Cardozo is known for providing a great legal education and shaping the minds of its students. But, for many alumni Cardozo shaped their lives and futures in a very different way. Hundreds of Cardozo alumni have met their spouses at Cardozo. Thank you to our Cardozo Couples who have shared their stories here. If you are a Cardozo couple and want to share your story, please contact Sharon Ashley Lewis, Director of Alumni Affairs, 212.790.0298.
Alice Yaker ’79 and Jerry Goldfeder ’79
Alice Yaker was a 35-year-old divorced mother of two children, 7-year-old Peter and 3-year-old Carly. Professionally, she had been a high school teacher, an English tutor for the Stanley Kaplan Schools, and had tried her hand in the business world. Despite the challenges of going back to school and being a single mother, she decided that law school offered a unique opportunity for reigniting her intellect and finding a credible professional path.
Jerry Goldfeder was a 29-year-old man recently back from California and a Ph.D. program in political science at UCLA. He had been offered and taken a position at Hampshire College but, literally, at the last minute (mid-August), decided to change direction and enroll in law school.
They were not in the same section in that first year, and each experienced Cardozo very differently. Jerry moved comfortably back into the rigorous and demanding school setting; Alice wondered why she was doing this to herself and her family.
It was at the end of that first year that they found each other.
A first-year Property class professor had given a final exam that replicated the one she had given in prior years at her former law school. There were a few in the class who knew this would happen (perhaps it was her pattern). Everyone else was unaware of this—and were outraged that some students gained an advantage. This set the stage for a mass confrontation.
Smack in the middle of the exam period, the student body called a meeting with the Professor and challenged her behavior. She cavalierly dismissed the concerns of the packed classroom, defending the students who, as she said, “were smart enough” to do what they had to do to get their “A.” Alice was not about to stand for this. She rose from her seat and openly challenged the professor, arguing that it was not the “responsibility” of the students to find the former exams but her responsibility as a legal educator to bring honesty and integrity to the process. Jerry remembers it this way: “This woman got up, pointed her finger right at the professor, and said ‘I am putting the onus back on you!’”
Jerry was sold!
They formally met at a post-exam, end-of-year party a few days later, exchanged phone numbers and had their first date in September. When he showed up at her apartment, Alice was playing a board game with her son Peter. He asked Jerry “Are you mommy’s date?” The scene sold him even more.
Jerry and Alice have been married for 27 years. Their two children are grown and have their own families. They are grandparents to Jonah (13), Andrew (11), and Violet (1).
Each has explored new and exciting professional opportunities since law school and have both made significant contributions in law and public health. Jerry is a prominent election lawyer, having represented candidates and elected officials from City Council to President of the United States. He also teaches law, at Fordham Law School and University of Pennsylvania Law School. Alice is the Director of Community Outreach for NY State of Health, New York’s health plan marketplace, having previously practiced law and served as Executive Director of SHARE, a not-for-profit devoted to providing free support services to women affected by breast or ovarian cancer.
Thank you Cardozo! Thank you Blackacre!
Robinanne Turiel ’79 and Todd Rubinstein ’79
“We met our first year. The library wasn’t open because shelving for the books hadn’t been ordered yet. This was 1976, when we still used books.
Robinanne and I were in different sections but we had the same schedule. We had different professors for our small section in criminal law. One day a week, we had a five-hour break between classes, and we played bridge. By the time the library opened we were going out, and we were married 34 years ago this month.”
Patrice (Patti) Koza Huss ’80 and Isadore (Iz) Huss ’80
“As my wife tells it, on the first day of law school, there was this skinny guy in Section G telling a really bad joke. My jokes must have gotten better, or first year wore her down, because she ended up having to listen to my jokes for 36 years, so far.
We were married right before graduation and walked up the aisle to receive our diplomas together.
Maybe because we met and fell in love at the very beginning of law school, we had too much fun there. But we are still having too much fun together all these years later, and I wouldn't change a thing.”
Seth Shaffler ’81 and Robin Nichinsky ’82
“Seth and I were both on Law Review, he a year ahead of me. We first met because Seth preempted my Note topic—a civil rights case in front of the Supreme Court. When I originally approached him, he was busy working in the library and really had no time for me. Later that night, we met again at a Law Review party. We started dating from that point on.
When Seth graduated, he took a clerkship for Judge John Oliver in Kansas City for two years. While I thought this might be the end of our relationship, Seth had other ideas and we kept up a long-distance relationship for the whole time that Seth was in Kansas City. Judge Oliver is a true romantic and in the interest of our relationship, he offered me a two-year clerkship, but then I would be there for one year without Seth, so I turned down the offer. We were married in 1985.
