AG's Returner programme, now in its third year, goes from strength to strength.

Supported by the Returner Course of The Law Society’s Women Lawyers Division, this initiative is designed to give those who have chosen to take an extended break from the profession (for a variety of reasons) with an insight into current developments in the legal market, an opportunity to review their personal career options, as well as equip them with the tools and skills required to enable a return to the profession.

The programme enjoys a consistent level of success, receiving multiple award nominations including being shortlisted in 2016 for Best Diversity Initiative at the Lawyer Business Leadership Awards and being highly commended at the Financial Times European Innovative Lawyers Awards 2016

The 2017 programme, which ended this month, presented delegates with the opportunity to see what private practice has to offer. In collaboration with Barclays Legal, returners were also invited to spend two hugely rewarding days with their legal team, where they gained an insight into legal sector developments from an 'in-house' perspective and were able to broaden their network.

Feedback confirms this Returner Programme continues to meet and in some cases exceed delegate expectations:

''I would never have thought that just two weeks in Addleshaw Goddard could make such an enormous impact on my self-confidence and motivation to return to law!"

"..this programme has demonstrated to me that there is genuinely a lot of support for Returners, even at senior levels, and that there are more opportunities open to me than I could ever have imagined."

We recognise that individuals who have chosen to take extended career break are an unexploited talent pool and can bring new insights and different perspectives to the firm. During the programme, we take the opportunity to explore the future ambitions of our returners in terms of career progression, potentially matching these with forthcoming opportunities within the firm.

As a firm, AG has a longstanding commitment to supporting female career progression and gender equality, and the Returner Programme is an integral part to this pledge. Alongside this, other initiatives such as our flexible shared parental leave, wide range of agile working arrangements and annual female development programme, have led to us being recognised in 'The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2017'.

This year, delegates have shown considerable interest in AG Integrate – our new contract lawyer service. This is a facility which continues to grow and offers talented legal professionals the opportunity to combine flexibility and control over the way they work.