The ‘Law Office Backyard Retreat’ Report

Backyard Retreat

After much planning, and at least one eyeball fixed at all times on weather reports foreshadowing thunder, lightning, rain (and lions tigers and bears, oh my!) our Wise Law Office Backyard Retreat finally enjoyed its inaugural debut last Sunday.

I expect to have several SlawTips posts in the weeks ahead on the actual topics we discussed and the action plan that continues to emerge.

For today, I’m going to focus on the agenda, which is reproduced below.


11:00am – 11:15am – Introduction and objectives for the day (Garry)

11:15am – 11:30am – Review key insights from pre-meetings (Sandra)

11:30am – 12:30pm – Firm mission:  Defining our promise to clients and our promise to ourselves

12:30pm – 1:30pm  Lunch

1:30pm – 2:30pm – The business of law is the hardest part of law  – Garry

2:30pm – 2:45pm – Starting out as Lawyers: What we didn’t know before we started and what we’ve learned so far – Associate Lawyers

2:45pm – 3:00pm – Legal assisting/clerking: Challenges and Opportunities in a small firm (Assistants/Law Clerk)

3:00 – 3:30 Group discussion on efficiencies including:

  • retainer replenishment procedures
  • delegating in a more specific manner
  • how to handle  referrals
  • holding bi-weekly meetings for a period of 15 minutes on Mondays
  • protocols regarding our authority to communicate with clients and OC
  • ways to improve through continuing education, CPD

3:15pm – 3:30pm – Marketing and advertising

  • creative ways to market the firm at the front end including: use of social media, use of networking, blog posts, updated website

3:30pm – 4:30pm – Action plan (Garry and Sandra)

4:30pm – 4:45pm – Recap and next steps (Garry and Sandra)

As you will note, we covered quite a bit of territory. Everyone in the firm had an opportunity to present on at least one topic, and I think it probably added to the day that we were able to hear from each of our lawyers and staff members.

Sandra Bekhor, a consultant who works with law firms on practice development, marketing and branding (and who is my significant other) joined us for the day. She had gotten the ball rolling earlier in the week by conducting pre-meetings with everyone in our office to learn their perspectives on our firm identity, strengths, opportunities and challenges.

Her report at the beginning of the day recapped the views she heard, and that helped set the tone for the day. We were gratified to see that, collectively, we were all pretty much on the same page. That makes planning – and working together – a whole lot easier.

We didn’t make it through the entire agenda, and have agreed to do our remaining topics in later sessions next week.

All in all, it was a very successful day. It was a good thing, too, that I had an overstock of hoodies and sweatshirts available, for use by all as it got a bit chilly during the day.

And…. as far as Tips go, I can give you my 100% warranty on this – a small office retreat is a very good thing to do. It brings the group together outside the office, allows the time to talk about important issues that just can’t be covered during the ordinary work day, and gives everyone a chance to get to know each other (and their boss’s cooking ) a little bit better.

 – Garry J. Wise, Toronto (@wiselaw on Twitter)

Start the discussion!

Leave a Reply

(Your email address will not be published or distributed)