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Warren Estis ’73, Titan of Real Estate Law, Dies at 73

Attorney Warren A. Estis ’73, an esteemed member of the New York legal community, a spirited litigator, and a giant in the field of commercial real estate law, as founding partner of the firm Rosenberg & Estis, died on April 13, 2022. Just two years after his 1973 graduation from the Law School, Mr. Estis founded the firm with fellow alumnus Gary Rosenberg ’74. Together, from their beginnings as a boutique firm representing owners of rent-regulated residential units, they built one of the city’s most prominent and respected practices in commercial real estate law. Mr. Estis was recognized as a skilled and tenacious litigator and negotiator whose practice covered a wide scope of commercial litigation, landlord-tenant disputes, and land assemblages. The firm has been instrumental in the construction of much of the city’s skyline, including major projects including One Bryant Park, One World Trade Center, with the Durst Organization and New York City Port Authority, and the Bank of America Tower, in a joint venture with Durst.

“Management was never one of my skills, and it never grew on me. I just love doing the litigation and going to court,” said Estis, in a 2017 conversation that Professor David Reiss conducted with him and firm partners Rosenberg and Deborah Riegel ’93. “To me, every case is a challenge or a game of chess or Monopoly, and I enjoy the challenge. When Gary and I started out with humble beginnings, and to be able to achieve the recognition and the reputation the firm has in the field of real estate litigation is something you could never dream of.”

Mr. Estis also served with distinction on the Advisory Council for the Housing Part of the Civil Court of the City of New York, the Supreme and Civil Court Practice Sections of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and the Real Property Division of the American Bar Association. He was editor and co-author of the Landlord/Tenant Law and Rent Regulations columns in the New York Law Journal, and co-author of the book New York Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1997. Among his many honors were the American Jurisprudence Award in Negotiable Instruments, 1972, and the New York County Lawyers' Association Civil Court Practice Section Award, 2000.

Born November 2, 1948, in Queens, Mr. Estis received his B.A. from Long Island University/C. W. Post College, before entering Brooklyn Law School. A kind and generous friend to the Law School for many years, Mr. Estis continued the legacy of his father, Nathan Estis, a 1934 graduate, which now continues with his son, Alexander Estis ’17. “There have been three generations in my family going to Brooklyn Law School, so it’s important to us to give back,” Estis said. Both Alex and daughter Dani Estis, who survive him, also carry on their father’s legacy at Rosenberg & Estis as firm associates. He will be greatly missed by all in our community. 
Funeral services will be held Monday, April 18, at 10 a.m. at Gutterman’s Funeral Home, 8000 Jericho Turnpike, in Woodbury, NY.