Welcome to E! News’ series on women who are leaders in their fields and masters of their craft. Spanning industries and experiences, these powerhouse women answer all the questions you’ve ever had about how they got to where they are today—and what they overcame to get there. Read along as they bring their resumés to life.
If there was ever someone predestined for a life in the law, it’s Laura Wasser.
After all, the legal profession has been a supporting character in the celebrity divorce attorney’s life since the moment she was conceived. “My dad and mom in the late ’60s were waiting for his bar results and they found out that he had passed the California Bar and so, as an act of celebration, they had sex,” she said in an exclusive interview with E! News. “They decided to name me Laura Allison Wasser, so my initials are LAW. I almost never had a choice as to whether or not I was going to be an attorney, although I did fight it for many, many years.”
More than five decades later, she’s long since accepted her fate, now fighting for her clients, some of which you’ve definitely heard of. Kim Kardashian, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears—they’re some of the many stars she’s represented in high-profile divorces. But, while law was in her DNA, Wasser was not immediately interested in adding Esq. to her name.
As a college student at New York University, her resume included: certified aerobics instructor, club promoter and retail for a New York City magic-sex toy-costume shop. “Either I’d work the door of the club and then I’d go into the club and party in the club or I would just go to the club and then I wouldn’t come home until like literally six in the morning, which is when I would open up the aerobics studio, teach my two classes, go home and sleep until four, when I had my classes in school, and then I would start the process all over again by going out in New York City,” she described. “It was amazing. I got straight A’s.”
While her interests involved travel and fashion, the law ultimately won her over. After transferring and studying Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley, she decided to go to Loyola Law School. “I still didn’t think I was going to be a family law attorney,” she noted. But, after getting married during her second year at Loyola, her personal life took another turn, pushing a then-25-year-old Wasser in the direction of her father’s firm. “After I took my own bar exam, I was getting divorced and I needed the money, so I asked daddy if I could work for him for a little while and he said yes, begrudgingly,” she said, referring to prominent family law attorney Dennis Wasser. “And I never left.”