Applicants

Who is eligible to participate?

Law Firm & Legal Department Applicants

Lawyers are eligible to apply who: (1) have at least three years of full-time, post-licensure legal experience at one or more mid-sized to large legal organizations; (2) have taken a hiatus from the practice of law for at least two years or have left the legal profession as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic; and (3) have an active license to practice law in the U.S.

Law firm applicants must be licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction where they plan to apply for a Fellowship. Legal department applicants can be licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction unless the posting indicates otherwise.

This re-entry program is for lawyers who are currently unemployed as well as those who are underemployed and working in temporary/contract jobs or in roles outside of the legal profession due to the barriers faced when attempting to re-enter after a hiatus.

Please note: Since one goal of the Fellowship is to increase the number of returning lawyers in leadership roles, applicants should have a strong interest in working for and advancing within a law firm or legal department.

Which organizations are participating in the Fellowship?

The following organizations are currently recruiting for OnRamp Fellows. To learn more about their open roles, please click here. Please continue to check back as law firms and legal departments continue to join our OnRamp 200 initiative.

Participating Law Firms & Legal Departments (as of October/November 2021)

Akerman
Amazon
American Express
Anheuser Busch InBev
Bloomberg L.P.
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Clifford Chance
Clyde & Co
Drew Eckl & Farnham
Eversheds Sutherland
Faegre Drinker Biddle
Farella Braun + Martel
Fenwick
Gap, Inc.
Goodwin
Haynes Boone
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Holland & Hart
Hueston Hennigan
Jackson Walker
Loeb & Loeb
Mayer Brown
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Microsoft
Morrison & Foerster
Nixon Peabody
Norton Rose Fulbright
Orrick
Perkins Coie LLP
Reed Smith
Robinson + Cole
Salesforce
Sidley
Skadden
Squire Patton Boggs
Stoel Rives
Thompson Hine
Vinson & Elkins

Please note:  Applications should not be submitted directly to the participating organizations. Applications are only accepted via the Fellowship Director through our website.

What is the length of a typical Fellowship position?

The law firm and legal department Fellowship positions are one year.

Which locations and departments are currently accepting applications?

Please view our Opportunities page to see our latest Fellowship positions. Positions are updated regularly so please check back to see the latest opportunities!

Current positions are located in cities across the U.S., including: Atlanta; Boise; Boston; Chicago; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Dallas; Los Angeles; New York; Portland; Salt Lake City; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; Silicon Valley; St. Louis; and Washington, D.C.

Positions are available in a wide variety of areas, often too numerous to list, but generally fall within the broader categories of corporate/transactional, litigation, bankruptcy, IP, compliance, real estate, and regulatory work.

To learn more about the current open roles, including locations and areas of practice, please click here.

What are the application requirements?

All Fellowship applicants are rigorously screened to assess their current experience, skill set, and desire to return to and advance in the legal profession. As part of the screening process, each applicant is expected to:

  1. Submit an application by clicking on the “Apply Now” button at the bottom of the page.
  2. Complete a set of online skills, personality, and values assessments, which are similar to the hiring and development tools used in corporate environments. (The cost of the assessments, paid by the applicant, is $175).
  3. Take a writing assessment developed by leading legal writing authority Ross Guberman.
  4. Participate in a behavioral interview conducted by a hiring expert.

Please note:The skills and writing assessments are an essential component of the application process. They provide us (and the applicants) with in-depth information about the applicants’ skills, so we can better understand their strengths. After completing the assessments, applicants receive a comprehensive multi-page report with their results as well as developmental tips to assist in their career development efforts.

Once the initial interview process is complete, a “Screening Scorecard” with the outcomes of the assessments and other application details is sent to the participating organizations that have openings in which the applicant has indicated an interest. After reviewing the applications, the organizations’ leaders decide who they want to interview and, ultimately, who will receive a Fellowship offer.

Please note, there is no guarantee of an offer or employment at any of the participating organizations.

To learn more about the current open roles or to apply, please click here.

Is there a fee to apply?

Yes. Applicants must pay a $175 fee, which covers the costs of a series of online skills, motivation, values, and writing assessments, which are part of the application process. After the applicant completes an online application and eligibility is verified by the Fellowship Directors, the $175 fee is paid directly to the assessment vendors so that the applicant can begin the assessments. The assessment results provide in-depth information about the applicants’ skills, so we can better understand their strengths. After completing the assessments, applicants receive a comprehensive multi-page report with their results as well as developmental tips to assist in their long-term career development efforts.

Are the Fellows paid?

Yes. In exchange for an annual stipend ($110,000 – $205,000, depending on the size of the organization) and benefits, which are paid by the organization, the Fellow works full time on complex projects and receives training, coaching, and ongoing feedback from the Fellowship and a designated advisor in their organization.

What types of work and development opportunities are provided to the Fellows?

Projects range from independent research to direct client interface throughout the program. Although there are no set guidelines regarding the types of projects to which the Fellow can be assigned, there is a requirement that the projects support skill development in the areas that are necessary for advancement in the organization, such as business acumen and decision-making.

To further benefit their career advancement, Fellows receive external support from experts in the legal field, including:

  • Monthly “Cohort Meetings” with other Fellows to share experiences and learn from each other.
  • Training by experts in negotiations, leadership, oral advocacy, project management, and business development.
  • Counseling from experienced career coaches who work one-on-one with the Fellows throughout the year to assist with their skill development and to prepare them for salary negotiations with future employers.

Who monitors the Fellows’ progress during the Fellowship?

To ensure a successful Fellowship experience, the organization, the Fellow, and the Fellowship Director are expected to share responsibility for the program as outlined below.

