Reentering the Legal Field: Strategies for Senior Attorneys

1. What are some strategies for grasping current legal industry trends for a senior attorney planning to reenter the field?
Senior attorneys can leverage various methods to stay updated on legal industry trends. These methods include taking Continuous Legal Education (CLE) programs, enrolling in online courses and certifications, participating in legal forums and seminars, and subscribing to legal publications.  

Navigating a return to law practice after a hiatus can be daunting. The reentering legal field offers unique challenges, especially for senior attorneys. If you're contemplating reentering the legal profession after taking a break or post-retirement, you might find that the landscape has evolved significantly. Keeping up-to-date with the latest trends, regulations, and technologies can seem daunting, particularly when coupled with the apprehension of re-establishing oneself in a competitive environment. However, with the right strategies and an understanding of the current market, this transition can be seamless and rewarding. This article outlines effective strategies for senior attorneys considering a legal career comeback. It offers valuable insights into leading U.S. law firms that might influence your rejoining the legal profession decision.

Grasping Current Legal Industry Trends

If you're planning a transition back to law, you must know the legal industry trends. Current legal regulations, technological advancements, and market dynamics must inform a senior lawyer's job search. Legal technology, or 'legal tech,' is a field that has seen rapid growth, reshaping the way legal services are delivered. Embracing these changes, understanding the implications of artificial intelligence in law, and adapting to new-age legal tools will give you an edge while reentering. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 4% growth in legal occupations from 2020 to 2030, indicating a growing pool of legal job opportunities for seniors. Firms like Latham & Watkins, which prioritizes diversity and high-quality client service, could be ideal for your legal industry reentry.

Updating Your Skills as a Senior Attorney

The dynamism of the legal field necessitates a senior lawyer's skill update. Whether you're reentering law after retirement or after exploring other interests, refreshing your legal knowledge, particularly in your specialty, is vital. Here are a few ways to effectively update your skills:

  • Continuous Legal Education (CLE): The American Bar Association (ABA) provides CLE programs to keep attorneys abreast of the latest developments in the legal field. Attending these programs can help you stay updated with the new laws and trends in your area of expertise.

  • Online Courses and Certifications: Numerous online platforms offer courses and certifications in various legal disciplines. Some also offer courses in legal tech, which could be beneficial given the increasing digitalization of the legal industry.

  • Participation in Legal Forums and Seminars: Legal forums, seminars, and workshops can offer a wealth of knowledge. It provides learning, interaction, and discussion opportunities on various legal issues.

  • Subscription to Legal Publications: Regularly reading legal journals, law reviews, and other publications can provide insights into the current state of the law, recent case laws, and emerging trends.

Jones Day, for example, emphasizes continuous learning in its work culture, providing opportunities for personal and professional growth. Keeping your knowledge base current will make your transition smoother and make you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.

Networking Tips for Reentering Senior Attorneys

Professional networking can significantly impact a senior attorney's job search. A robust network can open doors to job opportunities, provide industry insights, and even pave the way for mentorship. Here are some networking strategies you can leverage during your legal industry reentry:

  • Leverage Alumni Networks: Connecting with fellow alumni from your law school can be a great way to gain insights about current industry trends and potential opportunities.

  • Attend Industry Events: Industry conferences, seminars, and meetups offer excellent networking opportunities. They give you a platform to connect with other legal professionals, expand your network, and stay informed about the industry.

  • Utilize Online Networking Platforms: LinkedIn and other professional networking platforms can be incredibly helpful. Engage with others by sharing relevant content, commenting on posts, and joining group discussions.

  • Reach Out to Former Colleagues: Reconnecting with your former colleagues and bosses can yield substantial leads. They are already familiar with your skills and could provide valuable recommendations.

  • Participate in Professional Associations: Joining professional associations like the American Bar Association or local bar associations can help you connect with like-minded professionals.

Sullivan & Cromwell, renowned for its collaborative work culture, could be a perfect platform for senior attorney networking. Utilizing these tips effectively can help create a strong network supporting your return to the legal profession.

Resume and Interview Strategies for Senior Attorneys

A comprehensive resume and a compelling LinkedIn profile are vital for senior lawyers job search. Furthermore, preparing for potential interviews by staying informed about current legal trends is a must-have interview strategy for senior attorneys. Here are some tips to help you stand out:


Resume Tips:

  • Highlight Your Legal Expertise: Use your resume to showcase your legal skills, areas of expertise, and notable cases you have handled.

