to refund more than $16 million in escrow funds to buyers.

The developers, Extell Development and Carlyle Realty Partners, operating under the name CRP/Extell, also filed a motion in U.S. District Court seeking a temporary restraining order that would block the release of the funds, which include down payments for more than $110 million worth of apartments.

In its moving papers, Extell kind of throws Stroock under the proverbial bus — but just a little bit….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Stroock Strikes Back? The Firm’s Client Sues Andrew Cuomo in Federal Court”

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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Proskauer Prospers Through Property”

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?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Skadden to CityCenter?”

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?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Orrick’s New Digs in New York”

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?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Partner Accused of Misappropriating Money to Overhaul Minnesota Mansion”

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?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Strike Against Stroock: New York AG Rules Against Extell”

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?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Are You Breaking the Law Right Now?”

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?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Covington & Burling Partners Did Not Plunder in 2009″

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