Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

3 Awesome Ideas for Your Firm Retreat

Looking for a theme for your next law firm retreat that’s unique, fun and might take your practice to the next level?

How about throwing a Fixathon, where everyone brings one idea for solving an office problem or improving an office process. The team uses its collective energy and creativity to tackle each idea in turn.

Or maybe a Skillshare Fest, wherein between substantive sessions, team members teach the group a special hobby or skill. It could be cooking, origami, tips for solving crossword puzzles, you name it.

Or you could always contact Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services and ask Camille Stell to facilitate your retreat. She will use her wealth of experience working with North Carolina lawyers to design a great program tailored to your firm.

3 Ideas for Your Firm Retreat

“Creativity and innovation happen when people break the script and make non-obvious connections,” say Stanford law professor Margaret Hagan and Stanford Design Lab director Kürşat Özenç in their book Rituals at Work. “Rituals can provide a structure for people to switch to a creative mind-set and push the boundaries of the ordinary. They can also help teams develop a culture of experimentation.”

Office retreats are a work ritual that can either be painful or productive. Here are some ideas for making yours the latter, courtesy of Hagan, Ozenc and Fast Company.

Idea #1: The Fixathon

“When an organization has been talking around a problem for a long time, a Fixathon is a ritual event to force people to focus on getting this problem solved,” say Ozenc and Hagan. “It takes the intensity of a hackathon – relentless work in a concentrated sprint – and directs it to a specific innovation that needs to happen.”

How it works: “People from across functions work together, and everyone is focused on the same task at once–to remove the usual barriers of logistic, space, and function that slow work down. The event is run strictly around time–to build pressure and dedication among everyone to get the problem solved.”

The point: The entire team brings its diverse talents and perspectives to bear on a single problem or innovation.

Sample topics: Improving the client intake procedure; addressing a recurring client complaint; sprucing up the reception area; doing more pro bono.

Tips: Publish an agenda in advance, so participants will hit the ground running when they arrive. If the group is large, break into teams of people who don’t normally work together. Use a timer to keep things on track, and a whiteboard to document results. Schedule breaks for exercise, play and food.

Idea #2: The SkillShare Fest

How it works: “Team members share their skills with each other in a festive environment. Everyone can teach the rest of their team how to cook a certain dish, build something, perform a dance, make a craft, or some other skill that they’ve developed. It’s structured like an ‘unconference’ where individuals can set the agenda by proposing sessions they’d like to offer, or those they’d like to attend.”

The point: To promote teamwork and camaraderie and to encourage people’s creative leadership. And to have fun!

Sample topics: Wide open. Anything from juggling to knitting to magic tricks. Team members will discover connections with each other they never knew they had, and they’ll get to showcase talents they don’t share at work.

Tips: Invite everyone to share a secret skill. Equal time for all, and gifts in appreciation at the end. Intersperse with substantive work topics as you see fit.

Idea #3: Use Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services

How it works: Contact Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services and let them help design your retreat.

The point: No need to do it all yourself. Bring in LMCS president and CEO Camille Stell, who has years of experience doing retreats, workshops and strategic planning sessions for lawyers and firms of all sizes.

Sample topics: Brainstorm with Camille. It could be anything from building the 21st-century law firm to generational communications.

Tips: Contact Camille as soon as possible in order to get your retreat on her schedule.




About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

Read More by Jay >

Related Posts