Amy C. Reich '88 and James O'Donnell '88
While the attraction was mutual, the couple did not start to date until law school was over. “I knew when I met Jim that he was the person I was going to marry, but I wasn’t ready for a relationship at the time,” recalled Amy. The two drifted apart, but when Jim found out they had each passed the bar, he reached out to congratulate her. “We went out on our first date in November 1988 and we have been together ever since,” he said. The couple will be married for 17 years in June.
Amy, who is now Deputy General Counsel and Managing Director for Citigroup Global Markets in Hong Kong, has loved securities law since her first class with Professor Roberta Karmel. “I graduated from college with a liberal arts degree and no idea what I wanted to do,” she recalled. “My parents encouraged me to go to law school because they said I knew how to argue, but I had no interest in any particular area of the law. When I took Securities Law with Professor Karmel it all clicked. I found my career from that one class, which is a pretty amazing thing.”
Karmel helped Amy secure an internship at the Securities and Exchange Commission in New York, an office to which she returned after graduation. After six years at the SEC, where she worked her way up from Staff Attorney, to Branch Chief, to Assistant Regional Director, she moved on to become the Regional Compliance Director for Smith Barney and eventually to head their Capital Markets Compliance. Smith Barney became a part of Citigroup in 1998, and in 2008, an opportunity to move to Citigroup’s Hong Kong offices came about, and Amy jumped on it. Jim, who was also working in the securities enforcement field, followed. “I was still in love with her, so I decided I would go too,” he joked.
That Jim also ended up working in the world of securities is no coincidence. “My interest in securities law came about because Amy loved her job at the SEC, and I pestered her about openings. She let me know when one came up and that’s where I got started myself. It’s a fantastic way to learn how to be a lawyer from the ground up.”
Jim followed his almost six years with the SEC with 12 years at The New York Stock Exchange and a stint at FINRA, and moved to Hong Kong with a position at the Enforcement Division of the Securities and Futures Commission. The pair moved to their new home in Hong Kong in April 2008. While they miss New York, the professional experience has been unparalleled.
“From a professional standpoint it is an amazing experience to deal with issues coming up in emerging markets,” said Amy. “To travel to Vietnam and Sri Lanka and learn about their regulatory systems is fascinating. This is where everyone wants to be.”
Joseph A. Bondy '94 and Meeka Jun Bondy '94
For Joseph Bondy, Legal Process was the most exciting class in Law School. It was the class he shared with Meeka Jun. “It was love at first sight,” he recalled of the first day, when she walked into Professor Bailey Kulkin’s class. “I was pretending to be a good student so I sat in the front row. She walked in and went straight to the back row, and I was lovestruck. At the end of class, I was surprised when Meeka asked me to lunch.” He was smitten. So was she. But they were each dating some¬one else. Their platonic friendship lasted until both became roman¬tically unencumbered by their second year of law school. “We had our first date on December 19, 1992,” Joe recalled. At the time, he wrote a column for the BLS newsletter entitled “Wine, Women, and Song,” where he reviewed restaurants for the law school, and he took Meeka to Acadia Parish, a Cajun restaurant on Atlantic Avenue. “I didn’t review the restaurant that night. We have been inseparable ever since.”
The two dated for their remaining years in law school and moved in together after graduation. They became engaged in August 1996, after a clear ultimatum was delivered. “I told Joe I would not move into a new apartment with him until we were engaged,” recalled Meeka. “It was the night before we were to move out, and he took me out to dinner.