View all categories
Kathryn Paisley

Partner - Uckfield

19th March 2019

When a career break isn’t career-ending

I once heard a partner in a large City law firm explain that she was returning to work immediately after having her child because to take a career break was tantamount to career suicide. Thankfully, things have moved on a bit since then and there has been a lot of interest recently in how to encourage people – women and men alike – who have taken a break from the law to return and reinvigorate their careers.

All of this interest has piqued my attention because at Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP we have been well ahead of the field for a while now. I’m a case in point: after starting my legal career at two large firms in the City, I decided when I was ready to raise a family that I wanted to spend time with my children rather than going back to work after a period of maternity leave. When I felt I was ready to think about coming back to the law I approached Rix & Kay on a speculative basis. I was (figuratively speaking) embraced with open arms!

I started in the corporate team coming up to four years ago as a solicitor, graduating to the role of an associate, and am now proud to call myself a partner of the firm. Nusrat Qureishi, an associate, has also joined the corporate team after having taken a break to raise a family. In both of our cases, the really telling factor about our decision to join Rix & Kay was the clear and evident ability and desire on the part of the firm to embrace career paths and life decisions that did not necessarily “fit the mould”. Rix & Kay has never looked to fit square pegs into square holes (or indeed to ram square pegs into round holes) but instead has ditched the holes completely and has had a welcoming and common-sense approach to recruiting the best possible resources in a way that suits both the firm and the individual concerned. If I had been told four years ago that my only option of returning to work was to be doing full-time, five days a week, from the outset, I probably would not be here now. As it was, the firm and I continued to talk throughout my first few months at work and beyond to develop a strategy and a structure that worked for both of us. Critically, lines of communication have always been kept open. I made it clear what was important to me, the firm made it clear what was important to it and we spoke and found a balance.

The upshot for me personally is that I have been able to return to a career I love (having had the wonderful opportunity to raise a family) in a thriving, forward-thinking firm – for me, it’s having my cake and eating it! The industry as a whole is at grave risk of losing talent because of an apparent inability (refusal?) to adapt and embrace different working styles and different desires for work-life balances and what that might mean to individuals. At Rix & Kay we pride ourselves on breaking the mould; we listen, we talk, we adapt and we make it work. We understand that there is an enormous pool of talent out there that might be anxious about returning to work after a break (“what if I’ve forgotten everything I ever knew?”) but that a little understanding, patience and an ability to recruit on the basis of potential could well pay dividends to both parties.

If you have had a career break but know that you still have a lot to offer, do come and have a chat with us. At Rix & Kay we recognise that a career break does not need to represent the end of a career. For further information, do feel free to contact kathrynpaisley@rixandkay.co.uk or call me on 01825 744447.

Stay up to date with Rix & Kay

Sign up to our newsletter

Top posts

View All Posts
  • I would like to receive the following newsletters:
  • For more information on how we use your data please see our privacy policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Working with Rix & Kay during this difficult timeOur current working practices during the Covid-19 outbreak

The welfare of everyone during these difficult times, including our clients, our friends and our colleagues, is Rix & Kay’s primary concern. To support this, we are taking every step possible to ensure that anyone who needs our assistance is able to contact us and gain access to our services in a way that reduces to the extent possible the obvious risks presented by the global impact of Covid-19.

Click below to find out more about our current working practices during the Covid-19 outbreak.