As a mother of two and someone who had a career break to look after them when they were tiddly, I know that going back to work is a BIG deal. It’s stressful because you worry about the impact it will have on your children and family life and it is stressful because you now have to juggle childcare arrangements on top of a busy workload. Also, after taking time out of your career, it can be nerve wracking going back into a corporate environment after speaking baby/toddler/small child language for some time. Confidence can be a real issue too, especially if you work in a technically challenging area like the law, because you feel you have forgotten half of the stuff you knew before your offspring entered the world.
If you are a mother thinking about returning to work following maternity leave or you are about to go off on maternity leave, have a think about discussing the situation with your current employer before going or returning. Sometimes we find candidates automatically assume that the firm will not be favourable to them having flexible or reduced hours or having a longer maternity break. This is not always the case and we are finding that in a candidate short market, law firms are doing everything they can to retain their staff and one way to do this is to offer more flexibility around working hours and remote working.
If you are a mother who has had a long career break, then don’t assume that it’s going to be impossible to return to a career in the law or that you’ll have to lower your standards in order to compensate for the break. Over the course of the last few months, I have placed two mothers who have taken eight and 10 years out respectively, in order to be at home for their children as they went through the baby years, playgroup and primary school. Both of these ladies were ambitious to return to highly respected law firms, akin to firms for which they had previously worked. Neither was prepared to lower their standards on the basis of a career break. I placed both candidates with top tier law firms on hefty salaries. Interview feedback on both was that they were clearly very capable and demonstrated a real desire to get back into work and drive their career forward. I was absolutely delighted for them.
As we enter a new calendar year, people naturally think ahead to their goals for the coming year. If you are a mother (or anyone else for that matter) considering returning to work after a break, please give me a call to discuss what kind of opportunities are out there, even if it’s just for an exploratory chat, in order to find out more about the market, salaries, flexible firms etc. It may make you feel more comfortable and confident about resuming your career as a lawyer.
Please contact Georgina Inson on 07469 146754 for further information about lawyer roles in Bristol.