Putting Relaxation Back Into Firm Retreats: Loosening Up the Lawyer Mind

Janet Ellen Raasch, Putting Relaxation Back Into Firm Retreats: Loosening Up the Lawyer Mind, 32 Law Prac. (Jan.-Feb. 2006).
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Ms. Raasch writes that progressive law firms are making their annual retreats more engaging and productive through creative use of relaxation. Techniques have included a wide range, from talent shows and spas to paintball and horse whispering. Play and leisure can foster collaboration, strategic thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Patrick McKenna, explains that the most successful firm retreats have one or more of the following five principal goals: To develop a consensus among the firm members; to create a strategic plan; to conduct internal business; to provide skills training; and/or “to create an opportunity for lawyers to get to know one another in a relaxed setting.”

By shifting how lawyers think and increasing collaboration, firms benefit. Lawyers also reap benefits by allowing themselves to break away from their mental ruts and patterns.

These progressive retreats can include selecting locations where there is no cell phone service to allow the lawyers to be more present. This allows lawyers to learn how to relax in their own individual ways.

Successful retreats have inspirational presenters, team-building activities, and exercises to clear the mind such as group walks, yoga tennis, and rafting.

Emphasizing the emotional, spiritual, psychological, and social well-being of those who practice law provides lawyers the opportunity to de-stress. The end result is a relaxed lawyer who is a more productive member of a team, allowing him or her to stay focused and improve his or her analytical skills.