There are many reasons why lawyers take time away from the workforce. The most frequent reasons identified  by lawyers for leaving the workforce are to achieve:
- better work-life balance;
- reduced stress and pressure;
- more flexibility to manage their work and personal responsibilities.
When lawyers were asked if they would consider working as a lawyer again in the future, almost one half (48%) said ‘yes’, and an additional one third (36%) said they ‘might’ .
What does this mean for the legal profession?
Re-entry of lawyers into the legal profession has long been of critical importance to maintaining a thriving workforce, and it remains so today. Back in 2007 Deborah Epstein Henry at Flex-Time Lawyers LLC laid out some key recommendations for legal employers in responding to this challenge, and ten years on they are as relevent as ever:
- Secure the relationship with talented lawyers who are considering leaving;
- Maintain the relationship with talented lawyers who have left;
- Invest in bringing both alumni and other lawyers back to work; and
- Ensure the successful transition of lawyers back to practice.
What does this mean if you are a lawyer looking to re-enter the workforce?
- Identify what type of work you are looking for. There are many more options available than just full time work. For example, are you seeking to be engaged by a law firm to work on a specific transaction for a specific duration?
- Be clear and specific about what your legal experience is in relation to the job you are seeking.
- Let an employer know the skills you have gained in your time away. For example, you may have done some volunteer or pro bono work.
- Stay connected. Don’t underestimate the importance of your network. When you are re-entering the workforce you want to tell as many people as you can that you are coming back. Your network can vouch for you and support your re-entry.
- Lastly, don’t underestimate what you are worth as hiring a re-entry lawyer is a financially beneficial decision for an employer.