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January 7, 2012

Guest post: Scion of Northwestern Law

by dan rodriguez

Hello readers of Dean Dan’s blog.  I am the wife of the Dean (and, I’m told, a person in my own right!).  I’m very excited about our upcoming move to Chicago and looking forward to my association with what so far seems to be a fun, loyal, and interesting community of Northwesterners.  (That doesn’t sound right.  Is it Northwesternites?  I might have to go with Wildcats.)    I’ve already had the opportunity to meet some wonderful faculty, staff, students, and alumni from both the law school and the University, and we are about to head off on a bus tour (not really a bus tour – we aren’t John Madden or Sarah Palin after all – but you know, a tour of a lot of cities where Northwestern alums can be found) where I will have the opportunity to meet even more great Northwestern folks.  Right now, we are in Washington DC for the first of many alumni receptions we’ll be attending over the next few months. 

Last night’s reception in DC was pretty great – a breathtaking view of the White House and the Washington Monument from the Hay-Adams hotel, good grub, and a roomful of interesting and excited law school alumni.  I had the good fortune to meet many cool people, among them Julie Liu DeFrain, from the Class of 2007.  Julie is a lawyer at the Department of Education, but she has a side-occupation – she has helped her sister open, and is now helping her sister run, a contemporary American restaurant in DC.  When I told Julie where we were staying, she said the restaurant was very close to our hotel. 

Today, I am looking out the window of my hotel, and on the roof of the building across the street I see two uniformed officers.  They’ve got guns.  They aren’t shooting anybody; they are kind of just milling around up there with their guns.  Then I notice that there are other officers in the street, one of the nearby streets is cordoned off, and there are lots of police cars and caution tape.  First I thought there might be a crime scene close by, but as time passed, and I didn’t see anybody acting in a particularly urgent manner, it dawned on me that maybe an important person was in the neighborhood.  Mind you, the street was now totally blocked, there were 10-12 police cars, maybe 15 black SUVs and vans, lots of guys in suits with earpieces, the aforementioned sharp-shooters, an ambulance — it didn’t take a genius.  I started wondering if maybe the person was Barack.  Or Michelle!   At some point while surveying the scene, I see the name of the restaurant on the corner – Scion – and the name seems familiar; I am thinking this might be the restaurant Julie told me about last night.  So I call Jaci Thiede, knower of many things and the baron of development and alumni relations at NU, to tell her of the hubbub in the neighborhood and my surmise that someone famous is around, and to ask if she thinks the famous person might be The President, and, if so, whether it is possible that the famous possibly presidential person is eating lunch in Julie’s sister’s restaurant.  Jaci confirms that Julie’s sister’s restaurant is indeed Scion.  Jaci emails Julie to ask if the restaurant has a famous diner today, and Julie writes back that she can’t answer now but will get in touch later.  So what do you think?  Was the President eating in Julie’s sister’s restaurant?

The answer is:  Yes.  The President was eating lunch in Julie’s sister’s restaurant.  Dan and I went over to Scion tonight and got this scoop straight from both sisters.  Looks like a great restaurant, by the way.  We didn’t have time to eat there (unless you consider a very yummy pomegranate cosmo food), but we’ll definitely be eating at Scion (corner of 21st and P Streets) on our next visit to DC.

In my short association with the school, I’ve already learned that the Northwestern folks are an eclectic and interesting bunch, but, still, this episode impressed me.  Who knew that we’d be meeting an alum/lawyer/restauranteur who hosts the actual President for lunch? 

I want to thank everybody for being so welcoming to me and Dan.  We are thrilled about our move from Austin to Chicago and our association with Northwestern; we hope to meet many of you on our upcoming bus tour. 

Leslie Oster

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