Seth worked for Skadden after his clerkship and is now a partner at Proskauer in the Insurance Recovery and Counseling Group. After law school, I worked for 16 years for Legal Aid, Criminal Appeals Division, and I now work for the Center for Appellate Litigation, specializing in Criminal Immigration appeals. Once, we even worked on a case together when Seth took a pro bono case while I was on maternity leave. We won that case!
Seth and I live in Westchester and have three daughters. Our eldest is a lawyer in Los Angeles, our middle child is a teacher and our youngest attends Clark University.”
Deborah Kahn ’83 and Jay Butterman ’88
Deb and Jay both went to Cardozo but never knew each other at law school. The two met as adversaries in a case in Brooklyn, each having been hired as substitute counsel. Jay remembers that he was aggressive, and that at one point during a telephone call with Deb, he was going on and on about a point in the law suit, only to realize that she had hung up on him. A short time afterwards, Deb and Jay had a rapprochement, accompanied by muffins which she brought, and the two settled the case.
They became friendly and eventually Deb joined Jay’s firm of counsel. The business relationship grew, as did their personal relationship. The law firm of Butterman & Kahn, which specializes in matrimonial law, was formed slightly before the “partnership” of Jay and Deb 15 years ago.
Debra Epstein Kaufman Hausman ’85 and Richard Hausman ’85 (deceased)
“We met at a real estate closing while we were still at law school. I was interning, Richard was working part-time for the title company.
I regret to report that Richard passed away five years ago from cancer, at the age of 48. He left a son, a daughter, and a wife—me. We were married for 20 years and made life-long friends together. Richard was a remarkable attorney and a mentor to many. We had a wonderful marriage.”
Jeffrey I.D. Lewis ’86 and Sharon Ashley Lewis ’87
Sharon and Jeff met at a February, 1985 dinner party hosted by another Cardozo student, in honor of the host’s visiting fiancé. Sharon had gone to college with the hostess and Jeff was the hostess’s “big brother” mentor. Sharon and Jeff were each dating other people at the time. (Rochelle Cohen ’86 and Dan Scher ’86, who later married, were the fourth couple at the Friday night dinner.) Shortly after this party, Jeff sold Sharon a bar review course, overwhelming her with charm (according to Sharon) and explaining why it was such a good deal to buy a bar review course as a 1L (according to Jeff).
Jeff was in D.C. the following semester, for an Alexander Judicial Fellowship. The two met again during the Spring 1986 semester, when they sat next to each other in a Copyright class. Although Sharon dropped that class soon into the semester, she didn’t drop Jeff—the two soon started dating, were engaged by July (while Jeff was studying for the bar exam), and married in June, 1987, one week after Sharon graduated from Cardozo.
Jeff now is a Partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, specializing in patent litigation, and is Immediate Past President of the American Intellectual Property Law Association. Sharon practiced litigation for several years at Webster & Sheffield, but that firm closed. She then spent a number of years as a combination mother and community volunteer, returning to the outside workforce as Director of Alumni Affairs at Cardozo in August 2012.
Sharon and Jeff live in Stamford, Connecticut and have two college-aged children.
Rochelle Cohen Scher ’86 and Daniel Scher ’86
Rochelle and Danny met during the first week of law school at a Cardozo Social. He came up to her and asked, “Miss Cohen, what is your first name,?” since he had heard her called upon in class, but had not otherwise been introduced to her. Rochelle and Danny talked the rest of the evening and a few weeks later went on a first date to the Empire State Building. They dated all through law school.
When Rochelle was applying for a New York City Law Department internship, Danny helped her finish her résumé in time for the deadline, even though that required an all-nighter. Rochelle did get the internship, loved working at the Law Department and has worked there since graduation.
After graduation, Danny went into practice with his father at Scher & Scher. They practiced together until earlier this year when Danny’s father passed away.
Rochelle and Danny married in February 1988. They live in Brooklyn and have four children ages 24 to 14 and one grandson.
Carrie Gordon ’88 and Harold Gordon ’88
“We met our very first week at Cardozo. We were in the same small section together, and in one class, the professor asked each student to say a few words about his or her background and what led them to law school. Sparks flew!
Our fondest memory of Cardozo is our first-year moot court assignment, which had us up literally all night preparing and revising our brief. This was in pre-computer days, and we depended on ‘white-out’ and typewriters (and we ran out of ink!). Hard to believe, but true.
Although it may strike some as counterintuitive, there's something about the incredibly intense and relentless academic experience of law school that actually fosters romance. ‘Socratic love?’”
