Did you and that “special someone” meet at WCL (or, at WCL and within the AU community)?

In honor of Valentine's Day, help us celebrate your relationship by sharing your story (in @50 words) at WCL LoveBirds. Please also email a high-resolution photo to mpasco@wcl.american.edu to accompany your feature.

James (Jim) Howard & Sharon Effatt Howard (‘80)

James (Jim) Howard & Sharon Effatt Howard (‘80) 

Jim met Sharon when she was stranded at WCL one night during a blizzard. Jim grew up in Washington, D.C. and Sharon grew up in Jamaica, but they immediately connected and didn't see each other again for some time because Jim was a night student. They reconnected the next year after Jim switched to full-time. They eventually became teammates representing WCL in two national moot court competitions. After graduation in 1980, Jim went to legal aid in Florida and Sharon worked for a law firm and the NLRB in Atlanta, Georgia. They married in September 1981 and started their own Atlanta law firm in 1987. Their son, Leif, is now a partner in the law firm and they sponsor a WCL scholarship fund named after Jim's grandparents.

Amy Lyons and Troy Curfman (‘23)

Amy Lyons and Troy Curfman (‘23) 

Amy Lyons and Troy Curfman (‘23) met in September of their 1L year at a bonfire party, hosted at Troy and his roommates’ house. As an outgoing socialite and spontaneous networker, Amy was naturally disturbed to find that she did not already know every law student at the party on a first-name basis. She angrily marched up to an unsuspecting Troy, who was patriotically stuffing his face with a complimentary taco in his own home, and demanded of him, “Who are you?” It was love at first sight. Their first date took the form of a nighttime excursion to the National Harbor, where they rode the Capital Wheel and drank hot cider in the chilly Autumn air. After dating for about a year, Troy pitched the idea to Amy that it would be financially advantageous for her and her cat, Batman, to move in with him, because the three were spending all of their time together anyways. Somehow, Amy fell for this. In March of 2023, to celebrate their two-and-a-half-year anniversary, Troy and Amy took a trip to Paris, France, where Troy proposed to Amy in front of the Eiffel Tower. Amy said, “yes,” and the loving couple has set a tentative wedding date for September 2026.

Hannah Skopicki & Walker Livingston (‘21)

Hannah Skopicki & Walker Livingston (’21) 

Hannah Skopicki & Walker Livingston (’21) met during 1L, they were both in Section 3 and quickly became good friends due to shared interests. They were friends only for about a year and a half before any romantic feelings developed. Their strong friendship (shoutout to Walker for sharing his CivPro outline with Hannah) built a foundation for them going forward. They started dating just a few weeks before the pandemic hit while on a weekend trip with their WCL friends to a cabin in Deep Creek, Maryland. They returned from the trip and decided to venture to il Canale in Georgetown, followed by a movie. Due to the pandemic, their second date at a restaurant was almost two years after that first one. Walker recently proposed in his beautiful hometown in California. Romantic and hilarious, Walker informed Hannah they were going on a hike. Being from New York, Hannah isn’t the most outdoorsy and got nervous, but she was committed to being a better hiker. They drove up to one of the highest points in town, walked out in the beautiful northern California mountains lined with gorgeous trees and covered in fog, out to a bench with special meaning to Walker’s family. While Hannah turned around to read the inscription, Walker got down on one knee. The rest is history.

Marianna ('12) & Gemar Patterson ('11)

Marianna (’12) & Gemar Patterson (’11) 

