Javier Zamora is a 17-year veteran of the Illinois National Guard. In 2004 he was deployed to Iraq with the rest of his unit on a week’s notice. He spent most of his yearlong tour in Baqubah, a town about 50 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. There he commanded an infantry company. He is now back home in Chicago, where he is an associate at Hinshaw & Culbertson.

When he had time in Iraq to think about his law career, Zamora felt anxious. “You can’t continue building a practice when you are pulled away from your law firm and doing something completely different,” he says. “I didn’t even crack open a law book. I felt like I was falling behind.” The anxiety didn’t ease when he returned to work. “Panic set in,” he says. Projects and assignments he had been working on were dusty memories. He also had to learn to cope with colleagues’ reactions: “People don’t understand what you just went through. They remember who you were before you left and expect you to step back into the same shoes. It was like I stepped out for a cup of coffee.”

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