Lawyerly Lairs

Accreditation Appeal²

* How many of Above the Law’s Scalia groupies tuned in to watch the opinionated Supreme Court justice on Piers Morgan last night? Now we all know what Justice Scalia’s favorite pasta dish is! [CNN]

* In other news, the Supreme Court’s approval rating has dropped even lower in the wake of the Affordable Care Act decision — just 41% of Americans are satisfied with SCOTUS. [New York Times]

* Dewey know if D&L is going to be able to pay out bonuses and retention fees? Not if the U.S. Trustee can help it. They’re not “cost effective or economically feasible” — go figure. [Bloomberg]

* City records for Boaz Weinstein’s and Tali Farhadian Weinstein’s $25.5M lawyerly lair have officially hit the books. Not too shabby for a federal prosecutor. [New York Observer]

* “I am not a racist. I am not a murderer.” George Zimmerman sat down for an interview with Sean Hannity to tell his side of the story. Prosecutors must be thanking Zimmerman’s attorney for this gift. [Orlando Sentinel]

* Duncan Law is appealing its accreditation appeal before the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. This must be the three strikes approach to accreditation. [ABA Journal]

* Give this undocumented immigrant one of the documents he’s earned. Immigration law professors are lining up to support Sergio Garcia’s attempt to win admission to the California bar. [National Law Journal]

* California’s foie gras ban will remain in effect due to the lack of a “satisfactory explanation” as to why a TRO should be granted. Sorry, but wanting to eat classy French food isn’t a good enough reason. [Businessweek]

Justice Sotomayor is enjoying D.C. life. Last month, she attended a Nationals vs. Yankees baseball game. (Photo by an ATL tipster.)

A reader down in Washington, D.C., recently shared with us this amusing Facebook status update from one of his friends: “Gentrification (noun): When a Supreme Court justice moves into the [condo above] the first apartment you lived in DC, which used to share a block with an abandoned gas station / drug den and a ‘do not bring guns to [elementary] school’ sign.”

Who’s the justice in question, intrepidly moving into a gentrifying neighborhood? None other than Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The Wise Latina recently acquired a condo in D.C.’s uber-trendy U Street corridor.

How much did she pay for her new place? And what does it look like? Yes, we have pictures….

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Contrary to popular belief, many lawyers who toil in Biglaw actually enjoy what they do. This is especially true of partners (as opposed to associates who just pass through on their way to in-house or government opportunities). Some partners enjoy their work so much that they’d do it for free — or at least for much less than the millions they typically receive.

Of course, even if you find fulfillment in the work you do as a law firm partner, you can’t deny that the other benefits are nice. Being a Biglaw partner certainly allows you to provide an upscale lifestyle for your family. And it might permit you to enjoy an early retirement for yourself.

When you earn millions of dollars a year in partner profits, with lucrative retirement benefits on top of that (assuming your firm doesn’t do a Dewey), you don’t need to work until you’re 65 or 70. Instead, you can get an early start on your golden years, pursuing all of the hobbies and interests that you never had the chance to explore while billing 2000-plus hours a year.

That’s exactly what a retired Skadden corporate partner, James Freund, has been doing. Freund, who is now 77, retired from SASMF back in 1996, around the age of 61 (a little early, but not hugely so).

A few years ago, Freund scaled back his lifestyle. He traded in his $5 million townhouse for an apartment — one that cost a mere $3 million. Being a retired Skadden M&A partner is a tough life, but somebody’s got to live it….

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A not-so-little house on the prairie. It looks like a Wright, right?

Are you having a difficult time finding a position in the depressed legal job market? Maybe you need to think about relocating. Have you considered moving to Iowa? As noted by Vivia Chen over at The Careerist, the “Life Changing” state is experiencing a lawyer shortage.

Lawyer jobs and husks of corn aren’t all that Iowa has to offer. The state also has a reasonable cost of living, including some very well-priced real estate.