Gemar and Marianna met at a new students event for the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) that Gemar was involved in as in his role as Vice President of BLSA and Marianna was attending as a new 1L. Gemar immediately noticed Marianna and begin plotting how he would win her over. They talked briefly, but not too long since it was a networking event. Afterwards, Gemar saw an opportunity and seized it! He offered to give Marianna a ride to the next student event and used his charm and wit to get her phone number to continue their conversation. He later added himself to her Gchat account and the rest is history. After continuing to text and Gchat, Gemar learned that Marianna recently moved to the area from Chicago and was still getting her apartment organized. He knew that he may have a chance for a date if he showed some masculine charm, so he offered to help put her book shelf together one weekend. After completing the bookshelf in masterful fashion, he suggested they grab dinner nearby. Gemar knew Marianna was a foodie and a premium burger seemed like a great idea at the time! They went to Fudruckers in downtown Silver Spring where Marianna lived and saw a movie across the street. It was a good night! Mariana and Gemar dated throughout law school and two years postgrad. When it was time to seal the deal, Gemar decided to propose in front of WCL where it all started. He created an elaborate ruse to get them to stop by the school on their way to dinner one Saturday night. This was completely out of the ordinary since they graduated two years prior, but Gemar explained that their good friend Edny Labees (RIP) was at the school studying for bar and needed to borrow some money. When they got to WCL, Marianna wanted to stay in the car and wait while Gemar ran inside (it was a cold February night and they had dinner reservations they would be late for!) but Gemar somehow convinced her that she should go in. Marianna was annoyed about walking in the cold in heels but before she knew it, Gemar was on one knee proposing! It was a beautiful night and Marianna had no idea at all! We recently celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and have two handsome boys. Perhaps they will choose law one day!

Jill & Jeremy Elman (‘02)

Jill & Jeremy Elman (’02) 

Jill & Jeremy Elman (’02) met the first day of law school in August 1999, a perfect match from the start. Jill from Miami and Jeremy from Massachusetts. They had all of their 1L classes together, he was “E” and she was “F” (for Firestone). They have many great memories of their time at WCL at the old Spring Valley campus. Jeremy still laughs that Professor Raskin called on Jill too often in Constitutional Law, and Jill pokes fun of Jeremy for always sitting in the front row of their classes. Jill was working and living in Washington when Jeremy proposed in 2003, convincing her to move to Silicon Valley, where Jeremy still practices intellectual property litigation at Allen & Overy. They had a fairytale wedding at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida in 2004. Their twin sons, Tyler and Oliver, arrived three years later in 2007. Jill & Jeremy are thankful for WCL bringing them together and the lifelong friendships they developed there. They learned from incredible professors during critical moments in this country’s history, including the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case (which Jeremy was lucky enough to attend) and the horrific attacks of September 11. Ultimately, WCL was where they built their love story and their careers. WCL will always have a special place in Jill & Jeremy’s hearts.

Virginie Lecaillon (LLM ’98) and Bruce Aitken (JD ’76)

Virginie Lecaillon (LLM ’98) & Bruce Aitken (JD ’76)  

Virginie and Bruce met in 1998 when she was getting her LLM and had joined a Customs/Trade law firm, later progressing to Associate and Partner. In 2007, she left the firm to work for Colgate Palmolive in NY and Paris and getting an MBA. They reconnected in Paris, after which she was hired by a French Oil Services company, and based in Singapore. Meanwhile, Bruce went to Singapore at the request of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), to help them open a WIPO office there. 2010 was a big year for them, first because they were married there in April, 2010 and then, a few months later, her firm was acquired by the Fortune 300 company, Schlumberger Technologies. Virginie now is General Counsel of a large Division with them. In 2020, a book they co-wrote was published to rave reviews in London, entitled TRADE CRASH: A Primer. Bruce serves as a Director (and Chair, 2018-2021) of the Hi-Tech Brussels/DC trade association, CCIA, and is an award winning producer of feature films. While in Singapore, they were married at Flutes Restaurant (top 100 in Asia) adjacent to Ft. Canning. Alas, it has moved, so it remains a fond memory. Since 2013, they have lived in Houston, Kuala Lumpur and again in Houston. The also enjoy homes in Anna Maria Island, Florida and in Bordeaux, France.


