By Laurie Rowen
Returning to the workforce after a career break is a hot topic as more and more women are finding that they need and want to re-enter the job market after taking time off. Jennifer Preston, a well-known reporter for The New York Times, has written articles such as Helping Women Get Back in the Game and More Information for Women Looking to Get Back in the Work Force, which address the challenges women face – especially highly educated women – after taking a career break. Preston’s articles are extremely informative because they provide real life scenarios and give advice from career re-entry experts on steps women and men can take to make a smooth transition back to the workforce.
Jennifer Preston’s recent article for the NY Times blog Motherlode, Reader Questions, Answered: Returning to Work After a Career Break, includes questions from various readers trying to get back into the workforce. To answer those questions, Preston engaged Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin, co-authors of “Back on the Career Track,” and co-founders of iRelaunch, which provides resources for people looking to return to work after staying home to care for children or aging parents. These career re-entry experts answered various readers’ questions, and provided excellent advice and resources.
Montage Legal Group is honored to be mentioned as a resource for lawyers desiring to get back into the workforce after taking a break:
MelCrawf from Chicago: I am an attorney with 13 years’ experience before leaving my role as a partner in a firm to stay at home with my son. Now, seven years later, I want and need to go back to work but don’t think going back to a law firm is feasible or at all desirable. How does an educated, talented person start over after a pretty big gap? Where do I start?A.
You have plenty of options! Take a look at these “lawyer return to work success stories” in regulatory compliance for a medical research organization, in the public sector law, in law school administration and in management.
Several law schools offer return-to-work programs for lawyers including Pace Law School’s New Directions program, the American University Washington College of Law Lawyer Re-entry program and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law Women in Transition Program. If you change your mind and become interested in returning to a major law firm, the new OnRamp Fellowship program offers opportunities for one-year paid internships. We also recommend that lawyers check with their local bar association and their law school alumni career services departments for job leads, mock interview practice, programs on alternative careers in law, C.L.E. guidance, advice on part-time malpractice insurance and maintaining bar membership.
Pursue legal pro bono work, which can be found at bar associations and sometimes at idealist.org, volunteermatch.org or at law school alumni career services offices. Paid legal project work can be found at firms such as Bliss Lawyers or Axiom Law. Also consider freelance attorney networks such as Montage Legal and Custom Counsel.
Getting back into the work-force after a break is difficult, and many women and men may feel isolated. But they do not need to feel alone! iRelaunch is an amazing resource because it not only provides concrete answers and directions on how to re-enter the workforce, but it provides a community of similarly situated men and women, which can serve as a helpful support system. Three freelance lawyers in Montage Legal Group’s network have been featured as Success Stories on iRelaunch: Kandy Williams, Laura Finkelstein and Krista Kamper. To read their profiles, click on their previously listed names, or see Success Stories on the iRelaunch website.