Biglaw Firm Tries New Strategy In Intense Associate Talent War

Content couple having great ideaJust because someone took a break from the legal profession, it doesn’t mean that Biglaw is foreclosed as a career option. Well, while there has never been a *rule* about it, but ya know, coming back to Biglaw after a multi-year break was far from common. (This is my lack of shock over Biglaw’s continuing diversity problem.) Anyway, one firm is trying to make it easier for folks to get back in the fold of Biglaw.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer recently announced its Returners program, open to folks who have left the profession for two or more years, whether it be to raise a family, take care of a family member, or to pursue another opportunity. We all know Biglaw is super busy and there really aren’t enough qualified lawyers out there to handle all of the work, which has created a scorching hot lateral market. This program will help fulfill that need while also giving an assist to diversity, as reported by Reuters:

Although the program is partly about boosting headcount, “it’s also an attempt to focus on a real shortcoming of the profession by saying, sometimes when people have been driven out of it, they can be lured back into it,” said Boris Feldman, Freshfields’ head of U.S. technology and a partner in the firm’s Silicon Valley office.

So, what does the program look like? From the firm’s press release:

Initially offered in the firm’s Silicon Valley office, the program gives participants the opportunity to work with high-profile clients and collaborate with cross-border, cross-functional teams, while supporting them with a full range of mentorship, training and development resources. These include: technical training tailored to individual, role-specific and client requirements; a dedicated mentor; and access to senior management and the firm’s extensive support network and community, including other returning professionals who understand the challenges of career re-entry.

It’s nice to see a firm thinking outside the box to tackle two issues with a single solution.

Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).

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