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Herbert Smith Freehills has been recognised for developing a ‘game changing’ programme designed to help ease parents back into the world of work after having children.

The firm has won the Training Innovation Award at the Legal Innovation Awards 2020.  Now in their sixth year the awards, run by – Legal Week, focus on precedent-setting projects and initiatives which demonstrate collaboration between lawyers and colleagues in other disciplines, including HR, marketing and IT.

Herbert Smith Freehills won the award for its Parental Leave Refresher Programme - developed following a discussion between a key client and Benedicte Perowne, a member of the firm’s Financial Services Regulatory team, about the challenges facing lawyers resuming careers after parental leave.

Created to update clients about major legal developments that have taken place while they have been away from the office, the structured programme has been created by Benedicte Perowne

(for Financial Services Regulatory), Ceri Morgan and Harry Edwards (for Banking Litigation) and Kate Meakin (for Corporate Crime and Investigations).  To date clients across the financial services sector have benefited from the programme and it has subsequently been delivered within Herbert Smith Freehills for colleagues returning from a period of parental leave.

In addition to its success at the Legal Innovation Awards 2020, the initiative has received positive client feedback. Participants have noted that ”it hit all the right notes by providing topical updates and insights on key areas of the law” and “gave me confidence that I wouldn’t be behind my colleagues.”

Commenting on the award win, Rupert Lewis, heading banking litigation at Herbert Smith Freehills, says: "The importance of supporting those returning to work after a period of absence cannot be underestimated but is sometimes  overlooked.  Having the opportunity to talk with another lawyer in a relaxed face-to-face setting, enables them to ask any questions they may not want to raise in their working environment and even share experiences about the difficulties of juggling childcare and a career. It's not always easy to make the transition but we hope this programme goes some way to help people feel they are valued and supported and we are delighted that our efforts  to help have been recognised."

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