On New York’s Upper East Side, just down the street from my high school, sits a magnificent mansion. As my classmates and I walked past on our way to gym class in Central Park, I’d wonder: who lives at 7 East 84th Street?
A titan of finance, like a bulge-bracket banker or a hedge-fund god? The CEO of a Fortune 100 company? A reclusive heir or heiress?
Actually, no. It’s the home of a landlord/tenant lawyer. And not even a landlord-side lawyer, but a champion of tenants’ rights.
The scourge of New York City landlords is a lord himself — with a $30 million castle. Can you believe it?
Celebrity opinions are the worst. On this, I think we can all agree. Unlike our pundit class, celebrities have very few advanced degrees and are never held to account for their prognostications. When a talking head on TV or the internet or even books gets something wrong, he’s fired immediately. The marketplace of ideas demands nothing less. Someone more inclined to bad puns would say that as a marketplace, being fired for being wrong is more than laissez… fair.
And so we hate celebrities mouthing off like they are wont to do because they don’t get fired from their jobs when they’re wrong. This is especially true of the sports world, where the famous people not being fired for voicing opinions also represent our favorite teams, like the Chicago Bears. Or even our least favorite teams, like the Syracuse Orangemen.
Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim spoke out about gun control this week because a bunch of children were murdered recently and a bunch of microphones were stuck in his face. The men holding the microphones said, “Hey Jim, let’s talk sports.”
Jim didn’t want to talk sports. Let’s talk sports….
Funny, if I told you that a prospective law student was taking out a mess of student loans in order to rent a reasonable apartment for three years of law school, people would react with a considered “meh.” It’s the way the system works. It’s expected that law students will finance part or all of their law school experience with debt — debt that is backed up by the federal government.
So, now if I tell you that a student is using public assistance to pay for housing while she’s in law school, does your reaction change?
If it does, you are what the scientists call a “Republican.”
If she’s eligible for public assistance, isn’t doing something like going to law school exactly what she’s “supposed” to do in order to one day not need public assistance?
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?
What’s the most sure-fire way to make money in a bad economy? Capitalize on the misery of others. As the Kobra Kai taught us, strike first, strike hard, no mercy, sir!
Today’s Legal Sweep the Leg Award goes to Kick’em Out Quick, a “One Stop Shop” for tenant evictions and collections based in Ogden, Utah. Kick’em Out Quick is an online marketing company that strives to drum up eviction numbers for member attorneys who pay for the privilege of bearing the Kick’em Out Quick name.
Kick’em Out Quick extends a helping hand to landlords, offering sympathy and understanding of the stresses that these everyday heroes must endure at the hands of nasty tenants. Even better, they help motivated lawyers make money in the process.
When there is blood in the water, the sharks will start circling. Kicking ’em out quick is only the beginning…
If you have watched political campaigns all of your life, or if you are just a student of modern political history, you’ll notice that the poor are rarely talked about on the campaign trail. We can talk about the rich (or at least our so-called envy of them), and the middle class is like the pretty girl in school who thinks she’s well-liked but really everybody just wants to screw. But you rarely hear candidates talk anymore about any kind of national commitment or shared responsibility to help the poor and destitute. (John Edwards tried for a minute, but… see screwing analogy above.)
Our politicians apparently concern themselves with helping only those people who have “worked hard” and “played by the rules.” We have Reagan to thank for that.
But what about the “undeserving” poor? What about the lazy, the shiftless, the ignorant masses yearning to just get by? Is it right that we consign them to backbreaking poverty simply because they don’t vote and they’re easy to pick on? I went to Catholic school just long enough to learn that we’re supposed to have compassion for all of God’s children, not just the people whom it’s easy to put into a campaign commercial.
I’m just talking, of course. Other than giving a dollar to the occasional panhandler, I’m unwilling to get any skin in the game to actually help the truly disadvantaged in this country. Why? Well, I don’t want to end up getting taken advantage of, like the woman who let homeless people stay in her house for Christmas and now can’t get them to leave….
Elie wasn't the only ATL writer who dressed as a pirate this year.
Unfortunately, ATL editor emeritus Kashmir Hill has never been molested. But I think she’s getting rogered-but-good by her landlord.
Kash, who recently moved to D.C., sent us pictures of her Halloween party this year because, well, I asked, and one of the cool things about my job is that I can generally demand that women send in pictures of themselves without it sounding too creepy.
She had a pirate-themed party. But when she showed me why she went with that theme, my lawyer brain kicked in and instead of a suggestively dressed Kash, I saw a potential lawsuit in the making.
Since ATL readers have been so helpful with my own landlord/tenant issues, I thought you guys might be able to provide Kash with some unsolicited advice.
And yes, I’ll show you her Halloween costume in the bargain….
Well, I’m alive. And, more importantly for you guys, I can see. Which means I can resume some of my writing duties. Mwahahaha.
But before we get back to our regular reindeer games, I need to ask you for some help. Without going into too many details, the picture on the right captures me on the first day of my recovery. Lined up behind my head are all the drugs I was told to take to get me to the point where I could half sit up and kind of smile ten days after I initially presented with “a cough and some labored breathing.”
Trust me, being a patient in an episode of House is no fun. The whole “nearly killing the patient three times” thing gets old quick. For regular watchers of the show, my episode was one of those: “He has this and that??? And the stuff we were giving him for the first thing exacerbated the other thing he had? My doctor, you’re brilliant because nobody could have possibly expected one person to have two things go wrong at the same time!” And like a patient in one of those episodes, I’m pretty thankful for my doctors overall. I can talk. I have still have two eyes. They figured it out in the end. No med mal suit coming from me (assuming no changes for the worse).
But, I was a lawyer. And I want to sue somebody because health care is not free and finding things to blame is just good sport. I want to go after my landlord, but I need some help in making it all fit together.
Yesterday my wife and I signed a lease for a new apartment. It was a pretty big day for us, since we’d been living in the same squalid spider hole for eight years.
The entire process — which, depending on when you start counting, took 10 days, 6 weeks, or 11 and a half months — gave me a chance to closely examine one of our favorite topics around here: Is it really more difficult to rent a place if you are a lawyer? We’ve done stories about the kinds of things lawyer residents can do that can give building managers angina. But do any of those lawyer horror stories actually make people less likely to lease spaces to attorneys?
Based on my recent experience, I think the answer is no — it’s just that lawyers and people with legal training go through the process differently than regular folks. That may make the process more difficult, but not discriminatory against people who know their rights….
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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