Take the Iowa home of a former partner Biglaw partner and former general counsel to a major media company. This lovely residence is currently on the market for a surprisingly modest sum….

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The bankruptcy case of the dying Dewey & LeBoeuf rolls on. As we mentioned yesterday, other Biglaw firms are getting business out of its burial. For example, Brown Rudnick is representing the official committee of unsecured creditors, and Kasowitz Benson is representing the official committee of retired D&L partners. (This group is separate from the 60 or so ex-partners who have hired Mark Zauderer to fight potential clawback lawsuits and other claims that the Dewey estate might bring against former partners and their new firms.)

If asked to name people who might be worried about owing money to the Dewey estate, some observers might cite “the Steves”: former chairman Steven H. Davis, and former executive director Stephen DiCarmine. Some have accused the Steves of mismanaging D&L’s affairs (or worse), contributing to the collapse of a firm that was once in the top 30 U.S. law firms by total revenue.

But if you’re thinking that Steve DiCarmine wants to pay the Dewey estate some money and get on with his tanning life, think again. As it turns out, Steve DiCarmine is claiming that Dewey owes him money….

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(Plus pictures of his former office.)

This $10 million house is owned by a lawyer at a top law firm. Which one?

What can we say? We can’t get enough of Washington real estate. And neither can you, judging from the traffic generated by our recent look at some million-dollar homes in the D.C. area. So let’s return to that well.

Our last story was about homes in the $1 million to $3 million range. Let’s class it up a bit and look at Lawyerly Lairs ranging in value from $7 million to $10 million….

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Let’s talk about two of our favorite topics here at Above the Law: Dewey & LeBoeuf and real estate. They’re two great tastes that go great together.

There’s certainly news on both of these fronts. In Washington, for example, the firm is facing an eviction lawsuit. Dewey’s D.C. landlord, Property Group Partners, claims that the firm hasn’t paid $927,052 in rent on its 140,000 square feet of space.

In New York, home of Dewey’s headquarters at 1301 Avenue of the Americas, there’s bad news too. The Ben Benson’s steakhouse in the building, which was something of a company canteen for Dewey, is closing next month. Said a source: “Could it be that the building is cursed, ever since JC Penney moved out decades ago?”

Near the top of the 45-floor building, the office of Steven H. Davis, Dewey’s ex-chairman, is also getting packed up. This space, described to us as the “Taj Mahal” of law offices, is not what it once was.

Dewey have pictures? Most certainly….

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Which former White House official lives in this charming abode?

As we move deeper into election season, more of the nation’s attention is turning to Washington. So it seems only fitting for Lawyerly Lairs, our peek into the homes and offices of top legal talent, to follow suit.

In our last visit to D.C., we looked at residences worth around $500,000, a perfectly respectable sum. But today, to enhance the voyeuristic thrill, we’re upping the price point. We’re limiting ourselves to seven-figure residences.

Let’s have a look at some million-dollar homes in the Washington metropolitan area, shall we?

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They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Here at Above the Law, we have given you many thousands of words about the troubles of Dewey & LeBoeuf. See, e.g., this lengthy post about the firm’s former leaders, ex-chairman Steven Davis and former executive director Stephen DiCarmine.

Now we bring you some pictures. As it turns out, the possible demise of Dewey has inspired the creation of art.

Keep reading, and check out the images below for a forthcoming portrait of former chairman Steven Davis, a chilling photograph, and an unfortunate D&L advertisement….

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In August of 2009, while driving around Silicon Valley after speaking at Santa Clara Law, I saw an office park in East Palo Alto with a sign that jumped out at me. Being a Biglaw groupie, I stopped and snapped a picture:

I parked, got out of my rental car, and walked around. I was struck by the beauty of the overall office complex, with its expansive plaza, immaculate landscaping, and fountains. It was a veritable law firm Xanadu!

Or maybe an old Indian burial ground….

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(Plus more potential partner departures.)”

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