Last But Not Least

Is he the most prolific attorney in the city you’ve never heard about?

Probably not.

Still, it’s possible to lose track of just how many deals Fried Frank partner Meyer Last inked in 2011. Call it the Jon Mechanic effect.

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Meyer Last. (Photo by Kiki Conway)

Mr. Mechanic, the head of Fried Frank’s real estate practice, is a staple of industry social and speaking events as well as host of the firm’s annual holiday party, one of real estate’s biggest gatherings of the year.

On top of it, Mr. Mechanic is often the attorney on the city’s largest leasing and sales deals. As a result, he has become the city’s most recognized real estate lawyer and, in a business where brokers and landlords usually get the credit for arranging transactions anyway, tends to overshadow the rest of his ilk.

“Jon is this incredible combination between being a brilliant marketer for the firm and also an exceptional lawyer. Very few really can combine both the way he does,” Mr. Last said. There isn’t an ounce of rivalry in the way Mr. Last speaks of his colleague; he’s genuinely in awe.

After a year like 2011, however, Mr. Last may give Mr. Mechanic a run for his money. While Mr. Mechanic was one of the lead attorneys on the year’s biggest and most prestigious leasing transaction, Condé Nast’s one-million-plus-square-foot deal at 1 World Trade Center, Mr. Last has tallied his own dizzying array of high-stakes deals.

He represented the landlord George Comfort & Sons in its 900,000-square-foot lease with the Japanese financial company Nomura at Worldwide Plaza. He also was the attorney for Brookfield Properties, one of Fried Frank’s biggest clients, in its 750,000-plus-square-foot renewal at the World Financial Center with Bank of America.

The two deals caused something of an awkward situation for Mr. Last.

Nomura was one of the World Financial Center’s largest tenants and for a time Brookfield was competing fiercely with George Comfort & Sons to hold onto the company. So while Mr. Last was negotiating to keep Bank of America on the one hand, he was simultaneously arranging to have Nomura go elsewhere.

Such is the balancing act of being one of the city’s most successful real estate attorneys.

“Needless to say, I never mentioned the word Nomura during the Bank of America talks,” Mr. Last said. “Brookfield is an incredibly sophisticated owner and they’re able to recognize that I’m not the one deciding where Nomura is going. I’m working for my client. In theory sometimes every attorney has to watch out for conflicts of interest. Usually my connections facilitate deals though.”