Mustang Marriages:

Making Partner for Life

They arrived at SMU Dedman School of Law seeking a top-notch education. They left with that—and a partner for life. Here, six couples who met and fell in love at SMU Law School share their stories. Happy Valentine’s Day from SMU Law and from these lawyers in love!

Michael Creme and Jacqueline Tran '20

Michael and Jacqueline have geography to thank for bringing them together. In the spring of 2019, Jacqueline was the incoming SBA President. Michael was the incoming Board of Advocates Chair and, as luck would have it, they shared a hallway between their two offices. Michael approached Jacqueline, introduced himself, and they became fast friends. Michael can’t take all the credit for their relationship, though. When asked who made the first move, Jacqueline laughs, “I guess I did! I told Michael that I was starting to like him, but he made the first move for a kiss!” Date nights at The Rustic, cheese fries at Snuffer’s, and arcade games at Cidercade soon followed. They made the most of their time in Dallas, hanging out with friends at Barley House or Milo’s, planning fun movie nights, and they were always on the search for the next dog-friendly restaurant or bar.

They each thrived on their own in different organizations while in law school yet were always supportive of each other. But studying together was a different story. “We were in the Corporate Counsel Externship class together and were table partners, but we had fairly different studying styles so never studied together per se.”

Since graduating law school, Michael and Jacqueline passed the bar, moved to New York and got married!  They tied the knot in September 2022 and currently live in Brooklyn, NYC with Uni, their adorable 4-year-old rescue pup. Michael is an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in their Restructuring group in the city, and Jacqueline currently clerks for the Honorable Sean H. Lane in the S.D.N.Y.

Being in law school together brought Michael and Jacqueline closer as a couple. Their shared experience allowed them to understand how sometimes plans would have to be cancelled, and how to be gracious and flexible with one another. Their advice for today’s law school couples is to try not to compete with your significant other; “realize that your relationship is a place to build each other up, not compete to see who is the best, and always have fun together when you can!”

Cynthia and Judge Hector Garza '04 and '05

Hector and Cynthia met as 1Ls in SMU Law’s Minority Law Students Orientation. Once they realized they were in the same 1L section, they saw each other every day, began studying together, and became fast friends. Hector made the first move by asking Cynthia on a coffee date to CC's Coffee House and friendship bloomed into love.

While they know it might not work for every law school couple, Hector and Cynthia were inseparable. They took classes and studied together, were moot court partners, and served together on the Board of the Hispanic Law Students Association. “Usually, where you saw Hector, you saw me too,” Cynthia says. For fun, they enjoyed catching movies, playing putt-putt golf, jogging, and always made time for dates. Getting cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory became an exam tradition “as a nice treat for our hard work!”

After law school, Hector became a prosecutor with the Dallas County DA's Office, and in 2016 he became the presiding judge of the 195th Judicial District Court, where he presently hears felony cases in Dallas County. Cynthia initially started her own law firm practicing family and criminal law, was then invited to join an established law firm, and, since 2008 found her calling in the Dallas County DA's Office. She is currently the Chief Prosecutor of the DA's Conviction Integrity Unit handling claims of actual innocence and wrongful conviction.

Hector and Cynthia have two active boys—“if we aren't at work, you can probably find us on a sports field somewhere!”—and enjoy traveling when they can. Cynthia and Hector’s advice for law school couples is to make sure to give yourselves downtime from the hustle and bustle of law school. “If you can lean on each other during the tough times in law school, you will certainly build a strong foundation for challenges that life throws at you.”

Cameron and Brad Jones '23

Technology works! Brad and Cameron met through SMU Law’s incoming class GroupMe. After exchanging a few messages, Brad explained that he was moving from California, didn’t know anyone, and that Cameron was the first person he had talked to in Texas. Their first date was a week before 1L classes started, they started officially dating on their first day of law school, and the rest is history!

Brad and Cameron made it a point to try to take at least two classes together each semester when their schedules and interests allowed and are now Co-Presidents of the Christian Legal Society together. When their schedules allow, they love traveling, spending time with family and friends, road-tripping, and trying new restaurants. “Even though we have different study methods, we study alongside each other,” they say, and it is clearly working well for them. Brad and Cameron got married in the summer before their 3L year, and they will graduate together in May 2023. After graduation, they will take the bar exam in July and will be moving to Denver.

