A Match Made at Columbia Law School

After meeting at Columbia Law School in 2011, Lynnette Cortes Mhatre ’14 and Miheer Mhatre ’14 were married this past January.

When Lynnette Cortes Mhatre ’14 and Miheer Mhatre ’14 entered Jerome Greene Hall for the first time in August 2011, they were strangers embarking on a journey that they knew would shape their careers. They had no idea this journey would determine the future of their personal lives, as well. Married on January 21, 2017, in Lake Worth, Florida, the pair recently returned from their honeymoon in Thailand, where they visited Bangkok, Chiang-Mai, and Phuket. Before returning to work—Lynnette as an associate at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Miheer as an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton after a year as a clerk for Judge Cathy Seibel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York—the couple shared how Columbia Law School played such a central role in their love story. “We had a good Columbia Law contingency at our wedding,” said Lynnette. “The Law School really forged a lot of good friendships, and we couldn’t have that anywhere else.”

This interview was lightly edited for length and clarity. 

Q: How did you meet?

Lynnette: We sat next to each in other in Legal Methods, in 2011, so that would have been August of 2011. We were in Professor Strauss’ Legal Methods class together.

Miheer: We were asked to sign up for seats ahead of time. I signed up initially for a seat that was one row behind Lynnette, but I kept an eye on the seating chart as we got closer to class. I think probably the week before I noticed that there was an open seat in the row ahead, so I actually changed it to be next to Lynnette, one seat in from the aisle. I didn’t know who she was ahead of time, but I did actually switch it to be next to her, which is a fact that she has never ceased to enjoy!

The couple on their graduation day in 2014, in the same seats they sat in for Professor Peter Strauss’ Legal Methods class.

Did you strike up a conversation and realize you had a lot in common?

Lynnette: We’re both pretty chatty, I would say, so we struck up a conversation and we talked a lot in class, just sitting next to each other. We sort of had a similar friend group also, so we spent a lot of time together both in class and outside of class. Once you have your Legal Methods class, you have all the same classes together your first semester. We spent a lot of time together getting to know each other. We had a lot in common. We were friends first, and that sort of evolved into a relationship.

Miheer: We did gchat from time to time throughout class, either about questions that were being asked, in case we were going to get cold-called, or asking about what was going on around us. We both also graduated college the same year, in 2011, earlier that year in May, so I think us and a lot of our other friends were just out of college or one year out of college. We were also living in New York for the first time. We were all interested in getting to know each other, getting to know Morningside Heights, creating a community with other 1Ls, which I think helped us get to know each other even better.

Miheer proposed in Central Park in 2015.

Through those conversations, what was your favorite thing about each other?

Lynnette: I think my favorite thing about Miheer is his ability to make everyone feel comfortable. He’s really genuine, and it’s really nice to be able to see someone who makes such an effort to make everyone around him feel like they’re being valued, and feel like they’re being heard, and make everyone in every situation feel comfortable and like he’s instantly their friend.

Miheer: Wow, that’s so nice! [laughter] I think one of the things that first attracted me to Lynnette was she seemed so spirited and spunky and has a real energy to her that was something that I wasn’t used to. It helped to continue to draw me out of my shell and help me feel comfortable. We have really different backgrounds, but we’re remarkably similar in how we approach class, and how we approach friend groups, and how we just went about our days. I was just so amazed that someone could be on the same wavelength that I would have never expected.

Lynnette: That was a good answer, too. [laughter]

Was it difficult, given the other demands on your time, to date in law school? Or was it easier, given that you were going through similar challenges?

Miheer: It was really nice to have someone that you can share things with, that they understand what you’re talking about that would otherwise be arcane or boring or just foreign to someone else. It ended up being really convenient that we were both going through exams, because we didn’t actually go on our first official date until after exams ended. I remember you told a couple friends who weren’t in law school...

Lynnette: ...No one really understood! To us it was completely normal. We were like, “of course we can’t go on a date while we’re studying!”

Miheer: I’m pretty sure they were like, “are you sure about this guy? He wants to take you on a date, but that’s a month and a half from now. That sounds like a classic red flag situation.” But luckily for me, we were both going through the same grind, and she understood.

The couple on their wedding day, January 2017.

Let's talk about the proposal. Will you share some details? 

Miheer: I proposed in Central Park, which is a place that, even in law school, we started taking walks out there. We’d lay in Sheep’s Meadow. And it’s still a place that we like to go and walk around. Because it’s such a special place for us, I thought it would be a unique and memorable place to propose.

Lynnette: He proposed Labor Day weekend. One of our Law School friends had gotten engaged months before, and he convinced her to send out a Paperless Post invite saying that she was having an engagement party at the Central Park Boathouse. We got dressed up and...she had said let’s take pictures at the fountain, because I was in her bridal party. When we got there, no one was there. Miheer started to propose, and at first I was like, “Oh my god, there’s no party, right? Because you can’t propose to me and then go to some engagement party.” He assured me it was all squared away, and he had a photographer there, so we have photos from when he was actually proposing. My parents and my brother had flown up from Florida, and his parents from New Jersey and his sister from Boston also came. They were all waiting in our apartment when we got back. So that was really exciting.

Miheer: Ordinarily we do so much together and plan so much together. But the proposal was something that I was doing all on my own, so I remember thinking “I can’t wait until the day happens and I can finally go back to doing things with her again.” Because doing things on my own is stressful.

Lynnette: He did a great job.

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Posted on February 14, 2017

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