Xander White and Lourdes Vazquez (‘21)

Lourdes Vazquez & Xander White (’21)  

We met by virtue of a mutual WCL classmate and friend, Fred Moreno. He thought we would be “Perfect for each other!” Fred gauged our interest in one another and then connected us via text message late on Nov. 16, 2019. After Xander initiated a private conversation the next day, we started writing novel-length text messages to one another. We agreed to meet for our first date at the Teaism in DuPont Circle on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 at 4:30pm. We haven’t stopped enjoying each other’s company since! The Covid-19 pandemic forced us to be apart for over a month, but we met up on Lourdes’ birthday, April 29, 2020, at East Potomac Park. Xander couldn’t help himself and proposed to Lourdes without a ring that day. Lourdes didn’t say, “Yes” right then and there, but we knew we wanted to be married to each other. After a year, Xander raced against the setting sun and proposed to Lourdes in the same spot he did before, but this time with his grandmother’s engagement ring. After Xander’s proposal, Lourdes said yes! We loved our time at WCL and being able to take many of the same classes together during our last year of school. Our favorite moments at WCL were the simplest ones, including library roof deck study breaks and sun-soaked bar-prep lunch breaks in the courtyard outside the library.

Christina Busso (’02) & Marshall Lammers (’04)

Christina Busso (’02) & Marshall Lammers (’04) 

Christina Busso and Marshall Lammers met as cast members in WCL Law Revue the Spring Semester of 2002. “As students on a budget, we enjoyed some of the beautiful DC public spaces for an inexpensive date night. We found ourselves many nights walking through the Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral with a 7-11 Slurpee in hand.” And on one June evening in 2003, Marshall lit that little gazebo with candles and proposed. A beautiful and romantic backdrop for sure! "We’re grateful to WCL for the educational foundation it provided to us and to the community of friends it has given to us."

Josh and Veronica Puvak

Veronica Puente-Duany & Josh Puvak (’07)  

Veronica Puente-Duany and Josh Puvak met during 1L orientation. “Our last names were next to each other alphabetically, so in addition to being in the same ‘section,’ we were assigned to the same legal rhetoric group. We started off as friends and study partners, and the relationship soon turned romantic.” Their first “official” date was lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Bethesda, and they fondly recall lunches at Wagshal’s Deli where they would spend hours talking. Josh proposed during a romantic beach walk in Clearwater FL, and they were married in 2008. They currently live in Bethesda, MD with their three beautiful daughters and two dogs.

Maria Julia Milesi and Cristobal Fernandez

Maria Julia Milesi & Cristobal Fernandez (’14)  

Maria Julia Milesi and Cristobal Fernandez met in 2013 when they were both attending WCL's International Legal Studies Program. Maria is from Argentina and Cristobal is from Chile.  "We connected one night after class, while waiting for and riding the N9!  It was a long wait at the bus stop and the ride was long too, so we spoke quite a while. Cristobal says he started Facebook stalking me after that. Our first ‘formal’ date turned out to be a snow day, and we ended-up going to…Five Guys, in Dupont, for burgers! We hadn't told our classmates that we were dating, so we would look at each other from across the table pretending there was nothing going on."

Julie Flammant & RJ Hamilton (02)

Julie Flammant & RJ Hamilton (’02)

“We met on the very first day of Orientation of our first year. Before I started, I had met another couple who had just graduated from law school and had met in law school. They joked that at least they weren't from the same section. Well, RJ & I were in the same section and became fast friends. We began dating in 2002 and on our first date, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Palm, where we found ourselves struggling to talk -something that is unheard of for either one of us. We made it through and RJ proposed in 2003 the day I got my results from the Virginia Bar. It was definitely a day to remember. We both loved our AU WCL experience- RJ even teaches Legal Rhetoric to 1L's at WCL.”

Nicholas Doyle and Kristen Rodriguez (’17)

Nicholas Doyle & Kristen Rodriguez (’17)  

Nicholas Doyle and Kristen Rodriguez met through their 1L section. “We first saw each other in Prof. Figley’s Torts class, first spoke in the cafeteria in the old building. For our first date, we went to Mussel Bar in Ballston. She bet me that her Miami Dolphins would beat my Buffalo Bills. The loser would have to buy the wine at our first date…well, I ended up drinking like a champ that night.” Some of their fondest WCL memories are, for Kristen taking Trial Ad with Christensen and getting a better grade than him. As for Nicholas, it’s the externship class they shared together during our 1L summer with a few of their friends. "Fast forward: WCL is responsible for two happy lawyers and our twin boys, Mason and Julian!"

