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Adam Leitman Bailey is One of New York’s Best Real Estate Attorneys

By: Nabeal Twereet

Personal Life:

Adam Leitman Bailey practices commercial and residential real estate law in New York. He also practices general corporate law and represents big and small banks as well as other public companies. Adam is one of New York’s most prominent real estate attorneys who has successfully triumphed in many trials and settlements involving real estate brokerages, real estate developers, commercial and residential building owners and tenants, insurance companies and cooperative and condominium boards. He is well known for representing several commercial and residential tenants and homeowner associations and has won his clients millions of dollars in compensation and rent abatements. Adam has also represented clients who complained that their landlords have kept their buildings in disrepair. He has an exceptional track record of not only getting those untidy buildings repaired, but also restoring all of the services.

Adam has extensive experience in closing numerous commercial leases and real estate deals. His real estate column frequently appears in the New York Law Journal and he has been appointed to the Board of Editors for Commercial Leasing Law & Strategy. Adam’s lease drafting skills were nationally recognized after BlumbergExcelsior, the nation’s most prominent distributor, which is responsible for over seventy percent of the residential leases signed in the U.S., asked him to compose an innovative set of office leases as well as New York City, state and national leases for acquisition in the U.S. BlumbergExcelsior noted that Adam’s lease drafting skills were “remarkable.” Adam’s commercial leasing strategies and ideas are generally a part of the whole U.S. commercial leasing fabric or package and they have been presented in “The Insider’s Best Commercial Lease Clauses,” which was printed by the Vendome Group. Many property owners in New York use Adam’s leases for residential purposes.

In addition to his practice, Adam serves as an assistant adjunct professor at New York University. He currently teaches a class on residential and commercial landlord-tenant law. In 2011, Adam published his first book called Finding the Uncommon Deal: A Top New York Lawyer Explains How to Buy a Home for the Lowest Possible Price, which explains to first-time home buyers what to expect during the purchase process. The book was printed by John Wiley and Sons and became a number one New York Times bestseller and is still one of the best selling real estate books according to Amazon’s best seller’s list. In 2010, Adam was one of the youngest attorneys ever to be chosen as a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), and a year later he was selected to the American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA). For ACREL he serves on the Insurance and Title Insurance committees. With forty employees–twenty-five are attorneys– Crain Magazine listed Adam’s firm as one of the best places to work in 2010 and again in 2012, a rare feat for a New York law firm. The firm credits this achievement with almost no turnover–only losing two attorneys during the last 7 years.

Over the years, Adam has been awarded with several distinctions. Habitat Magazine recognized Adam in “Who’s Who in Real Estate” for his accomplishment as a cooperative and condominium general counsel. He has been honored with an “AV” (pre-eminent) Martindale-Hubbell rating, has been chosen as a Super Lawyer by Law & Politics Magazine, and has been listed in the top five percent of attorneys in the great state of New York. Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., is the only New York law firm with less than 30 attorneys to win an AV rating, a Chambers ranking and Super Lawyer honors. From 2008 until 2012, the internationally esteemed Chambers & Partners frequently chose Adam as one of New York’s eminent Real Estate attorneys, calling him a “tenacious and confident litigator who is quick-witted in court and respected by the judges,” and acknowledged that he is “an extraordinary practitioner who gets great results” quoting one of Adam’s clients who pointed out that his attorney has the “ability to anticipate things before they happen.”

Real Estate Weekly said “Adam Leitman Bailey has made a name for himself with his success winning cases in the courtroom.” Real Estate Weekly also considers Adam “famous” for his “condominium, foreclosure and tenant representation.” While the New York Real Estate Journal recognizes Adam as “one of New York’s best real estate attorneys,” the New York Times highlighted his legislation proposal and legal strategy in one case as “novel.” The Times also describes his performance in another case: “Adam Leitman Bailey fought on…grinding through excruciating detail and obscure Perry Mason moments.” After Adam’s firm applied a forgotten law to succeed in a landmark case, the Wall Street Journal quoted a well known New York developer’s lawyer who called the property a “game changer,” which would affect real estate across the country. According to Curbed NY, in another high-profile case, Adam was victorious in “the city’s largest condo refund ever” and the New York Post called the same case “a settlement likely to send shivers through the ranks of the city’s condo developers.” Adam was able to secure the largest condominium settlement in New York history and also received the largest government grant, twenty-one million dollars, for a cooperative in New York history.