Leora Adler Fineberg ’89 and Martin Fineberg ’89
“We met through another Cardozo student, Darryl Feder Schreiber. Our favorite Cardozo experience was our awesome study group!
25 years and five kids later, we are still very happily married.”
Michael Wildes ’89 and Amy Wildes ’91
Michael and Amy met in the third-floor cafeteria. He saw her studying for a class he had already taken, and he offered her his “really good” outline. She declined because she already had a boyfriend at school and knew that Michael was offering more than the outline. Nonetheless, Michael and Amy became friends. Michael, who works with his father in a large immigration law firm, knew that Amy was looking for a job and made sure that his firm offered her a position.
After starting to work at the firm, Amy eventually agreed to have dinner with Michael. They took Michael’s father’s (Professor Leon Wildes) class on “Immigration Law” and began dating the summer of 1989, got engaged in March, 1990 and got married on September 3, 1990, Amy’s last semester of law school.
Michael and Amy both practice immigration law at Wildes & Weinberg P.C. Michael is now an Adjunct Professor at Cardozo for the last 3 years himself and has also served as the Mayor of Englewood, New Jersey. They have four children—two in college, one in high school, and one in middle school”
Deborah Binder Benjamin ’90 and Frank Benjamin ’90
“We met in ITAP, which began January, 1990. Frank was putting together a study group before the class began. He had me on speaker phone and I asked him to please take me off speaker. We didn’t necessarily have positive impressions after that call.
On the first day of ITAP, I noticed a guy who rushed in late with a rumpled shirt and a lot of charm. His name tag indicated he was Frank. I was shocked since I didn’t expect him to be that handsome and endearing…. We were placed in the same ITAP group, and we often laughed so hard we couldn’t catch our breath. There was tons of chemistry.
But we could never have predicted that two years later we would be married, have a child, and live in Atlanta, with another child arriving two years later. Our son is now 18 and our daughter is 14. We are still both working attorneys, Deborah at U.S. EPA, and Frank at McKenna Long & Aldridge. It’s been 21 years and it’s still fun!”
Lauren Katz Kluger ’94 and Matt Kluger ’94
Matthew and Lauren met in the January AEP program in 1992. They were close friends and their friendship turned to more in their last year at Cardozo. After graduation, Matt moved to New Hampshire to be a public defender and Lauren practiced criminal defense in the Bronx at the Law Offices of Murray Richman. Matt moved back to New York in 1997 and worked at the Bronx Public Defender. The two married in 1998.
Matt and Lauren were both involved in legal clinics at Cardozo and think that the hands-on experience such clinics provide is invaluable. Matt was in the Criminal Law Clinic and Lauren was in Bet-tzedek.
Matthew and Lauren are both still practicing attorneys. Matt has his own criminal defense practice in New York City and Lauren is an employment litigator at the New York City firm, Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt LLC. They live in Tenafly, New Jersey and have two children, a son and daughter, ages 12 and 10.
Leah Leiser Klein ’95 and Steven Klein ’95
“We met the first day of school in the library during 1L orientation. We studied in a room in the library together every day. We got engaged after second year and married right after third—one week after the Bar!
We have many wonderful memories of Cardozo: Barrister’s Ball and hanging out in the lounge, for example. But the best, by far, was how we made our life decisions over boxes of Jelly Bellys in our room in the library (all our friends knew just where to find us).
Navigating a relationship during law school can be challenging, but it was amazing to find our paths—albeit different&mdashtogether. Cardozo wasn’t just our law school; it holds a place amongst the best personal memories of our lives.”
Adina Lewis ’95 and Lawrence Garbuz ’95
Lawrence and Adina were in the same section in their first year of law school and also in the same study group. They both went to NYU for their undergraduate degrees. On the first day of orientation in law school, Lawrence talked to Adina (nonstop) about his desire to open his own trusts and estates firm and they also realized that they are both born the same week (Lawrence is older). They dated in law school and got married immediately following the bar exam.
Lawrence and Adina are partners in a boutique Trusts & Estates litigation firm, Lewis and Garbuz, P.C., and they have proudly recruited from within Cardozo. They are the parents of four children, Ella (16), Liav (14), Jonah (12) and Eva (8).
Karen Greene Silver ’97 and Scott Silver ’97
“Karen and I met at orientation; I saw her across the bagel buffet. My opening line was ‘The bagels at Pick-a-Bagel on 2nd Ave are much better than these.’ Classy, huh? It was a real New York City romance. We still have pictures of both of us from that morning, although not of the two of us together: our Cardozo Student IDs.
