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I speak with a lot of legal professionals that have had a successful career and are looking to make a return to the law after a career break. I find the most common of these are women who have chosen to perhaps take time out of their career to start a family. As successful career women, having spent years building their career up, there comes a time when the feet itch to get back in perhaps once the children are more settled, starting school.
I had an interesting conversation recently with a candidate who was testing the water after having her two children. She was still on maternity leave and due to return over the next few months. However she felt quite torn as her current firm were not able to offer her the three day week she was looking for to allow her to at least have some flexible working with school pick ups and time with the smaller one.
Her assumption was from reading various job adverts was that she would not be considered if she were to say she wanted part time and would be chosen over an applicant who could do full time. Most roles do not specify that they would allow for part time working and even when they do, it seems some applicants may believe this somehow lessons their chances against those who would be able to work full time. As a recruiter I have found this not to be the case.
I recently placed a candidate who moved from a top tier firm in London and moved to a remote village in the Home Counties for her husband’s career. She had her two children who had started school and she felt she was not utilising her skills that she had spent years working on. Of course, her children came first and any new role would have to fit around her family. Looking for a three day week, that would also enable her to do the school pick ups.
I have built up strong relationships with my clients in the locations I cover here at BCL. With my client contacts in her local area I was able to speak with them about her calibre and the applicant’s specific requirements regarding her work life balance. A well respected firm did have a role for a full time solicitor but felt they could accommodate the candidate on the basis of what she could offer the firm. If you are on a career break, considering one or about to make the return, it is worth looking at your options and what you would need to work for you and your lifestyle. As specialist legal consultants we can discuss your options with you.
The logistics of returning to work after a period of leave with young children to consider can be a logistical nightmare. I have personal experience of this. Trying to arrange how many days a week that are necessary for you to work and also hours in the day to allow for childcare pick ups has to work for you and your employer. It is important to find a good balance with this. To have a supportive employer is imperative so that they can discuss with you about what arrangements can be made. Its also important to have a recruiter that understands.
Here at BCL Legal I focus on private practice recruitment in the East Midlands and Home Counties, specialising in recruiting partners, directors, senior associates, associates, solicitors and newly qualified solicitors of across all commercial disciplines. If you would like to talk about your job search or perhaps just get an update on what’s going on in the market, please contact me, Victoria Noble at BCL Legal.