Their best advice for couples on how to survive law school together is to make sure you have your personal priorities in line. For them, that means not only working hard, but prioritizing God first, spouse second, and yourself last.

Julia Kowalsky and Jet McGuire '20

Two lawyers debating the answer to a straightforward question—sounds about right! When asked who made the first move, Jet doesn’t hesitate. “Julia! Although she will probably dispute this….” Regardless of who was first, these two have happily made it last. Julia and Jet started in the same 1L section and went on to take a few 2L and 3L classes together. In Con Law II, they even developed a strategy where they sat next to each other “so anytime one of us missed a cold call, Professor Bloom would move on to the other. This made for some fun studying and friendly competition.”

During law school, they were each involved in mock trial, moot court and law review, although always on different teams and journals which they admit in hindsight was “probably for the best!” But togetherness worked for them, too. Together, they studied, enjoyed events with law school friends, and survived the bar exam. Since graduation, they have moved to Houston, bought their first house and are each working at their respective law firms. Julia works at Bracewell doing healthcare law and general corporate litigation and Jet is with BoyarMiller doing Aircraft, M&A, and corporate transactional work.

Julia and Jet’s best advice for current couples on how to survive and thrive in law school is to stay separate but together. “Love each other from a distance. Take different classes and participate in different activities. You will always have the law school experience in common but consider that it might not be best to be ranked against one another.”

Lynsey Scott and Jonathan Taylor '18

There’s nothing like waiting until the last minute in law school! Lynsey Scott and Jon Taylor met at the last possible crossing of paths that law school presented - graduation. Even though both attended Baylor for undergrad, overlapped for three years at SMU Law, and were involved in many similar activities, the couple did not meet until fate and the proximity of their last names sat them next to each other at graduation in December of 2018.

When Jon (finally!) tried to give Lynsey his number, it was “a fumble at the one-yard line when Jon typed a 4 instead of a 5,” and their relationship was almost derailed before it even started. “I thought he was ghosting me … and we’ve never let him live it down!” laughs Lynsey. They finally exchanged the correct numbers thanks to a mutual friend’s intervention and started talking. They were studying for the February bar but managed to carve out some time for a first date—dinner and a study break at Cristina’s.

After graduation and the bar, Jon began work as a corporate associate at Katten in Dallas, while Lynsey worked at the Collin County DA’s office. During the pandemic, Lynsey was offered a job with the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C. After working remote for several months, they moved to Arlington, Virginia and Jon joined Mintz’s corporate group. They are settled there with their two cats and absolutely love the East Coast.

While they laugh that they are likely unqualified to give couples advice for surviving law school together given that they met at graduation, Lynsey and Jon suggest that “the sooner you realize that you are each other’s best support system, the happier and more fulfilling of a relationship you’ll have. You don’t have to understand the ins and outs of each other’s specific jobs to understand the difficulties of being a young lawyer, and it's important to listen and encourage. Be there for each other.”

Amy and Steve Yeager (’93)

Picture it: SMU Law School orientation session in August 1990. Dean Paul Rogers spoke to the entering class and said something like “look to your left and right because you may be sitting next to your future spouse.” Turns out, he was right! At the conclusion of Dean Rogers’ remarks Amy introduced herself to Steve and his twin brother Doug (also ’93) in the back of Karcher Auditorium. Amy went home that same day and told her grandmother that she had met the man she was going to marry.

Their relationship really began with cookies. Steve lived in Hillcrest Manor, and Amy hand-delivered homemade chocolate chip cookies to his door some mornings. Steve was incredibly shy, but the cookies worked their magic and he finally mustered up the nerve to ask Amy out in October – “to lunch in the Hughes Trigg Student Center!” laughs Steve. 

Amy and Steve were in the same 1L Section, sat next to each other in Torts, and were both active in the Barrister’s service organization and with the Student Bar Association. Steve proposed to Amy after finals their 2L year, and they were married the Saturday before Spring Break of their 3L year. After a honeymoon to Jamaica, they returned to finish law school, take finals, graduate, study and take the bar exam together.

Steve is now the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at SMU Law and founded the Corporate Counsel Externship Program, which he has run for 10 years. Amy is Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer of Children's Health. Their son Carson graduated from SMU in 2000 and married his high school and college sweetheart, and their daughter Alexandra will graduate from SMU this May. “You might say the family is “all in” at the place it all started almost 33 years ago,” they joke.  Their best advice for current couples on how to survive law school together is hang on tight and enjoy the journey together!