Lawyerly Lairs

The Mandarin Oriental in Boston.

CORRECTION (7/13/11): Alas, it appears that this apartment is not a lawyerly lair. Please see this correction.

It’s time for a new installment of Lawyerly Lairs, Above the Law’s behind-the-scenes look at luxurious lawyer residences. As we close out the week that started off with the Fourth of July, it’s fitting that we turn our attention to Boston, the city some call “The Cradle of Liberty.”

Ain’t freedom grand? One Boston attorney has enough free cash flow to buy the most expensive condominium ever sold in Boston — the very best penthouse at the Mandarin Oriental Residences, on tony Boylston Street.

Let’s find out who this lawyer is, where he works — and, of course, what $13.2 million buys you in Beantown….

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This year, we’ve heard a few horror stories from the poor and downtrodden students of NYU Law School –- and that is not the way we’d usually characterize these students.

But when the recession hit, NYU Law’s students were hit even harder. Some 3Ls were unemployed — so unemployed that Barrister’s Ball tickets had to be subsidized. Some 3Ls were so poor that they can’t afford black market commencement tickets. Holla! Livin’ in squala!

How could the school better use student tuition dollars to avoid these problems in the future? How could the school improve its students’ quality of life? These circumstances were likely difficult for the school’s administration to address, so it seems that they decided not to address them at all.

Instead, the school did this:

Yep, NYU Law bought a $3.5 million condo in the West Village….

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Ladies: if you're in NYC, it's okay to go around like this.

* An update to an item from yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs — or, “a domestic dispute version of Spy vs. Spy.” [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]

* And a response to yesterday’s controversial post about paralegals (and the educational credentials required for the position). [A Paralegal's Life]

* Are you a rising 3L looking for post-graduate employment at a law firm? Check out Waller Lansden’s innovative Schola2Juris program. [Schola2Juris via Am Law Daily]

* Here’s a subject that never gets old (we’ve discussed it before, and we’ll discuss it again): what not to wear as a summer associate. [Corporette]

* Ah, screw it — if you’re here in New York, ladies, just go topless. It’s legal! [Runnin' Scared / Village Voice]

45 Star Island Drive

* Billable Hours: The Movie. “This comedy follows one young lawyer as she is slowly driven crazy by monotonous work, obnoxious colleagues, and the constant buzzing of her BlackBerry.” [Billable Hours]

* Lawyerly Lairs: Roy Black, the high-profile Miami criminal defense attorney, buys a $7.1 million mansion. How many square feet does $7.1 million buy on Star Island? [Todd M. Glaser]

* Advice for PR folks: put some thought into addressing your bulk emails. Also, if you’re pitching us, read this tweet. [Constitutional Daily]

Katherine Forrest: You'd smile too if you were this rich.

I recently wrote about Katherine B. Forrest, the celebrated litigatrix nominated to a federal judgeship on the breathtakingly prestigious Southern District of New York. Forrest currently serves as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s antitrust division, but before joining the DOJ she was a longtime partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore — a premier, if not the premier, American law firm. Forrest was one of CSM’s most popular (and most powerful) young partners.

Katherine Forrest has a reputation as an incredible attorney, and she has the awards to prove it (see question 8). Not surprisingly, the ABA deemed her “unanimously well-qualified” as an S.D.N.Y. nominee.

So here’s what I wondered: Why did the amazingly accomplished Forrest, a partner at super-lucrative Cravath for over a dozen years, declare a mere $4.3 million on her net worth statement? Granted, $4.3 million is nothing to scoff at; KBF is rich (even by Elie’s standards). But it seemed to me that a lawyer of her distinction, who was a partner at a top firm for such a long time, should be even richer.

Thanks to information from helpful readers who saw my earlier post, I now know the truth. As it turns out, Katherine Forrest is considerably wealthier than that $4.3 million number suggests.

Way richer, in fact. Let’s find out….

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Burka in the court?

* The three defendants in the civil wrongful-death action brought by Robert Wone’s widow are keeping their mouths shut. [National Law Journal]

* But their former house is open — and once again on the market, for the tidy sum of $1.6 million. [Who Murdered Robert Wone?]

* Professor Eugene Volokh wants to know, with respect to wearing religious head coverings to court, can’t we all just get along? [Volokh Conspiracy]

Lavi Soloway

* Congratulations to Lavi Soloway and his client, Henry Velandia, whose deportation proceedings have been adjourned — due in part to a recent decision by Attorney General Eric Holder, vacating a BIA decision in another case involving a same-sex couple. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* Speaking of judges and gay marriage, maybe Justice Kennedy should trade Salzburg for São Paulo this summer. [ABA Journal]

* What is behind the spring bonus phenomenon? One big factor: the boom in the lateral hiring market. [Vault's Law Blog]

* Speaking of the state of the legal economy, we’ve already linked to the big Economist article on the legal profession — but check out this great photo, in case you missed it. [The Economist / Tumblr]

* Are harsh sanctions for discovery violations a good thing? Ben Kerschberg thinks so. [Law & Technology / Forbes]

* Don’t forget to wish your mom a Happy Mother’s Day! (Unless your mom is Vivia Chen.) [The Careerist]

* Litigators: Do you know about the usefulness of Rule 56(f) 56(d)? [What About Clients?]

