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Returning to the profession following a career break? Here’s how we can help

During the pandemic, we saw an increased number of solicitors considering returning to the profession following a career break. Here are some ways we're supporting returners.

Diverse group of professionals working in an office

Returners do not have a linear career path, and find that the biggest problem is getting a foot in the door.

There are some returner programmes but generally there is no direct route for getting back into the profession.

Recharge: support for returners to the profession

We’re committed to retaining talent in the profession. Our Recharge programme reaches out to returners as a specific target group.

We have a suite of support that provides the tools and knowledge needed to re-enter the jobs market after an extended period away from practice.

We’re keen to encourage employers to recognise the untapped potential of attracting returners.

As part of our Recharge programme, we’ve collaborated with Hill Dickinson to help attract returners who have a wealth of experience in life and the law, to ensure that experience is not lost to the profession.

Learn about our Recharge programme

Amongst other things, this page includes tips on:

  • returning
  • job-seeking advice
  • case studies
  • instructions for renewing your practising certificate
  • restoring your name to the roll of solicitors

What does our Recharge programme offer?

Webinars

Our free live webinars are scheduled regularly and include practical tips and soft skills for preparing yourself for returning.

Take a look at the recordings of our previous webinars

Listen to our step-by-step guide to the profession and an update on the jobs market

Virtual events

Details of activities will be shared on our returning after a career break page and at Law Society Learning.

Virtual coaching

Our virtual coaching is scheduled for Tuesday 29 March 2022.

The session will provide tips to smash career blocks.

It’s specifically for individuals seeking to return to the legal profession following a career break, or those looking to change career direction but feel stuck.

Spaces are limited.

Book a place on the coaching session

Peer to peer support

The Back to Law Ambassadors support service allows you to email solicitors who have successfully returned following a career break. It also offers mentoring support.

Email ask.an.ambassador@lawsociety.org.uk to find out more.

Career clinic

We offer a free one-to-one 40 minute consultation with a legal career coach to discuss your personal situation. Appointments are via telephone or virtual.

Find out more about scheduled clinics and booking details

Refresher training

We’ve recently launched refresher training to provide updates in areas of law.

Our private client refresher course delivered by Professor Lesley King is available as a bundle of seven or individual modules.

Find out more about the refresher training and how to book

Our portfolio of refresher courses is being developed to include further areas of law.

Discover more at Law Society Learning

LinkedIn group

The Law Society Recharger Course LinkedIn group invites delegates of our Recharge programme to share their experiences of returning to work, both positive and negative.

It’s a safe space to connect and share advice, hints and job opportunities.

Steps to get back into law

The journey back to employment can be daunting as your self-confidence plummets and you have self-limiting beliefs.

You’re not alone. Many report that whilst it is daunting, confidence returns once back in the working environment.

Our confidence building webinar provides tips to boost confidence.

One of our Back to Law Ambassadors explains how she overcame her fears to successfully return following a lengthy career break.

Top five tips

1. Self-reflection

Re-evaluate whether your knowledge and skills are up to scratch.

Address any gaps via:

  • refresher courses
  • the recharge programme
  • reading about current industry issues
  • following potential employers on LinkedIn and Twitter

Be mindful of the transferable skills you have developed while on your career break.

If you have any gaps in your experience, consider:

  • a work placement
  • volunteering, or
  • doing freelance, interim or temporary work

Consider seeking work experience opportunities amongst your contacts, or sending speculative applications to local firms.

2. Reassess skills

Seek feedback from friends and family on what you’re good at and then shortlist the key achievements.

Assess these against some of the following soft skills commonly desired by employers:

  • attention to detail
  • commercial awareness
  • communication (listening and speaking)
  • creative problem solving
  • critical thinking
  • decision making
  • dependability
  • empathy
  • leadership qualities
  • networking
  • a positive attitude
  • self-motivation
  • a strong work ethic
  • teamwork
  • time management
  • working well under pressure

3. Network

Networking is key when returning to law.

It enables you to reconnect and create personal and business contacts.

Open a LinkedIn account if you do not already have one; the professional networking site is increasingly used as a recruitment tool.

Ensure that networking is key to aid your return. Join relevant networking groups and develop relationships to form allies that can support you with advice and recommendations.

If attending face-to-face activities, work on your elevator pitch. You’ll have approximately one minute to market yourself.

Your pitch needs to:

  • say who you are
  • highlight what you do well
  • show off your unique selling points (USPs)

4. Update your profile to impress

Update your CV, highlight your career achievements.

Briefly explain your career break and include any periods of study or volunteering.

This career summary should act as a self-marketing tool for your CV and online profile.

Your LinkedIn profile should:

  • include a professional photo and indicate that you’re seeking employment – this will help recruiters and hiring managers find you
  • state what you’re looking for in your return

Give thought to whether you wish to work flexibly, return to your previous practice or are considering a change in career direction.

You can register for job alerts on Law Gazette Jobs, and will be notified as and when suitable opportunities are available.

Find opportunities on Gazette Jobs

5. Be resilient

Believe in yourself.

Apply for suitable roles – if unsuccessful, seek feedback on your performance.

Learn from the feedback and edit your content or approach accordingly.

Good luck.


The Law Society careers service provides support for potential solicitors and for solicitors throughout all stages of their career. Email careers@lawsociety.org.uk

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