Mike Spinnicchia and Jane Wetterau (’12)

Mike Spinnicchia & Jane Wetterau (’12)

“We met during our 2L year at a mutual friend’s birthday party at Mad Hatter in Dupont (very classy we know).  We talked briefly that night, but didn’t really hit it off until we ran into each other at Bar Review a couple weeks later. Our first date involved our favorite food, Italian, and we went to dinner at il Canale in Georgetown.”  Jane did most of the talking because Mike was exhausted from getting up early that morning to judge a Moot Court competition. Despite Mike being kind of a bore that night, Jane saw (some) potential and gave him a second chance. “A fond memory includes Graduation weekend, when the families first met and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at our favorite restaurant (Filomena), and spent hours laughing, telling old stories, and drinking the complimentary Sambuca and amaretto.”  Almost nine years later, we all still look back on that night fondly.”

Belen Crisp (’20) and Alexis Martinez (’19)

Belen Crisp (’20) & Alexis Martinez (’19)

Belen Crisp and Alexis Martinez met on April 4, 2018 at an Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) Emerging Legal Career Panel and Networking event held in the Capital Atrium. “On April 7, 2018 we ran into each other at Barrister’s Ball and talked for most of the night mainly about our love of memes and the horrors of law school. We began dating shortly after that. We enjoyed our first date at Sushi Para in Cleveland Park. We both went for the ‘all you can eat’ option. One of us was unable to finish two pieces and is still teased about it to this day. Our favorite WCL memory was in Spring of 2019 when we took Federal Personal Income Tax with Professor Leff. It was the semester we got to spend the most time together and the only class we took together at WCL. That semester we became aware of our drastically different approaches to classes and studying.”

Lauren Mattioni (’19) and John Gerardi (’18)

Lauren Mattioni (’19) & John Gerardi (’18)

“We first met when John appeared on a panel during orientation Fall 2016.  He told a number of amusing stories about things going awry during OCI interviews (spoiler alert, he got the job) and I was charmed.  We became friends when I joined the Italian American Law Students’ Association, which John was already a member. There were several times where we went out to lunch or out for coffee that John thought were dates, but I wasn’t sure.  For our first date that we both agree was a date, we went for a hike in Great Falls Park. While at WCL, I was co-director of the Alvina Reckman-Myers First Year Moot Court Competition in January 2018.  We were short on judges and, despite not being a member of Moot Court, John volunteered to judge and generally help out where we needed an extra set of hands.  I learned that day that he’s an extraordinarily great catch. But the proposal didn’t come until chilly evening in November 2019, we went out to dinner at Das Ethiopian, one of our favorite restaurants.”

Monika Klinkman and Billy Vazquez (’19)

Monika Klinkman & Billy Vazquez (’19)

Monika Klinkman and Billy Vazquez met briefly through mutual friends a couple of times during our 1L year, and then got to know each other during the Summer Program in The Hague in 2017. “As a first date, we got shawarma together after a class in The Hague. Taking Evidence together – aside from the Hague Program—was a favorite WCL memory as it was the only class we took together. Being together definitely made going to class at 8:30 a.m. more bearable. In terms of proposal: We went to Puerto Rico for Spring Break during our 3L year. After a day at the beach, we walked along Paseo de la Princesa in Old San Juan, ending at the Raíces Fountain. Billy proposed at sunset while we looked out at the bay.” 

Jay Perry & Nicole Irwin (13)

Jay Perry & Nicole Irwin (’13)

Since we were in different sections, we didn’t meet until second year. As first date, we went, in typical DC style, for tapas at one of Jose Andres’ places. As to a favorite WCL story: Our third year, we were both in clinic at the same time (Tax Clinic for him, General Practice Clinic for her).  One day, Jay was told he would be coordinating with the GP clinic on a bankruptcy case.  He stepped into the client meeting room to join his fellow student attorney, and there was Nicole.  It remains our first and only shared representation, so it’s a unique memory.” Fast forward a bit, and Jay proposes to Nicole on a trip to Paris, early one morning in a park just behind Notre Dame. “Afterwards we went to a bookshop nearby to revel in the moment, and just walk around alone together in a foreign city, before having to call and tell everyone. Having that morning of quiet calm together remains one of our most special memories.” They went on to get married in 2017, and now live in Denver, Colorado.

