Victoria Grantham – Associate, Global London (15 year break)
Prior to joining the London Commercial Litigation team almost 2 years ago, I had taken 15 years away from the law (with a 4 month temporary stint at a city firm in the middle) to spend time bringing up my young children. I had previously trained and practised for several years as a commercial litigator at a major City firm before stepping away to focus on family life.
When I began considering returning to legal practice, the Reconnect Programme offered by DACB caught my attention – it was unique and struck me as forward thinking. The programme offers a genuine opportunity to return to work after a career break with a real opportunity to obtain a permanent role at the end of the initial 6 month returnship period. I was impressed that a well-respected major law firm could see beyond the CV gap and look at what a candidate could offer despite a significant hiatus in legal work.
The Reconnect Programme provided support throughout the initial 6 months. Returnees are assigned a mentor (in a different team) which provides an invaluable sounding board in the early months of returning to work. The programme also provides a ‘buddy’ within the team which helps provide practical day to day support. I was fortunate to join the firm with a small cohort of other returners which also provided an additional informal support network – returning to work after a career break is a daunting prospect and having the support of others in a similar position within the firm was incredibly helpful. The coaching aspect of the programme also provides a series of group workshops through Women Returners which was both inspiring and helped with confidence building.
The Reconnect Programme has reinforced my view that a career break (long or short) need not be the end of a meaningful career. If you are committed to returning to a career it is possible – with a forward thinking firm’s help – to achieve that and thrive. DACB’s Reconnect Programme has provided me with a remarkable opportunity to reignite my career.