I received a surprise call from a writer for the American Bar Association recently. That conversation lead to an article which appears in the ABA’s Perspectives magazine. It is always interesting to me to see how people shape their lives and careers. The portion of the article about me is copied below, but I encourage people to read the complete article here.
Have you ever made an offer on a 23-acre citrus and avocado ranch as a lark, fully expecting rejection? And then your offer was accepted?
“I thought, ‘I guess we’re doing this!’” recalls Melissa Sayer, who fell into ranching exactly that way. She operates a general business law practice in Ventura, California, and then heads home to her ranch.
“My husband’s family has been in agriculture since the 1800s, and he always wanted to go back to it,” she says.
When the couple made the offer on the ranch, Sayer was figuring out whether to stay on a partner track at a Palo Alto, California, firm.
“I figure it turned out the way it was supposed to,” she says. “I think I’m a better lawyer because I have another business. And I have a much closer connection to my clients than I did in the Bay Area.”
She’s also more connected to her community. There’s a farm lab at the ranch for school-age kids, and California State University sends its students out for hands-on learning as the Sayers experiment with various grains. That can lead to unexpected outcomes, like a partnership with a distillery making moonshine with the Sayers’ experimental sugar beets.
“This was a really good move,” Sayer concludes. “I feel much more centered. It’s twice as much work, but I’m much happier.”