Seltzer proves he's the pleader of the pack: Richard Seltzer, chairman real estate litigation group, Kaye Scholer LLP.Donald Trump Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism. wouldn't be Donald Trump if he were known for losing court cases. Yet a courtroom defeat is exactly what Richard Seltzer handed him. Over his decades long career, Richard Seltzer has worked for and against the biggest names in real estate, proving himself as one of New York's premier real estate lawyers. In a city with no shortage of lawyers specializing in real estate, Seltzer is one of the best,
He grew up in the New Jersey suburb of Teaneck, attending Teaneck High School Teaneck High School (also known as The Castle on the Hill) is a four-year comprehensive public high school, which is part of the Teaneck Public Schools district in Teaneck, New Jersey, United States. before matriculating to Harvard. While at Harvard, Seltzer didn't just limit his studies to pre-law classes. He majored in economics, but pursued classes in other subjects such as history and science, at one point even taking a biology class with the renowned JD Watson, one of the co-discoverers of the DNA DNA: see nucleic acid.
or deoxyribonucleic acid
One of two types of nucleic acid (the other is RNA); a complex organic compound found in all living cells and many viruses. It is the chemical substance of genes. double helix double helix
The coiled structure of a double-stranded DNA molecule in which strands linked by hydrogen bonds form a spiral configuration. Also called DNA helix, Watson-Crick helix. . This range of interests would later come to serve him well as a lawyer.
Andrew Seidman, a VP and general counsel for Studley, Inc., is a long time friend and colleague of Seltzer. They met while Seidman was at the property development firm Olympia & York, and he was instantly taken by Seltzer's broad knowledge base.
"We did many cases together over the years, and I saw Richard was more than a successful lawyer, he was an extraordinarily good draftsman. He was a renaissance man Renaissance man
A man who has broad intellectual interests and is accomplished in areas of both the arts and the sciences.
Noun 1. . He was very well read in a wide range of subjects outside of the law. As I came to be friendly with him, I came to realize he had a huge breadth of knowledge about subjects far afield from the law, be it American history, or music, or sports," said Seidman.
After graduating from Harvard magna cure laude, Seltzer entered Columbia University Columbia University, mainly in New York City; founded 1754 as King's College by grant of King George II; first college in New York City, fifth oldest in the United States; one of the eight Ivy League institutions. Law School, where he would eventually earn the distinguished position of Stone Scholar. When he finished law school, Seltzer began work for Kaye Scholer Kaye Scholer is a law firm founded in 1917 by Benjamin Kaye and Jacob Scholer. The firm has more than 500 attorneys in eight offices located in the cities of Chicago, Frankfurt, London, Los Angeles, New York (headquarters), Shanghai, Washington, D.C., and West Palm Beach. . It was there that he would discover his talents for both real estate contract law and litigation An action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.
When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation. and would go on to head up Kaye Scholer's real estate litigation section.
"When I got to Kaye Scholer, I became a litigator lit·i·gate
v. lit·i·gat·ed, lit·i·gat·ing, lit·i·gates
To contest in legal proceedings.
To engage in legal proceedings. and I realized that we had a very large real estate transaction section, but we always recommended our clients go to the smaller, boutique litigation firms," Seltzer remembered, "I realized that the main point people were arguing over was contract law, and since I got an A at Columbia in contract law, I figured I could do this, and we should stop turning away the real estate litigation. I started the real estate litigation section at Kaye, and now we have ten lawyers in the section."
It was in his capacity as leader of the Kaye Scholer real estate contract team that Seltzer would go on to distinguish himself as one of the most respected and feared lawyers in the field.
Seltzer's legal style can best be defined as a combination of outside the box thinking coupled with a measured, methodical courtroom style. Rather than engaging in emotional, histrionic histrionic /his·tri·on·ic/ (his?tre-on´ik) excessively dramatic or emotional, as in histrionic personality disorder; see under personality. courtroom displays, he elegantly deconstructs his opponents' defenses like an expert chess player.
