Real Estate

New Yorkers: you can have this house for the cost of a one-bedroom in Queens.

We will admit to some bias in Lawyerly Lairs, our column about the fabulous homes of lawyers all across this great land. As you may have noticed, Lairs coverage focuses disproportionately on the East Coast and the West Coast. Most recently we’ve written about a $10 million beach house in Malibu, a $3 million condo in Manhattan, a $10 million mansion in Brooklyn Heights, and a variety of properties in Washington, D.C.

So we’re going to try something different today. We’re heading to the heartland, where there are some major real estate bargains to be had.

Have you ever fantasized about selling your $500,000 (or $1 million or $2 million) home in an expensive coastal city, buying a $250,000 place in a less expensive part of the country, and pocketing the difference (so you can live off it for a while)? Keep reading….

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Partnership has its privileges. Partners at major law firms enjoy glittering prestige and eye-popping profits. The retirement benefits are amazing; some partners take home seven-figure checks for years after leaving their firms. All of this filthy lucre allows some partners to snag beautiful mates — sexy Russian spies, ex-girlfriends of Hollywood celebrities, and former models from Brazil.

The real estate isn’t bad either. Many Biglaw partners own million-dollar homes, which we lovingly cover in Lawyerly Lairs. And law firm offices are paragons of elegance and comfort — which they ought to be, considering how much time the partners spend in them. (In New York, I’m particularly fond of Proskauer’s premises and Davis Polk’s digs.)

Partners with sufficient seniority enjoy coveted corner offices. Right?

Not necessarily. That brings us to our latest Biglaw blind item….

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Most of the coverage of this $10 million Malibu beach house changing hands has focused on the famous seller. Music mogul Irving Azoff, executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and the founder of Azoff Music Management Group, has represented such mono-monikered celebrities as Seal, Jewel, and Christina (Aguilera, of course).

But we’re more interested in the buyer, a phenomenally successful litigator. Who is he, and where does he work?

And what does the inside of his new home look like? We have photos, of course….

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(For A Cool $10 Million)”

Hotter than a real poison pill.

* I know you don’t want to be evil, but I don’t think “privacy” means what you think it means. Google users have filed a class action suit against the company in New York over its new complete and utter lack of privacy policy. [Bloomberg]

* So you made some anti-war comments, touched Dick Cheney, got arrested, claimed your First Amendment rights were violated, and your case made it all the way to SCOTUS. Greatest accomplishment? Not getting shot by Cheney. [Huffington Post]

* Whoa, whoa, whoa. You mean to tell me that Wachtell’s name partner, Martin Lipton, the man who created the “poison pill,” supports staggered boards? Consider my mind blown. [DealBook / New York Times]

* M&A maven Dennis Block and real estate rock star Jeffrey Feil each donated $1M to their alma mater, Brooklyn Law School. See, you don’t need to go to a T14 school to make bank. [National Law Journal]

* Protip: not even Dov Charney’s world-renowned creepiness can save you from an arbitration agreement. A former employee’s $260M sex slave suit has been tossed out of court. [New York Daily News]

The people building 1 World Trade Center still seem to be having trouble attracting big-time tenants. Especially law firms. Previous reports have indicated that Mayer Brown and Morgan Lewis have backed out of deals to take up residency in the new tower.

The latest law firm deal to fall through appears to be that of Chadbourne & Parke. In January, the New York Times reported with much fanfare that Chadbourne & Parke would be a “prime tenant” a 1 WTC. But this week, the New York Post is reporting that the deal has fallen through.

Chadbourne, currently housed at 30 Rock, doesn’t have to go downtown, but it can’t stay where it is. So where will Chadbourne be going?

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845 West End Avenue

In the battle to stay high (or climb higher) in the all-powerful U.S. News law school rankings, law schools compete with each other to woo star faculty. And this makes sense. Because a school’s peer reputation score “appears to explain around 90% of the variation in overall USNWR score,” as noted by Professor Eric Talley over at TaxProf Blog, it pays for a law school to snag top talent.

How does a law school prevail in the battle for superstars? Well, despite their impressive academic pedigrees and their Big Ideas, law professors just like us: they love luxury real estate.

Check out the $3.6 million apartment, located in the magnificent prewar condominium at 845 West End Avenue, that NYU Law School just added to its collection of fabulous faculty housing….

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A lovely view of the National Cathedral (click to enlarge).

A congressman?

No, silly — we’re talking about real estate, an obsession that I share with many Above the Law readers. There’s a reason why Lawyerly Lairs is one of the most popular, well-trafficked features on this site.

Last month, we visited a few attorneys’ homes in Washington, D.C. This visit to our nation’s capital proved so popular that one of our D.C.-based readers volunteered up her own home for your scrutiny.

Let’s check it out….

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Garden Place: one of the loveliest blocks in Brooklyn (or all of New York City, for that matter). If you have $10 million to spare, you can live here too.

A friend of mine recently made partner at a top New York law firm. A senior partner called to offer congratulations: “Now you can finally move out of Brooklyn!”

But my friend doesn’t want to move out of Brooklyn — and with good reason. Over the past few years, what was once viewed as a dangerous, dirty, and downmarket borough has become hot, happening, and high-end. It’s not for nothing that GQ famously dubbed Brooklyn “the coolest city in the planet.”

Brooklyn may be newly hip (and increasingly expensive), but some people have known about its charms for years. Take this partner at a leading New York law firm, a longtime resident, who has placed his Brooklyn Heights townhouse on the market — for an eight-figure sum….

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* It’s hard to get a mortgage if you have a lot of student debt, even if you make a lot of money. Who needs a house anyway? Your advanced degree will keep you warm. [BusinessWeek]

* A civil trial over BP’s Gulf Oil spill was supposed to start today, but it was postponed at the last minute. Is it just me or does it smell like settlement in here? [New York Times]

* As if anyone needed another reason to never take a Carnival Cruise…. [CNN]

* The Catholic Church just couldn’t handle sharing its ignominious spotlight with Penn State any longer. Attorneys allege that the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, former Archbishop of Philadelphia, destroyed a list of 35 active priests accused of child sexual abuse. [Washington Post]

* Some movie with no sound, color, explosions, or giant robots won a bunch of Academy Awards last night. I can’t say I care too much. Here’s a rundown of some classic cine con lawyers instead. [ABA Journal]

* Advice for art collectors: CHECK YOU PROVENANCE. [New York Times]

* Michael Rothenberg, executive director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, RIP. [New York Law Journal]

Which former Cabinet member sold the house with the blue door?

Are we too New York-centric in Lawyerly Lairs, our inside look at the homes (and occasionally offices) of lawyers and law students? Perhaps. It makes sense that we focus on Gotham, since Above the Law is headquartered here. But we realize that other cities and states boast great real estate too (and not just the 3500-square-foot houses enjoyed by the average associate at a Texas law firm).

Today let’s take a trip down to the nation’s capital. We’ll check out a few Lawyerly Lairs down in Washington, D.C. — including the $2 million Georgetown home shown above, recently sold by a former Cabinet member turned law firm partner….

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