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Sara Harnish's Relaunch Success Story

Sara Harnish headshot

Relauncher Success Story

With the birth of her first child, Sara left her full-time position as an associate at the firm Parker, Coulter, Daley & White and returned on a part-time basis. When she found that litigation didn’t lend itself to the flexibility she needed, Sara left and worked for several years as a contract attorney and in her own small practice, while also becoming more involved in her community. A law school classmate who was the Senior Director of the Office for Human Research Studies at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute suggested Sara volunteer at Dana-Farber to assess her interest in the field, which very soon led to her consulting and becoming Assistant Director for Non-Clinical Research.


I began my career as an associate at the firm Parker, Coulter, Daley & White. After my first child was born, I returned on a part-time basis but found that litigation did not lend itself to a flexible, part-time schedule. I left the firm and worked for several years as a contract attorney and with my own small practice. I also became much more involved with my community, serving as a town meeting member and on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

After several years of not practicing law at all, I began to grapple with what I wanted to do and how to do it. I was not interested in returning to a litigation practice although that was the bulk of my legal experience. Among the many people with whom I was in touch, was a law school classmate who had an interesting career in regulatory compliance and was moving back to Boston to become the Senior Director of the Office for Human Research Studies at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

She thought that I would find it interesting and asked me to start as a volunteer in order to see if it was something that I would like. I agreed to volunteer with her so I could get familiar with them and the regulatory issues and they could get familiar with me. Within two months of starting my volunteer work, I was hired as a consultant and continued to learn everything I could about cancer research. Ultimately, I was promoted to become the Assistant Director for Non-Clinical Research and have never enjoyed a job more.