For those of you who are new to ATL, welcome to Legal Eagle Wedding Watch. In this recurring feature, we review the wedding announcements in the storied society pages of the New York Times, pick out three couples in which one spouse is a lawyer, and then score them numerically — on their credentials, families, looks, and “couple balance.” Each week, we declare a winning couple. The winners then square off in our “Couple of the Month” contest.
Due to competing claims on our attention — e.g., associate pay raise news — we’ve fallen a few weeks behind in LEWW. If you can think back that far, please cast your mind back to early January….
The weekend of January 6-7, the first wedding weekend of the new year, was a busy one. The most notable nuptials: the marriage of Ann Leventhal and Judge Jon O. Newman, of the Second Circuit. Numerous legal blogs took note of it.
But there were other lawyer weddings that weekend. Here are the three that we will review and score:
Scores and commentary for the aforementioned couples, after the jump.
1. Ann Leventhal, Jon Newman
Résumé score: 9.3. Judge Jon O. Newman’s résumé is impeccable: Princeton, Yale Law, clerkships on the D.C. Circuit and Supreme Court (OT 1957/Warren), stints in private practice and government (including service as U.S. Attorney for Connecticut) — and, of course, service on the federal district ench and then the Second Circuit (which he served as Chief Judge from 1993 to 1997). Ann Leventhal is a writer.
Family score: –. Little information about their parents is given. (Their parents are deceased, which is not completely surprising given that Ann Leventhal is 70 and Judge Newman is 74.)
Beauty score: 8.6. Leventhal and Newman are not spring chickens; they’re both septuagenarians. But they look good for their ages. He is WASPily handsome, in a Thurston Howell III sort of way. She has a nice smile and reminds us of a television actress whose name eludes us right now.
Balance score: 8.5. They could be stronger here. Judge Newman’s credentials are so amazing that it’s hard to match them. But they do share the experience of being widowed after long marraiges (more on that later).
Overall score: 8.80.
Additional comments: The story of how they met is absolutely adorable. Both were widowed after long marriages — Leventhal after 48 years of marriage, and Newman after 51 years of marriage (to Martha Silberman — any relation to Judge Laurence Silberman, by chance?). What happened next is history:
Ms. Leventhal recalls first becoming aware of Judge Newman in 1958, when she saw him debate William F. Buckley Jr. and L. Brent Bozell Jr. “I remembered him from that as being very attractive, but I was happily married,” she said. “I would see him and his wife at parties from time to time because we traveled in somewhat the same circles.”
“Very attractive” — well! Too bad he wasn’t on the bench yet; otherwise he would have been a judicial hottie.
When she heard that Judge Newman’s wife had died in 2005, Ms. Leventhal, who was by then a widow, said: “I waited six weeks before sending him a letter saying, ‘Would you like to have dinner with me?’ I gave him my e-mail address, so he could say no without having to speak to me.”
How cute! And shrewd — always give the other person your number, but don’t necessarily take theirs, so the onus is on THEM to reach out.
Also, we like the idea of a federal judge corresponding by email with a potential love interest. It’s the Article III version of “You’ve Got Mail.”
He didn’t say no, but, he conceded, “I didn’t have a precise recollection until I saw her.”
They went to a restaurant on April 3, 2005, and talked for seven hours. “And we’ve been talking ever since,” she said.
Seven hours? Now THAT is what we call an auspicious first date.
2. Erica Piccininni, Andrew Brettler
Résumé score: 8.8. This is an impressive couple. He’s Rutgers, Brooklyn Law (magna), now at Simpson Thacher, and soon to be starting a highly coveted — yes, it’s the S.D.N.Y., we can say that — federal clerkship (with Judge Richard Berman). But she is arguably more prestigious than he is. She’s a stage actress currently on Broadway, in the hit musical “Jersey Boys.” And given the number of people who are pursuing careers in theater, and the small number of spots available on Broadway — even just to be a random ensemble member — this is quite a coup.
Family score: 8.7. Perfectly respectable, if not thrilling. Her father is an executive a a textile import and export company. Her father is a partner in an MRI clinic.
Beauty score: 8.9. Quite attractive. Her beauty — fine features, creamy skin, sparkling teeth — should come as no surprise, since she’s a Broadway actress. But he’s not bad either.
Balance score: 8.7. We like couples in which one person is a high-earning professional and the other is a fun and interesting creative type.
Overall score: 8.78.
Additional comments: They sound like a couple after our own heart: super-snarky. Here’s how Erica Piccininni describes their first meeting: ”Andrew and I had instant chemistry, making fun of each other all night long, just ripping on each other.”
3. Debra Salz, David Finkelstein
Résumé score: 8.7. She’s a VP and corporate counsel for two family businesses, a warehousing firm and a trucking company. She went to the University of Michigan and GW Law School. He’s a doctor — gotta love the Jewish doctor boys, we’re sure Debbie’s mom was thrilled! — who specializes in internal medicine. He graduated from Michigan as well, and went to SUNY Downstate for med school.
Family score: 8.9. Her mother is director of social services at a nursing home. Her late father founded the aforementioned family businesses. His mother is a retired nurse, and his father is also a doctor (an internist).
Beauty score: 8.4. Cute. Her hair reminds us of Babs.
Balance score: 8.6.
Overall score: 8.65.
THIS WEEK’S WINNING COUPLE: Okay, this is about as surprising as another New York office declaring it will pay its first-years $160,000. But look, the man is a sitting federal circuit judge. Congratulations to: Ann Leventhal, Jon Newman!!!
Second Circuit Judge Jon Newman Gets Hitched [WSJ Law Blog]
Congratulations to Ann Leventhal and Judge Jon O. Newman [How Appealing]
To read past editions of Legal Eagle Wedding Watch, click here, and scroll down.