Opting Back In

Are you an attorney who took time off from your legal career to care for your family?

Are you now ready to re-enter your legal - or a related - career?

Do you read about new law graduates unable to find a job and wonder how you'll ever find a job for yourself in this market?

Are you wondering how to re-connect with a network you've let slide?

Are you concerned that your skills are outdated?

For many attorneys, getting a first job right out of law school was easy. Recruiters were there on campus. But they never engaged in a regular job search. Are you facing this for the first time?

Are you wanting to work less than full time and concerned about how realistic this is?

And if it is, do you know how to address this with a prospective employer?

Has it been hard for you to even find the time to search because your family relies on you?

Do you wonder how your family will adjust to your return to the workforce?

Are you ready to "on ramp"? That is, are you an attorney who is ready to return to legal practice after leaving law for a year or more to care for your family? The Lawyers Life Coach LLC Opting Back In Program is designed to assist attorneys like you to return to your career. Since its inception, more than 100 attorneys have used the program to find satisfying work both within and outside of traditional law practice.
In order to make the program available to attorneys globally, we offer virtual telephone coaching groups. Participants from diverse locations call into a single teleconference bridge line at a regular day and time, twice per month, to receive professional coaching to craft and implement their return-to-work plans.
This is an ongoing group. We now have a few open spaces. As participants graduate, others are invited in. (We've often had a long waiting list.) You continue for as long as you want to participate. If you're planning on taking a summer vacation, you simply skip those sessions. (But please let us know in advance.)
The program provides coaching and support to:
  • Clarify your career and work/life aspirations
  • Re-build or expand your network
  • Develop effective networking skills
  • Explain your hiatus from the paid workforce
  • Increase your comfort in discussing your work history
  • Write/update your resume
  • Prepare for interviews
  • Work with your family to facilitate a smooth transition

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The first and third Monday of every month from

11:30 - 1:00 pm Eastern (NY) time
10:30 - 12:00 PM Central (Chicago) time
9:30  - 11:00 pm Mountain (Denver) time
8:30  - 10:00 pm Pacific (Los Angeles) time

Who Should Participate?

Attorneys who have been away from law practice to care for their families for a year or more and want to return to practice.




How Will You Benefit?

  • Coaching from Ellen Ostrow, Founding Principal and Jeannine Rupp, an expert in alternative work schedules.Happy people
  • You'll be able to take what now seems like a daunting process and break it down into manageable pieces.
  • You will connect with other attorneys facing the same challenges.
  • You will get support, encouragement and opportunities to practice from the group.
  • Group members will learn from one another's experiences.
  • The group will jump-start your network expansion.

Special 'Bonus' Calls Will Feature

  • Employers giving advice about what they're looking for
  • Attorneys who've already successfully opted back in telling you what has worked for them
  • Career counselors providing tips on resumes and interviews
  • Headhunters supplying information about the job market
  • Experts on part-time work offering advice on how to negotiate schedules

Participant Feedback and Successes


Two Thumbs up"After a lackluster and wholly unsuccessful year of job-searching on my own while taking care of a toddler, joining Opting Back In was a life-changing decision. All the isolation I had felt as a job-seeker and stay-at-home mom dissipated as soon as I got on the call. I was able to finally move beyond my feelings of aloneness and explore what it was I really wanted out of my next job, by enduring ruthless questioning by the coaches, being held accountable for taking concrete steps towards my goals, and bearing witness to the experiences of my fellow participants. I got cheered on every time I did something I feared (making follow-up calls! contacting someone I had lost touch with! believing I could get hired at a position I hadn't held before!). I soon learned to recognize when my fear served only to hold me back and rationalize my inertia or my limited thinking. Blowing that negative belief system apart opened me up to a new experience of myself as an attorney and a professional (and a mom!), and got me two job offers -- including one at my dream job as a court administrator in the federal court in San Francisco. The skills I learned in the group continue to benefit me as I network in my new workplace to build relationships and get things done. I am so happy to be part of this community and I look forward to giving back as an alum."

Liz N.


"I love my job.  I am the Managing Attorney of the Health, Advocacy and Law Project at the Community Legal Aid in Akron OH.  I would not have gotten to my dream job without the incredible guidance and support of Ellen Ostrow.  In September 2007 I started working with Ellen.  I "graduated" in 2010.  Over the course of four years I worked on several small projects, earned a Masters in Public Health as a distance learning student, volunteered and worked part time at Legal Aid, and successfully took the Ohio Bar Exam.  Along the way I also resisted the urge to accept opportunities that did not further my objectives.  Through all these twists and turns, Ellen helped me stay focused on my goals.  I worked both individually with Ellen, as well as with the Opting Back In Group.  The support provided by Ellen and the group made all the difference.  Being accountable for taking steps in between phone calls provided the motivation to move forward.  In group, we shared our successes and our stressors and helped each other consider options to overcome barriers.  Ellen was generous with her time and contacts, modeling the strengths of a good network by sharing hers with us.  When someone asks me whether it is worth the time and effort to work with Ellen, I remind her that it is an essential investment in herself."

Marie C.



"I recently secured a contract litigation position with a solo practitioner here in Mill Valley!  This is exactly what I was looking for and it is thanks to the group that I figured out that while I do want to work I simply can't do something full-time at this time.  I have also utilized my networking to secure two other possible opportunities later on down the road.  I feel so grateful to the Opting In Program and to the group members for pushing me onward."

Caroline J.

"I just wanted to share that our call this Thursday will be my last.  I will be working with "XYZ" Company (literally my dream company) on a trial basis until December, when they decide whether they want to employ me full-time.

