Back in April, we wondered about the departure from Sullivan & Cromwell of John O’Brien, a highly regarded and well-liked corporate partner who focused on M&A work. This development captured our interest because it’s unusual for lawyers to leave the (highly lucrative) partnership of a top firm like S&C.
When partners leave a place like Sullivan & Cromwell, there’s often a story behind the departure. E.g., Carlos Spinelli-Noseda (partner left S&C after billing clients and firm for more than $500,000 in fraudulent travel and entertainment expenses).
In addition, word on the street was that O’Brien was escorted from the building by security personnel. Partners are being asked to leave their firms with increasing frequency during the recession — but they’re not usually walked out by muscle.
Law professors generally don’t earn as much as Biglaw partners. Legal academic salaries, while generally in the low six-figures, rarely go over, say, $400,000.
But some law profs own very, very nice homes. See, e.g. (in descending order by value):
Columbia professor Hans Smit ($30 million mansion — yup, that’s seven zeros);
Yale professor James Whitman ($5.7 million co-op);
NYU professor Cathy Sharkey ($5.2 million apartment);
“Feldsuk,” aka Harvard professors Jeannie Suk, who has a new book out that looks quite interesting, and Noah Feldman ($2.8 million mansion);
Columbia professor Edward Morrison ($2.6 million townhouse); and
Columbia professor Sarah Cleveland ($2.5 million townhouse).
Sometimes the professors get financial assistance for these purchases from the schools that employ them. But sometimes the professors buy them on their own, without any university help.
For example, as reported in the New York Observer, Daniel Fischel, former dean of the University of Chicago Law School, just picked up an $8.45 million Manhattan pied-à-terre. As breathlessly described by writer Max Abelson, the apartment features “custom electric shades, a steam shower, and a Sub-Zero wine refrigerator.”
Earlier today, we wrote about Schiff Hardin sending a mass e-mail to its retired partners letting them know that they were being moved to temporary offices during a renovation of the firm’s Chicago office. The e-mail read as if the partners were not getting their own offices upon their return and were being asked to cut back their time at the office.
Schiff got in touch with us this afternoon with an update. Despite the language in the e-mail, in fact, all special partners will be getting their own offices when renovations are complete, according to Schiff’s spokesman. They just won’t be in the same offices as before. There will be no change in the partners’ status with the firm, he added.
Schiff’s spokesman could not explain why the e-mail read like a dismissal letter.
We’ve noticed in comment threads that many of you would like frequent commenter Partner Emeritus to retire. But he’s a persistent one. Perhaps frustrated readers should take a page from the book of Schiff Hardin.
The 400-attorney firm found an interesting way to get rid of its partners emeriti in the firm’s Chicago office. It will move its “special partners” to temporary offices while its main building is being renovated, and then not move them back.
UPDATE: It appears there was a misunderstanding. A clarification from the firm appears here.
The firm notified its retired partners, referred to as “special partners,” on Sunday. And not in a very nice way. They got the message via mass e-mail:
Dear Special Partners,
As you know, we are about embark upon the renovation of our space in Chicago. We will move to temporary space two floors at a time and then return to our improved floors. We will use this opportunity to reshuffle offices
Some of you have volunteered to move offices when we return to the renovated space. I have not, however, had an opportunity to speak with all of you about this topic. With one exception, you will not be returning to your present office.
The mass e-mail that Schiff Hardin’s (not-so special?) partners emeriti got, plus a clarification from the firm, after the jump.
Earlier this week, we wrote about a serious drafting mistake by Stroock & Stroock & Lavan — maybe a typo, maybe not — that could cost Stroock’s client millions.
Could Stroock look to its malpractice insurer for help? Maybe not, according to the New York Post:
The gaffe exposes Stroock to the real possibility of having to pay back Extell and Carlyle out of its own pocket because sources said that if the developers sue Stroock, it’s unlikely its insurer will pick up the tab.
The basis for this prediction is not included in the Post article. If you have thoughts on the insurance issue, please do share. Stroock didn’t comment to the New York Times, which first wrote about the error, but they did offer brief comment to the Post.
We realize that we make our fair share of typographical errors here at ATL. But this is just a blog, not a document being sent to a client or filed with a court, and we’re more focused on substance than style, due to the speed of the news cycle and our desire to be… FIRST! So please cut us some slack.
(But do continue to point out typos to us, either in the comments or by email. Readers are our unofficial copy editors, and we frequently fix typos after they’ve been brought to our attention.)
