ACC Foundation Partners with OnRamp Fellowship to Offer Corporate Law Department 'Returnships' for Women Lawyers

Amazon, Bank of Montreal, and Microsoft Corporate Law Departments Among First 'OnRamp In-house' Participants

Posted: May 25, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 25, 2016) –– The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Foundation, which supports the mission of ACC, a global legal association representing more than 40,000 in-house counsel in 85 countries, today announces its partnership with OnRamp Fellowship, the hallmark project of Diversity Lab, to create "OnRamp In-House," a re-entry program for women lawyers returning to the workforce after an extended hiatus.

A joint project between the ACC Foundation Women in the House (WITH) initiative and the OnRamp Fellowship, OnRamp In-House will facilitate one-year, paid fellowships in corporate law departments. Amazon, Bank of Montreal (BMO), and Microsoft are among the first corporate law departments to have signed on.

"The ACC Foundation supports legal departments' efforts to increase diversity, and we are thrilled to partner with the OnRamp Fellowship to expand this innovative program," said Veta T. Richardson, president of the ACC Foundation and president & CEO of ACC. "OnRamp In-House presents the opportunity for corporate law departments to become directly involved in repairing the 'leaky pipeline' caused when high-performing women lawyers exit the legal profession."

The ACC Foundation, in collaboration with Diversity Lab, will formally launch OnRamp In-House at its Global Women in Law event on June 21 at the Delegates Dining Room of the United Nations (U.N.) in New York. Also at the event, ACC will honor three women leaders. Gloria Santona, executive vice president, GC and secretary, McDonald's Corporation, is among the honorees. Sunny Hostin, senior legal correspondent and analyst, ABC News, will moderate the evening's program addressing how Santona and others broke through traditional barriers to become leaders and role models.

That evening, the ACC Foundation and Diversity Lab will recognize the inaugural class of corporate law departments participating in OnRamp In-House. Women with at least three years of legal experience who have taken a hiatus of two or more years are eligible to apply. Once hired, the Fellows will receive individualized career counseling and training in negotiations, project management, and other skills.

"OnRamp is unique because we facilitate an extensive matching process to pair experienced, highly-motivated female lawyers with challenging and rewarding work environments seeking top legal talent," said Caren Ulrich Stacy, founder of Diversity Lab and OnRamp Fellowship. "Legal departments receive access to talented lawyers and are able to concretely support diversity and innovation in the corporate sector. Meanwhile, the Fellows – many of whom have opted out of the legal field for a period of time to raise children – are provided with an opportunity to demonstrate their value in the marketplace while also broadening their experience, skills, and legal contacts. The goal of the program is to replenish the talent pipeline in law departments and law firms with experienced women lawyers who have the potential and the desire to advance into leadership roles."

The OnRamp Fellowship launched in 2014 with four U.S. law firms and has now grown to include 30 major law firms in the United States, Europe, and Australia, as well as Barclays' compliance department in the U.S. and London. Thus far, these participating organizations have hired 42 Fellows, and 86 percent of Fellows who have completed the year-long program have received full-time offers to return to practicing law. With OnRamp In-House, the program expands further in the U.S. and Canada to welcome the corporate law departments at Amazon, BMO, and Microsoft, as well as several additional law departments that will be announced at the June 21 U.N. event.

Corporate law departments interested in partnering with OnRamp In-House should contact Jennifer Chen, director, ACC Foundation, at j.chen@acc.com. For more information on OnRamp In-House, visit OnRampInHouse.com. For more information on Diversity Lab, visit www.diversitylab.com.

About the ACC Foundation: The ACC Foundation – a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization – supports the efforts of the Association of Corporate Counsel, serving the needs of the in-house bar through the dissemination of research and surveys, leadership and professional development opportunities, and support of diversity and pro-bono initiatives. The ACC Foundation partners with corporations, law firms, legal service providers and bar associations to assist in the furtherance of these goals. For more information, visit www.acc.com/foundation.

About Diversity Lab: Diversity Lab creates and experiments with new ways to close the gender gap and boost diversity in legal and financial services organizations at the leadership level. Data, behavioral science, and design-thinking are at the core of everything that the Lab does. In addition to facilitating the OnRamp Fellowship and OnRamp In-House programs – the largest global re-entry platforms matching experienced women returning to the workforce after a hiatus with organizations for one-year Fellowships – the Lab also runs Hackathons to encourage innovation in diversity and highlights what other individuals and organizations are doing to advance women through the TakeALittleAction.com website. The Lab shares its data, research, and other knowledge – in collaboration with 25 talent and diversity experts – through its blog, TalentThinkTank.com.

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