A PILLOW IN THE BEVERLY HILLS office of Arlene Colman-Schwimmer reads "Eat Drink and Remarry," a fitting injunction from a high-profile divorce attorney who just happens to be the happily married mother of David Schwimmer—Ross on TV's Friends. With star clients including Roseanne (vs. first hubby Bill Pentland), Julianne Phillips (vs. Bruce Springsteen) and Liz Taylor (vs. Larry Fortensky), Colman-Schwimmer, 56, is "a feminist who can be equally aggressive in representing a man," notes a rival attorney.
A Brooklyn native, Arlene Colman clashed with her cab-driver father and dressmaker mother when she chose law after studying theater at Brooklyn College. "They thought I'd never find a man because I'd be too smart," she says. But that didn't dissuade fellow Brooklyn Law School student—now California appellate attorney—Arthur Schwimmer. The two wed in 1964. He remains awestruck by his wife's "warmth and humor in light of the hostility she encountered as a young lawyer in the '60s and '70s."
At the start of their careers, the couple had two children—Ellie, now 31, a premed student in Los Angeles; and David, 29, a Northwestern grad. Eventually the family settled in L.A., where Colman-Schwimmer embraced feminism. "I was doing the best PR I could for myself," she says of her early lectures on women's issues. "The only thing a woman would hire a woman for was a divorce. It became my area of interest."
That, and motherhood. "If I was in the middle of a deposition and had a baseball game to attend," she says, "my priority was to go and sit on the bench." No wonder David—who was encouraged to pursue acting "so long as I had a college education to fall back on"—calls her "the best mom I could hope for."
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