Every February, we ask a few NYU Law alumni couples to tell how they found their soul mate at the Law School. This year, three couples—Lauren Godshall ’03 and Hector Linares ’03; David Feldheim ’72 and Andrea Chilnick Feldheim ’72; and Benoît Charrière-Bournazel LLM ’00 and Sylvia Carreno LLM ’00—tell their stories. Romance bloomed in class sections, rooftop parties, or late-night bodega runs for study snacks. (No surprise to former Dean John Sexton.) Happy Valentine’s Day, NYU Law!
Lauren Godshall ’03 and Hector Linares ’03
When Lauren and Hector started law school in 2000, they were in the same section, and they sat next to each other in Civil Procedure, which was taught by then-Dean John Sexton, Benjamin F. Butler Professor of Law.
“At that time, there had been a couple that had gotten married in every single section that John Sexton had taught,” recalls Hector. “And he took personal credit and responsibility for this. So, on the first day of class, he said: ‘Look to your left, look to your right, some of you are going to
“And it worked, he was correct!” says Lauren.
The pair started dating in their first semester of law school—although Lauren would not let Hector join her study group. “He could be a distraction!” she laughs.
In 2007, the two married in New Orleans, where Hector grew up and where they now live. Lauren’s maid of honor was Shoshanna Bannett ’03, who’s now godmother to one of Lauren and Hector’s two daughters.
Both Lauren and Hector work as clinical law professors. Lauren teaches the Environmental Law Clinic at Tulane University, and Hector leads the Youth Justice Clinic at Loyola University, New Orleans. He recently received the Gault Center’s Robert E. Shepherd Jr. Leadership Award for Excellence in Youth Defense.
Their younger daughter has Down Syndrome, and the family spends a lot of time volunteering for athletic leagues and other activities organized for children with special needs. When they can squeeze in a lunch break at work, Lauren and Hector like to eat sandwiches together at the nearby Audubon Zoo.
“We’ll usually meet by the sea lions,” says Hector. “They are like the golden retrievers of the ocean. They are so funny and constantly messing with each other. So we’ll sit and eat our sandwiches and watch the sea lions for a little break, and then go back to the real world.”
David Feldheim ’72 and Andrea Chilnick Feldheim ’72
David and Andrea met in January 1970 in Hayden Hall. “Andrea had an arrangement with my roommate to give him notes if he missed class,” says David. “One night, she knocked on the door to give him notes and he wasn't in. I was, and that's how we met.”
Andrea and David started studying together, often with David’s roommate, and as time went on, they developed a stronger and stronger relationship. Often, when they were studying late together, one would walk over to a bodega on 6th Avenue to pick up slices of Sara Lee chocolate cake to share. During their first summer in New York, David drove a taxi and Andrea worked at the Practicing Law Institute, a nonprofit continuing legal education organization. As the Vietnam War continued, they joined thousands of college students marching in Washington, DC in protest.
The couple got married in Andrea’s hometown of Philadelphia in 1971, just before their 3L year. After law school, they settled in Philadelphia, where they raised a family. David worked as in-house counsel at Sunoco for 25 years, then opened his own law office. After 20 years as a litigator, Andrea changed career paths to become a librarian.
In 2016, they moved to Los Angeles, where their two children and grandchildren live. David continues to work with corporate clients part-time, and Andrea volunteers at a local library. “More than anything, we enjoy being with our grandsons. They are the lights of our lives,” says Andrea. “We have developed a community of friends here, but we hold on to our friends back East. So we have a foot on both coasts.”
Benoît Charrière-Bournazel LLM ’00 and Sylvia Carreno LLM ’00
For Benoît and Sylvia, their Introduction to American Law class also introduced them to each other. Sylvia had come to NYU Law from Peru, and Benoît from France. The pair shared their first kiss at a Law School party atop one of the Twin Towers, and moved in together in a studio dormitory on MacDougal Street soon after.
Their wedding took place at New York City Hall on May 11, 2000—which was also the date of NYU Commencement. Their friends celebrated the marriage in caps and gowns. The next day, at NYU Law Convocation, Benoît recalls, “John Sexton—who was law school dean at the time—knew that we had gotten married the day before. So at graduation, he had us be the very last ones to come on stage, and hood each other. There were about 10,000 people clapping. For us, our family, and our friends, it was truly exceptional.”
Post-graduation, Benoît and Sylvia lived in Manhattan for a year, during which their daughter, the first of three children, was born. The family spent seven years in London, where they had their second daughter, before moving to Paris, where their son was born and where they live today. Benoît works as a corporate partner at international law firm DS Avocats, and Sylvia has a catering business.
The couple still keeps in touch with and vacations with several friends from NYU Law, Benoît says. He has served as president of the NYU Alumni Club in France since 2014, and more recently he was appointed to the International Alumni Board of the Law School. Sylvia and Benoît say they look forward to returning to Washington Square next year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their graduation and wedding.
Posted on February 12, 2024