In my last post, I talked about why so many women choose to leave the legal profession.

NY Times Magazine Cover

NY Times Magazine Cover

Today, we’re talking about women opting back into the work force, and it is a hot topic these days.  The Today Show had a segment on the subject yesterday based on the NY Time Magazine cover story “The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In“.  Project Eve, an on-line community helping women-owned startups thrive, also did a blog post on the subject this week.

So many women leave the workforce once they have children to raise a family.   Most work places don’t make it easy for moms, and the demands of the family often outweigh the need to work outside the home.

Nevertheless, at some point down the road, most women who opt out want to return to the work force.  Some will go the traditional route and find employment in Corporate America, but others will become entrepreneurs, like us.

Why did you decide to practice law from home?  Was it your way of getting back to work after time off to raise your family?

For me, it was the only way I could see myself going back to work while at the same time being the mom that I want to be.

I had opted out of the work force in 2007 to stay home with my daughter full-time.  By the time she was a little over a year old, I came to regret that decision, and I knew I had to go back to work.

But how?

I could go back to the type work I had been doing for the first 8 years of my career, in-house intellectual property, but that would mean long hours and lots of travel away from home.  I might not have loved being a full-time mom but I still wanted to be as hands-on a mom as I could.

So in 2009 I started IP in focus from our small condo, with Little Miss in tow.  (I didn’t put her into part-time daycare until September, 2010 just before her 3rd birthday.)  And I’ve been slowly building the business ever since.

I’m also building something now that I could never build sitting in a cubicle, this community and a new business.  (IP in focus will be morphing into IP made simple this fall.  Lots of news coming soon!)

Having my daughter changed my life, and the way I work.

If you’re coming back into legal practice after taking time off, there are some great resources to help you.

  1. Pace University in New York offers the New Directions for Attorneys program for attorneys who have left the profession and are looking to reenter the profession.  This part-time five month long program is an intensive course for people who need a refresher course in “work” skills like computerized legal research and legal writing.  It also helps sharpen your job-finding skills.
  2. American University in Washington, D.C. offers the Lawyer Re-Entry Program.  This six-day program, with a two hour follow-up one-on-one coaching session, will prepare you to renew your legal career in a way that works for you, your life, and your family.
  3. The University of California Hastings created WorkLife Law, a center focused on work-family issues as they pertain to the legal profession.
  4. Also check out the website Bestfriendatbarest Friends at the Bar.com.  Author, speaker, and lawyer-turned-law-career counselor Susan Smith Blakely wrote two books Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in Law and Best Friends at the Bar: The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer.

That’s it for this week.  Have a great weekend!