Jul 2022
How to Return to Law After a Career Break

From the benefits of taking a break from your legal career to transitioning back, Carbon Law Partners has some tips on how to return to law after a career break.  

We are facing a crisis in the legal industry when it comes to talent retention. We are seeing more lawyers than ever leave private practice. Burn out, stress, toxic workplaces, cultural issues and the pace and culture in law are having an impact, and The Great Resignation is at the top of the agenda for law firm leaders everywhere. 

If life in law seems overwhelming, taking a break from your legal career can be a good thing. It will give you chance to recover and heal, to see life from a different perspective, to spend time with family and friends, to travel the world, learn new skills and focus on your well-being.  

Getting back into law after a career break 

Taking a break does not mean leaving law entirely. It could be that following a sabbatical, you find yourself ready to return to your legal career with a renewed sense of purpose. 

The good news is that with planning and thought, you can smooth the transition back into the legal industry after any kind of break. Here’s some advice on how to return to law after a career break from our team of senior lawyers at Carbon, many of whom have taken their own career breaks, so they know what it’s like to return to the world of law. 

Remember me? It all starts with your network.  

Your network as a lawyer is so important, and should always be at the core of your legal career. Why? Because it takes a collective effort to create professional success. So, nurturing your network and being generous with your knowledge and support will pay dividends when it comes to you asking for help, for instance, when you are returning to law after a career break. 

You should always invest time in growing and supporting your network. Your network provides a great avenue to exchange ideas, to inspire you intellectually, to help you with resources and knowledge and generally support you in your career path. This means that if you do take a break, your network will be there to help you catch up and find out about the latest trends and developments in the legal industry, and what you might have missed if you have been out of it for some time. 

We are great believers at Carbon Law Partners in the saying “Look after your network and your network will look after you.” 

Stay abreast of developments in law whilst you’re away 

We have a world of content and thought at our fingertips these days. Taking a break does not mean checking out entirely (unless of course, you want it to.) Stay abreast of what is happening in the legal industry in a way that works for you whilst you are away. Maybe this is subscribing to news alerts for updates on key changes and developments in your technical area of law, or checking in with experts and influencers on social media, or having a sneaky peak at The Lawyer or The Law Society Gazette for industry news. Maybe it is meeting up with one of your networks to chat about what has been going on. In a digital age, you can always dip in and stay connected and informed. Podcasts are a great and more relaxed way of staying in the know. There are some great recommendations from legal tech company Clio 

Career breaks and brushing up your professional skills  

Some lawyers take a break from the world of law to upskill in something new; from professional coaching qualifications to MBAs, and come back to the legal industry with renewed professional direction.  

If your career break has not been about upskilling, you might find taking a short course before you re-enter the world of legal beneficial. We chatted to some of our lawyers at Carbon Law Partners about courses they had done, and these ranged from design-thinking courses, using Excel better to personal branding and social media training to help them launch into the world of legal consultancy.  

The power of your story – a self-confidence exercise  

This is a powerful but simple exercise.  

It’s easy to lose confidence professionally after a break. But, you will have gained some valuable experiences to support your legal experience. Writing your career story as a story, including the emotional drivers which contributed to you having a break and how you benefitted from this time, is a very empowering thing to do. Position your career break as a transformative experience and assert why you took time out, how it changed your perspective and how it has positioned you to come back with new purpose. Unapologetically own the story of how you returned to law after your career break!  

Return to law – on your terms  

Having a career break is becoming more and more commonplace in a modern-day working world. The Law Society provides some excellent support and a community for lawyers who have done this.  

Carbon Law Partners – helping you to return to law after a career break 

At Carbon Law Partners, our model is designed for private practice lawyers who are looking to come back to the world of legal in a way that gives them more flexibility and freedom. If you are considering returning to law following a career break and would like to speak with one of our partners about how this has worked for them, get in touch. You can also find more about the benefits of joining Carbon on our Join Carbon page.