Writing papers and studying for exams are important parts of preparing for a legal career. For some alumni, these activities also helped foster love. In honor of Valentine’s Day, NYU Law spoke with four couples who recounted their stories of how love blossomed during their time at NYU Law.
Alan Klinger ’81 and Susan Wagner ’81
Susan Wagner and Alan Klinger first took notice of each other as 2Ls in Professor David Shoenbrod’s class on urban affairs and the law. “I thought Alan was from England because he seemed to have this English-y accent,” Susan remembers, “until one of our mutual friends told me he was from Long Island.”
Then Susan sprained her ankle playing intramural volleyball, and Alan took her to see his father, a podiatrist in Brooklyn. She was surprised to see that the doctor’s office was on the second floor of a walk-up building. “So the first thing I said to my future father-in-law was, ‘You're a podiatrist and you make your patients walk up the steps?’” Susan said.
The trip to the podiatrist was followed by a dinner date at a Greenwich Village restaurant, where Susan and Alan they realized they were both reading the same book, Breaking Ranks by Norman Podhoretz. Their partnership deepened in the spring of second year, when they were both on the moot court board. By the third year, they were a committed couple, ultimately studying for the bar together at Alan’s parents’ house.
In 1982, they married and their careers took off, albeit in different directions: Susan was recruited into the New York City Corporation Counsel’s office and pursued a path in politics and activism. Alan joined and ultimately became managing partner of law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. Two of their three children attended NYU Law: Zachary Wagner Klinger ’15 and Jesse Wagner Klinger ’17.
Susan and Alan co-chaired their three most recent reunions. The greatest value of law school lies in the forging and maintaining of relationships, says Alan, an NYU Law Trustee. “[Students] shouldn't lose sight of the opportunity to make lifelong friends,” he says. “That is a real opportunity.”
Darilyn Olidge ’93 and Mechelle Evans ’93
Darilyn and Mechelle credit Thomas Franck, Murry and Ida Becker Professor of Law Emeritus, with bringing them together. The two met at a Black Allied Law Students event for admitted students and became friends. But it wasn’t until they were awarded international fellowships by Franck during their second year at the Law School that their friendship grew into love.
On their first assignment, the fellows were allowed to work in pairs to research and write an article, and Darilyn selected Mechelle as her “paper partner,” recalls Mechelle. “It was lot of time spent together studying and getting to know each other, and that’s really what solidified our friendship that grew into a relationship,” says Darilyn.
In 2000, with same-sex marriage not yet legal in the United States, they had a bespoke marriage ceremony at their church surrounded by friends and family. Months later, as states began changing their laws regarding marriage equality, Darilyn and Mechelle traveled over state and county lines to tie the knot again and ensure maximum legal protection, including having a civil union in Vermont, entering into domestic partnership in New Jersey, and finally having another wedding in New Jersey (which included the presence of their two sons) after gay marriage became legalized at the federal level in 2014. “We did it with a sense of pride each time and love, of course, and commitment,” says Darilyn. “It was important for us to be afforded the same legal rights as other married couples across the nation,” says Mechelle.
On the first day of law school, Darilyn remembers, John Sexton, now NYU president emeritus, NYU Law dean emeritus, and Benjamin F. Butler Professor of Law, told 1Ls: “‘Look to your right. Look to your left. The two of you are going to be married.”
“At the time, we thought that was such a joke,” says Darilyn. “But, sure enough, we met the love of lives there. It changed the trajectory our lives forever. So NYU has been very, very good to us.” Indeed, “NYU will always have a special place in our hearts,” says Mechelle.
Parvin Moyne ’02 and Zachary Sturges ’02
As 1Ls, Parvin and Zachary were in the same section and Lawyering class and were a part of a close group of friends early on. “It was a badly kept secret among our friend group that I had an interest in her, pretty much immediately,” says Zachary. It wasn’t until the summer after their 1L year that the two began dating. It happened, Parvin explains, “because I got shingles.”
When she came down with a bad case during finals, Zachary brought her soup and movies and support. The experience was transformative in taking their relationship from friendship to something much deeper, the couple says.
After they had been together for a while, a professor sent them a recording from their Lawyering course, when they’d argued on opposite sides of a contract dispute. While every other group had been able to compromise and resolve the dispute, Parvin and Zachary had been unable to come to a settlement. “We still can’t bring ourselves to watch it,” Parvin says.
“Now we’re a great team,” she says. “So we’ve figured it out.”
Married now and living in Brooklyn, the couple still find time to come back to the West Village to visit the Law School. “I actually taught a class as an adjunct last year,” says Parvin, “so I got to relive a lot of great memories.”
Diana DeGette ’82 and Lino Lipinsky ’82
Diana, a Colorado native, and Lino, a New Yorker born and bred, became friends after classmate Amy Beckett ’82 introduced them in the Hayden Hall cafeteria during their 1L year. Lino says he found Diana’s openness and lack of cynicism immediately appealing. “Diana was like a breath of fresh air,” he says.
She ran for Student Bar Association (SBA) president their 2L year. “Lino was my first campaign manager,” she says: while she was away on a trip coaching NYU undergraduates at a speech and debate conference, Lino picked up her petition and got more signatures on it than any of the other candidates. They fondly remember late nights making posters, Diana falling asleep on the floor of the SBA offices. After their 2L summer, they began dating and struggled to decide if they should tell their classmates about their new relationship.
“The decision was ultimately taken away from us,” says Lino. He won a lottery for Rolling Stones tickets. “I think I was the only member of our class who won the lottery for unobstructed tickets and everyone was bugging me about being my plus one,” he recalls. “Obviously, that was Diana, so word got out.”
After graduation, Diana headed “on the first flight back to Colorado,” says Lino, while he had already committed to a job at Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York. “New Jersey seemed like the West to me at the time,” he jokes. They did a year of long distance. After passing the New York bar, Lino immediately began studying for the Colorado bar. “And I think that’s true love,” says Diana. They were married in 1984. Beckett served as a bridesmaid. “And the rest is history,” says Diana. Today, Lino serves as a judge on the Colorado Court of Appeals and Diana is the US representative for Colorado’s first congressional district.
Posted February 14, 2023