138 SUPERLAWYERS.COM A T TORNE YS SELECTED TO SUPER LA WYERS WERE CHOSEN IN ACCORDANCE WI TH THE PROCESS ON PAGE 40.
PERSONAL ACCOUNT “There really are just a handful of firms that have signifi-
cant experience in this area,” Richard says. “You build up a
critical mass in filing, learning about the character of differ-
ent NYC neighborhoods and what types of applications are
a better fit than others.” He cites a few examples: Parking
reductions in Flushing are challenging; ditto approvals for
restaurants in SoHo and Tribeca. “There are certain neigh-
borhoods in Brooklyn where a special permit is available
that allows homeowners to double their available square
footage,” he adds.
Over the years, he says, “We’ve been involved with well
There’s also the moment when roles change. “My dad
over 700 applications at the BSA. The overwhelming major-
ity have been successful.”
Father and son generally see eye-to-eye on legal mat-
ters, Richard says. “What’s harder about working so closely
with a family member is to maintain your appropriate roles.
... I address my dad as Sheldon during the workday, but
when I do that in front of my mom, she is none too happy.”
set my salary when I started at the firm,” Richard says.
“Later I took over management of the firm and, in 2013, I
set his salary. I liked that better.”
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13
Jonesing on Zoning
The first U.S. zoning law was passed in New York
City on July 25, 1916. Concern over skyscrapers
led to its creation by the New York City Board of
Estimate and Apportionment. Concern over its
constitutionality led to safety valves, including
a board of appeals, being added. The law
itself divided the city into three use districts
(residential, business and unrestricted), and
subjected every inch of real estate to three types
of regulation: use, height, and area limitations.
This year, New York passed one of its most
significant updates in decades. “The current
administration has passed some of the most
significant amendments to the zoning regulations
ever approved—particularly in terms of requiring
affordable housing for new residential rezonings,”
says Richard Lobel. “Such programs have been
elective in the past. I don’t think anyone saw this
coming in this manner and with this scope.”
Monica Richman admits that the perks of an
IP job in fashion are fab. “I wear something
from my clients almost daily,” she says. But
she thinks the red-carpet questions could go
beyond “Who are you wearing?” Here’s her take
on some better options:
• What causes are you passionate about?
• What are you reading?
• What are your favorite news outlets?
• What charity is close to your heart?
• What educator was a great influence
in your life?
A sense of humor helps, too. “About 12 years ago, an
Her reaction to her law partner’s blunt invitation?
older partner came into my office, pointed at me, and,
I kid you not, said, ‘You. You’re not stupid. I want you to
meet a client.’”
That client was Schwartz & Benjamin, a premier shoe
licensee in its third generation of family-run business.
Richman has served as its outside GC ever since.
“I burst out laughing,” she says. “The fact that this
man—when he was in law school, women were secretaries and that’s about it—had gotten to a point where he
could comfortably recommend me as his heir apparent for
a family business that he had represented for 50 years?
That is a huge compliment. So get upset? No. If you’re
going to be a woman in this industry, you’d better have
thicker skin than that.”
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