Inside Attorney Jon A. Dorf's Office

Here, Dorf leads us on a direct examination of his chambers.


It’s turned out to be a momentous year for attorneys Jon A. Dorf and Jonathan B. Nelson. In the spring, they formed a partnership, and Dorf’s eponymous law firm was rechristened Dorf & Nelson LLP. On April 1, their burgeoning practice relocated from Mamaroneck to its current palatial home inside The International Corporate Center in Rye. The two collaborated on every design and décor detail of their new 16,000-square-foot space—except for their private offices, which each furnished to his own liking. Here, Dorf leads us on a direct examination of his chambers.

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1. “Each of these balls was handmade in the Philippines. If you look closely at them, you’ll see sea shells, feathers, and other items embedded in them, just beneath their shiny lacquer surface. They give them a real depth—and the colors on them just pop.”

2. With its panoramic windows and the reflective surfaces of many of its furnishings, “the office was designed to capture as much natural light as possible. I love the view—it’s like the whole world is looking in on you. We had nice windows in our old offices, but nothing like this. From here, I can see the building’s world-class Japanese garden below.”

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3. “When I want to have a breakout session, we’ll come in here to my private conference room. Inside we have a whiteboard, a projector screen, and a speakerphone.”

4. “This is a Jasper Johns painting (Map). We had this in the prior office. It’s America in all her glory. I love the colors—it shows how we all blend together, despite our state borders.”


1. “This is the 2012 Equal Access to Justice Award, presented to me in May by the Legal Services of the Hudson Valley. Each year, it is given to somebody in our legal community. And this is a photo of me with the keynote speaker from the awards ceremony, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. I was very honored to have him speak at my ceremony and acknowledge my efforts.”

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2. “This is a photo of my lovely wife, Yvonne, and me, taken after my admittance to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court. Many years earlier, I served for a semester as an intern at the Supreme Court, so it was like I was coming full circle.”

3. “We installed a Cisco communications system in the office. This is really cool: I can clip this cordless phone to my belt, put on the wireless ear piece that goes with it, and then I can take or make calls, or even hold conference calls, from anywhere in the building—even outside—without losing the signal.”

4. “On April 1, 1992, shortly after graduating law school, I opened my practice—entering a tough marketplace not unlike the one today. I rented an office only eight feet by ten feet on Mamaroneck Avenue, but it was my own—I didn’t have a secretary, and I had no associates. I licked the stamps, answered the phones, and did everything I needed to do to grow the practice. It took about six months to persuade everyone I sent these announcements to that, in fact, it was not an April Fool’s joke. But here I am, twenty-something odd years later.”

5. “Abraham Lincoln is one of my idols. He was a man of conviction and action. He stood on his values, and changed the course of American history—and he was a lawyer, so I have the greatest admiration for him. I have him placed behind me in the hopes that he’s looking over me and giving me some guidance.”

6. “This cabinetry was all custom-designed. I can pull down the panels to conceal the files stored along the bottom shelves. In the corner is a little refrigerator that I keep stocked with water, juices, and sodas. One of my favorite drinks is Boylan’s black cherry soda.”

7. “This is a white marble table desk from Knoll. A neighbor of mine suggested it to me and literally everything was designed and built around this desk. For me, the beauty of it is that I can work from it, I can meet with clients or colleagues around it, or, if I want to take a lunch break, I can watch ESPN on the TV while I’m eating. Or I’ll watch the Yankees. I used to watch the Mets—but not much hope there.”

8. “These chrome and black leather chairs were chosen to both complement the desk, as well as pick up the contemporary feel of the office. I also wanted to take advantage of the functionality of the table desk, and so I went with three guest chairs instead of the normal two. This configuration allows for a very comfortable and inspiring work environment. Each chair is adjustable, and the design allows for form-fitting comfort.”

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