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15 February 20242 minute read

DLA Piper launches first UK return-to-work programme

DLA Piper has launched its first return-to-work programme in the UK, in collaboration with the Reignite Academy, an organisation focused on supporting lawyers return to the profession after a career break. The bespoke programme offers lawyers who have taken an extended break in the profession a six-month paid work placement and training with a view to progressing their careers.

First launched in 2019, the Reignite Academy, has helped over 100 lawyers return to their careers, mostly, though not exclusively, women. Its previous programmes have seen lawyers return to transactional and advisory roles, with many going on to achieve promotion, including to partnership.

Liam Cowell, Country Managing Partner, DLA Piper UK, said: “Talent acquisition and retention is an important aspect of our firm’s growth strategy. Many professionals are required to take time out from their career for various personal reasons; despite this break, a talented lawyer does not lose their potential to provide top class legal counsel to clients.

“Embracing these talented “returners” into the work place will benefit our firm, our people and our clients. Through this programme, we are able to offer a supportive route back into the legal industry, enabling them to progress their careers once again.”

Lisa Unwin, Co-Founder, Reignite Academy, said: “We know from experience that there is no correlation between the length of a career break and someone’s ability to get back on track. It’s much more about motivation, drive and a love of the law. These people originally chose law as a career and left for various reasons, often to do with the demands of juggling career and family. As lives move on and they look to the future, many are eager to return to a challenging, fulfilling career.”

The programme will be open to anyone who trained with a national or international firm who has had either a total career break, or those who have explored other paths for a period of time.