Hope Winters

Hope Winters is an early retired lawyer, turned Senate staffer, turned corporate lobbyist. She lives in Washington, DC.

Posts by Hope Winters

Ashram.JPG[Ed. note: This post is authored by ATL guest columnist Hope Winters. Hope is an early retired lawyer, turned Senate staffer, turned corporate lobbyist. She lives in Washington, DC. Read her previous work here. Read part I and II.]
There are no structured activities left (other than Karmic Yoga which I will not even respond to here) so we decide to take a hike on the pristine lake the Dining Captain told me about before he attempted to rape me. Olivia whips out the sketchy map we can’t follow, and we end up not on a trail but stuck on path of poison ivy and prickly things and mud. We muddle through streams and rocks; my Chanel sunglasses slip and crash on a rock and break. I remind myself that I hate the Ashram and all its surrounding premises.
But suddenly, as we exit the rocks and the African bush, we really do emerge on flat land facing this huge vast beautiful lake. We just stare at it. It’s sparkling and navy blue and placid. Not a ripple. Not a crescent.
We’re suddenly silent. Peaceful. Grateful. We are Whitman and Thoreau.
We’re getting into it.
But will it last? The adventure ends after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Return of Hope During the Recession: Adventures at The Ashram (Part III)”

Ashram.JPG[Ed. note: This post is authored by ATL guest columnist Hope Winters. Hope is an early retired lawyer, turned Senate staffer, turned corporate lobbyist. She lives in Washington, DC. Read her previous work here. Read part I of this piece here.]
After this dinner I’m still starving from, we hop into the car to drive to the purported “private” room we paid extra for. Now I’m really starting to believe murder or rape is a foregone conclusion. I attract criminals like Jewish men attract Asian girls. And here’s the thing, there’s nothing to stop anyone from doing anything. We’re not allowed to lock either our door nor the front door to the Brady Brunchesque house we will be staying in tonight. Our “private” room is in this house. I said a private room. Like hotel room. Not a room in some random family’s house. Not some room I’m not allowed to lock.
As I enter the spacious open living room containing a lot blue mats and a lot small purple chairs for meditation, I find a DVD player. Excellent. Civility. I’ll just do my Denise Austin Yoga for Abs video and skip class tomorrow. It’s almost pitch black in the room because not only do these people not eat, they don’t do electricity.
I walk over to the big glass window peering out over the water — trying to find the lake, and then, I hear this boy’s voice.
“Hey.” I turn around quickly.
Plaid flannel shirt. Black wire rimmed glasses. Scruffy beard. Red North Face jacket. So Ted Bundy.
I have met my maker.
Can Hope survive her first encounter with Ashram men? Non-homicidal details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Return of Hope During the Recession: Adventures at The Ashram (Part II)”

Ashram.JPG[Ed. note: This post is authored by ATL guest columnist Hope Winters. Hope is an early retired lawyer, turned Senate staffer, turned corporate lobbyist. She lives in Washington, DC. Read her previous work here.]
Well, as I told you in my last piece, I have been desperately searching for inner peace during these incredibly depressing times.
I decided, however, that I needed to amp up my desire for such peace. Meditation class was increasingly becoming too easy, and I was now ready to become a guru of inner peace. So, my friend Olivia and I packed up our car, left the comforts of our urban existence, and headed out to the great unknown. The Ashram.
I had found the Ashram online. It was a place where we could find balance, do yoga, and eat organic vegetarian meals. And it was dirt cheap, to boot. Girls, in case you missed the Times piece, ashrams are the new spas. We all have to cut back now. And isn’t it about time we work on our insides instead of outsides? Don’t worry. Those saddle bags are going to whittle away anyway due to scarce food supplies forecasted for fourth quarter ’09.
“I didn’t know it was a silent retreat all weekend. I thought that was just on Saturday.” Olivia, already breaking the rules, whispers to me upon arrival.
Oops. I forgot to shepardize this case. I don’t recall reading that part on the website.
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Return of Hope During the Recession: Adventures at The Ashram (Part I)”

[Ed Note: Yesterday, Hope showed us what happens when people stop being polite, and start getting real. Today, she offers some solutions. Check out yesterday's column here]

Collectively Depressing Soul.jpg

Here is what I am going to do to pass the time while we weather this storm:

1) Meditate – My anxiety-ridden friend Pablo is going to start going to meditation class with me on Thursday nights at the Unitarian church. Instead of pounding aloe martinis (love), we’re going to grab our mats and visualize good things and talk to people that we are told to imagine. We’re gonna get some spirituality! And meditation class is way cheaper than going out for cocktails; you just give a donation at the door. (I hope Pablo gives a donation. He was cheap even in the good times.) I’m so into the meditation thing that I’m Type A’ing it and going to a real ashram. Ashrams, my friends, are the new spas – sans the elegant soap, fluffy towels and private showers.

