American University Washington College of Law Announces Lawyer Re-entry Program

Career re-entry experts and personal coaches to help lawyers transition back to work after time away

Media Contact:
Franki Fitterer, Washington College of Law Media Relations, (202) 274-4279 or (cell) (202) 321-6183,


WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 3, 2008
– Re-starting a career after a break is a challenge in any industry. And for attorneys who take time off to focus on family or other pursuits, re-entering the work force can be especially daunting. 

To help lawyers successfully make this transition, American University Washington College of Law is launching a comprehensive, 6-day Lawyer Re-entry Program aimed at preparing lawyers to re-enter the profession by helping them explore career options, update their knowledge and job search skills, and learn how to reestablish their professional networks.

“Our Lawyer Re-entry Program will directly address the barriers lawyers face when re-entering the profession after an absence,” said Claudio Grossman, dean of American University Washington College of Law. “The program provides a gateway for lawyers to reclaim their legal careers and may be of particular interest to women lawyers—one-half of law school graduates—whose participation in the legal profession is vital.”

The program, which takes place on Fridays and Saturdays from Oct. 24 to Nov. 15, 2008, is one of only three law school-based programs of its kind in the country and the first in the DC-Metro region.  In addition to skills training, participants will work one-on-one with a professional coach to create a personal action plan for re-entry into the profession. The program is co-sponsored by the Women’s Bar Association of DC, the National Association of Women Lawyers, and The DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.

Experts Join WCL for Re-Entry Program

The program’s keynote speaker is Carol Fishman Cohen, author of the acclaimed career re-entry book Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work. Cohen, who relaunched her own career after 11 years out of full time workforce, is co-founder of iRelaunch, a company which provides career reentry programming, events, and information for employers, universities, organizations, and for mid-career professionals in all stages of career break. Marci Alboher, who writes the “Shifting Careers” column and blog for The New York Times, and Emma Gilbey Keller,  author of The Comeback, a book about several women’s paths back into the workforce, will also share their expertise with program participants.

“We have brought together an extraordinary team of experts to help prepare lawyers for the challenges they face as they cross that bridge back into the workplace,” said Linda Mercurio, executive director of the Lawyer Re-Entry Program. “The program is designed to help individuals truly determine the next direction for their careers and what steps they need to take to achieve their goals.”

Over the six day-long sessions, participants will take classes taught by Washington College of Law faculty and career re-entry experts with topics ranging from “Creating a Career Vision” to “How to Address Your Time Away.” A full list of classes is available at

Washington College of Law Founders’ Vision

American University Washington College of Law is an institution with a unique history.  It was founded more than 100 years ago by two pioneering women—Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma Gillett—at a time when women were generally excluded from the legal profession.  The founders fostered a tradition of providing opportunities for women and their extraordinary foresight and perseverance formed the foundation of Washington College of Law. 

“The Lawyer Re-Entry Program carries on our founders’ mission,” said Grossman. “As a testament to their ideals and tenacity we hope to continue to develop programs aimed at the success of women lawyers for years to come.”

For more information about the program, including a full list of class topics and registration and tuition information, please visit our web site or email