The winter wedding announcements are often a prestige wasteland, but we’re actually quite pleased with the caliber of the couples we’ve been able to round up for the first 2009 edition of Legal Eagle Wedding Watch (which admittedly includes some entries from late 2008).
After another craptasticical week for lawyerdom, here’s your weekly dose of wedding cheer. Unfortunately, like many of the firms we cover on ATL, LEWW has been forced to make some difficult decisions. We had to show one set of newlyweds the door–entirely for performance-related reasons, of course, because LEWW doesn’t do layoffs.
What did you miss if you didn’t peruse last Sunday’s NYT weddings section? The marriage of Theodore Roosevelt V, for starters. Also, a whole lot of gayness! We counted seven same-sex weddings on this week’s list, which we suspect is a an all-time high. (And how sociologically interesting that all seven were men marrying men!) None of this week’s same-sex weddings made it into the finals, but LEWW is delighted to reflect (in a rare moment of seriousness) on how much has changed since August 2002, when the paper announced that it would include same-sex weddings for the first time. Long live love!
For the commenters who yearn to see more “ordinary” couples in the Legal Eagle Wedding Watch, we commend this pair to your attention. The groom is a radio personality, and the bride has a JD from Loyola. They seem likable and . . . ordinary. Is this the type of couple our readership craves? Should we devote one slot a week to a Tier-II couple? Designate one column a month as Ordinary Week? Please advise. (This is actually a serious question. LEWW recognizes that we can’t satisfy everyone, but we do aim to please.)
For now, we’ll to continue to celebrate the extraordinary. Our finalist couples have degrees from Harvard, Yale, NYU, Chicago, and other elite schools, some with athletic programs. All three brides toil in Manhattan law firms, and all three grooms serve humanity in important-sounding public-sector jobs. Here they are:
As we expected, celebrity professors Cass Sunstein and Samatha Power were the winners of last week’s July Couple of the Month voting, running away with over 60 percent of the vote. Congratulations to this nerdy-hot duo!
This week’s set of contestants might be the strongest we’ve seen this season. Their write-ups feature five Harvard degrees, a Rhodes, and one of Biglaw’s most exalted surnames. Here are the names of the newlyweds:
We greatly enjoyed our recentvisit to the University of Chicago Law School. The U. Chicago students were very welcoming and made us feel right at home, even inviting us to their law school musical — which, by the way, was delightful.
(We added many of them as friends on Facebook before we were mysteriously banned from the site, without notice or explanation. So if you no longer see us on FB, it’s not because we “de-friended” you, but because our account was disabled.)
A few Chicago students, however, had a bone to pick with us. They objected to this ATL post, which cast the recently announced departure of Professor Cass Sunstein — prominent scholar, beloved teacher, and possible Supreme Court nominee under President Obama — as a hiring coup by Harvard Law School, a triumph by HLS over Chicago. They emphasized that Professor Sunstein’s leaving the Windy City for Cambridge was prompted by personal rather than professional reasons.
Professor Sunstein said as much his farewell email (emphasis added; in fact, all emphases added throughout this post, unless otherwise indicated):
I’m writing to say that I’ve just accepted an appointment at Harvard Law School. It is an understatement to say that I don’t take this step easily or lightly. As most of you know, I’ve been reflecting on this question for several years. I finally decided, for personal reasons, that I need a change.
Since he’s a prominent Obama supporter — as well an adviser to the campaign, but more on that later, since it ties into our tale — it’s not surprising that Professor Sunstein is All About Change.
The law school’s popular leader, Dean Saul Levmore, also stressed the personal component to Professor Sunstein’s move. As he told the University of Chicago’s student newspaper, the Maroon:
“I’m sort of embarrassed that [the story] said that the University of Chicago couldn’t be reached for comment,” Levmore said. “It looks like we didn’t want to talk, but the truth is that this decision [to leave Chicago for Harvard] was based on personal reasons and I respect that privacy. The media will find out about them soon enough.“
With a comment like this, Dean Levmore was basically begging us to go digging. So dig we did.
Let’s see, Cass Sunstein’s “personal reasons” for leaving U. Chicago… hold on a sec. Isn’t Professor Sunstein part of legal academia’s most fabulous power couple, together with that renowned philosopher queen, Professor Martha Nussbaum? And didn’t Professor Nussbaum just turn down a Harvard offer?