  • Showcase Achievements: Highlight your successes, including significant cases won, deals negotiated, or client relationships built. Use numbers wherever possible for added impact.

  • Update with New Skills: If you have taken any courses or earned new certifications during your hiatus, make sure to include them.

  • Tailor Your Resume: Tailor your resume for each application, ensuring it matches the job description. Highlight the experiences and skills that make you a good fit for the role.


Interview Strategies:

  • Be Current: Stay updated with legal trends and industry news. Demonstrating that you are informed about the current landscape can set you apart.

  • Practice Responses: Be prepared to answer questions about your career break. Frame your responses positively, focusing on what you have gained during your time off.

  • Show Enthusiasm: Show your passion for the law and enthusiasm for returning to the profession. Employers value passionate employees.

  • Ask Insightful Questions: Show your interest in the role and the firm by asking insightful questions. This can help you stand out and leave a lasting impression.


Law firms like Cravath, Swaine & Moore prioritize candidates with detailed resumes that reflect their professional experiences and leadership skills. By effectively utilizing these resume and interview strategies, you can enhance your chances of securing a fulfilling role in your legal career comeback.

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Considering Contractual and Temporary Positions

Reentry doesn't necessarily mean full-time employment right away. Many firms offer contract or temporary positions that could be a stepping stone for senior attorney employment. This allows for a smooth transition, skill update, and network expansion. Additionally, such positions offer the flexibility to explore different practice areas or industries, and they can often lead to permanent roles. They can also provide the opportunity to get your foot in the door at prestigious firms or work on high-profile cases, helping you to rebuild your professional reputation and expand your professional network. Kirkland & Ellis, for example, provides flexible work arrangements, making it an appealing choice for career restart for lawyers. By remaining open to various employment arrangements, you can broaden your job search and increase your chances of finding a position that aligns with your career goals.

Leverage Professional Guidance for Career Comeback

Career coaches or mentors specializing in the legal field can be invaluable for navigating the job market as a senior attorney. They can provide tailored advice, assist in strategizing your job search, and help plan your legal profession comeback. Their expertise and experience can guide resume and cover letter writing, interview preparation, and negotiation tactics. Additionally, they can offer invaluable emotional support, helping you to overcome any fears or uncertainties about returning to the profession. Moreover, mentors within the legal industry can provide insights into the specific challenges and opportunities you may face when returning to the law. Baker McKenzie, a multinational law firm, underscores the importance of guidance with its global mentoring program. By leveraging professional guidance, you can confidently and easily expedite your transition back into the legal field.

Resilience and Open-Mindedness: Key for Legal Career Comeback

Reentering the legal field requires patience, resilience, and open-mindedness. As a senior attorney, you may face challenges in your career transition, such as adapting to new technologies, understanding emerging areas of law, or handling generational differences in the workplace. However, adopting a positive attitude, adjusting to new norms, and being willing to learn can help you overcome these challenges.

Resilience is a key attribute that can help you navigate setbacks, deal with job rejections, and keep going despite difficulties. This strength often comes with experience, and you have a wealth of it as a senior attorney. Use your resilience to your advantage, and remember that every setback is an opportunity for a comeback.

Open-mindedness is another crucial trait for a successful career transition. It can involve being open to new ways of working, such as remote work or flexible hours, embracing new technologies in legal practice, or even considering new areas of law in high demand.

Creating a support network of colleagues, mentors, and peers can also help maintain resilience and foster open-mindedness. It can provide you with a sense of community, offer valuable insights, and motivate you during your job search.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, known for its resilient and adaptable work culture, inspire senior attorneys planning a career restart. With resilience, open-mindedness, and the right strategies, your journey back to the legal profession can be both rewarding and fulfilling.


The journey of reentering the legal field as a senior attorney is a strategic process requiring thoughtful planning and effort. With an understanding of the current legal landscape, effective networking strategies, a well-crafted resume, a readiness to explore alternative job types, professional guidance, resilience, and an open mind, you can turn your legal career comeback into a fulfilling new chapter in your professional journey. With this guide, your journey of reentering law after retirement or a career break can be smooth and successful.