If you’re an ELSA AND ME devotee but haven’t been following our herstory series, here’s the setup:
We’re profiling inspiring women that we admire, asking them to explain what they love about their careers, how their grandmothers inspired them, and more...usually as they wear one of our dresses.
Today, we’re excited to introduce Laura Trachtman Haspel, a Junior Partner in a boutique litigation law firm, who lives in Brooklyn Heights and describes the ideal fashion style she strives for as “sophisticated, sharp, and smart.”
You can read our Q&A with Laura, as well as watch a video feature about her and her love of different languages below:
How did your grandmother inspire you?
My maternal grandmother Esther was not a woman to be trifled with. Expected to die several times before she turned 13, growing up poor in the Deep South, she eventually went to Louisiana College, where she met my grandfather. She told him that he'd have to wait to marry her after graduation, and he did. She became a teacher, he became a naval aviator, they married, and moved to Java to allow my grandfather to teach Dutch pilots to fly American Naval aircraft. They came home on the last boat before the Japanese started bombing the ships leaving Indonesia. They moved to DC, had my mother, and then moved to Stony Brook, where she taught 3rd grade until she retired. She was akin to a force of nature, suffering absolutely no fools and instructing me by example that women can say anything she wants with a smile on her face. Beautiful, strong, highly intelligent, and charming to the last, I strive to live up to her example every day of my life.
What do you love about what you do?
As a litigator, I get paid to suffer no fools and also point out in excruciating detail the errors of others. Is it nice? Not particularly. But I love the competition and, especially being a woman in what is largely a man's world, I love litigating better than they do. I find that I am able to get away with saying a great deal if I say it with a smile on my face.
What do you think makes this country great?
The fact that my grandmother was able to bootstrap herself out of poverty in the South to a country-club life in the suburbs of NYC is one small example of what makes this country great. It doesn't matter where or who you're born; if you work hard, you can create the life that you want. America allows you to achieve greatness if you seek it, and that is what makes this country great.