Scenes and images from the 2013 NYU Law magazine prompt letters to the editor. Send us your comments, too!
To the Editor:
Looking at the cover of the latest issue of NYU LAW Magazine with Dean Morrison exiting the Christopher Street Subway Station, I could not help thinking of all the times I used the West 4th Street-Washington Square Subway Station while studying at NYU Law. In fact, a couple of years after I graduated, during one of my “pilgrimages” to New York, a friend of mine and I were walking on 6th Avenue late at night when I noticed that people from the Metropolitan Transit Authority were renewing the station signs. They were loading the old signs onto a truck. When I asked them if I could get one of those signs they literally said to me: “Take as many as you can carry!” We managed to carry one 10ft, 70lbs sign to D’Agostino Hall where we could store it and disassemble it the next day. A couple of days later, instead of taking a taxi, we rented a minivan to get everything to JFK. We checked the sign in as oversize luggage and flew back to The Netherlands. It now adorns one of the walls of my living room. It’s by far the best souvenir I have.
Mark C. Olie LLM ’90
To the Editor:
Twenty-seven years after receiving my JD, and 22 years after receiving my Tax LLM, the sight of a hotel lobby filled with 700 business-clad lawyers brought on a case of nerves this week when I arrived to attend a Continuing Legal Education presentation.
I have had a twisted path since the glorious day in 1986 that I received my JD. The summer after my graduation was the summer that starting salaries at large NYC firms were raised for apparently no reason, and I was one of many graduates receiving a phone call informing me of my “raise” before I even started work. I practiced in tax law at one of those large firms for 3 years, moved to DC to clerk for the US Tax Court, got married and returned to NYC to practice international tax law at a boutique firm offering hours consistent with family life. If it sounds like all went smoothly, that’s correct: it did, until I became the mother of a child with severe disabilities.
I got off the bandwagon in early 2001 and spent the next decade at home battling my daughter’s epilepsy as well as her other medical and developmental difficulties. Some days, I felt that I deserved an honorary degree in nursing; most days, I just felt exhausted.
For the past two years, I have been a part-time, volunteer attorney working on special education matters at a nonprofit firm. I am also the exhausted primary caregiver of my daughter, who is almost 18 years old. As I entered the hotel lobby for CLE this week, the exhausted mother inside me felt out of place, under-dressed, not wearing makeup, not recognizing a soul. After hiding at a table alone to eat, I considered going home to rest while I had a babysitter and skipping the class. It was then that I saw a man wander up to the dessert table. His hair was mostly white, but he was unmistakably Stephen Gillers, the very person I had come to this class to see. By some miracle, he was not surrounded by admirers but was also alone in this room of 700 lawyers. In a timid voice, I said his name, and he turned to me.
Professor Gillers was as kind and unpretentious as I remembered him. His voice, though sounding a bit older after all the years of lectures, had the same warmth and humor; and there was the same little bit of mischief in him that made his classes so much fun. I was taken back to the precious years I spent at NYU, days before fax machines or email, when computerized legal research was in its infancy and my happiest moments involved bagels in the Greenberg Lounge. Suddenly, I didn’t care that I was wearing casual clothes in a room full of dark suits. I was the young girl who sat transfixed by this brilliant and kind man’s voice 30 years ago and who would gladly spend the evening doing so again.
Cindy Goldberg Fine
JD ’86, LLM ’91
Thank you for the article “A Tax Haven Jerry Wallace used to invite the full-time students (we were not many) to his home in Old Greenwich. It was on the water. I remember the fun and listening to Jerry’s violin solos. Vanderbilt Hall was brand new in my year and I remember late afternoon social gatherings in the new building. That’s when I met Dean Niles. In addition to Jerry, there was an adjunct faculty, all excellent. We studied the 1939 Internal Revenue Code, repealed two years later by the 1954 Code, but the NYU training got us through the new section numbers and codifications of some of the case law. I thoroughly enjoyed my NYU experience. I am interested in the whereabouts of my LLM (Taxation) classmates.
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