Adam has appeared on several nationally syndicated television programs including Dateline NBC and The O’Reilly Factor. Dateline NBC invited the Super Lawyer to share his negotiating skills with the rest of America. Adam has won significant trials and cases at a number of trial venues and courts, including Civil, Housing, New York State Supreme and Federal Courts and also at several New York Appellate tribunals. Some of these cases included Trump SoHo, Sky View Parc Purchasers Association, et al. v. FTC Residential Company ll, L.P., Rivas v. McDonnell, Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act Cases, 542 East 14th Street v. Lee, Hartman v. Goldman and Lorne v. 50 Madison Avenue LLC.

Adam was born in Bayside, Queens and grew up in California and New Jersey. He graduated from New Milford High School located in Bergen County, New Jersey. Adam studied Pre-Law at Rutgers before he earned his J.D. from Syracuse Law School, graduating with honors from both schools. The top-notch attorney hasn’t forgotten his roots and enjoys giving back to the students in the community he grew up in as well as other students in the New York area. He gives yearly history and financial tours of the Financial
District where he covers 1664 (Commencement of the English rule of Manhattan) to September 11, 2001. His tour includes visits to the Federal Reserve, Ground Zero, Federal Hall, the location of George Washington’s first inauguration and the site where the passing of the Bill of Rights took place. He also donates technological equipment to his school and provides yearly counsel to the school’s mock trial team, not to mention the several paid internships he provides to not only his high school but several inter-city schools. He also provides yearly scholarships to colleges. On May 4, 2005, the Super Lawyer received a thank you letter from Joel I. Klein who is the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education. The letter acknowledges Adam’s interest in public education in New York City.

When the fearless attorney isn’t working, he enjoys running, traveling and sports. Adam wakes up at seven in the morning and runs three to six miles, five times a week. He explained that he likes to run in Central Park and plays basketball on Saturday. Adam also enjoys traveling and had the privilege of going to the London Olympics in 2012. He has traveled all over Italy and recalls the “good people and good food.” The proud New Yorker roots for the Giants, Knicks, Mets, Syracuse Orange and Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Adam eats healthy foods and has oatmeal, two hard-boiled eggs, squeezed orange juice and coffee every morning. For lunch, the Super Lawyer usually eats a tuna fish sandwich, Greek yogurt and a natural granola. He also loves bagels and pizza and recommends individuals who visit the Big Apple to eat at one of the best Pizzerias in town: Patsy’s Pizza or Motorino, both his respective clients. One of Adam’s favorite books is The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro which he says is a must read for every real estate attorney. Adam only reads non-fiction books where he can learn how to be a better person or leader. He especially enjoyed Martin Gilbert’s biography of Winston Churchill and Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. He is currently reading This Time it Matters, a book that analyzes the financial crisis in the past two hundred years.

Adam’s Successful Law Career:

Adam was asked, “Did you participate in any internship while you were enrolled at law school?” He replied, “I interned at [a] US Attorney’s Office during law school.” Although Adam had an incredible experience working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he pointed out that the position taught him not to practice criminal law. He explained that he wanted to help the world and didn’t think he could do so by prosecuting criminals or defending them. The attorney didn’t believe that he would best improve the world by penalizing people. He continued to say that he had a tremendous law school career and remembers being a member of Syracuse’s prestigious moot court team, where he won a prominent trial competition.

When asked if he could tell us about his most memorable law school experience, he recalled the following experiences: “My trials for the Moot Court Team, participating in the Housing and Finance Clinic where I assisted low income persons in buying property and the mini-book I drafted on how banks were applying the Community Reinvestment Act.” What got Adam interested in the Housing and Finance Clinic? He said he wanted to practice law where he would be able to help stop bad people from doing bad things. And he believes real estate is intellectually stimulating as the laws go back hundreds of years and there are very few things as important as providing shelter for millions of people.

Adam discussed why he became an attorney. “I read about the John Peter Zenger trial in Seventh grade and I saw the way Andrew Hamilton used his persuasive abilities to move the jury to acquit and I was hooked.”

What is the best part of his job? “[The] best part of my job is trying to build the best law firm in town and creating miracles once in a while for our clients.” (His miracle cases are discussed below).

The real estate attorney also discussed what he is known for professionally.
He stated, “Real estate and real estate litigation. I do not agree with those that call me the best negotiator ever to live as I think there are many good negotiators.

In regards to his strengths and weakness, he acknowledged, “We work harder and smarter and never give up until we win or close the deal.” As for weaknesses, he said, “We are intense and not everyone’s cup of tea. We treat each case as if we deserve the death sentence if we do not win.”

