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Family lawyers “losing connection” with colleagues since lockdown

Harvey: No more water-cooler conversations

Family law specialist are feeling more isolated and less connected to their peers and colleagues within the legal community since the UK went into lockdown, a survey of Resolution members has found.

The news comes in the wake of the government announcing new coronavirus restrictions – including a return to work from home where possible – as fears of a renewed lockdown intensify.

Two-thirds (65%) of the 425 members responding said they felt less connected to the legal community since lockdown – 22% disagreed.

Members also raised concerns for younger colleagues who no longer have the ability to observe and converse with senior practitioners and learn informally from them.

Nearly half (46%) said their professional development had suffered during lockdown – although 37% said it had not – with members giving examples of missed training opportunities as events were cancelled as a result of the pandemic, including Resolution’s annual conference.

Resolution chair Juliet Harvey said: “The course of the pandemic over the past six months has led us all to rethink and re-evaluate what the future holds. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been thinking about the long-term impact Covid-19 will have on how we as professionals build our skills and maintain and expand our networks.

“It’s worrying, albeit not entirely surprising, that family practitioners are feeling isolated from their peers and colleagues at a time when that sense of connection, purpose and shared values is more important than ever.”

Resolution is holding an online conference on the future of family practice [1] next month to address these issues, with a focus on networking and professional development.

Ms Harvey said: “With many offices still closed and more members working remotely, we’ve lost the ability to have those all-important informal water-cooler conversations that help to connect our profession together and solidify our shared purpose.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Resolution has made over 160 hours of online training free to access for members.