As lawyers, we’re always charging toward deadlines, hearing dates, trial settings, or simply solving a client’s problem. Our time is not our own. It seems that we are always in demand. Clients, partners, staff, judges, other lawyers, family – they all want pieces of us, some time with us, or our attention. We charge from one appointment, hearing, Zoom, conference call, or meeting, to another. Charge, charge, charge!
But sometimes we need to recharge.
And sometimes we need to retreat.
There has been a large focus of late on lawyers’ wellness. We all acknowledge that we need to stop and catch our breath. That’s a stop and catch your breath, then resume the charge. What I’m talking about today is more than that.
I mean a retreat. A time to separate yourself from the battle and take stock.
This can be a personal retreat. It doesn’t have to be expensive or at a resort but should be somewhere away from your day-to-day fray. It should be where you can easily get a new perspective. It should not be somewhere that you will feel compelled to spend all your time sightseeing or engaged in activities that are not relaxing. You will need to plan some time to ask yourself some questions. Where am I? What am I doing? What would I like to be doing (now, in 3 years, in 5 years, in 10 years)? Am I functioning efficiently? Healthily? What do I need to do differently? Where can I make some improvements in my quality of life? The quality of my work? This is a good time to create your own strategic plan. Set goals that you would like to accomplish. Make sure that they are measurable and attainable. It also helps to set deadlines for accomplishing them. Also, create some tasks that will help you accomplish each goal. What can I do to help me achieve this goal?
If you work at a firm or with a group of people, it might be helpful to have a firm retreat.
This is an excellent time for team building. Think about including activities that will help you get to know each other better. There, you can share individual goals, characteristics, and motivations to determine how to address and incorporate them into the firm’s goals and objectives. This is also a great time to tackle or update a firm strategic plan. It's also a terrific opportunity to ensure that the firm’s overall goals are clear, that everyone is rowing in the same direction, that there is accountability of the team members, that there are no unaddressed conflicts amongst team members, and that you celebrate good results. There should be time set aside for fun and for work. The same rules about where and how to apply to a firm retreat as an individual one.