So what does Adam think about his impact on the real estate law field today? He claimed:

“We have tried to revolutionize real estate law. We have pushed the edges and provided more creative lawyering and [a] better model of customer service and results based on working smarter and creatively, putting the clients before money. We hired the best real estate lawyers in New York and they only do what they are best at [such as] writing or trials or landlord or closings. We have won more landmark real estate decisions than any other law firm during the last decade by swinging for the fences and attacking the status quo to be more creative and find the answer or new idea that will win the case.”

If he weren’t a lawyer, what would Adam probably be doing? He declared, “Developing real estate.” Adam would be a real estate developer. “I am envious and in awe of people who build things that really matter.”

When asked where do you see yourself in five years time, the candid attorney said, “I do not. I am trying to be the best today and tomorrow. No holds barred going for the greatest of everything in law. Simply, to yearn to be the best.”

Adam was also honest about what would be impossible for him to give up. He admitted, “My energy and passion for trying to be the best.”

Adam’s High-Profile Cases:

In 2008, due to the loss of wages and financing, many individuals in agreement to purchase a unit in a brand new building could no longer afford their units. During the spring of 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac halted loans to the brand new buildings by demanding sales of approximately seventy percent of a building’s units if individuals were interested in getting a loan. Even though this plan eventually changed to fifty percent and “sold” became “an agreement” for many creditors’ purpose, problems occurred when several developers couldn’t afford to deliver the new building. Other problems arose after engineers discovered glitches with many structures. Hundreds of clients hired Adam who saved the purchasers from financial ruin. Adam then successfully used a forgotten statute called the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (ILSA), which negated the contracts of sales for buildings that had over one hundred units. The Super Lawyer helped one thousand individuals in closing on these homes at a cheaper price or received a refund of his clients’ deposit. The plaintiffs won the largest settlement on record in New York under the ILSA. Adam said he “pushed the case to the limit” and was happy with the result. The attorney acknowledged this was one of his miracle cases and every newspaper praised him for his accomplishment.

On March 15, 2008, a crane struck Crave, a convivial restaurant located in Midtown Manhattan. Not only did the landlord refused to fix the building, he also sent an eviction notice to Dino Andreakos, a co-owner of the restaurant, which terminated the lease. Since the landlord claimed that the crane inadvertently
destroyed the building and caused casualties, he wasn’t responsible for rebuilding the structure. Adam prevented the eviction and the demolition of the building after he won an injunction. A judge ruled that the building was not a casualty and the landlord spent a million dollars to buy the lease out and a new restaurant.

Adam is well known for the Park51 Ground Zero Mosque Case. He represented a Muslim developer who wanted to build the Ground Zero Mosque. Since a New York State Supreme Court judge ruled that the one hundred and fifty-two year old building (where the mosque would be built) was not a landmark, the Muslim developer won the right to build a mosque. Although Adam was afraid he would be targeted for helping a Muslim win the right to build a mosque in the community he told the press: “This isn’t about the historic building, this isn’t about Ground Zero, its about hatred of Muslims, and if they are going to hate Muslims today, then who are they going to hate tomorrow.”

Adam’s Not-for Profit Charity-Building Foundations Inc. and Being an Assistant Adjunct Professor at NYU Law School:

Through Adam’s charity, Building Foundations Inc., he has been able to assists students of all ages. His charity lectures business paralegal schools, secretarial schools, law schools, colleges, high schools and elementary schools. Building Foundations provides internships to students of all backgrounds and ages, ranging from students in high school to students enrolled in law school. Every year, Adam’s charity offers a full four-year scholarship to an undergraduate student, and they also assist many community organizations that help individuals who cannot assist themselves. In addition, Building Foundations has provided postgraduate scholarships to students that face financial hardship so they can enroll at Syracuse University College of Law. The charity is involved in supporting the research efforts of educational institutions and donates money to research so they can find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Building Foundations also donates money to Columbia University Medical Center so they can find a cure for neurological disorders.

What motivated Adam to become an assistant adjunct professor at New York University School of Law? He said his father is a retired gym teacher, his mother is a retired fifth grade teacher, his two sisters teach and brother-in-law and father-in-law are teachers. Adam believes teaching is in his blood, but also thinks a great litigator is at its inner core a teacher. “We teach the judges why our respective positions are accurate.”

Final Thought

Adam is a humble man who doesn’t own a car and lives in a modest New York apartment and has no expensive habits. His generosity has been demonstrated through his Building Foundations as well as his commitment and financial support to New Milford High School students. But don’t let his kindness fool you, he is still a shark in the courtroom and knows how to be aggressive when his clients cases are on the line.


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