Upper West Side

Ronan Farrow

A few days ago, lawyer turned television personality Ronan Farrow commented on Twitter, “All my business meetings are like ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ and all my dates are like ‘Schindler’s List’, am I doing something wrong.” The tweet was widely retweeted and favorited by Farrow’s 250,000-plus followers (despite receiving criticism from some quarters).

It’s surprising that Farrow’s dating life isn’t going better. In addition to being extremely handsome, he’s a Rhodes Scholar and Yale Law School graduate with his own television show and celebrity parents (Mia Farrow and either Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra). What more could one ask for in a lover?

How about some solid real estate? Well, Ronan’s got that too — a New York apartment that he purchased for a seven-figure sum….

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The Beresford (at right)

Seven years ago this month, M&A lawyer Gregory Ostling was elected to the partnership of Wachtell Lipton, effective January 2007. In our story about the news, we referred to Wachtell as “obscenely profitable and dazzlingly prestigious.”

Wachtell routinely tops the Am Law 100 rankings in profits per partner and the Vault rankings of law firm prestige. In 2011, according to the American Lawyer, WLRK enoyed PPP of $4.975 million.

Because the firm has a single-tier partnership and is fairly lockstep (with just a handful of senior partners off the lockstep), even junior partners at Wachtell do very well for themselves. So maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that a relatively young partner like Greg Ostling just bought not one but two multimillion-dollar apartments at the Beresford — one acquired from a famous athlete, and one from an heiress — which presumably he’s going to combine into a single fabulosity-oozing residence….

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50 Riverside Drive

Last month, we brought you a Davis Polk fairy tale. Two talented lawyers met at the elite law firm, fell in love, and got married. They lived happily after, in their $6 million apartment (until they sold the apartment to a celebrated Chinese artist).

Now it’s time for the Sullivan & Cromwell version. For some lawyers who work there, S&C sends them into therapy; for others, it sends them into the arms of a beloved.

This couple met at Sullivan & Cromwell, got together, and bought an apartment at 50 Riverside Drive, a beautiful prewar co-op on the Upper West Side. They renovated the place — doing a lovely job, I might add — and then sold it for more than $3 million….

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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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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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The Cornwall: home to a Cravath crib.

The venerable firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore has received a fair amount of criticism for its allegedly subpar bonuses. I’ve previously defended their payouts — in times of economic uncertainty, is paying modest bonuses to avoid later layoffs such a bad idea? — but my view has been poorly received. (For commentary castigating firms for their cheapness, please turn to my colleague, Elie Mystal.)

Partners at Cravath, where profits per partner exceeded $3 million in 2010, are definitely in the top 1 percent. But it seems that even non-partners are doing quite nicely for themselves, despite all the bonus bellyaching.

Check out the million-dollar penthouse — yay real estate porn! — of one of Cravath’s corporate lawyers. And she’s not even a partner….

UPDATE (12/12/11): We’ve gotten our hands on the floorplan, which we’ve added to the slideshow, and we’ve added additional comments about what a “practice area attorney” does at Cravath.

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(A non-partner’s million-dollar penthouse.)

Stop sexually harassing me.

* Now trending on the Election 2012 campaign trail for Republicans: attacks on the federal court system. Be prepared for SCOTUS term limits and other ridiculous propositions. [New York Times]

* After some bratty behavior from MGA Entertainment, Orrick was allowed to withdraw as counsel. Maybe they’re using the unpaid $3.85M in legal fees to buy noses for their dolls. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Paul Ceglia’s latest lawyer, Dean Boylan, is used to working with fabricated evidence. He was just ordered to pay $300K in damages for creating some fake kiddie porn. [Bloomberg]

* Cate Edwards got married this weekend. Was daddy sporting another $400 haircut when he walked her down the aisle? [Hollywood Reporter]

* Who wins the prize for being the number one deadbeat taxpayer in New York’s Upper West Side? A lawyer with $1.2M in tax liens, that’s who. [New York Post]

* “It would be better if you didn’t wear any underwear to work.” The trials and tribulations of being a female bartender in Manhattan, now brought to you in lawsuit form. [New York Daily News]

Tyler Clementi and Dharun Ravi: both said politically incorrect things.

* The Kardashians may be “America’s rightful overlords,” as Marin so memorably put it, but even they must respect intellectual-property laws. [Fashionista]

* Congratulations to the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 (class of 2011). Perhaps you know some of the inductees? [National LGBT Bar Association]

* In less cheerful LGBT news… another day, another Republican politician allegedly trolling the internet for paid male companionship. Stay classy, Phil Hinkle. [Indianapolis Star]

* Tyler Clementi joked about Dharun Ravi’s parents owning a Dunkin’ Donuts shop. [New York Magazine]

Must lobster salad contain lobster?

* So just who is behind Inside the Law School Scam? Con Daily got an interview with LawProf, and breaks down a list of schools where LawProf may be employed. [Constitutional Daily]

* The SEC is sniffing around S&P; Matt Levine explains why. [Dealbreaker]

* When it comes to taking “reasonable” steps to prevent disclosure of privileged materials, perfection is not required, according to Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm. [Catalyst E-Discovery Search Blog (Bob Ambrogi)]

* A popular grocery store on the Upper West Side thought that it could get away with mislabeling its lobster salad. Not so fast… where’s Kash when you need her? [New York Times]

I will always remember the first time I ate sushi. I was pretty grossed out at the idea of eating raw fish (that’s what she said), but my friends told me that I had to try it because it was “oh my God, sooooo good.” I then learned that I should always take my friends’ advice when it comes to trying new food, because I was hooked.

It might have taken me a while to master the art of using chopsticks, but I love sushi. I’d actually go so far as to say I’m obsessed with it.

But when I hear that people are getting “special sauce” with their sushi rolls, it makes me happy I learned how to make sushi myself this year….

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