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After 17 Years as a Stay-at-Home Mom & Contract Lawyer, Amy Beckett Lands a New Job

Posted Apr 2, 2010 5:55 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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After she began having children in 1992, Amy Beckett wanted to stay at home to take care of them and, fortunately, her husband earned enough that she was able to do so.

A 1982 graduate of New York University School of Law, she had completed a judicial clerkship and had experience working in two law firms and as a Chicago city government attorney. But when she began looking for a good opportunity to return to a challenging legal career in 1999, after the family returned from a several-year stint in Australia, she found the job search daunting, reports the Washington Post.

Despite her obvious qualifications, a competitive job market, her lack of recent law firm experience and, Beckett thinks, a preference for younger employees, made the job search very difficult in their new home of Washington, D.C. As someone who likes to keep busy, she filled her time with volunteer activities and work as a contract lawyer. But she wanted more, and in 2006, after her husband lost his job, she began looking for a new legal career with renewed determination, the newspaper recounts.

Now in her early 50s, Beckett enrolled in an American University program for lawyers re-entering the legal job market and began interviewing for jobs. Despite the interview anxiety and self-confidence issues she revealed to the Post reporter and in career counseling sessions at the AU program, those who interviewed her were impressed with her confidence, her social skills and the thoughtful, well-informed questions she asked about the positions she sought.

"Someone who doesn't have insightful questions for me about our firm and what working here will be like doesn't show the depth of interest we're looking for," partner Joe Kaplan of Passman & Kaplan told the Post after Beckett's interview at the employment law firm. She also had the advantage of related experience, both in a former law firm job and during her more recent contract work.

This interview went well, Beckett thought, and on her way home she began mulling over the changes she would need to make in her daily routine to work there successfully. Within two days, the firm called to offer her the job, and Beckett kept her cool. She asked for time to think about the compensation package overnight, grinning widely as she spoke to the firm on the phone.

"I can do this," she thought to herself as she next dialed her husband, who was out of town, to give him the good news, before calling the firm back to accept the next morning. "This is my entree to the working world."

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