Step Forward

Step Forward is an on-ramp program for women lawyers who are looking to re-enter the profession after extended time away. Over the course of one academic year, a group of candidates work through a modular curriculum that helps them transition to a new professional identity and seek work that is sustainable and compatible with the other demands in their lives.

The curriculum is flexible and self-directed, focusing on seven main modules:

  • Confidence and readiness
  • Self-assessment and goal setting
  • Technology and writing
  • Evaluation of the current legal marketplace
  • Networking
  • Job search strategies, online profiles and resumes
  • Personalized substantive projects

Previous candidates have found work at law firms, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, the Bluhm Legal Clinic, the ACLU, and mayoral and congressional campaigns. Much of the candidates’ work is flexible, part-time, or shared, in order to accommodate the many demands in their lives.

Apply to the Step Forward Program

Candidates must be licensed attorneys who have practiced law for at least two years. Application details for the next program will be announced. 

“I could not have found my new position in the Chicago Environmental Bureau of the Office of the Attorney General of Illinois without the support of the Step Forward program.

After practicing environmental law at Sidley and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, I spent over a decade and a half focused on raising my kids. Step Forward provided me with access to the tools to brush up on my skills such as Westlaw and LinkedIn Learning. The program also created the opportunity to work on a large-scale project for the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Environmental Advocacy Center which boosted my self-confidence. The Environmental Advocacy Center staff also connected me to others in the Chicago environmental law community which ultimately led to my finding employment.

Arlene Haas