Most everybody knows who Laura Wasser is, even if they don’t recognize the name. Famously portrayed by Laura Dern in Marriage Story, the high-powered divorce lawyer has made quite the name for herself with a glossy list of clientele, including more recently, Kim Kardashian. I guess when one has entered that caliber of lawyerdom, it’s only natural they get profiled in The New York Times.
Of Laura Dern, Wasser comments: “She’s sexier, maybe, than I’m comfortable with, wearing those tight dresses and showing her arms. But she has a fantastic body, so God bless her.” She describes her fictionalization as “more touchy feely than I am,” but she notably does not dispute the accuracy of her general characterization: A cutthroat divorce attorney determined to control the narrative and blaze a new trail for her clients.
“It’s such a gift to me that I’m getting paid all this money per hour to problem-solve and come up with resolutions to the big issues
But while I’m doing that, I get to hear these narratives. I really believe it’s important to give these clients the narrative for their next chapter, to drive home the message that the world is your oyster, to ask, What did you learn, and what are you going to do now?”
Looking back on her start in the law, Wasser tells the Times that “When I was in my 20s and 30s, there weren’t many other people practicing family law that you could send a drummer from an alternative band to.” Hence, she built a name for herself by asking those sorts of clients to “cover up a tattoo and take out some piercings.” From Los Angeles originally, her father, Dennis Wasser, was also a Hollywood lawyer. Before celebrities, she handled disability rights cases.
On getting a divorce, and never remarrying:
“I just never thought of a great reason,” she said. “I had already been married once. I had gorgeous wedding photos from when I was 25. I was never going to look better than I looked in those, so I just never really pushed the issue.’” Weddings are costly, she added. “Maybe I didn’t want to pay.” Or maybe, as she likes to joke, “I’m just an old hippie procreating with anyone who comes along.”
On fashion: “If I want to buy nice clothing, or beautiful shoes or a bag, that’s one of the perks of the trade.” And, weirdly, on the pictures of Mia Farrow smoking a cigarette in her mansion: “I won’t opine on the whole Allen vs. Farrow thing. I just really love those images — they’re so cool.”
More than anything, however, I’m struck by her musings on the behavior of her clients.
“Watching people go through what is often the most painful thing they will experience is really tough,” she said. “One of the more disturbing things, when people are hurt and frightened, is that they can be very ugly. Often you see good people at their worst and also their most vulnerable.”
“People feel that they need to explain sometimes why things have broken down. To justify themselves they will say things that they wouldn’t otherwise say: ‘I didn’t feel seen,’ or ‘he would have sex with call girls and then come home and try to have sex with me.’”
Most of her clients are already in some form of therapy, she said. “They don’t need me for that. I tell them, ‘This is a mental health issue. I’m not qualified to help. My marriage lasted for 14 months in the ’90s. What do I know?’”
At least she’s honest! I’m sure Kim is going to walk away with everything she wants and more.