We didn’t have any classes together, we were in different sections. We kept our relationship to ourselves as we wanted to be ’strictly business‘ at school. No PDAs in the hallways. But, I must confess we resorted to lots of sneak kisses, and we did distract each other when trying to study in the library late night.
It seemed like many Mondays mornings at Cardozo a gaggle of girls would be oohing and aahing over a new engagement ring…. Then it was my turn to get one for her and our little secret was out.
We live in Los Angeles with our two bright and spunky daughters, ages 8 and 11 years old. Karen practices family law in Beverly Hills, and I have a transactional real estate firm in Century City. I am also a real estate investor/developer. We credit the strong work ethic and demanding professors at Cardozo and the internships, and jobs we held while there, for preparing us so well for the hard work ahead of building practices and family.”
Marlene M. Markard ’98 and Adam E. Hirshfield ’98
“When it comes to our first encounter, our memories diverge: Adam seems to remember meeting on the orientation cruise, but I recall meeting in the hallway between classes. Either way, it seems our initial encounter was entirely forgettable on both sides! Though eventually we became good friends.
Adam taught me accounting to help me get through the mandatory accounting portion of Corporations. He demonstrated incredible patience and kindness—as well as intelligence—and the rest is history. He must have been a good teacher, because I became a corporate lawyer!
It’s hard to believe we’ve been together 17 years (married 13 and a half of those). Where does the time go?”
Lara Schneider-Bomzer ’00 and T. David Bomzer ’00
David and Lara met at the 2nd floor Cardozo bookstore, while purchasing books for 1L classes. They were in the same section, studied together, and started dating during the first semester of law school. They became engaged in a romantic summer setting, on a Cape Cod beach, and wed before family and friends.
Lara began her legal career clerking in Connecticut before transitioning to a practice in Elder Law and Estate Planning in New York, and David began his legal career at the Intellectual Property boutique of Darby & Darby in New York. They recently relocated to West Hartford, Connecticut, where Lara continues to practice as an Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney, and David is Assistant Intellectual Property Counsel for the Pratt & Whitney division of United Technologies Corporation.
David and Lara have three beautiful children, Benjamin (9), Samuel (7) and Rebecca (5). According to their parents, “Benjamin is very mature for his age, Samuel is a typical rambunctious middle child, and Rebecca has her father wrapped around her finger.”
Michelle Waller Cohen ’04 and Gerald Cohen ’04
Gerald and Michelle were in the same first-year section. They were each dating other people that year, but were very good friends. Gerald had a crush on Michelle, which everyone seemed to know about, except Michelle. During second year, two friends from their 1L section who were dating gleefully told Gerald that Michelle had broken up with her boyfriend and that he should ask her out. They started dating a couple of months later, during the second semester of the second year.
After graduation, Gerald and Michelle studied for the bar exam together, taking the same bar review course. They attended class in the morning, went to lunch and then studied together for the rest of the day. Happily, they both passed the exam. They got engaged in October, 2004 and married in May, 2005.
Right after law school, Michelle clerked for Judge Stanton in the Southern District, and Gerald worked for the Bronx District Attorney’s office. After clerking, Michelle went to Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, where she became Partner last January. In 2008, Gerald opened his own firm, Cohen and Fitch, and specializes in Civil Rights and Criminal Defense litigation.
Gerald and Michelle live in Westchester and have three small children, ages six to 18 months.
Nizan Geslevich Packin ’04 and Tamir Packin ’07
“We met at Orientation at the beginning of Tamir’s first year at Cardozo, when Nizan was an exchange student from the Law Faculty at Haifa University. Although we only got to spend one semester together at Cardozo, it was a truly meaningful one! We participated in the Orientation events that year, and started dating shortly after.
Following the exchange program, which was one semester long, Nizan graduated from law school and returned to Israel to clerk for the Supreme Court. After completing a one-year clerkship, she returned to NYC to do an LLM at Columbia Law. Upon graduating from Columbia and Cardozo together in 2007, Nizan started working at Skadden Arps and Tamir at Kirkland & Ellis.”
Nizan Geslevich Packin ’04 and Tamir Packin ’07
“We first met at Cardozo’s pizza party on the third floor of Cardozo before our 1L year started. I remember really hitting it off with her and bonding over the fact that I used to live in Lauren’s hometown of Tampa. She doesn’t remember meeting me there at all!
What we liked best at law school were Bar Nights, Barristers Balls and killing time in the CJICL offices.”
