- My LS
Returning to law after a career break
Get up to date
Keep your knowledge and skills up to date by:
- researching your industry
- following potential employers on LinkedIn and Twitter
- taking part in returner courses
If you have any gaps in your experience, use your contacts to help you find a work placement, volunteer or do freelance, interim or temp work.
Review your skills
Ask friends, family and your contacts for feedback on what you're good at, with specific examples. Shortlist a handful of achievements that you’re proud of.
You’ll have developed transferable skills from having a career break, such as being agile (managing your work and personal priorities) and being able to deal with change.
Update your profile
Highlight your achievements in your CV, starting with your pre-break experience. Make it clear that you took a career break and include periods of study or volunteering. Explain what you're looking for when you return to work.
You should also update your LinkedIn profile. This will help recruiters and hiring managers find you and determine your suitability for a role.
Prepare to network
Networking is important when returning to law. Experiment with different networking groups and build relationships. Keep a record of who you’ve spoken to and follow up where appropriate.
Reconnect with former contacts, for example, using LinkedIn.
Create an impression
Get business cards printed and have your elevator pitch (an introduction that says who you are, what you do well, and shows off your unique selling points) ready. You need to make an impact in around a minute – first impressions count.
Our Back to Law ambassadors give tips on creating elevator pitches.
Keep applying for suitable roles and ask for feedback if you have not been successful.
To help you plan the next stage in your career, you can:
- attend our returner courses
- read about the experiences of our Back to Law Ambassadors
- be matched with a mentor who successfully returned to law after a career break by emailing email@example.com about the mentoring programme
Consider all areas of law and find the right environment to suit you. For a better work/life balance, see flexible working options.
If you’re returning to your previous role, you may want to consider your career options as a solicitor.
If you’re looking for a new role, you may want to change career direction.
A practising certificate lasts for 12 months. You must have a current practising certificate before you can offer your services as a solicitor.
Applying for a practising certificate
Restore your name to the roll of solicitors
You need to be on the roll of solicitors before you can apply for a practising certificate.
If you’re not on the roll, you can apply to restore your name through your mySRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) account. The fee is £20.
Renew your practising certificate
Once you’re on the roll of solicitors, you can renew your practising certificate.
Prove you can practise
You must prove that you’re competent to practise by meeting the competencies set out in the competence statement. It’s made up of three parts:
You no longer need to count continuing professional development hours.
Reignite Academy – The Reignite Academy provides opportunities for lawyers to return to work after a career break, through tailored returnship programmes and direct recruitment.
Changing career direction: Recharge webinar (81 minutes)
Marketing yourself: recharge webinar (96 minutes)
This webinar is designed to support individuals, across all levels of post-qualified experience (PQE), who are seeking to return to the profession following a career break. It is also designed to support those considering changing career direction or seeking re-invention.
Date: 22 April 2021
Time: 2pm to 3.30pm
At this event, legal recruitment experts Clayton Legal will help you understand how to land your next legal job; from tips to enhance your CV, to the principles of writing a great cover letter – all in an informal live Q&A format.
Date: 6 May 2021
Time: 10am to 11am
This free webinar is for individuals across all levels of PQE who are seeking to return to law following a career break, or those considering changing career direction.
Date: 13 May 2021
Time: 2pm to 3.30pm