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Dear Anna,

I’ve just returned from parental leave to find other people working on all my projects and matters. Should I fight to get them back or accept that the type of work I do now will be different?

Understanding the reasons why work you did in the past is now being done by others gives you the strategies to get it back – if you want to. Start by thinking about your career goals and motivation for work. If your return to work has gone well and you are ready to get back into your previous work, there are practical steps you can take.

If you are looking to take your career in a slightly different direction, then taking steps to secure your old work is going to send mixed messages and cause confusion. If you want it back, here is how to do it. 


Familiarise yourself with the matters and projects that were active while you were on leave, who worked on them in the team, and who the key stakeholders were. Read these documents with the same focus that you would if you were transferring back from an overseas assignment or had been working in a different team or practice group.

Clients need to feel that you have made the effort to update yourself and partners need to see you being proactive to come up to speed. The colleague who may have been quietly thinking they might remain working on that client will have also been put on notice that it’s time to hand back the keys.

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