Motus Recruitment Insights


Supporting mums returning to work in law firms, after maternity leave. Better the devil you know?

At a time when more women are entering the legal profession than ever before, prioritising support and flexibility to ensure this talent can have long-term legal careers has never been more important.

From our experience in talking to our candidate network when on maternity leave, we typically hear the same key concerns voiced for those returning – both to their current firms, but also as concerns about joining a new firm upon their return:

  • Lack of flexibility around when and where they will be able to work, and all those last minute ‘drop everything’ childcare moments:
    • Importance of starting and ending work at different times to fit around child drop-offs
    • Being able to deal with childcare or nursery issues that arise during the day – that emergency call that baby hasn’t settled in nursery
    • Time off when their child is ill
  • How they’ll be perceived internally for needing to take time off at the last minute
  • Feeling they must return to their current firm out of appreciation for the time off, despite that environment no longer being ideal
  • Fears the market has changed since they’ve been off
  • Fear or leaving their current firm and having to pay back enhanced maternity policies
  • Feeling their position and standing within the firm and amongst their colleagues has been affected to due to an extended period away
  • Fear of returning to work due to the perceived pressure to pick up where they left off and make an immediate impression Navigating both conscious and unconscious discriminatory bias

These concerns are very common, and as a result we have developed relationships with many law firms where these issues have been aired and ironed out - they understand these key concerns and challenges and set up to ensure the success of their teams.  They appreciate the skills you bring into a firm and will support your return to work at a new firm with all the additional challenges you face.

The old adage ‘better the devil you know’ simply does not ring true for mums joining a new law firm after maternity leave, in firms we work with who offer:

  • Repayment of enhanced maternity pay if you switch to their firm
  • Part-time contracts and full-time hours on part-time contracts
  • Remote, part-remote/hybrid or truly flexible work arrangements re start/end times and unexpected changes to the working day
  • Genuine understanding of the challenges you may face and a desire to help you overcome the common concerns you have
  • A senior management team who work on a part-time basis and who have all been there themselves!  

How Motus supports mums returning to work

Supporting returning mums in the legal sector is a key consideration for us at Motus. We recognise that there is a significant proportion of legal professionals that struggle to find their way back and settle into firms that offer the support and flexibility they require to continue to build their careers.

As a recruitment partner, we’ll work with you in an advisory capacity to ensure the steps you take in your return to work are right for you and your situation.