WASHINGTON – Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren’s class was an important one for future congressman Joe Kennedy III, and not just because he and his teacher would soon be serving together in Congress.
Kennedy, 32, met his wife, Lauren Birchfield, when they were both students in Warren’s class. “He sat in the front row, on my left, and Lauren was in the back row on my right,” Warren recalled Thursday in an interview with WPRI.com.
Kennedy and Birchfield married last month. “Joe tells me there are five couples from that class, and I take credit for all of them!” Warren said.
“She was and is an amazing professor,” Kennedy, who received his law degree in 2009, said in a separate interview. “There’s a reason she always wins the best-teacher award.”
He recalled: “I’d get lost in the intricacies of the bankruptcy code, and I’d go up to her office, and this was when she was the overseer of TARP – and she’d say, ‘Yes, senator, yes, senator, I need to go because I have a student here.'”
“He was a good student,” Warren said, laughing.
On Thursday, Warren will be sworn in to succeed Scott Brown as the junior U.S. senator from Massachusetts, and Kennedy will be sworn in to succeed Barney Frank as the representative from Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District.
So did Kennedy and Warren agree back then to both run in 2012? “Yup, and it all worked out,” Warren said with a laugh – adding, just to be clear: “No, no, no.”
Kennedy said he and his wife ran into Warren and her husband, Bruce Mann, on Wednesday night when they were getting dinner in their hotel. “It’s a small town,” he said.
“Her focus was always on her students,” Kennedy said. “This is what I loved about her. For so much of law school, the focus was on the principles and philosophy. And she would do that, but she would also always focus on how it actually applies to people – this is what it actually means, this is how it impacts people.”
“To be able to have a teacher like that – it was a treat,” he said.
• Related: Elizabeth Warren goes from blogging about Senate to joining it (Jan. 3)
(photo: Kennedy campaign)