Family lawyers reveal isolation fears as second lockdown looms

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• Two thirds of family law practitioners say they feel less connected to their peers and half worry professional development is suffering as a result.

• Results of the poll conducted by Resolution, a leading family law association, are released as fears of a second national lockdown intensify.

• Resolution’s Future of Family Practice online conference aims to connect lawyers with their peers.

Family lawyers are feeling more isolated and less connected to their peers and colleagues within the legal community since the UK went into lockdown earlier this year, a new poll conducted by Resolution has found.

The news comes as new Coronavirus restrictions are announced and fears of a renewed lockdown intensify.

Two thirds (65%) of those responding said they felt less connected to the legal community since the UK went into lockdown. Members also raised concerns for younger colleagues who no longer have the ability to observe and converse with senior practitioners and learn informally from them.

Nearly half (46%) of those polled said their professional development had suffered during lockdown, with members giving examples of missed training opportunities as events were cancelled as a result of the pandemic – the 2020 National Resolution Conference being one of them.

The results come ahead of Resolution’s upcoming three-day conference, taking place entirely online, which focuses heavily on networking and professional development. The Future of Family Practice conference, 14 -16 October, is an opportunity for professionals to network and exchange ideas through facilitated café sessions, choose a range of workshops – covering critical skills – and daily plenaries with big picture thinking on the latest trends.

Resolution Chair Juliet Harvey said: “The course of the pandemic over the past six months has led us all to rethink and re-evaluate what the future holds. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been thinking about the long-term impact Covid-19 will have on how we as professionals build our skills and maintain and expand our networks.

“It’s worrying, albeit not entirely surprising, that family practitioners are feeling isolated from their peers and colleagues at a time when that sense of connection, purpose and shared values is more important than ever. We need to address this issue and it’s why our Future of Family Practice Online Conference is so important to anyone working in family justice.”

The Resolution Chair highlighted the work the organisation is doing to help professionals deal with a new way of working, adding:“With many offices still closed and more members working remotely, we’ve lost the ability to have those all-important informal water-cooler conversations that help to connect our profession together and solidify our shared purpose.

“In view of the significant reduction, or in many cases complete absence, of face-to-face meetings, this conference focuses heavily on networking and exchanging ideas – we’ve created a virtual ‘café’ to allow people to have those informal conversations they’d normally have over a coffee or a sandwich. We need to continue to bring professionals together as best we can after what has been – to put it mildly – a challenging year for us all. I can’t think of a more appropriate subject area for Resolution to tackle.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Resolution has made over 160 hours of online training free to access for members, worth more than £5,000 – this could explain why nearly two in five respondents felt their professional development had not suffered.

Find out more about the Future of Family Online Conference.