In early 2008, Dom Pirrotta of Albany Law School’s Class of 2010—specifically Section 1—had spent hours on a final paper and was ready to decompress. He decided to send an email to his section mates to see if anyone felt like joining him for a beer at the nearby Recovery Sports Grill.
That email was the start of a now decade-long friendship among many Section 1 members. The group is spread throughout the country but they stay in touch regularly.
“From that point forward, we’ve just always been together,” said Lynne Papazian ’10. “We’ve brought in other people too.”
In law school, Papazian became the point person of the group. She started law school in her late 30s, thanks to a push from a family member after she demonstrated a desire to switch careers. She made the move to upstate New York to start anew.
“The minute I got that acceptance, I withdrew my applications from all the other schools,” she said. “I am so glad I made that decision. Being up there meeting all those kids—I do [affectionately] call them kids because they are at least 15 years younger than me—they totally enhanced my life.”
Throughout law school, her home became the gathering place for the section—for fun and for studying. Sometimes there was a theme or a reason—anything from a luau to a birthday—other times it was just because they made it through an exam.
“To see them now and watch them grow into professionals—family men and women. It’s really cool that I get to be a part of this,” she said.
One of Papazian’s fondest memories was her 40th birthday party during their 1L year. The section’s most recent in-person gathering was for her 50th a couple of years ago, when several group members made the trip to Albany.
“We text, we email, and communicate. We keep each other informed of babies—which there are a lot of now—and marriages,” she said. “We just all love each other. There’s no other way to put it.”
They’ve welcomed other Albany Law School alumni as the years have gone by. Papazian’s business partner, Stephen Buckley ’10, wasn’t part of the original group in law school—but his wife Alexandra Buckley ’10 was.
Some members have moved throughout the country and started their own families.
Jessica Montemayor (Janak) ’10 serves as in-house counsel for The HR Group, LLC, a residential and commercial construction company owned and operated by her and her husband, Allen. The family lives in Richardson, Texas. The couple has three daughters—Abbott, Archer, and Albany.
Others have stayed in the Northeast, like Michael Levenson ’10, who lives in New Jersey with his wife and son. He serves as in-house counsel at InsureYourCompany.com, an insurance brokerage.
“I am grateful to have been paired with a wonderful section. Despite being scattered across the country, we remain close,” he said. “Law school would not have been the same and life would be missing something without them.”
The group looks forward to the day when it’s safe enough to gather in person. Until then, they have social media to remain in close, digital contact.
“Either we’re going to meet someplace, everyone will come here—we are going to get together,” Papazian said. “We don’t need to be in the same room to know that we are there for each other.”