Articles From the Team

Juggling Motherhood and a Career in Law

I have recently returned to work following maternity leave and it is from first hand experience that I have realised just how tough it can be to juggle the needs of a young family, with a demanding job, all whilst trying to do a good job of both.

Returning to work following maternity leave can be a difficult decision to make. Weighing up the pros and cons and dealing with feelings of guilt about leaving your baby and throwing yourself back into your career is a tough decision for any new mum.

Traditionally those in the legal profession work long hours and sometimes weekends too, so the decision to return to the law for a new mum is a big one. Whilst most firms offer flexibility and part time working via job share, a solicitor’s role can be extremely demanding and therefore returning to work full time as a solicitor whilst also raising a new baby or young family can seem to be impossible. Historically the legal profession has lost many talented female solicitors to motherhood.

Interim work as a solicitor may be a solution that allows new mums or mums returning to the law after an extended maternity break to have the best of both worlds.

By taking on interim work the candidate can control exactly how long she is willing to commit to the role for and can plan her contracts around her family and what will work best for them. For example an interim solicitor may decide that she won’t work for the whole of the summer so that she can spend some quality time with the children in the summer break. Likewise she may choose not to work during the half term, Easter and Christmas breaks.

Another great thing about interim work is that it gives those returning to work the opportunity to trial it and see whether being a working mum is the right thing for her and her family, before committing herself to a permanent role.

Fourteen years ago, when I first started recruiting interim lawyers, it was often a battle to convince hiring managers and partners that an interim hire could offer a solution to bridge a gap, provide an extra pair of capable hands during busy times or cover the leave of a permanent member of staff and according to a recent article in The Lawyer, “for years lawyers who worked part time or flexibly were derided in some quarters as second rate”.

In recent years we have seen large City firms such as BLP, Allen & Overy, Eversheds, Addleshaw Goddard and Pinsent Masons, amongst others set up their own panels of interim or consultant lawyers and it is really now starting to gather significant pace.

Having recruited into this market for the last fourteen years it was refreshing to read that “with rapidly growing numbers of lawyers working flexibly and impressive turnover increases, it looks like an idea whose time has come”.

Likewise we are now seeing more firms open to the idea of using lawyers on a temporary or fixed term basis across all disciplines and not just litigation and I can only see this trend continue to grow.

The Volume Services team at BCL Legal supplies temporary lawyers and paralegals to firms across the City. Our team is experienced and we have previously managed significant recruitment projects which have required upwards of 20 lawyers.

If you are an experienced lawyer or paralegal with at least six months experience and immediately available for temporary work we can assist you to find legal work. Whilst language skills are highly sought after we are able to work with those candidates who do not have any additional language skills.

For firms that recruit temporary lawyers or paralegals we register candidates who are available at short notice. The candidates we work with are either qualified lawyers or experienced paralegals who are looking for temporary work. We meet the candidates we work with and check their eligibility to work in the UK.

For further information please contact BCL Legal or call 0845 241 0933.

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