I have been asked to write an article about how to return to the practice of law. The problem I have in responding to that request is that I left, but have not returned to, the practice. Many of you have left and returned. You know the steps, have probably experienced a few of the pitfalls, while (hopefully) having seen the upsides associated with that return.
Could you lend a hand and please share your advice, suggestions, and words of wisdom or warning?
Amberly gave us some suggestions. Here is her advice:
I worked full time at the attorney general's office for several years, but then stayed home to care for my little boys for the next six years. I recently returned to full-time work and have a few ideas of things that were helpful to me:
1) Continuing to work or volunteer in your practice or interest area. After my sons were born I taught classes at the local university, did contract legal work, gave legal help to friends, family, and church members, and volunteered for different legal causes I felt passionate about. It kept me engaged in the legal world, allowed me to make further professional contacts, and let me keep my resume active.
2) Maintain your legal contacts. It was important that I continued to touch base with all the wonderful people that I knew through law school and professionally. They were able to act as references for jobs and the bar exam application even though I hadn't been working full time.
3) Have confidence in what you did during the time you were not practicing law full-time. I let my current employer know that I had been balancing caring for my children full-time with working on a contract basis and volunteering in my community. When I saw that they considered this an asset and not a deficit, I knew that this would be a good work environment for me. It is has been an engaging and flexible place to work, and I feel lucky to have found such a job.
Good luck to anyone who is making this transition!
Thank you so much, Amberly. If anyone else has some suggestions, we would appreciate you sharing them.