Elizabeth Letcher

I met Chandra in our very first days of law school. I was part of a nerdy group of young women, who took law school and the politics of law school and, for me, awakening into a new kind of academic experience very, very seriously. Chandra moved on the edges of our little clan, standing out for many reasons. It wasn’t just the crazy hair or velvet purses or the scandalous leggings that said “f—k” all over them, worn to seminars taught by storied old men. It wasn’t just that she was so young (I remember after our final first-semester exam, we couldn’t go to a bar for drinks; Chandra may have already had a master’s from Chicago, but she wasn’t yet old enough to drink legally). What made her stand out most was that while she was serious, she didn’t take the crazy, artificial self-importance of law school seriously. She was going to engage with it on her own terms, and call bullshit when she saw it.

I love that about her. I think one facet of her bullshit intolerance became her complaining shtick, one she elevated to near high-art stand-up comedy. Another was channeled into battles with academic bureaucracy. But most was channeled into her work. It didn’t feel from the outside like a passion so much as an innate drive to do the work she was doing. I simply can’t imagine her doing anything else.

I’m still haven’t fully absorbed that she’s gone. I’ll miss the wonderful conversations, hearing about her impossibly life-absorbing work. I’ll miss visiting her in London, where she always took such wonderful care of me: took me to the best food shopping, the latest restaurants, cooking together for and with her always-amazing friends (Wayne, remember that meal so beautiful we photographed it, years before that was a thing?) the nights out. I never felt so cosmopolitan as when I was with her.

Her intensity. Her silliness and irreverence. The eyebrow arched over the rim of the martini glass. I will miss her so, once her departure becomes real to me.