Real Estate

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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Penny Lane and Brian Frye, in the Catskills home they've placed on the market.

As we have mentioned, we’re trying to diversify the coverage here at Lawyerly Lairs. After all, the world does not consist entirely of Park Avenue apartments owned by mega-rich law firm partners (as seen here, here, and here). Toward that end, we recently wrote about the housing search of some NYU Law students.

But that was still in New York City. Let’s leave Manhattan behind and head to upstate New York, where we’ll visit the beautiful Catskills house of a law professor and his filmmaker wife….

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(Hey New Yorkers, Looking for a Country House?)”

If you don’t have a lawyer, it is hard to really put their feet to the fire and make sure the banks have every ‘t’ crossed and ‘i’ dotted… We are going to make sure funding for those legal services is restored.

– New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, discussing the implications of a $2.7 billion hard-cash settlement under a nationwide mortgage servicing agreement.

As part of the settlement, New York State will receive a guaranteed $136 million, and New Yorkers who suffered during the foreclosure crisis will be eligible for an estimated $648 million in additional payments. Schneiderman said the settlement will help restore legal service programs that were cut back in recent years.

The new face of Harvard Law School has a funny side.

This week, Harvard Law School unveiled its brand new Wasserstein Hall — a behemoth of a law building that will serve the needs of Harvard law students for generations, maybe even centuries. I was not invited to any of the gala events; my invitation must have been lost in the mail. But I can’t wait to see the finished product. Rumor has it that there’s a state-of-the-art debtor’s prison carved into the building’s foundation.

Obviously, a project of this magnitude required a major fundraising effort. Harvard has never been shy about naming things after big donors. Remember, the university itself is named after a guy who made one of the wisest donations of books ever. Wasserstein Hall contains the Caspersen Student Center, and enough commemorative plaques to fill a plaque store.

The building also contains the Falik Men’s Room.

No, I didn’t make that up. I’m not that clever. I’ve got pictures. I’ve even talked to the benefactor who made the gift….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “True Story: Harvard Law Sells Naming Rights to Its New Bathrooms, and a Berkeley Law Professor Couldn’t Be Happier”

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