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Why did you leave law practice?

Sara Lingafelter
Sara Lingafelter
2 min read

I spend my life taking quiet inventory of the world around me.  When practicing law, I watched other attorneys, and saw the way that they moved through their worlds, in order to balance living life and practicing law.  I observed that the good, healthy lawyers had these amazing things called “boundaries.”

The concept of “boundaries,” much less, actually implementing boundaries as an action, rather than a vague, alien concept… let’s just say that on occasion I think to myself, “Self — we have got to learn about this ‘boundaries’ thing.”  Every so often, I find myself erecting and enforcing a boundary, and then a little part of me, somewhere deep between my heart and brain does a “boundaries cheer” for me, because it is so very proud and excited.  

Boundary disputes among neighbors, by the way… that was actually pretty fun work.  But that’s neither here nor there.

Being a person unfamiliar with, and not totally convinced — yet — of the existence of these “boundary” things for me… and looking at the waypoints on the map in front of me in my life as an attorney at the time, lead me to explore ways to make a living outside of practicing law.  

I am still licensed, I plan to stay licensed, and I don’t know if I will return to practice.  I still love the law, and government.  I still harbor the same goal I had the day I submitted my law school application:  to help people for a living.  I’m just still looking for the way, whether in law or outside of it.

There are a lot of other reasons, but they’re less artful.  Things like, I found practicing law an inefficient way to make a living given a variety of work and life factors.  Different inputs may cause different outputs in that regard, though, so the decision isn’t necessarily permanent.

For now, though, it suits me to not be in full time law practice.  

And funny… now that I’ve written this all out, the thought crossed my mind that there may be a simpler answer.  Like other things and situation I have left in my life, I left because I loved myself too much to stay.  That may come across as a selfish oversimplification, but I’ve been called much worse than selfish and simple.


Sara Lingafelter

Sara (Grace) Lingafelter takes steps forward and backward toward a right-sized life on a daily basis.