In any event, at least our typos don’t cost anyone millions. From the New York Times:
The Rushmore, a new 41-story glass and stone condominium tower on Riverside Boulevard at the Hudson River, seemed serene on a recent visit. The flowers in the interior courtyard were in full bloom; the ground-level pool had been filled. Sixteen buyers had already moved in.
And yet an error of a single digit in an arcane document — the densely worded 732-page offering plan — could upset that happy picture, and cost the sponsors, the Extell Development Company and the Carlyle Group, tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue, lawyers say.
A former Mayer Brown associate, Venus Yvette Springs, has filed a complaint against the firm. She alleges Mayer Brown discriminated against her and eventually fired her in 2008.
Springs was an associate in the real estate group of Mayer Brown, Charlotte. In her complaint, she claims that the head of the group, Frank Arado, said that he would make her a partner with the firm as recently as March 2008. But in May 2008, she was informed that she would be fired. She was officially terminated in September of 2008. The heart of her discrimination claim seems to be this paragraph:
In a statement obtained by Above the Law, Mayer Brown strenuously denied the claims:
Mayer Brown has not yet been served with the complaint filed by former employee Yvette Springs. However, based on our current review, we believe her claims have no merit. We will defend ourselves vigorously in this matter. Consistent with our policy of not commenting on personnel matters or pending litigation, we have nothing further to say.
In these dire times, academia is regarded as a refuge. Sure, endowments are down, some schools have imposed hiring freezes, and budgets are being trimmed here and there. But the academy, especially the legal academy, hasn’t seen anything like the carnage experienced by Biglaw.
Take the ivory tower of Columbia Law School, which apparently remains an impregnable fortress against the recession. Despite a few budget cuts at the university, the law school still provides professors with delicious digs. From the Sunday New York Times:
Many buyers say that jumbo mortgages are hard to come by these days. But don’t tell that to Edward R. Morrison, a law professor and economist at Columbia University, who is something of an expert on these troubled times.
Last month Mr. Morrison and his wife, Anne, bought a restored two-family town house at 357 West 121 Street in Harlem for $2.575 million. Brokers said it was a record price for a town house in the neighborhood — just down the hill from the Columbia campus in Morningside Heights, near Morningside Park — and one of the top 10 town house sales in Harlem in recent years.
As we’ve told you before, to the Elect go all the spoils. (Ed Morrison clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia.)
Now, a $2.6 million townhouse is pretty sweet — but it’s not the nicest piece of real estate owned by a CLS faculty member. That title surely belongs to Hans Smit’s $29 million mansion.
(Actually, make that $30 million, the price reflected in the current version of the listing. What recession?)
More details about the Morrison manse, plus a picture of the super-cute professor, after the jump.
No Gropius dorms for her, thank you very much. Harvard Law School student Cate Edwards, oldest daughter of prominent politician John Edwards, just purchased a million-dollar property in Washington’s tony Georgetown neighborhood.
Famous dad: Former presidential hopeful John Edwards.
Price: $1.3 million.
Amenities: Two bedrooms, five baths.
An NPR internship with Nina Totenberg doesn’t pay like a summer associate gig. Perhaps Cate was able to draw upon the fortune amassed by her father during his career as a top trial lawyer.
The property has two bedrooms and five bathrooms. A high bathroom-to-bedroom ratio is a token of a luxuriousness. But does Cate really need all those bathrooms? Does Papa Edwards — who might crash occasionally at Cate’s place, having sold his own mansion around the corner in 2006 (for $5.2 million) — really have that much ickiness to wash off?
The children of Senators Ted Kennedy and John Warner also snapped up some swank properties. Read about them over at Washingtonian.
We have a soft spot for Columbia Law School, especially after our excellent visit there on Wednesday (“our” = Lat + Kash). Thanks to the CLS Federalist Society, the sponsor of our talk, for the warm welcome.
Through some combination of gossip, online stalking, hounding their teaching assistants and perusing the Facebook group “Phillip [sic] Bobbitt is Our Hero,” students piece together the following:
Professor Bobbitt, who is 60, arrived at Columbia only 18 months ago, after three decades at the University of Texas. He is an eminent scholar of the Constitution and used to teach modern history at Oxford. He’s a former member of the Carter, Bush I and Clinton administrations and an adviser to foreign heads of state.
Henry Kissinger and Tony Blair blurbed his latest book on terrorism, which both current presidential candidates have reportedly read. He’s the nephew of Lyndon B. Johnson. He can blow smoke rings, and sponsors a national poetry prize in honor of his late mother. Also: He rotates seasonally among his homes, and can’t shake his habit of a nightly cigar and scotch-and-soda.
Read more, including words of wisdom from the worldly-wise professor, after the jump.
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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