Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has announced the launch of “Davis Polk Revisited,” a “returnship” program, to help alumni transition back to full-time legal careers after taking an extended break, often to raise children.
The firm is believed to be the first major U.S. law firm to launch its own such program, joining the ranks of leading financial services firms like Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley.
The goal of the program is two-fold:
- To give alumni the opportunity to return to the law after an extended break
- To improve and promote gender diversity in mid-senior associate ranks
“This is a very important initiative to bring back very talented, high-performing lawyers to the firm and to day-to-day client service,” said Thomas J. Reid, Davis Polk’s managing partner. “In talking with our alumni, we found that many of our former lawyers missed practicing law and were looking for a way to come back.”
He added, “The problem, for many, is that returning to work after an extended break can often be a difficult process. We want to make that transition easier for our alumni.”
In connection with “Davis Polk Revisited,” interested lawyers with three or more years of Davis Polk experience and who have been away from the legal profession for two or more years can apply to participate in the year-long program, at the end of which a permanent position may be offered.
“Most important,” Reid explained, “the returning lawyers will participate in training and CLE sessions to get back up to speed and will work closely with a returnship consultant and a Davis Polk adviser to ensure a smooth reintegration into the firm. We want to do everything we can to make this as seamless as possible.”
The program will be piloted in New York with the first returnees beginning in February 2017. If there is sufficient demand for the program, it will be expanded to other firm offices.
“At a time when all firms are looking for exceptional, experienced talent, we want to draw upon the experience of our women lawyers and support them at every step of their professional development, including after an extended break from the legal profession,” said Reid.