From the outside, Morgan & Finnegan’s future looked bright.

It was January 2004, and the venerable IP firm had just signed a 20-year lease to take over the twentieth and twenty-first floors at Three World Financial Center in lower Manhattan. The lease wasn’t cheap — $327,000 a month in the first year — and the firm had been lured back downtown in part by a $1.5 million state grant aimed at reviving a neighborhood still reeling from the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

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