That was then; this is now. What we learned in our investigation is consistent with this ATL comment, as well as this (subsequently removed) Wikipedia edit.
It appears that Professor Sunstein may be part of a new “power couple” — in the most literal sense. Rumor has it that he’s romantically involved with Professor Samantha Power — a beautiful, brainy professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, who is roughly 15 years his junior. She is a Pulitzer Prize winner who has also been profiled in Men’s Vogue (see glamorous photo, at the top of this post). What’s not to like? Update: More about Samantha Power here (from a college classmate who tried to hit on her, without success, and just ended arguing politics with her).
Now, please don’t give us full credit (or blame) for bringing to light the Sunstein-Power relationship. When we attended the Chicago Law School musical last weekend, Samantha Power got a shout-out near the end of the show, when the Cass Sunstein character announced his departure for Harvard. So the rumor of her romance with Professor Sunstein is already widely known throughout the U. Chicago community (and beyond); it’s no state secret. It is already known to hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
We reached out to all three members of this Mensalicious love triangle, which seems to come straight out of a Saul Bellow novel. Find out what we learned — two of them had no comment, but one of them did — after the jump.
A brief tour of things we don’t have room to explore in this double edition of LEWW:
- This bride is foxy and forty-eight; this bride is twenty-six and hyper-annoying.
- Some MoFo lesbians have made a match of it.
- Graduating cum laude from Harvard wins you admission to a tier-4 law school.
But on to our five featured couples:
As Clarence Darrow once said, “Inside every lawyer is the wreck of a poet.” Indeed, many lawyers harbor frustrated creative ambitions. Sure, they went to law school, and now they’re out practicing. But they could have been novelists, or painters, or pastry chefs.
Or successful jazz musicians. From NJ.com:
Joshua Redman is quite the brainy guy, who very easily could have been some hot-shot attorney — or judge, perhaps?– living lavishly in New York City.
But the music bug took a big bite out of the summa cum laude Harvard grad, who scored a perfect 180 on his Law School Admissions Test to earn entrance into Yale Law School.
“I had moved to New York City and was on my way to law school,” Redman says. “But during that year I had this incredible opportunity to play with some great musicians. The encouragement and support I got from them motivated me to continue. So, I decided not to go to law school.”
And he’s never looked back:
Almost 16 years later, it isn’t a decision the acclaimed saxophonist has regretted.
“I probably wouldn’t have been such a good lawyer,” he jokes. “At the time, I essentially went to law school because, like others, I kind of didn’t know what I wanted to do.”
We can relate — and we’re guessing that many of you can, too. Law school was once described to us by Tony Kronman, then the Dean of Yale Law School, as “the great American default option.” He added that law school is a popular path for smart and motivated young people “who can’t stand the sight of blood.”
So why did you go to law school? Are the reasons that you articulated for going — in, say, your law school application essays — ones that continue to motivate you today? Are you happy with your decision? He’s smart enough to skip law, and choose music [Hudson County Now via NJ.com] Do You Believe in Life After Law? [New York Observer]
We apologize for the tardiness of this edition of LEWW. We’ve been in the thick of a real estate transaction and various related matters, and we haven’t been able to devote our usual amount of attention and energy to wedding criticism. But fear not — the nuptial machine grinds on, and we have three impressive couples to examine this week:
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
We at Kinney Asia have made a number of FCPA / White Collar US associate placements in Hong Kong / China thus far in 2014. Most of such placements have been commercial litigation associates from major US markets, fluent in Mandarin, switching to FCPA / White Collar litigation. Some have already had FCPA experience, but those are difficult candidates for firms to find (this will change in coming years as US firms are now promoting FCPA / White Collar to their 2L summers who are fluent in Mandarin and have an interest in transferring to China at some point).
Legal Week quoted Kinney’s Head of Asia, Evan Jowers, extensively in the following relevant article here.
There is a new trend in the market, though, where mid-level transactional US associates, fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, are interviewing for and in some cases landing junior FCPA / White Collar spots in Hong Kong / China at very top tier US firms.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.