Gregory Weiss ’04 and Carissa Weiss ’08
“We first met at the Calhoun School in fifth grade, but we re-met many years later, thanks to Cardozo. Shortly after the 2008 Law Review Alumni Party, Carissa Alden was looking at photos of that event in the Law Review Office with some of her fellow then-3Ls. She came across a photo of a handsome face with a familiar smile and felt sure that this was the adult version of her fifth-grade crush. A subsequent photo of the same person—this time showing his name tag of ‘Gregory Weiss, Class of 2004’—confirmed her suspicion. The element of fate was too great to pass up, so she tracked Greg down online and contacted him. A four-hour coffee date at Grey Dog a few weeks later made it clear that we’d been right about each other back in 1988—and the rest is history.
Although we didn’t overlap at Cardozo, we each enjoyed our separate experiences there, and we love that we get to share the experience of being Cardozo alumni. We are also thrilled to be able to contribute on a continuing basis to such a dynamic, young law school.”
Aimee Davis ’07 and Ari Davis ’07
“Aimee and I met during our first year of law school in a Torts class taught by Professor Alex Stein. We were in different sections so we didn&squo;t initially notice each other, but one day we both found ourselves on line at the Starbucks on 14th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, and this time I noticed her! Dating during law school was fun and seamless. We were both devoted to our studies, but always made time for each other. Our friends referred to us as the ‘1L Love Connection.’ We were engaged during Spring Break and got married right before our second year and have never looked back.
The collegial atmosphere of Cardozo certainly contributed to our relationship and the friendships we made during our tenure at Cardozo. Everyone strives to excel, but not at the expense of others. In our experiences as attorneys, a competitive edge, while sometimes necessary, is not the key to success. Setting forth good work product and advocating strenuously for your clients are far more important tools for success.
I currently practice commercial real estate law at Wolff & Samson PC in West Orange, New Jersey and Aimee practices matrimonial law at Goldweber Epstein LLP in Manhattan. While we have very different practice areas, we both owe Cardozo a tremendous amount of gratitude for providing us with the stepping stones to our respective careers and the opportunity for meeting our soul mates. We have a five-year-old daughter, Gabriella, and another one on the way.”
Justin Kang ’08 and Seon Jeong (Nicole) Kim
“Although Nicole and I both lived in Astoria while we studied at Cardozo, our paths didn’t cross in New York since we attended Cardozo at different times. It was only when professor Stein visited Korea, we had a chance to meet each other. Looking back, we both almost didn’t make it to the dinner get together as we were both busy with work at the time. Interestingly, we connected and were able to hit it off at first sight as we had a lot of interests in common. Also, my office was in the same neighborhood as Nicole’s home so we were able to see each other quite often. We both feel that our Cardozo connection enabled us to find each other as we don’t think that we would have met if it weren’t for that one Cardozo alumni dinner in Korea. Can’t believe that it’s already been almost two years since we got married!”
Sarah Gregory ’10 and Etan Chatlynne ’10
“We were both May AEP students and met in Professor Huigens’ Criminal Law class. Sarah sat behind me. I remember chatting in depth with her about the Battered Spouse Syndrome, which was a really interesting and important concept. Six or seven months after that discussion, we began dating.
After that, our stars kept aligning. We both had Alexander Judicial Fellowships in the Southern District, me with Judge Scheindlin and Sarah with Chief Judge Wood. Their chambers were next door to each other! Our commute together from our Brooklyn neighborhood went all the way to our office doors.
We were married in September, 2011, about a year after graduation.”
Inna Yelyashkevych ’12 and Daniel Novick ’12
“I met Inna in the summer of 2010 at the birthday party of our fellow Cardozo classmate, Mike Rosen. Inna told me she would be in Professor Bierschbach’s Corporations class, Section B. Unfortunately, I was in Section A and Section B was full. I had to switch my schedule and monitor class registration for a while till I finally got a spot in Section B! The rest is history.
Getting to celebrate our graduation with both our families together was one of our best experiences at Cardozo.”
Or Raitses ’12 and Caroline Siegel Raitses ’13
“Or and I met on my first day of law school while on the 1L orientation boat trip around lower Manhattan. He was a 2L volunteer. A few days later, we reconnected at the first SBA sponsored ‘Bar Night’ of the semester.
In the spring of my second year, Or and I traveled to Israel to study abroad at Tel Aviv University. For Or in particular, the opportunity to study in Israel, where he was born, was a unforgettable experience. While we were there, he proposed to me in Old City Jaffa. I had absolutely no idea that he had been carrying the ring around in his backpack for nearly two months! We were married March 23, 2013 on Long Island.”