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Gardner Leader encourages lawyers back to work with new programme

13th November, 2018: Gardner Leader is one of the first law firms in Berkshire to launch its own diverse and inclusive ‘Back to Law’ programme – helping lawyers to regain confidence and skills, and to get back to private practice after a career break.

The two successful candidates will work for a month at the award-winning law firm, based in Newbury, Thatcham and Maidenhead, under the support and guidance of a mentor and within a department relevant to their previous experience.

They will receive the latest training, ranging from technology to interview techniques, and spend time with a recruiter and an HR Director to learn how to market their strengths against employer perceptions.

Michal Freeman-Shor, senior corporate associate at Gardner Leader in Maidenhead, and ambassador of the Law Society’s Back to Law programme, said: “It’s fantastic that Gardner Leader has launched its own Back to Law programme. Lawyers decide to have a break from legal practice for many reasons, be it to explore new opportunities or due to life changing circumstances such as caring for a family member. Whatever the reason, when they decide to return to practicing law, they find it to be a very daunting and difficult task, as I discovered.

“The long hours at my previous position as senior corporate solicitor in a successful London law firm were not compatible with my changing family life so I directed my attention to other avenues including acting as a director, investor and a law lecturer. But when the time came to go back to practicing law, the journey proved challenging. I took a proactive approach to refreshing my legal skills by taking relevant legal courses, and researching into legal updates and current practices. I spent time applying for roles and speaking to recruitment consultants, most of whom were not interested in someone not currently employed.

“I enrolled on the Law Society’s returners’ programme, various legal training courses, and renewed my practicing certificate – all of which gave me much needed reassurance and a confidence boost to find a suitable role. Once I secured my current role my transition back to legal practice was made easier because of Gardner Leader’s diverse and inclusive culture, and everyone was keen to make my integration a positive experience.

“The Gardner Leader Back to Law programme makes it easier for legal practice returners to get top quality legal work experience in their area of expertise along with support, motivation and skills to help them reignite their legal careers.”

Derek Rodgers, Managing Partner at Gardner Leader added, “When Michal joined us, launching our Back to Law programme seemed like a natural next step in our approach to be a diverse and inclusive law firm. We have always focused on people, not processes and strive to be a place where people enjoy working. That means being open and flexible to new and different ways of working, taking into consideration the work-life balance of our employees – an approach that gives us access to a wider range of talent and has won us awards for our employee engagement.”

The deadline to apply to Gardner Leader’s Back to Law programme is 30th November 2018 via their website www.gardner-leader.co.uk or directly on this link.

If you’ve had a legal career break, here are Michal’s tips for a successful career transition: –

  1. Be proactive and persistent.
  2. Treat the nay-sayers (including your own self-doubt) as ‘white noise’
  3. Surround yourself with positive friends, family and connections who support you
  4. Don’t believe recruiters who fob you off due to a lack of recent/relevant experience: they are only interested in making a quick buck. Find a recruiter who cares.
  5. Never give up on your dreams and aspirations.