Born in 1942 to Russian-Jewish immigrants, Wiseman grew up on the working-class streets of Roxbury and Dorchester, Massachusetts. "I worked on the Hood milk wagon," he says in his still-thick Boston ac¬cent. "I worked in the butcher shops." He thought little of the future.
that changed when he went into the military in 1959, a lifestyle he quickly disavowed. "If I didn’t better myself, I would always be subject to that control," he says. Eventually a dean at Newton Junior College took a chance on him. It was tough, but Wiseman pulled a few A’s. He went on to earn his BA at Suffolk University while working as a supermarket cashier, a cabbie, and a truck driver. "My entire education came out of my pocket," Wiseman says.
Wiseman next set his sights on Suffolk Law: his then father-in-law was a lawyer, but Wiseman says the changes of the 1960s also influenced him. "I was opinionated, and I wanted to express and defend certain issues," he says. Upon graduating, Wiseman became a manufacturer and importer of leatherwear. But a dream kept gnawing at him: "I just felt a lure to live on a tropical island."
And so, in 1972, Wiseman moved to the Caribbean, where he met his current wife, Faythe, who grew up on Guam and shared his love for the island life. they moved first to Hawaii and later to saipan in 1977, where they joined the peace Corps, he as a lawyer, she as a teacher.
As it happened, the Northern Mariana Islands were then transitioning from a United Nations trust territory to a United states commonwealth. "We were there to ride the wave of a new government, which came in 1978," Wiseman says. After first serving as legislative counsel, he opened a private practice representing a number of government agencies.
Eventually Wiseman started thinking about becoming a judge. "It was the pinnacle of the profession, and I thought I could help develop the body of law there," he explains. He ascended to the bench part-time in 1995 and became a full-time associate judge in 2001. He also serves as a designated judge to the U.s. district court under the Ninth Circuit.
"It’s been a fantastic and rewarding experience living out here," Wiseman says by phone as he gazes out over the philippine sea. "I’ll always have a home here."
FROM THE DEANSetting the Pace
LAW BRIEFSSuffolk Law Hosts New Int'l Student Competition
ALUMNI PROFILESDavid A. Wiseman