Stepping Away from Wisconsin Family Law for a Kidney Transplant

Today we step away from Wisconsin family law topics and into the realm of the personal. Attorneys take temporary leaves from the practice of law for many reasons, some voluntary, some not. My involuntary “vacation” from practicing law came in 2015, when I received a new kidney.


My family has a genetic disease – polycystic kidney disease – that progressively damages the kidneys. As my kidney functioning worsened and I became more ill and fatigued, the time I was able to devote to the practice of law decreased. Then, of course, I was completely unavailable professionally for months for surgery, hospitalizations, and recovery. My transplant was an unqualified success; I am back at the practice of law, and enjoying life more than I have in years. I am fortunate in having the best partners and staff in the world; they have been nothing but supportive and patient.


You probably guessed that a plug for organ donation was coming. Right this minute more than 100,000 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list in the United States alone; the average wait time is more than three years. Please consider letting your family and friends know that you would like your organs donated at your death. If you know someone in need, you could also consider living donation. My new kidney came from a friend with two healthy kidneys; she tells me she is feeling great and would do it again tomorrow if she could. If you are so inclined, you can even be a living donor to a stranger in need.


I probably could have thought of a more fun “vacation” from the law. But my break from practicing law still served the purpose that many sabbaticals offer: a renewed appreciation for my chosen profession, my clients, and my colleagues.


Attorney Kris Lehker

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