One example of this was a case where Seltzer had to employ legal reasoning old enough to be considered history more than vital, current jurisprudence jurisprudence (jr'ĭsprd`əns), study of the nature and the origin and development of law. . "A client came to us with a 24 story building that they were going to demolish in midtown. All of the tenants had demolition clauses in their leases. This being New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , some of the tenants said they just wouldn't leave. They would take the landlord to court, and bleed him dry. If any of the tenants did as they threatened, if they held over without a lease, the landlord would be done for," said Seltzer, "I found a law that had not been used since the 1800s that said you could evict a commercial trespasser without going to court."
Ultimately, the courts ruled that law was still relevant today and the tenants could be evicted in the middle of the night and the building demolished. Seltzer then pursued the tenants for damages covering the month that the demolition was delayed and secured the largest civil court ruling on the subject ever, benefiting his client to the tune of $1.2 million.
However, Seltzer's career is marked by more than simply gaudy monetary returns. He has also argued twice before New York's highest court, and the result in one of the cases is widely taught in law schools today. In Wallace v. 600 Madison Ave. partners, Seltzer defended a landlord in a contested land valuation case, a subject he has since made his specialty.
"The landlord was concerned that if the rent was set during a land value depression in the 90's, they would be stuck with a very low rent. I found something in the lease that said if the parties couldn't agree on a rent, either party could demand arbitration no sooner than 12 months before the expiration of the renewal term. It said that you arbitrate at the end of the renewal term, not the beginning, and the land value will be far higher. Thus, you could get the rent retroactively set based on the later, higher value. I took it to court, and I moved for a ruling that the arbitration was demanded 25 years too early. The court of appeals agreed with me 7-0," explained Seltzer.
While those two cases highlight Seltzer's creative thinking outside the courtroom, his defense of JP Morgan against Sheldon Solow allowed him to show off his skill as a litigator. Solow had hired four law firms This list of the world's largest law firms by revenue is taken from The Lawyer and The American Lawyer and is ordered by 2006 revenue:
Boles, who worked with Al Gore Noun 1. Al Gore - Vice President of the United States under Bill Clinton (born in 1948)
Albert Gore Jr., Gore in Gore v. Bush and was a special counsel to the Justice Department during their suit against Microsoft, was considered one of the best lawyers in America.
"I had watched a lot of David's cross examinations against Microsoft, and I realized that he trapped witness using Power Point, and I'll be darned darned
Adj. 1. darned - expletives used informally as intensifiers; "he's a blasted idiot"; "it's a blamed shame"; "a blame cold winter"; "not a blessed dime"; "I'll be damned (or blessed or darned or if I'm going to be out gunned by him. He was like a modern day gladiator gladiator
Professional combatant in ancient Rome who engaged in fights to the death as sport. Gladiators originally performed at Etruscan funerals, the intent being to give the dead man armed attendants in the next world. ," said Seltzer, "I got my firm's litigation support group to get me all of the technology that David Boies had, and we were extraordinarily visual. We were able to walk the judge through what did and did not need to be restored."
Naturally, Seltzer walked away with the win. Ultimately, though, Seltzer's highest profile case pitted him against New York Real Estate institution, Donald Trump. He litigated against Trump in a brokerage fee dispute on behalf of the founder of the Corcoran Group, Barbara Corcoran. Seltzer ultimately won $4 million for his client and earned himself a place in the pages of her autobiography in which she writes, "Before finding Richard Seltzer at Kaye Scholer LLP LLP - Lower Layer Protocol , we interviewed the best litigators at other top New York law firms, but none of them measured up to Richard Seltzer."
Every weekend morning at the crack of dawn, Richard Seltzer walks to the lake near his home in Stockbridge, MA to row. This relentlessness filters into every part of his life. Right now, he is so sought after that he is booked for cases he might not work on for two or more years.
As Seltzer continues to become more focused on contested land appraisal, it is clear that he will bring his trademark style of methodical legal expertise to this field, and that his clients will continue to line up for the services of one of the most adroit legal minds in the world of New York real estate.