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    January 5, 2011  

How did you spend your holidays? We’d love to run a few pictures of local attorney-types in exotic locales. You know, like New Jersey. Send photos of your vacations, staycations, and other fun activities (with a description) for inclusion in Bisnow!


Stroock & Stroock & Lavan’s litigation chair, Chuck Moerdler, a longtime lion of public service, is taking a top spot at a new challenge: the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Governor Paterson appointed him, and on December 7 the NY Senate confirmed him to a six-year term as a member of the MTA.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan’s litigation chair, Chuck Moerdler
We snapped Chuck next to a lion gargoyle he picked up from a building on Albany St. (We assume legally.) He tells us that out of 147 nominations pending this year, the NY Senate confirmed only him and two others (hopefully the MTA won’t take after that model of efficiency). Instead of cutting jobs and services, Chuck says that he is hoping to generate additional streams of revenue, perhaps by selling or leasing air rights. He plans to use his experience repping the Sanitation Union since 1973 to improve broken labor relations and improve communication between the MTA and its users. (Our wish list includes a countdown clock in every station and a better odor in the 59th and Lex station.)
chuck moerdler in-law article ny post

Chuck has extensive public sector experience, currently serving as a member of the Dormitory Authority, the NYC Housing Development Corporation, and the NYC Board of Collective Bargaining. But we think no accomplishment is greater than the time (captured in the leftmost NY Post headline), that Chuck, as Commissioner of Buildings, publicly threatened to take his mother-in-law to court (for housing code violations), thus fulfilling every married man’s fantasy. Remarkably, Chuck survived the fallout, still happily married to his wife of 55 years. Despite the full resumé, Chuck finds time to practice law, currently repping NY’s largest health insurer (Emblem), Sotheby’s in art fraud and other litigation, the Sanitation Union for decades, and the United Federation of Teachers, most recently in an ongoing dispute over the public release of teachers’ names on erroneous Teachers Data Reports.

jeff moerdler and scott moerdler in morocco with snakes
Chuck showed us this picture of his son, Jeff, head of real estate in Mintz Levin’s NY office, holding a snake, as Chuck’s grandson, Scott, a 3rd year med student at Mount Sinai, uses a charmer’s snake as a hat. Before the Morocco trip, Chuck tells us he took all 17 family members to Israel for Sukkot and before that he took three through Berlin and East Germany to learn about his history as a Holocaust survivor. Chuck tells us that he left Danzig, Germany (then a “free city,” now Gdansk, Poland) with his mother (his only surviving family member) as Warsaw was being bombed on Sept 1, 1939. He spent a few years in England before moving to the New York at the end of ‘46. He had to repeat high school, yet graduated at 15, college at 18, and law school at 21. Why does he continue to give back? “I owe. And I’m prepared to try and repay.”



Steve Ehrenberg is one of eight to make partner this year at Sullivan & Cromwell
Steve Ehrenberg is one of eight to make partner this year at Sullivan & Cromwell (effective Jan. 1). We snapped him in his 125 Broad St. office overlooking the helipad used by US presidents during Big Apple visits. He says the security magicians are so good at misdirection, he’s only been able to identify Obama and W once. Steve tells us his practice involves primarily regulatory and enforcement work for financial institutions and the corresponding civil litigation (primarily shareholder class actions and derivative litigation) that arises out of these proceedings. Of course, the bulk of his work is non-public, but he was able to tell us about a recent pro bono victory: The firm partnered with the ACLU to strike down an Arkansas law barring unmarried, cohabiting individuals from adopting or fostering children. After defeating the state’s motion to dismiss, the team won on summary judgment. The state’s appeal is now pending in the Arkansas Supreme Court. 
expert rock climber, Steve Ehrenberg

Steve’s not only had luck climbing the corporate ranks, he’s also a skilled aid climber (no pre-hooked rocks or bolt guns for him). Until his daughter was born (two years ago last month), he frequently climbed challenging rock faces. He says one of his last climbs was the Leaning Tower next to the Bridal Veil Falls in the Yosemite Valley—a Grade V climb (literally meaning that a fall would result in severe injury or death) with 100 percent overhang (visualize a straight drop-off, then tilt it over another 15 degrees). He says he climbed about 1/3 of a mile, over 36 hours, with a brief two hour rest clipped to the wall. (You can't sue a rock face, but at least being a lawyer prepares you for the lack of sleep.)



Edward Schotz

Bisnow would like to express our deepest condolences on the passing of legal icon Edward Schotz, who died Dec. 29 at the age of 80. Edward was a founding member of Hackensack-based Cole Schotz, the result of the merger of his prior firm, Shavick, Schotz, Nadler & Konner with Cole, Berman & Belsky in ‘82. He concentrated on real estate planning, development, acquisitions, syndications, sales, and the leasing and financing of commercial and industrial properties. “Cole Schotz has lost its best friend, mentor, visionary, firm founder, and legal scholar. We were so blessed to be honored by his guidance, wisdom, and kindness,” said co-managing partners Michael Sirota and Samuel Weiner. He’s survived by his wife Marilyn, son Jeffrey (of SJP Properties), daughter-in-law Lauren, daughter Alison, son-in-law Peter, and five grandchildren. Donations in his memory can be made to Barnert Memorial Temple, The Valley Hospital Foundation, and the Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative.

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