When a Divorce Lawyer Plays Cupid

When Dr. Roger Gilbert got divorced for a second time back in May 2018, his lawyer, Camille Hemmer, made the case that he would find true love in her longtime friend, Lulu Wong.

“As soon as my second divorce was finalized, Camille said, ‘OK Roger, I’m giving you Lulu’s email address and giving Lulu yours, and now it’s up to both of you,’ ” said Dr. Gilbert, 66, a retired radiation oncologist living in Sacramento, Calif.

Ms. Wong, 53, a retired family lawyer, was given the same message by their mutual lawyer friend. “Camille told me I had to meet this really great guy, Roger, who was smart and handsome and had a great personality,” said Ms. Wong, who is also a Buddhist chaplain resident in the Clinical Pastoral Education program at the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

“I was also told that he was a cyclist, which keeps him in terrific shape,” said Ms. Wong, who graduated from Yale and received a law degree from the University of California Davis.

“I couldn’t wait to meet him,” she said.

As meetings go, Ms. Hemmer first met Dr. Gilbert in a most unusual circumstance: She served as opposing lawyer during his first divorce, which was finalized in 2006.

“Yes, I hired my first wife’s divorce lawyer to represent me during my second divorce,” said Dr. Gilbert, chuckling.

“My lawyer was retiring at that time, and when I asked him for the names of some of the best divorce lawyers, he said, ‘Why don’t you give Camille Hemmer a call. She’s a wonderful divorce lawyer.’”

Ms. Hemmer told him that since she no longer represented his first wife, she could represent him in his second divorce.

Ms. Hemmer, who had already known Ms. Wong for 15 years, began making the argument that if Mr. Gilbert and Ms. Wong went out on a date, they would be a perfect fit for each other.

That day arrived in May 2018, when Dr. Gilbert drove to Ms. Wong’s home in Napa, Calif., and took her on a first date to an Italian restaurant.

As Ms. Hemmer predicted, Ms. Wong and Dr. Gilbert hit it off immediately.

“When Roger and I spoke,” Ms. Wong said, “it was as if we had known each other forever,”

When Ms. Wong returned home that night, her phone began ringing.

The caller was not Dr. Gilbert. It was Ms. Hemmers.

“She wanted to know the whole lowdown,” said Ms. Wong, laughing. “She was like, “I want the 4-1-1, tell me everything.’ ”

“I told her it went great,” Ms. Wong recalled. “I also told her that he was everything that she said he was, and in a lot of ways we were very much alike, and had very similar values.”

Having been introduced by someone they both trusted, Dr. Gilbert and Ms. Wong knew a second date was in order, and minutes after it ended, it was Ms. Wong who picked up her phone to call Ms. Hemmer. She asked in a joking tone if she would give a toast at their wedding, to which Ms. Hemmer replied, “I think I should officiate.”

In the ensuing months, Ms. Wong and Mr. Gilbert found many things in common, including the fact that each was highly opinionated, and though they do not always agree on everything, they keep the peace “by using our words and agreeing on ground rules,” as Ms. Wong put it.

They were engaged in March 2020 at their home in Mendocino, Calif.

“I was truly surprised,” Ms. Wong said. “I first thought he would propose to me on Valentine’s Day, the month before, and when that didn’t happen I had no clue if or when it was going to happen at all.

They were married Aug. 28 in a sunset wedding in the backyard of a private residence, owned by friends of the couple, Drs. Khai and Jacqueline Tran, adjoining the Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma, Calif.

The bride and groom stood before Cynthia P. Smith, a judge for the Napa County Superior Court in California, as well as 20 guests, including the bride’s father, Kwong J. Wong of Montebello, Calif. Kathy Fischer, a Buddhist priest, took part in the ceremony.

“Communication is the key to an intimate relationship,” the bride said. “Successful couples know how to argue.”

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