Member Blog – Marc Etherington, National YRes Committee Member, Resolution
When lockdown turned our working practices upside down earlier this year, I jumped on to zoom with my committee members to assess how we could best help our newer family practitioners during these challenging times. It was clear that skills development was on everyone’s minds. Fast forward a few months, and we’re now launching Skills Month for YRes Resolution members.
The impact of remote working
With remote working now so commonplace, we heard concerns that more junior practitioners would be missing out on that informal but critical professional development- observing and learning from senior colleagues, the sharing of best practice, connecting with peers. This was reiterated in Resolution’s recent sector poll, where two thirds said they were feeling isolated from their peers in the legal community since lockdown, and nearly half said their professional development had been affected.
Businesses are facing real challenges across the board, and family law practices are no different. Lockdown created so many competing priorities and new technical landscapes to navigate. We wanted to make sure those crucial skills that we know make the difference between a good and outstanding family practitioner stayed on the training agenda.
Essential skills that make the difference
Skills like communicating effectively and empathetically with clients and colleagues, being able to clearly articulate the benefits of dispute resolution, looking after your wellbeing and managing your time when the working environment looks very different. All these aspects came up during our committee discussions which fed into the programme for October Skills Month.
We had the opportunity to springboard from a great platform with the Future of Family Practice Online Conference taking place 14-16 October. Each morning, YRes members will get free, priority access to open learning sessions focusing on these essential skills and tailored to where they are in their career journeys. They’ve proven hugely popular, and we’ve worked really hard to make sure junior practitioners are being prioritised.
I’m also running a webinar that will be available during Skills Month on Cohabitation – First Meetings. We wanted to bring together practitioners of different experiences, from a Partner at a London law practice to two junior lawyers. We’ll be having a really open and honest discussion; talking through the mistakes we’ve made, sharing anecdotes and what we’ve learnt since. The kind of discussions people may well be missing out on, with home working much more prevalent.
We know we still have challenging, uncertain times ahead, but we can navigate them together. Making sure our junior practitioners are offered ongoing development is a great way to strengthen the family justice sector as a whole, and that can only be of greater benefit to the wider public.
Keep an eye out on our Learn from Home page for new content throughout Skills Month