The organization will: (1) designate an advisor in the Fellow’s practice area to serve as the main contact for work allocation and feedback, including providing the Fellow with three developmental check-ins/performance reviews during the year; and (2) provide the Fellow with a stipend and access to any internal training or career development activities during the program.

The Fellow will: (1) monitor their own workload and track their progress towards gaining the success traits needed to add value to the organization and its clients; and (2) check in regularly with their advisor and any other team members to obtain feedback on their work and skill development.

The Fellowship Director will: (1) check in at least quarterly with the Fellow and the advisor to obtain feedback on the Fellow’s performance and potential advancement possibilities; and (2) ensure that the Fellow has access to training resources, an experienced career counselor, and other external opportunities to develop skills and contacts.

Are part-time flexible, or remote Fellowship options available?

Fellowship positions are generally full time, but part-time positions are occasionally posted. Remote/work-from-home or “hybrid” opportunities are also often available through the OnRamp Fellowship. These options will be noted in the job postings on the Opportunities page.

There are also a number of excellent part-time, flextime, and contract positions available through organizations such as Flex by Fenwick, Axiom, and PrioriLegal.com.

What are the anticipated outcomes of the Fellowship?

Ideally, Fellows who do excellent work will conclude the Fellowship with a current professional reference that can be leveraged to pursue their next endeavors. Additionally, if a relevant position is available, the organization can offer a longer-term role.

The end result of the Fellowship is a high performer who returns to the profession with upgraded skills and experience, additional contacts, an excellent reference, and a renewed ambition to serve clients. In turn, the legal profession as well as the individual organizations benefit by engaging with a previously untapped pool of high-performing talent and, hopefully, increased gender diversity in their mid- to senior-level leadership ranks.

How does the application process work?

There are four steps involved in the application, screening, and interview process.

Please note: Applications should not be submitted directly to the participating organizations. Applications are only accepted via the Fellowship Director.

1st Step: Complete the online application linked here. After the Fellowship Director has received your application and confirmed your eligibility, you will receive an email with links to the online personality, skills, values, and writing assessments. These assessments are typically used in corporate environments to hire and develop high-level, executive talent.

2nd Step: Eligible applicants are required to complete an online personality, skills, values, and writing assessment. In total, these online assessments usually take 90 to 120 minutes to complete. The total cost of the assessments is $175 U.S. dollars, and online payment is expected at the time of completion.

3rd Step: Once the assessments are complete, the Fellowship Director will schedule an online meeting or teleconference with each eligible applicant to discuss the results of the assessments and conduct an interview.

4th and Final Step: The applicants’ résumés, applications, and results of the assessments and interviews are sent to the participating organizations. The organizations’ leaders review the applicants’ information and select the candidates they want to interview for the Fellowship positions.

When are Fellowship offer decisions made?

OnRamp hiring takes place following a structured timeline for postings, interviews, and offer decisions. Please see the “Important Dates” sidebar on the right side of this page, which lists the application deadlines. To provide ample support and structure for OnRamp organizations and Fellows, start dates are typically aligned so Fellows start in small to midsize cohorts with other returners. The next cohort start date is early February 2022. Another cohort will likely start in Summer 2022. 

What happens if an applicant is not selected for a Fellowship position?

Applicants not chosen for a Fellowship after their initial application are welcome to reapply at any time. Anyone reapplying more than a year after the date of their initial application will need to meet with the Fellowship Director again to provide updated details.

New positions are posted regularly, so applicants are encouraged to check the Opportunities page often for additional opportunities.

 

Founding Law Firms

cooley_LLP

baker_botts

sidley_llp

hogan

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A Note from the Fellowship Founder

A lot of smart people in the legal profession are focusing on how to retain women in the workforce. And for good reason — the number of female lawyers in law firms is declining and there continues to be a deficit of women and diverse lawyers in the leadership ranks within law firms and legal departments. But what about the highly qualified women and other lawyers who took a hiatus from our profession and want to come back? Why are we not also focusing our attention on that untapped pool of talented professionals?

As a 30-year talent management veteran in law, I understand the challenges faced by women in these fast-paced, demanding environments. When a third-year female associate in a law firm, for example, takes a job hiatus for several years to raise children, there is invariably a question about where she will fit in the law firm’s compensation and advancement structure upon her return. Many practice group leaders have asked me that precise question when I have presented them with similar lateral candidates. The even tougher questions that typically follow include: “How can we be certain that she has the skills to step right back in? And do we know for sure that she really wants to come back?"

None of these questions can be answered easily and confidently at the outset. That is why Goldman Sachs, Sara Lee, Credit Suisse, and others have been facilitating “Returnships” (trademarked by Goldman Sachs) for years. These re-entry platforms allow the returning professionals and the organizations to engage in a "try-out" to determine fit, while also giving the professionals a chance to strengthen their skills.

With the help of more than 20 talent experts and many innovative organizations, we have built our own unique version of the "Returnship" model — with a robust selection process and a comprehensive training and coaching component — in the legal profession. The goal is to provide returning women and other lawyers with additional experience and skills while helping law firms and legal departments replenish their talent pipeline with diverse, high-performers who have a desire to return to and advance in these organizations.

More than 3 million women left the workforce in the last few years, with the pandemic exacerbating the exodus further. We want to make sure the lawyers who left have a structured path back into law.

Click on applicants or organizations to learn about the benefits, the program infrastructure, and how to apply or join the effort.

Thanks to the wonderful support of everyone involved since OnRamp's inception in 2014, including the four founding firms mentioned above, we've already matched more than 90 returning women — one-third of whom are lawyers of color — with leading law firms, legal departments, and financial services firms.