By MELISSA CROCKETT MESKE
Before entering college, Sara Ingram wanted to be a doctor. She had worked at the local hospital throughout high school and college. Her hospital work exposed her to several different departments including nursing administration, hospital administration, risk management and corporate compliance. It was the litigation aspect of health care that peaked her interest, sparking her pursuit of a degree in law.
In January of this year, Ingram became a partner at Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C. – a firm where she has spent her entire legal career. Ingram began as a law clerk in the firm’s Urbana office during law school and, after graduating from the School of Law at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2006, she accepted a full-time position in their Edwardsville office. She completed her undergraduate studies at Illinois Wesleyan University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration in 2003.
At Heyl Royster, Ingram works primarily in the area of toxic tort and asbestos litigation. She works closely with clients and other counsel to develop and implement strategies for a defense and assists in evaluating strategies as they relate to the jurisdictions where she practices. She says that helping clients is what is most rewarding: “In toxic tort litigation, our clients are named in a large number of cases. Working hard to get their cases resolved in a timely manner and to their benefit is by far what makes it all worthwhile.”
Earlier this year, Ingram was listed as one of Leading Lawyers’ “Emerging Lawyers.” Only two percent of Illinois lawyers under the age of 40 or who have been licensed to practice for less than 10 years earn this distinction. She is a member of the Madison County, Illinois State, Missouri, and American Bar Associations.
Growing up in the small central Illinois town of St. Joseph, Ingram now resides in Maryville with her husband Jim and their almost 1-year-old daughter Hadley. She enjoys running as well as volunteering her time with Kellsie’s Hope Foundation. Kellsie’s Hope had been started by Ingram’s cousin before she passed away from childhood cancer and continues to be supported by Ingram’s family for the benefit of other families affected by childhood cancer and to support childhood cancer research.
To aspiring professionals entering the field of law, Ingram emphasizes the need to be proactive. “Do not sit and wait for assignments or opportunities, and make your desires known,” she advises.