A Match Made in Torts Class: Alex and Elspeth’s Story

zimmermanby Liesel Zimmerman, Class of 2018

In first-year Torts class, students learn about duty, breach, and causation through cases about spontaneously combusting haystacks, accidentally igniting fireworks, and collisions of every type of vehicle imaginable. In a happy accident, you could say that Alex and Elspeth’s worlds collided when they sat down beside each other the first day. And after hearing their story, any reasonable person would know that they were meant to be together.

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On that first day of Torts class, Elspeth sat on the end of the row, and Alex took the empty seat between her and a member of his Legal Practice Section. Elspeth remembers that day especially well, because when they introduced themselves, Alex asked her how to spell her name, and wrote it down. She was impressed by how determined Alex was to pronounce her unique name correctly; he was the first person to ever ask her how to spell it. During the semester, the two talked casually before and after class. One conversation revealed their shared interest in Celtic music, and Elspeth offered recommendations of songs for Alex to listen to.

Fall semester finals came and went, but when Spring semester started, they sadly didn’t have any classes together. After not seeing each other for several months, Alex got the surprise of his life: in his hanging folder, he found a CD of Celtic music that Elspeth had made for him.  Alex was thrilled to know that his sweet classmate from Torts class was still thinking of him. He didn’t have Elspeth’s phone number, so Alex decided to send her an email to thank her. Now it was Elspeth’s turn to be surprised! The two were so glad to get back in touch, and they spent their 1L summer getting to know each other by exchanging emails every couple days. When they came back in the fall, Alex and Elspeth were eager to see each other in person. The first time they met up, the pair got coffee and talked for six hours, not realizing until the end how much time had gone by. They discussed their mutual interests in Celtic music, genealogy, and history, and discovered their common faith as Christians. A few days later, they were officially a couple.

visser weddingAlex and Elspeth fell for each other quickly; they were both certain that they were meant for each other. So on April 6th, 2016, Elspeth’s birthday, Alex asked Elspeth for her hand in marriage. Neither one of them ever expected to get married in law school, but they were so happy to be together they couldn’t wait. The pair set the wedding date for December 17, and spent their 3L fall semester in a whirlwind of classes and cake tastings, cold calls and coordinating. They chose to get married in the historic Wren Chapel on main campus. It was a perfect fit: it encompassed the history that they both so loved, and it paid tribute to the place that brought them together.

On the special day, guests were welcomed to the chapel by the sound of bagpipes, played by the Law School’s own Raymond Bilter. Friends and family filled the chapel as the happy couple said their vows. Elspeth looked beautiful in her long-sleeved, lace gown, and Alex was dapper in his tails. A reception followed at the Alumni House, where the Bride and Groom made their grand entrance to the Star Wars Theme, played by a string quartet.

After a honeymoon in Scotland, Alex and Elspeth returned for their final semester of law school; this time as husband and wife. They are making sure to keep a good work-life balance. They do their readings and hold each other accountable, but they also take time to share meals and watch their favorite movies. They also make music together in their Celtic Band, the Highland Rogues. After graduation, the pair will move to North Carolina, where Elspeth plans to pursue opportunities in Elder Law or Mediation, and where Alex will work as a Prosecutor.

As Alex and Elspeth have found during their time in law school, it’s important to love what you’re learning. But it’s a special gift when you get to love someone you are learning with. As Alex so aptly put it: “William & Mary: It’s a great place to meet friends – or your future spouse!”

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