in Changing Jobs, Employers, Legal Profession

Lawyers returning to work after children

It is apparently the case that mothers returning to work after starting a family suffer the highest employment penalty of any group (Equalities Review).

Mothers with children under 11 are 37% less likely to be offered a job than equivalent males.

Single mums suffer even worse figures –  rising to above 40%.

Firms should not ask questions about childcare or how you will deal with work and children, although we know that some do.

It is very hard for mothers to get back to work at times – not only do they have to make childcare arrangements, collect and drop children from nursery etc.. but also research shows that they are still expected to do the housework!

Some mothers also report lacking confidence to go back to work or do their job again after caring for their baby at home.

If you are a mother thinking about returning to work or about to go off on maternity leave, have a think about discussing the situation with your current employer before going or returning.

Sometimes we find candidates automatically assume that the firm will not be favourable to them having flexible hours, reducing hours or having a longer maternity break. This is not always the case, and if indeed your worse fears are confirmed, you can always go off and find another post in the meantime!

If you are a firm reading this, think about the maternity from the mother’s (or father’s) angle – she is going to worry that she is out of touch whilst off work, cannot return, worried about leaving her child at nursery or with family, and also about the money (income drops quite dramatically during maternity leave). If you value your employees prepare to be flexible in the short term, as you may find that in the longer term the solicitor or lawyer remains with you and is loyal to your firm (provided you are being nice on other fronts such as salary levels and career progression if wanted!).

Author: Jonathan Fagan MIRP MAC Cert RP LLM Solicitor (non-practising) – Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment ( – save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us!  Jonathan Fagan is a specialist legal recruitment consultant, author of the Complete Guide to Writing a Legal CV and the Guide to Interviews for Lawyers. He has recruited for law firms across the UK and overseas in all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that we have not covered above, please email us at

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at