Reigniting your legal career - the answers to your questions

The Reignite Academy team shares the answers to the questions you're asking! 

1. What if I’ve not practised law for more than ten years?

That’s not a problem. Aside from the odd bit of freelance work, one of our Reignite associates had been out of private practice for 17 years. Her point to us recently was that she didn’t need to catch up on 17 years of changes, she just had to get up to speed with the law as it stands today. And as a trained lawyer, used to looking things up, that didn’t feel too daunting.

2. I haven’t written a CV or been to an interview for years.

We work with all our candidates well before any interview to help them put together a CV that’s going to show them at their best and a LinkedIn profile that reflects their strengths and rebuilds their network. We also provide interview training.

3. Are the firms really committed? Is this just lip service?

In our experience, yes, the firms are committed. This programme takes time and effort.  If all you want to do is a tick box exercise there are plenty of other “diversity initiatives” that are far less time-consuming - and far less effective - no amount of CV advice substitutes for actually offering someone a paid placement.

4. I have actually been working, just not at a City firm, does that count me out

That’s why the programme is called “Reignite”. We recognise that whilst some people take complete breaks, others maybe go to work for a small firm, or work freelance through organisations like Obelisk, Axiom, Lawyers on Demand. We want to offer a route back to private practice for anyone who wants to get their career back on track.

5. What level of flexibility is on offer?  When I was last in a law firm, the hours were ridiculous.

It tends to depend on the firm and the area of practice. Most of our initial cohort are on some form of flexible working arrangement, usually four days a week. Some also are able to work from home some of the time, but as the aim is to reignite a career, inevitably most work will be done with colleagues in the office.

6. What training is on offer?

The Reignite team provides training for the whole cohort together ahead of commencement. We help people create a 90 day plan, prepare for the transition back and work on confidence and communication. We have a secondee from our member firm Sidley who is also helping to build out our training on “working in a 21st century law firm”.

7. What if I’m the only Reignite associate at my firm?

Our pre-commencement events and training are delivered to the whole cohort together. This enables the team to get to know each other, and to bond. During the six month placement period, we also bring the whole team together for training sessions. Our pilot cohort will also join from time to time, and many of them are keen to act as mentors for the next group.

8. What level would I go in at?

That totally depends on you.  Rather than look at how many years PQE you had when you left, we encourage people to have a discussion about the level of work they’d be comfortable doing.  It’s very bespoke and each person’s needs are agreed with the partner they will be working with.  The same goes for pay rates, which are based on market rates and the pay scales at the individual firm.

9. Would I have a billable hours targets from day one?  That feels a bit daunting.

The firms involved recognise that the whole point of the six month programme is to enable people to get back up to speed.  In most cases this means being flexible and adjusting billing targets accordingly.  Whilst billable hours are still important, the Reignite associates are expected to spend time learning, training and rebuilding their network.

10. What’s the reaction been like from other associates?

Universally positive.  The feedback we’ve had so far is that other associates appreciate having some more mature people, with different backgrounds around.  They are also encouraged by their firms’ commitment to try to help more women return.

Join us at a 90 minute practical, bootcamp style workshop where we will give you all the tips and tools you need to get your career back on track.

We are holding two sessions:

  • 23rd May - register here
  • 7th June - register here

See all the great opportunities here