The beginning of the end of Anil Mehta’s engineering career was a devastating accident at work — it cost him an arm. But it led him to fulfill a longtime goal of working in public service through a new career in the law.

Mehta has just completed 20 months as a full-time volunteer advocate for the disadvantaged, an effort that he financed by investing in the stock market. Now he’s preparing for another change that taps into his idealism: a career in environmental law.