While ideally they should have offered me the position I interviewed for to begin with, I understand the need to want to see whether I really fit.

In any case, I am over the moon, and intend to give them work-product that makes them LOVE me.  I feel very lucky that this opportunity materialized after awhile with our group, because I can see how my confidence and professional presentation savvy have evolved after each successive call, the mentoring of Ellen and Linda, and the guidance of the highly experienced practitioners in our group.

For all of this wonderful support, learning, and encouragement I thank you all and wish you the best."

Vanessa V.

"I have been offered a part-time in-house counsel position for the next three to four months. I will be taking over for their general counsel who is going on maternity leave.  I have learned so much from you both and I hope that this job will be my launching pad for future work.  Not only will it help to plug the gap in my resume, but I will be learning new skills as well.

Once again, thank you for everything that you have taught me, done for me and for helping me get here.  I admire you both greatly."

Karen B.

"Thank you so much for developing this program. It has been tremendously helpful and interesting. The rhythm of the bi-weekly calls is very effective for nudging people into action! And the people on the calls have provided such support to each other, which makes for such a great experience overall."

Terri O.

"I was able to obtain a part-time externship position at the California Court of Appeal, and of course, I am thrilled.

I very much enjoyed participating in the Opting Back In group and I am certain that were it not for the group I wouldn't be in the position I am now.  The group taught me to rely on my contacts, kept me motivated, and gave me confidence.

I want to thank you for setting up this program and for giving me the opportunity to participate in it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Sara S.

"I have good news for me...I received a great contract offer for one of the companies I have worked with to do their legal work on a contract basis...2/3 time.  I have enjoyed working with this group so much.  Now that I have accepted this opportunity I am going to focus on making this work for now.  I may be back in the future if it does not pan out, but it looks like a great opportunity for me and my family.

Thank you for everything and while I am excited to have this position come to me so soon, I am going to miss this group very much.  I accomplished much in such a short time due to the focus you provided and got involved and networked in ways I never would have before."

Sue M.

"I enjoyed my 3 months in the opting-in telephone group, and since I have now successfully opted-in (yeah!), I will be leaving the group.  The most helpful aspect of the group for me was the structure and support it provided for the job search process.  I also found the tactical and practical information and resources very useful.

I am very excited about returning to the practice of law after many years at home. I will be at "XYZ" Law Firm, practicing employment law with public entity clients  Thank you very much for the group and your support."

Cindy K.

"I am now working 3 days a week in a law office.  This is my 3rd week.  I haven't taken any other steps because I have decided to give this a try before I look into anything else.  I am helping an attorney get ready for trial.  Much of the work is paralegal work, but that is a perfect place to begin for me, given I have been out of the field for 10+ years.  I can choose what hours I work so that it doesn't conflict with my home schedule, the office is within 10 minutes from my house and I can pick the days I work.  So far, everything is going well."

Jennifer P.

In processing [yesterday's] call, I realized how much I had gotten from listening to everyone in the group.  At some point or another, I seem to have had almost all of their thoughts and feelings.  I also thought that you and Ellen directed the group well, and that your comments and suggestions were very helpful and supportive.  Thank you!

Opt-in has been fantastic for me-really held me accountable and was exactly the push and inspiration I needed."

Tori L.

"I have enjoyed working with this group so much... I accomplished much in such a short time due to the focus you provided and got involved and networked in ways I never would have before."

Sue M.

"The most helpful aspect of the group for me was the structure and support it provided for the job search process.  I also found the tactical and practical information and resources very useful."

Cynthia C.

"I wanted to let you know that I will be opting out of the Opting Back In Program because...I GOT A JOB!!

I am so excited about it, and I credit your program with pushing me in all the right ways to get it done. At our last conference call, you and Ellen told me to talk to more people about the estate planning field of law--to not give up on my dream because I had been told how difficult it would be to break into the field. I took that to heart, and called an attorney I know whom I had been meaning to contact for a long time. He is an old family friend, and has a very successful estate planning practice here in Orange County. He agreed to meet with me for an informational interview--I went to his offices the next night.

I asked him for advice about whether I should attend more school, or how I could get started--he said I just need a mentor, and offered to hire me, train me and someday make me a partner. (I about fell off my chair!) I will be working for him starting next week--four days a week, four hours a day, which is perfect for my schedule with my kids. I will be on law clerk status until the end of the year (when presumably I will be trained enough to be of some worth to him) and in January I will be put on the letterhead and earn a salary through the firm.

It really is a dream come true--I have been (as you know) pretty discouraged about the possibilities of being a 'real' lawyer. I am so very glad that I got on board with you and Ellen--I wanted to quit many times when I felt sub-par to the other attorneys in the group, and when I didn't do my homework! I am so glad I hung in there--thank you for all the great advice, and showing me where and how to dig in.

Please give my regards to the rest of the group--maybe they will feel encouraged by my news--if I can do it, anyone can!  Thank you for everything."

Jenny W.

Call Schedule

90-minute call the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, from 12:30 to 2:00 pm Eastern time.


$165/month for two 90-minute groups/month and occasional bonus calls.  A 2-week notice is required should you choose to leave the group.

If you have questions, please contact Ellen.


Are you readyIf you're ready to sign up, for the registration form, click here.

Please fax your registration form to Ellen's assistant, Sunny Bain, at 661-244-4904.

Sunny can be reached at 661-253-1478 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  should you have any problems sending your registration form to her.


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Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., CMC

910 17th Street N.W.
Suite 306
Washington, D.C. 20006
Phone: 202-595-3108
Fax: 301-587-4327