Women Who Left the Profession Are Getting Back in the Saddle
In January 2015, Blank Rome welcomed Kathy E. Herman as an associate through the Firm's participation in the OnRamp Fellowship, an innovative pilot program designed to give returning, experienced women lawyers who took a break from the legal profession for a variety of reasons an opportunity to demonstrate their value in the marketplace. The American Lawyer recently published an article, copied in part below, that takes a look at the noteworthy results of Diversity Lab’s OnRamp Fellowship, which just celebrated its fifth anniversary.
Let me say up front that I was skeptical. I’m talking about those programs aimed at helping women reenter the legal profession after a long hiatus. You know the spiel: Women often drop out to raise a family, and the profession should give them a chance to get back in the saddle.
Nothing wrong with that, but I wasn’t totally sold. First, I wondered what masochist would want back into law, particularly at a law firm. Second, I questioned whether this was the best use of our resources to promote women, given the immense effort it would take.
Apparently, there are lots of masochists out there—and they’re on a roll. Diversity Lab’s OnRamp Fellowship just celebrated its fifth anniversary, and it’s logging noteworthy results.
To the women who’ve been given another shot at rejoining Big Law or the legal group of a major company, the answer is a resounding yes. Kathy Herman, who left practice to care for her ailing parents, says most firms and companies wouldn’t give her a look despite her 20-plus years of experience. Herman, a former fellow at Blank Rome who’s now an associate at the firm, says, “OnRamp enabled me to tell my story in a way that legitimized my choice to step away from practice.”
"Women Who Left the Profession Are Getting Back in the Saddle," by Vivia Chen was published in The American Lawyer on July 31, 2019.