Below is their description of the issue women lawyers face when trying to return to the practice:
The legal profession has a leaky pipeline. Plenty of high-performing lawyers enter the legal profession. But many of these lawyers – women in particular – leave within a few years. In Am Law 200 firms, for instance, there is typically a 50/50 gender split at the entry-level, but only 16% of partners are women.
Why? Many leave to raise children or manage other family obligations. Others just aren’t a good fit for the area of law they chose early in their career.
Once these women lawyers exit the profession, it’s not easy to get back in. Since law firms usually hire and advance lawyers based on tenure, it’s difficult for a returning lawyer and her potential employer to know where she fits into the traditional structure upon re-entry. And, in most law firms, it is virtually impossible for an experienced lawyer to re-engineer her practice because of the rigid billable rate structure that is typically tied to years of experience. This structure forces skilled lawyers who are not a fit for their current practice area to change jobs or exit the profession for other opportunities.
Because of these re-entry and retooling challenges, there is an untapped pool of experienced high-performers who have a strong desire to return to and advance in the profession. A 2010 study by the Center for Work-Life Policy found that 73 percent of women trying to return to the workforce after a voluntary timeout for childcare or other reasons have difficulty finding a job.In a market that remains tremendously competitive for top talent, law firm leaders cannot afford to overlook this unique collection of highly-talented, diverse lawyers. So, how do law firms identify and recapture this incredibly valuable asset?
This is their solution:
The Fellowship is a re-entry platform that matches experienced lawyers returning to the profession with law firms for a one-year, paid training contract.
To learn more about the program or to apply, please go their website at: http://onrampfellowship.com/. The application deadline is March 7, 2014.