Cynthia Chmielewski and Simon Santiago (96)

Simon Santiago & Cynthia Chmielewski (’96)

Simon Santiago and Cynthia Cham met in the fall of their second year, when they had many classes together and were both on Law Review. Their first date was the Law Review Banquet in Spring 1995. Their favorite WCL memory was actually as alumni in 1998-1999 when Cynthia taught legal writing and Simon was a guest speaker in one of her classes. They were engaged in Ixtapa Mexico in January 1998 while vacationing. 

Mary Huff and David Wiseman (‘10

Mary Huff & David Wiseman (’10)

We met on the way to a 1L celebration right before our second semester. Our first date was a fun night out with fellow classmates at the Front Page. Our favorite WCL memory together was enjoying extra-curricular events, weddings, and vacations with fellow classmates.” David proposed to Mary with a family heirloom ring that he had selected for his mother when he was a child. He knew Mary would appreciate this unique and sentimental item. David is now in the hospitality business and a member of WCL’s Business Law Program Advisory Council. Mary is a family lawyer with Blankingship & Keith P.C.

Lee Silvernail and Nikki Waxman

Lee Silvernail & Nikki Waxman (’19)

Lee Silvernail and Nikki Waxman met in Professor Popper’s externship seminar in the summer of 2017. They did not connect until a bar review fundraiser a few months later… the rest was history. They had their first date at matchbox pizza on 14th street, her favorite. She was impressed that he sat next to her instead of across the table and he was impressed that she could eat a whole pizza in record time. A favorite memory was that Lee was a star witness for Nikki’s civil trial advocacy class.

Vadim Brusser & Lauren Janosy (2003

Vadim Brusser & Lauren Janosy (’03)

Vadim Brusser and Lauren Janosy met at a WCL organized Capital Monuments tour a week before the start of 1L first semester. Their first date was at the Odeon Café in Dupont and then to the 18th Street Lounge. They have so many fond memories and have met so many fantastic friends and professors along the way. “To our surprise our engagement was announced publicly during Professor Ira Robbin’s Conflicts class, when he read from his student’s suggestion box!”

Maria Julia Milesi and Cristobal Fernandez

James Cowden & Kristina Badalian (’05)

James Cowden and Kristina Badalian are WCL Lovebirds and proud former students of Jamie Raskin's constitutional law class.

Simon Santiago & Cynthia Cham 1996

Olivia Luk & Jonathan Bedi (’05)

Met when Olivia spoke at student orientation for the incoming evening class in fall 2002. Jonathan noticed her and spent the next two years asking her out; and when she finally said yes, that was that. The first dinner date at Sorriso in Cleveland Park was followed by drinks at the Aroma Company. Olivia was dressed in court attire having come from an Inns of Court meeting. Jonathan didn’t mind, and they have been wearing suits for the past 16 years…until the pandemic. Their favorite memory was taking a study break in Olivia’s new convertible. The couple got engaged during a trip to Italy. Johnathan planned by proposing by the Trevi Fountain but a downpour and sinus infection ruined the plan. All was well when Olivia stated “this would be a beautiful place to get married” while visiting the Pantheon, and Jonathan presented the ring.

Amy Stewart and Andy Sonin

Amy Stewart (’04) & Andy Sonin (’05)

Amy Stewart and Andy Sonin met while performing in WCL Law Review where they made so many good friends… many of whom also later got married. Their first date was at their regular hangout, the Four Ps in Cleveland Park. They met for dinner but stayed for the live music “where we laughed, sang, and had a merry time.” Their favorite memory was at the 2004 Barrister’s Ball: “We walked around the monuments all dressed up, sat down by the reflecting pool and under a moonlit night exchanged our first ‘I love yous’. Andy surprised me with a weekend trip to the Finger Lakes where he proposed during a picnic on Cayuga Lake.” They have now been married for 17 years with two fabulous boys who fill their lives with joy.