2) Giving What You Can – I’m going to donate some clothes to the church I never go to but belong to but it’s okay because I’m getting my spirituality now through the Unitarian Church lady who tells me to listen to the man whispering in my ear about compassion and acceptance. And I gave a full Metro card to the nonprofit I volunteer for. In the past I would help by holding fundraisers at posh boutiques where I used to shop … but that trite maneuver aint gonna fly during the world financial collapse, so I’m giving subway tokens instead. Give what you can. You may feel broke, but there are a lot more people who are more broke than you. And save your receipts. Charity a good tax deduction, and everyone is going to be audited this year. Treasury aint going to give us a bailout or even a return – that’s all went to AIG.

After the jump, more hope from Hope.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Depression Is So Freaking Depressing (Part II)”

Collectively Depressing Soul.jpgSo…. Here’s The Thing….

It’s kind of like what Collective Soul said a decade ago, when things were just fantastic:

Are these times contagious?

I’m never been this bored before.

Is this the prize I’ve waited for?

These days, it seems like all my friends are depressed on account of the Depression. (Or the “recession,” for those ostriches who choose to bury their heads in the sand.) It certainly doesn’t help that CNN keeps slapping Obama into FDR’s car or that every reporter declares 600,000 jobs were lost today or the “Dow hasn’t dipped this low since 1929.” Good lord. No wonder no one is spending. I’ve stopped reading the papers. It’s all just widespread panic. Pretty soon they’ll be bringing polio back, too.

And the law firms. Wow. Who ever would have thought those blue-blooded Ivy Leaguers who were doing filings and writing law review articles about all those “complex financial instruments” would now be unemployed? And each day there are more and more layoffs. Where are the acquisitions? And where are freaking derivatives? I mean you always need lawyers, right? And what: associates doing paralegal work? They don’t know how to shepardize, much less tab and hole-punch briefing books. Geez.

The Depression takes its toll, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Depression Is So Freaking Depressing (Part I)”

randy yellow hat.jpg[Ed Note: This is the third and final installment in the Curious Case of Randy, a rather eccentric law firm partner. You can read Part 1 over here and Part 2 over here.]

Weeks pass, and Randy continues to be randy. Stopping by my office no less than three times a day. Gawking at the summer associates as they get their lunches downstairs. I kind of just check out.

I decide to ignore him, figuring that eventually he’ll go away. I do, however, find myself staring at his chest each time he comes in and interrupts me. I’m looking for milk. Or the emergence of breasts. But I don’t recall seeing anything. I think the pills must have gotten that problem under control — but not the other thing. He’s so antsy and manic — sometimes I thought he might start touching himself in my office. Anyway, here it comes, and I’m not lying.

Several weeks later, as February approached — the month that I have always contended is the cruelest month (not April, as T.S. Eliot alleges) — Valentine’s season begins. I tend to ignore all this heart/love crap because I think it’s stupid. I was never one to send out Valentine’s Day cards, even in elementary school. I rejected it. I mean, I can barely say I love you to my parents or my boyfriend; I’m certainly not going to say it to some random person. And I doubt my meatball (non-lawyer, a big plus) boyfriend will do anything anyway.

So I walk into my office at 9:00 a.m., maybe 9:30 actually, on February 14th. There is a large, blood orange, inter-office envelope on top of my desk. I figure it’s my expense report or the report of my billable hours, which I haven’t met for two months. As I open it, however, a pink something falls out. I turn it over. It is a homemade Valentine, constructed out of pale pink construction paper, topped with an old-school white doily, and on it, there is a poem written by a dark purple crayon. My first thought is, how cute; it must be from my partner’s daughter, Rose.

Find out what the poem is about, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Curious Case Of Randy: Part 3″

randy yellow hat.jpg[Ed Note: Yesterday we learned that Hope's partner pal, Randy, was taking testosterone pills to treat his "lactating man-boobs." Today we learn about the downside of hormonal supplements.]

“Testosterone pills? Like, how many do you have to take?”

“Well, right now three. One with every meal.”

I wanted to end this conversation and finish the bloody filing so I could go out and get wasted.

“Well, I hope it helps and you feel better soon!” I gathered my papers and stared at my laptop.

“Well, my chest isn’t hurting as much, but there’s this other problem.”

Good Lord.

“What?”

“Well…” Randy leaned forward and whispered, “I can’t stop thinking about sex. I’m like obsessed with it. I can’t do my work. It’s all I think about — I feel like I’ve turned into a teenage boy again.”

Okay, this is weird. Really weird. And, weird is what I sought to escape. I found myself longing for the hairy armpits, unbuckled trousers, and pool parties back at Pants Down.

“I mean… I can’t even go to lunch in public without staring at every girl that walks by.”

This proved to be true. I later witnessed this at a lunch with some summer associates. Each time a remotely attractive girl walked by, his neck moved more rapidly than the ducks I fed stale bread to at our lake house. Clearly he was hungry — and not shy.

“Well, I really think you need to talk to your doctor about this. Maybe they can lower the medication.”

“Well, he has lowered it. Still. All I think about its sex! Even my wife is sick of me — I want it like three times a day.” My mind flashed back to the photo of the blond trophy wife on his desk. Please. She probably doesn’t even want to do it with him three times a year.

“I’m really sorry about your problem. But, I do have to get this filing done in an hour.”

