Some leave joyfully; others leave reluctantly; some have leaving thrust upon them. But leave they must, for better pastures or fallow ground. Goodbye, however, doesn’t always mean farewell. Sometimes, it’s just a prelude to hello again. Sometimes, a leave is just a leave, a temporary absence designed to make the heart grow fonder. These days, the leaving has never been easier.
Sara Darehshori, a sixth-year associate at New York’s Cravath, Swaine & Moore, left her job as a corporate litigator in 1995 to prosecute war crimes for the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. (In case that doesn’t make you feel like a money-grubbing corporate tool, consider that prior to working at Cravath, she had worked in Bosnia interviewing rape victims for an international relief agency.) When the call came, she didn’t want to say adieu to Cravath; instead, an au revoir would be just fine, thank you very much. Apparently, Cravath felt the same. She requested a leave of absence, and the partner with whom she worked approved it. The firm, she says, was very supportive, even when her one-year leave turned into 20 months, even when after returning for two months, she had to go back to Rwanda for an additional three months to finish prosecuting a Rwandan mayor accused of genocide. Says Darehshori: There’s nothing like a stint at the U.N. to make you appreciate Cravath. The copiers work, and the paralegals know how to use them. Plus, she is able to continue her human rights work by taking on cases at Cravath pro bono. Happy? Yes. At least she doesn’t have to sleep in a tent.
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