A Stanford Law Story of Lifelong Friendship

A Stanford Law Story of Lifelong Friendship
Anouck Giovanola, Dina Bernstein, and Chantale Fiebig, all JD ’06, at Graduation

Of all the reasons to go to law school, making lifelong friends—as distinguished from networking—isn’t likely to top the list. Yet, for ’06 JDs Chantale Fiebig, Dina Bernstein, and Anouck Giovanola their friendship was at the center of their SLS experience and continues to exert a gravitational pull that keeps them connected to this day.

Chantale and Dina’s meeting was serendipitous: They were randomly assigned to be roommates in Rains 1L year. “We hit it off right away. It was frictionless,” says Dina. “We had an immediate kinship,” Chantale adds.

Dina and Anouck, on the other hand, knew each other as undergraduates at UC Berkeley. “We actually lived in the same house for a while,” says Anouck. “We were friendly, but not nearly as close as we grew at Stanford.”

To this day, Anouck and Chantale cannot agree as to whether they met through Dina at a welcome event, or at their adjacent lockers. Regardless of the details of their origin story, the three agree that their bond was immediate and that they became inseparable—despite having very different backgrounds. Chantale is a biracial immigrant whose American father met and married her African mother while serving in the Peace Corps in the Congo. Dina’s parents are Israeli immigrants who eventually settled in Los Angeles, where she grew up. And Anouck is the French-speaking daughter of Swiss academics who split their time between Europe and the Bay Area, where she was mostly raised.

While acknowledging the commonality of their international roots, all three credit the crucible of 1L year with catalyzing their connection. “Our friendship started with exclusively shared experiences,” says Chantale. And “our closeness was forged by the intensity of law school,” adds Anouck. Yet, despite that intensity, the three were “pretty relaxed,” according to Dina. “We were trying hard but we weren’t competitive with each other.”

Dina and Chantale elected to live together 2L year, and then 3L year they invited Anouck to join them in San Francisco, where they shared a Noe Valley apartment and commuted to school. Following graduation, Chantale and Anouck headed to the East Coast where both worked in New York firms. Today, Chantale is a litigation partner at Weil Gotshal in Washington D.C., and Anouck is the general counsel of Tom Ford in NYC. Dina returned to Los Angeles following law school and, after 13 years at Gibson Dunn, she is now a principal at the consulting firm FW Cook, where she focuses on executive compensation.

Although they have taken very different paths, the three have remained entwined throughout their postgraduate journeys. They see each other as often as possible in New York, Los Angeles, or Washington D.C., and have experienced the richness of their friendship as

their lives have evolved through career changes, marriage, children, and more. And although they have Zoom happy hours and have hopes of vacationing in the Greek isles together, one of the defining features of their friendship is that their closeness endures despite their physical distances.

Anouck says, “One of the great things about our friendship is that when we see each other, even if it’s been a while, we take up where we left off.”

Dina agrees and adds, “I’d get on a plane in a minute for either of them.”

“We have all been extremely supportive of each other both personally and professionally,” says Chantale. “There is such reassurance in having these sustaining and enduring friendships. It’s one of the through-lines of our lives.” SL