As practice groups “age,” the enthusiasm of its members often declines. This can be reversed with a clear sense of awareness of the occurrence and a focused attention for solutions.
The mission and goals of the group must be thoroughly and specifically articulated. Begin with a simple question. “What do we want?” Is it increased referral sources, opportunities for additional education? Is it workable strategies for dealing with hard to handle cases, lawyers, and clients? Or is it all of these and more, including a sense of connection with other collaborative professionals? Whatever the focus, it is imperative that all members of the Practice Group agree and consent to the stated mission and goals, including new members to be admitted in the future. At the same time, founding participants must remain open to fresh ideas and approaches that new members bring to the collaborative table.
Practice Groups are volunteer organizations. They require nurturing, creativity, commitment of the members and fresh leadership periodically to keep them on point. Sustained cheerleading by one or more members, to keep the group thriving, is necessary. Further, a Practice Group must remember its purpose, the intrinsic value of helping professionals provide clients a significant voice in one of the most challenging events that can occur in a lifetime. A spirit of trust and collaboration among the Practice Group members is fundamental. With all this in mind…
Top Ten Ways to Keep Your Practice Group Kicking
- Cultivate personal relationships and connections within the group; get to know and understand your members.
- Sponsor a retreat at least once a year with a noted speaker, presenter or program, sometimes out of town, which generates a sense of focus on the reason for your affiliation.
- Ensure regular meetings with member-presented programs and encourage lively discussions.
- Host continuing legal education events with recognized presenters for your group and other invited guests or groups, with CLE credit, if available.
- Require membership in Collaborative Divorce Texas and IACP as a commitment to the collaborative process.
- Maintain membership levels and admit new members to sustain optimal sizes, with members at all levels of practice. One of the best ways to encourage Collaborative Law is to mentor the younger generation.
- Social and holiday events matter: have fun together and get to know spouses or significant others of the group members—those significant others have a stake in this, too.
- Recognize and avoid leadership burnout. This can be a significant impediment when others are not involved.
- Rotate and share leadership and committee assignments.
- Remember to have fun as you make a difference in the practice of Family Law. Your practice group can be a source of affirmation as each of us continues our goal of furthering this process.
As Collaborative Law Groups grow, the practice will prosper, positively affecting families, communities, and quality of lives in the process.