* When Glenn Reynolds is away, Ann Althouse will play. [Althouse via Instapundit]

* Were your law school classmates this attractive? Probably not. [YouTube]

The Jones Street townhouses. Number 20 has the purple door.


As small-firm columnist Valerie Katz previously discussed, some partners at small law firms are worth big bucks. The only practicing lawyer in the Forbes 400 is a small-firm attorney, in fact.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some partners at small firms have big and beautiful wives homes. The New York Times recently featured one such lawyerly lair: a magnificent townhouse in Manhattan’s coveted West Village neighborhood, now on the market for almost $7.5 million.

The owner of this house once worked at a large law firm and is now a partner in a small law firm. Which firms?

Find out — and ogle photos of the palatial spread — after the jump.

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In 2010, music superstar Lady Gaga earned an estimated $64 million. Meanwhile, legal superstar Lady Kaga — aka Justice Elena Kagan, of the United States Supreme Court — earned considerably less.

For the part of 2010, the Divine Miss K served as Solicitor General, earning an annual salary of $165,300. After her confirmation as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, she got a raise, to $213,900 a year — a healthy income, but less than the base salary of a fifth-year associate in a law firm (or the total compensation in 2010, bonus included, of a fourth-year associate). Her income as a justice is also much less than her salary of $437,299 as Harvard Law School dean.

Still, even though Justice Kagan might not be filthy rich, she has done well for herself. At the time of her nomination to SCOTUS, she reported a net worth of around $1.8 million. Given this rosy financial picture, as well as her six-figure income and great job security — it’s rare for a federal judge to be impeached, Judge Porteous notwithstanding — it’s not surprising that Her Honor was recently spotted checking out some pretty pricey D.C. digs.

Where was she looking? And what seems to be her homebuying budget?

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500 West End Avenue: former home of Tina Fey, until she sold - to a law firm partner.

After suffering through a brutal recession that was fueled, in part, by the collapse of the real estate market, you’d think that nobody would want to read about real estate ever again. But that’s not what’s happening in the blogosphere, where real estate is hotter than ever.

For example, consider Lockhart Steele’s Curbed, an excellent network of sites focused on real estate and interior design. Curbed is thriving, and it recently launched a national edition.

Above the Law readers are similarly obsessed with real estate. Is it because everyone had to take Property as 1Ls? For whatever reason, Lawyerly Lairs is one of our most popular and well-trafficked features. The last installment, a visit to the $4.7 million Chicago townhouse of outgoing Northwestern Law dean David Van Zandt, continues to be a top post (even though it dates back to before Thanksgiving).

So let’s give you more of the real estate porn you want and deserve. In today’s Lawyerly Lairs, focused on ATL’s home city of New York, we look at the recently acquired, envy-inducing residences of partners at three leading law firms: White & Case, Sullivan & Cromwell, and Linklaters.

The first featured residence even has a celebrity connection: the seller was Tina Fey, fabulous television and movie star (and Sarah Palin impersonator)….

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Isn’t it nice when people who do good also do well? David Van Zandt — the outgoing dean of Northwestern Law, and the incoming president of The New School — is a beloved figure, at NU Law and beyond. Professionally, he’s an innovator in legal education; personally, he’s a great guy. We’re big fans of his here at Above the Law, especially since he once wrote a guest commentary for our pages (on law school rankings).

When Dean Van Zandt announced his departure, Northwestern Law students were heartbroken. But don’t shed tears for DVZ: he’s going to a better place. Hello, New York City! [FN1]

And assuming The New School doesn’t provide its new president with housing, Dean Van Zandt should be able to snap up a fabulous pad for himself here in Gotham. He has put his Chicago mansion on the market, for a very pretty penny. If he succeeds in selling it for anywhere near the asking price, he’ll be able to live large in NYC.

Dean Van Zandt bought the home back in 1996, for $922,550. How much is it on the market for today?

Let’s find out — and ogle some pictures of the house, inside and out….

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Trump World Tower

Why are so many lawyers interested in making the jump to business? One obvious reason: money.

Look at the list of lawyers who made this year’s Forbes 400. Of the almost 40 lawyers / holders of law degrees who made the cut, only one, Joe Jamail, is a practicing attorney. And he’s all the way down at #269, with a net worth of just $1.5 billion. Poor Joe!

If you’re a partner at a major law firm in a big city, you might someday own a $3 million apartment. But if you want a $30 million apartment, you need to move into business.

A $30 million-plus apartment, in the Trump World Tower. That’s what lawyer turned businessman Dominick D’Alleva, a 1977 graduate of Yale Law School and a former Simpson Thacher associate, has placed on the market.

It’s the weekend, when people like to attend open houses for fun real-estate voyeurism. So let’s take a take a look at D’Alleva’s digs….

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