Bhini, Family Solicitor, Rayden Solicitors, (5 year break)
I qualified as a family solicitor in 2012. In 2015, I took a career break to focus on my first child during his early years. This turned into a longer period following the birth of my second child two years later. Once my children moved to full-time education, I initially undertook a non-legal role to ease myself back into working life – after 5 years of being away from work, I needed to be realistic as to how I would manage my work life and home life.
Shortly after being in my non-legal role, I decided to resume my legal career. The advice I received from Women Returners was invaluable. I received assistance with my CV and cover letter, mentoring support and one to one advice. I was encouraged to enhance my social media platforms, which as a result provided me with an opportunity to contribute to the Legal Women Magazine (which I still do).
When I was on my search for a legal role, I wanted to find a firm which embraced flexible working and promoted a work / life balance. I came across Rayden Solicitors, a specialist family law firm based locally to me in St. Albans. Their ethos resonated with me and I decided to get in touch to see what opportunities the firm might have for someone in my position. My initial approach to Rayden Solicitors was based upon a desire to gain some experience and rebuild on my knowledge in family law so as to ease myself back in gently. It is important to be realistic about what you can do, particularly after an extended period away from the profession. As each week passed, my confidence grew and I knew Rayden’s offered everything I felt necessary to facilitate my return to law – from training and support to flexible working patterns.
I have been extremely fortunate to work closely with my line manager, who has provided me with support throughout – not just limited to my return to law but also the transition into working life with other responsibilities. In addition, I have been lucky to work with an incredible team who are always available for guidance and support. I have now been in my role for almost two years and continue to enjoy all aspects of it.
I know there are many other women who are considering returning to work and who may have lots of questions, I certainly asked a fair few before I returned. I have provided my Twitter and Instagram details below for any returners who need support. I am also due to embark on the Women Returners Mentoring Scheme to support those returning to work.
My top tips
- Returning to work can be daunting after an extended period away. Be kind to yourself. There will be times when you may feel torn between parental guilt and returning to work, and that is fine.
- Reach out to colleagues and friends, monitor and use social media and the Women Returners Facebook group for support. You will realise that there are many others in the same position, or have been in the same position, as you who can offer invaluable advice.
- Network – start building your connections locally and networking in person. Nothing beats face to face meetings and social events.
- Think about updating your LinkedIn profile and connecting, or reconnecting, with contacts, new and old. Online networking is also an invaluable opportunity to build your confidence.
- Be persistent and confident – it may take time to find the perfect role for you. The skills you acquire whilst working do not disappear whilst on a career break, in fact you continue to use these during a career break.
- Approach firms directly – it worked for me.