Rosenberg & Estis co-founder Warren Estis dies at 73
Warren Estis, the veteran attorney who co-founded the law firm that bills itself as New York’s largest real estate law firm, died on Wednesday. He was 73 years old.
As a founding partner of Rosenberg & Estis, the attorney served as lead counsel in the cases of New York City real estate developers and owners.
“Warren was a distinguished member of the New York legal community and will be remembered for his wit, intelligence and tireless advocacy for the real estate industry,” firm co-founder Gary Rosenberg said in a statement Thursday. “We are saddened by his loss and share our deepest condolences with his family.”
Estis and his partner founded their eponymous firm in 1975, representing landlords of rent-regulated buildings. The firm grew to 85 lawyers in 2019, according to a count of the largest real estate firms by The Real Deal. This put it third in New York in terms of the number of real estate attorneys here – behind Fried, Frank, Harris Shriver & Jacobson and Clifford Chance, which are much larger multi-disciplinary firms.
Estis trained the firm’s litigators and oversaw that side of the business. Among his biggest clients were related companies, Rockrose Development, TF Cornerstone, JD Carlisle and Somerset Partners.
Notable work by Rosenberg & Estis included negotiating the joint venture between the Durst Organization and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to build and lease One World Trade Center, according to the company’s website. He also represented Durst in a joint venture with Bank of America to develop One Bryant Park.
Estis was also the owner. Together with his partner, he held an interest in approximately 35 residential rental condominiums.
A veteran of ugly quarrels, Estis knew how to take a hit as well as give one.
In 2012, controversial restaurateur Joe Bastianich published a book, “Restaurant Man”, in which he used his sharp tongue on his alleged enemies. In the book, he called Estis “the fucking antichrist of landlord-tenant lawyers.”
Estis cheerfully took the beard, telling Commercial Observer he took it as a compliment.
“It is an honor to be at the prestigious club of those criticized by Bastianich,” he told the publication in a statement. “Having him mention me by name years after the case shows that I represented my client very well, and in many ways that’s great marketing.”
Estis was still processing cases as recently as last summer. In August, he represented ABS Partners in a rent dispute with one of his office tenants at 270 Madison Avenue.