1st Circuit, Harvard, Harvard Law Review, New York Times, Weddings

Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: Smart Alex

We’re bummed that we can’t write this week about the groom who arranges music for Yo-Yo Ma and Jay-Z. Or the one who’s associate counsel for the NBA.
But lawyer-lawyer couples abound, and we know those are the pairings ATL readers crave. Here are our finalists:

1. Lisa Kutlin and Alexander Goldenberg
2. Shauna Burgess and Jonathan Friedman
3. Elizabeth Frieze and Matthew Prasse

More about these legal lovebirds, after the jump.

1. Lisa Kutlin and Alexander Goldenberg
(Buy them a salad plate.)
The Case:
– Four different schools here, all of roughly equal distinction. The bride went to the University of Chicago and got her JD, cum laude, from Georgetown. The groom graduated from Cornell and was magna at NYU Law. If you want to be picky (and we know you do), we suppose Chicago > Cornell, but NYU > Georgetown, so neither spouse really has the upper hand here. We like the symmetry.
– Both Lisa and Alex are clerking for federal district judges — she for Jerome B. Simandle of D.N.J. and he for Jan E. DuBois of E.D. Pa.
The Case Against:
– According to the couple, they have a lot in common:

“We both like to think about things, and like to discuss and challenge people,” Mr. Goldenberg said. And, Ms. Kutlin added, they both have a sarcastic sense of humor.”

Gosh, sarcastic young lawyers who “think about things.” How shatteringly unique and special!
– Also annoying: Lisa’s first gift to her future husband:

She arrived with a gift — a book titled “The Superior Person’s Book of Words: From Abecedarian to Zzxjoanw, an Arsenal of Verbal Weapons to Sharpen Your Wit!”
“The gift was a jab at Alex’s custom of misusing large and ridiculous words,” she said.
He thought it was a brilliant present because the first day they met he mispronounced abecedarian. She corrected him (it is pronounced ay-bee-see-DAIR-e-in). The next day she sent an e-mail message to him, including a link to a Web site that gave the word’s pronunciation.

If there’s anything more irritating than newly minted (nay, abecedarian) lawyers who fetishize their own large vocabularies, it’s people who buy, own, or write any book with the title “The Superior Person’s . . .”. And couples, if you must submit an anecdote with your write-up, please choose one that highlights your dulcet compatibility, not your eagerness to correct each other. Read on for how it’s done.
2. Shauna Burgess and Jonathan Friedman
(Buy them a box grater.)
The Case:
– Gorgeous Ivy credentials here: The bride was summa at Princeton; the groom went to Dartmouth (and we’re on the record about our weakness for Dartmouth folk). They both got JDs from NYU.
– Now they’re both NY Biglaw associates, Shauna at WilmerHale and Jonathan at Foley & Lardner.
– Both of their fathers are lawyers. Hers works at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; his is a partner at Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman in New York.
– Remember your 9th-grade love, the one your mom used to drop you off at the movies with? What if you’d never broken up? For most of us, that dream died amidst the lush temptations of summer camp, but in Shauna and Jonathan’s case, young love endured. They met on a trip to the Galápagos Islands when they were 15:

Their affinity for each other was so great that dating — by long distance — seemed like the “obvious thing to do” even at that young age, Ms. Burgess said.
Throughout high school one or the other would make a monthly trip either to Scarsdale, where he lived, or Great Falls, where she lived. They spent much of their summers together. They went to each other’s proms.
In fact, when they visited each other during high school, each would stay at the other’s house. And so it went throughout college, commuting between New Hampshire and New Jersey to visit every month or two.
There were no tumultuous breakups, Ms. Burgess said. She speculated that one reason might have been that through e-mail and instant messaging, “we became great communicators.”

You have to admit that it’s a lot cuter than sniping at each other about the right way to pronounce stuff.
The Case Against:
– This isn’t directed at Shauna and Jonathan specifically, but we get paid to study the NYT weddings section pretty carefully, and it’s our impression that there are swarms of NYU JDs every week, versus relatively few from Columbia. This week the tally was 5-1, a ratio we don’t believe is atypical. Given that NYU and Columbia are top-10 law schools with roughly equivalent class sizes (mid 400s at NYU and high 300s at Columbia), what accounts for the disparity? Are NYU grads more bragadocious? Better-connected at the Times? More conservative, and therefore less likely to shack up? Hotter, and therefore more marriageable? Help us make sense of this.
3. Elizabeth Frieze and Matthew Prasse
(Buy them a $165 fork — because nobody else has!)
The Case:
– This couple starts off strong with three Harvard degrees (they met there as undergrads — he was cum laude and she was magna), and the bride got her JD at HLS, cum laude (a tipster tells us she was also a Harvard Law Review executive editor).
– Elizabeth has scored a nice clerkship with Sandra Lynch of the First Circuit Court of Appeals; she’ll get to work in the gorgeous Moakley Courthouse, a LEWW favorite.
– Like the couple above, both Elizabeth and Matthew have lawyer dads. Hers is a partner at a law firm in Wellesley; his is a partner at a firm in Cleveland.
The Case Against:
– Matthew had to leave the lofty bosom of Harvard to seek his JD; he’s a 3L at Boston College. That’s okay — he makes up for the prestige deficit by being totally dreamy! Maybe it’s the name and the Boston thing, but we see a young Matt Damon. And kudos to both Matthew and Elizabeth for the eyebrow alignment (best of the week by far). (Update: Thank-you to the commenter who pointed out that couple #2 also has outstanding eybrow alignment. Couple #2’s picture appears on their wedding website, not in the NYT’s write-up, so we hadn’t seen it when we first drafted the column, and we failed to correct our misstatement during the editing process. LEWW regrets the error and commends Shauna and Jonathan on their unquestionably flawless eybrow work, even when not required by the NYT.)
The Verdict:
– A bit tougher decision this week, with no SCOTUS stars to guide us. We like the Harvard-ness and sparkly white teeth Team Frieze-Prasse, but ultimately we’re going with the solid credentials and steadfast love of Team Burgess-Friedman. Congratulations!

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