Re-Entry Program for Women Lawyers Expands

The OnRamp Fellowship, which connects women lawyers who have taken a hiatus for at least two years with jobs at law firms and companies, is expanding.

The network of law firms that participate in its fellowship program expanded by six to include Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Morrison & Foerster, Loeb & Loeb, Stoel Rives, Wiley Rein and Wilson Elser, OnRamp announced on Thursday.

Both Amazon’s legal department and the compliance division at financial services firm Barclays also joined.

“Everyone realizes we are in a war for talent, and we are fighting for the same talent,” said Caren Ulrich Stacy, founder and CEO of the Onramp Fellowship & Diversity Lab. “Some are looking for new and inventive ways to find people.”

OnRamp launched in January 2014 to provide women lawyers re-entering the profession with an opportunity to update their skills and contacts through a paid-for, one-year fellowship with a major law firm.

Four law firms — Sidley Austin, Cooley, Baker Botts and Hogan Lovells — initially piloted the program and 15 more law firms joined in offering OnRamp fellowships shortly thereafter.

With the recent additions, the participating network consists of 25 law firms, plus Amazon’s legal department and Barclays’ compliance group. The organizations have posted more than 150 fellowship positions in 33 locations across the country, including Boston, Chicago, Houston, Silicon Valley, New York and Washington, D.C.

The program also comes while large corporate law firms have suffered from a lack of gender imbalance, illustrated in this chart.

“The time to change that is now,” said Tim Taylor, chair of Stoel Rives’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee, in a statement.

Stacy said that OnRamp vets both fellowship applicants and law firm and company participants so that the program matches are suitable. So far, the participating law firms have hired 25 fellows, although another 10 are in the midst of the interview process.

For more information on the OnRamp fellowship, visit here.