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Herbert Smith Freehills is delighted to announce today that it will be working with OnRamp - an organisation which identifies experienced female lawyers who are seeking to return to private practice after an extended career break and matches them to existing legal vacancies within law firms.

The firm is the first international firm to launch the OnRamp Fellowship in both the UK and Australia, in a bid to gain greater access to untapped female lawyer talent pools in those countries, and further foster workplace diversity.

Announcing the initiative, Herbert Smith Freehills’ Regional Managing Partner, Asia and Australia, Sue Gilchrist, said that the OnRamp Fellowship is also an additional way for the firm to think innovatively about how to identify high quality talent and future female leaders of the firm.

“Our firm is committed to fostering a high-performing, diverse and inclusive culture, because we know that diverse perspectives significantly boost our creativity, problem solving skills and our ability to innovate, which results in a more rewarding workplace for our people and better service for our clients.”

“The OnRamp Fellowship program provides greater choice, structured support, and on-the-job guidance to women as they resume their careers in what is a dynamic and sometimes challenging environment. I am proud that our firm continues to demonstrate our commitment to innovation and our focus on gender diversity through strategic partnerships like this one,” Ms Gilchrist went on to say.

OnRamp was launched in the US two years ago by respected legal industry talent expert, Caren Stacy, as the first re-entry program ever launched in the legal profession for women lawyers. It now has 30 participating law firms, and has also expanded into legal departments and financial services organisations.

Ian Cox, Herbert Smith Freehills’ Regional Managing Partner, UK/US and EMEA, said that the OnRamp Fellowship program specifically targets women who have been out of the workforce for an extended period and therefore will be a complementary resourcing model to those the firm already utilises.

He went on to say, “Through this innovative and collaborative approach, female lawyers are carefully assessed and selected to undertake a one-year fellowship, during which they receive on-the-job training, support and experience to reignite their legal careers. It’s a mutually effective arrangement that benefits program participants and the law firms they are placed within.”

“We look forward to welcoming our first fellows across our practice groups and offices in Australia and the UK later this year.”

If you're interested in discussing our recruitment efforts in this field, please contact [email protected] for London enquiries or [email protected] for Australia.

Key contacts

Ian Cox photo

Ian Cox

Executive Partner, Practices, London

Ian Cox
Sue Gilchrist photo

Sue Gilchrist

Partner and Head of Intellectual Property, Australia, Sydney

Sue Gilchrist

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Claire Watts

Claire Watts, Communications Manager


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Arriarne Kemp-Bishop

Arriarne Kemp-Bishop, Head of External Communications