Which organizations are participating in the Fellowship?

The following 40+ leading law firms and legal departments are hiring returning lawyers through the OnRamp Fellowship.

Law Firms

  • Brown Rudnick
  • Eversheds Sutherland
  • Faegre Drinker
  • Farella Braun + Martel
  • Haynes Boone
  • Katten Muchin Rosenman
  • Morrison & Foerster
  • Nixon Peabody
  • Orrick
  • Rock Creek Energy Group
  • Sherman & Howard
  • Sidley
  • Silver Golub & Teitell
  • Squire Patton Boggs
  • Thompson Coburn
  • Vinson & Elkins

Legal Departments

  • Amazon
  • American Express
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments
  • Kroll Bond Rating Agency
  • Salesforce
  • Southern California Edison
  • Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Can other organizations participate?

Yes. We continue to add law firms and legal departments to the Fellowship. Interested organizations should contact Lisa Kirby at

What are the requirements to participate?

Organizations can use the Fellowship as a cost-effective and low-risk method for filling current openings for experienced professionals.

To get started, the participating legal organization provides Diversity Lab with position descriptions that outline the specialties, practice areas, and locations where they want to hire Fellows. Each firm or legal department signing on to OnRamp 200 is asked to commit to hiring at least one returner for a year-long fellowship as an OnRamp Fellow.

With the end goal of OnRamp 200 in mind—to increase the number of women in leadership roles—two supporting talent analyses are conducted at participating organizations to facilitate the success of the Fellowship.

(1)    An assessment of the organization’s culture is conducted through a brief scientific survey—only 10-15 minutes per participant—similar to the ones used in corporate environments to hire and develop executive talent. The organization’s assessment results are analyzed by office, group, and other demographics to better understand the cultural similarities and differences that exist within the organization. These results, along with the organizational success traits, are used to guide the interview and matching process.

(2)    High-performing lawyers at the organization are interviewed to gather information on their habits, practices, and behaviors. Typically called a Bright Spot Study in social science, this analysis allows the organization to better understand why attorneys in particular offices or groups are successful. The goal is to learn what contributes to their success so that those behaviors, skills, and approaches can be replicated in the Fellowship program and beyond at the organization.

Note: To cover the costs of the Fellowship matching process and talent analyses, there is a fee to participate in the Fellowship. Please contact Lisa Kirby at for more details.

How are applicants matched with organizations?

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

  1. Complete a set of online skills, personality, and values assessments, which are similar to the hiring and development tools used in corporate environments.
  2. Take a writing assessment developed by leading writing authority Ross Guberman.
  3. Participate in a behavioral interview conducted by a hiring expert.

Once the initial interview process is complete, a “Screening Scorecard” with the outcomes of the assessments and other application details are sent to the participating organizations. After reviewing the applications, the organizations are encouraged to personally interview their top applicants to identify the most qualified candidate who will receive a Fellowship offer. Note that the OnRamp Fellowship and OnRamp 200 do not require, are not intended to require, an employer to extend a preference based on gender or other protected demographic traits. Each organization is expected to administer the program consistent with applicable law, including Title VII, and should seek independent legal counsel if uncertain how to do soHiring will take place following a structured timeline for postings, interviews, and offer decisions. Cohorts of Fellows will start within several designated time frames throughout the year.

Note: The Fellows are employed and paid by the organization. It is the organization’s responsibility to perform any pre-hire and post-hire new employee protocols, such as background and conflicts checks.

Are the Fellows paid?

Yes. In exchange for an annual stipend (see ranges below) and benefits, which are paid by the organization, the Fellow works on complex projects and receives training, coaching, and ongoing feedback from the Fellowship and a designated advisor in their organization.

Full-time Fellows are paid a stipend of $115,000 – $225,000 for the year (depending upon the size of the organization), plus benefits.

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

The Fellow works on complex projects and receives ongoing feedback from a designated advisor. Projects range from independent research to direct client interaction throughout the one-year 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 the Fellows’ career advancement, they receive external support from contributors in the legal field, including:

  • Unlimited, free access to online continuing education courses through PLI and Hotshots.
  • 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 program?

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 department to serve as the main contact for work allocation and feedback, including providing the Fellow with a performance review twice during the year; and (2) provide the Fellow with a stipend and access to any internal training or career development activities during the one-year 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.

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

Founding Law Firms






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 115 returning women — one-third of whom are lawyers of color — with leading law firms, legal departments, and financial services firms.