Finding Love at Law School

Finding Love at Law School

Sabrina Rishmague caught her breath when she was asked what she had learned from Nicole Chipi in the five-plus years of dating that led to their Jan. 23 wedding at the Perez Art Museum Miami, where the brides and three guests stood before Edwin G. Torres, a Florida magistrate judge, who officiated.

“At first, I was skeptical, I wasn’t quite sure,” said Ms. Rishmague, 28, an associate at Avila Rodriguez Hernandez Mena & Ferri, a Miami law firm.

“I think it took two conversations to make me realize that the reason I was so skeptical was that I really liked her,” she said. “I never felt that way about a person, or a woman before, she has taught me to be patient, responsible, brave and accountable.”

Ms. Rishmague and Ms. Chipi, both Miami natives, met as law school students at the University of Miami in early December 2015 during a dinner organized by a mutual friend who also attended law school there.

“We had a really great conversation in which we realized that we shared a lot of the same interests,” said Ms. Chipi, an associate at the Miami law firm Jones Day.

She recalled being instantly intrigued by Ms. Rishmague.

“From the moment we met, the two of us would find each other coincidentally, or not-so-coincidentally, all over campus,” she said, laughing.

A few weeks later, they went on their first official date, at the Perez Art Museum Miami, which became a favorite hangout place and eventual a no-brainer when it came time for the couple to choose a spot for their wedding.

“I knew the place well, so I figured why not enjoy the home-court advantage on our first date,” Ms. Chipi said, laughing.

They began dating steadily thereafter, and by the following semester, were a rock-solid, exclusive item.

“For whatever reason, Sabrina just had the right combination of characteristics,” said Ms. Chipi, who will begin a clerkship with Judge Adalberto Jordan of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

“I don’t exactly know how to say it or explain it, but her presence has shifted so many things inside of me,” said Ms. Chipi. “Because of her, I’m more open, more patient and a lot more vulnerable.”

They began “a really exciting relationship,” as Ms. Rishmague put it, but their newfound love was soon fraught with newfound problems.

“We already knew that the first year of law school is a stressful time,” she said, “but we were surprised to be faced with homophobia from our colleagues, and briefly split up because the pressure of school and family was too much to bear.”

There was also another problem: Ms. Rishmague, the daughter of Sandra and Miguel Rishmague of Miami, was not yet out to her family, which presented additional challenges.

“At one point, Sabrina was finally able to come out to her family and we were able to build a bond with them together,” said Ms. Chipi, the daughter of Damaris Chipi and Jorge Chipi of Canton, N.C.

“Sabrina is a very honest, very earnest and very open person,” she said. “She’s also very patient, and that makes me really happy because I’m not the easiest person in the world to get along with.”

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