I get him out of my office — and fast. I mean, what does he want me to do here? Service him? Well, he can try the self-service island. I wanted to tell him to go whack off and leave me alone.

Hope tries to finish the task at hand, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Curious Case Of Randy (Part 2)”

randy yellow hat.jpgFirst of all, never ever shoot your cerebellum up with botulism two days before a deadline. God. My head hurts. Yet, I rise …

Here we go.

“Listen, go work somewhere where people like you… I mean, really like you. Then, you can screw up, and it doesn’t even matter. Hope, just go somewhere where people like you, and you’ll be in. Nothing else matters.”

Sage advice given to me from a senior associate at the Pants Down law firm. I mean, he was forced to eat white buns at his desk, the only staple stashed in desk drawer, because he never, ever left his office — not even to get lunch. But he was brilliant, the golden child of Litigation. And he knew this firm was pure evil. He wanted me to escape while I was still young enough.

So, after putting in a few years at Pants Down, I decided to leave. In addition to fending off the advances of creepy middle-aged male partners, I had become increasingly fed up with the partners there, in general.

Plus, at the end of every single day, I was so completely drained. Had I been a mother required to feed a child, my breast would have just dried up. I just had nothing left to give. Anyone.

I was ready to jump.

So, I decided to go to a firm that was less prestigious and international, but that was fine by me. I liked it better anyway when the world was round, not flat. And I was really sick of reading The Economist. There are just way too many countries. More importantly, I was excited to go to a place where the partners actually cared about me and what I wanted to do with my life. And my friend Molly, who had recently left the firm, was really happy now.

She e-mailed me from her new firm: “Listen, Hope. I came to Pants Down because I thought the people were kind of eccentric, interesting — not the super stuffy lawyers you usually find. Now, actually, after seeing all their erratic crazy behavior, I want boring, dull, bland. That’s fine by me.”

I e-mailed her back: “I know. These people are nuts. I mean, who goes to a ‘pool party’ and jumps in the pool in a bikini in front of their colleagues – especially with unshaved armpits? So gross.”

Query: What woman doesn’t shave her armpits? And, if you opt not to shave your pits because you fancy yourself some Nicaraguan rebel leader, then please, keep your arms down. The summer associate pool party was my breaking point — I had to get the hell out of here. These people were just too weird. And the partner for whom I worked was mean as hell and had an old school mustache. That also was weird.

Well, the new firm proved to be everything I expected. They cared about me. Too much.

Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Curious Case Of Randy (Part 1)”

Hamptons mansion shingle style cottage.jpg[Ed. note: This is a continuation of the story started in this post by ATL guest columnist Hope Winters, which you should read first if you haven't done so already. It's about Hope's friend Anna, a young Wall Street lawyer and self-described "summer wife."]
It’s the first week of August. At around five o’clock, Anna’s BlackBerry begins buzzing with invitations to fancy restaurants like Amaranth or Cipriani, courtesy of the much older partners looking for summer wives. Anna likes to network and she likes to eat, so she’s game.
You’d never guess it by her lithe frame and recessed chest exposing clavicle bones, but Anna can eat and drink … a lot. And like all girls, she just likes attention — attention best demonstrated at lavish restaurants, and hotel bars where cucumber Martinis are served all night long. Anna is into the glam. She wears conservative charcoal gray Diane von Furstenberg dresses, but accessorizes sexy — strappy black sandals that crisscross at the ankles, dangling gold earrings, and a black lace camisole ever-so-subtly revealed. So if a much older, frumpy partner wants to be seen with her, he better be taking her somewhere gorgeous.
In any event, as the summer goes by and the dinners multiply (followed always by an invitation for a “nightcap” at the partner’s apartment), Anna grows increasingly fond of one of her suitors, Abraham. She realizes that it’s time for her to grow up, settle down, and take a summer husband. He has been courting her for a long time now. Calling her. Wining and dining her. Complimenting her. Texting her. Even sending her a car and driver.
He wants her. She is everything right that is wrong in his wife.
Finally, Anna capitulates. Very well — I’ll be your summer wife.
Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Summer Wives (Part 2 of 2)”

Hamptons mansion shingle style cottage.jpgMy friend Anna is a summer wife.
You see, her “summer” husband, Abraham, does what all high-powered law firm partners do each summer: he dispatches his wife to the summer home in the Hamptons or Shelter Island or Martha’s Vineyard.
This allows Biglaw partners to supper in the city with the single senior (or summer) associates. I mean, these guys can’t be alone at dinnertime. They have to supper with someone, so why not with an associate who is close by or, better yet, in the same office?
One night, after I meet Abraham, I ask him about his family in exile, and how he is adjusting to their absence from his day- to-day life. He says: “Well, it’s better for the kids to be out there in the summer…. They have the beach, their grandparents are there….”
Blah. Blah. Blah. We’re in the midst of a global warming crisis; we’re all supposed to be wearing SPF 45, even when just driving in our cars. Do the kids really need that much sun and sea? And is it really benefiting them if their father is absent from their lives most days of the week? Or is this arrangement really better for you, Abraham?
Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Summer Wives (Part 1 of 2)”

Page 1 of 200112345...2001