FAMILY LAW SUPERVISON
Having been a family lawyer for twenty-five years I know the toll family law practice can take on you as well as the deep satisfaction it can give.
Stresses can be cumulative, building up over a long career or can be brought on by the demands of one particular case. Lawyers just starting off in their careers can be surprised by the demands that working daily with heightened emotions and material that is distressing and distasteful can bring.
We are all human and it is not productive or healthy to work under such conditions without taking specific steps to safeguard our psychological wellbeing.
Research shows that reflective thinking supported by another person enables those in the helping professionals to stay well and ‘match fit’.. Having tried to battle through myself and then experienced the difference when I took the step of working collaboratively with a professional, I become passionate about making this option viable to more family lawyers. Ultimately, I left the judiciary to retrain to enable me to provide the same support to lawyers through the medium of Family Law Supervision.
What is Family Law supervision?
Family Law Supervision is a relationship and ongoing conversation about your case load activity, clients and experience of work.
It is a personalised form of continual personal development (CPD) that is aimed at supporting you to work effectively and ethically, to enhance your ability to think reflectively about your work and to process and offload the stress and toxic material inherent to family law. One function is to boost the psychological capacity of lawyers who spend their days dealing with the raw emotions of others yet in their formal training get very little psychological training.
Supervision is also about exploring how a supervisee can develop in their career. Conversations may address issues such as what professional developments needs they have and how the supervisor can help them develop skills and consider new ways of working. They can look at the systems in which the supervisee is working (such as the individual firm/chambers, the courts they attend and the wider legal system) and how that impacts on their work and how they can impact the system.
However, it is also about the supervised themselves as a person. Conversations may look at the impact of the work on the supervisee in terms of stress, vicarious trauma, burnout or comparison fatigue. They may focus on relationships at work, on individuals habits and mindsets such as perfectionism, procrastination, imposter syndrome or on practicalities such as boundary setting, self-care, and energy management. Sometimes the conversations focus on the way a client’s personal life are impacting work and vice versa.
The content and intention depends on the needs of the client and sometimes that is simply about needing a space to think, express oneself and to truly be heard without being judged or criticised.
What it isn't.
It is not about monitoring, regulation, management or assessment. It is not linked to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Isn't there a better name for it then?
I sometimes refer to it as ‘professional support meetings’ – the term preferred by the Australian Judiciary when they introduced sessions of this nature for their Judges. One therapist I know chose the term ‘lawyer support’. However, the concept of supervision arises from the fact that the other helping professionals who work closely with other people’s problems, traumas and emotions – psychologists. social workers, psychotherapists, coaches and so forth – all use the term supervision. Indeed in those professions supervision is either mandatory or strongly recommended as a part of good practice. They often struggle to see how family lawyers do their jobs without it! I draw on the same models of supervision practice and theory and so I have retained that commonly used term.
What is the benefit of Family Law Supervision?
I have a free ebook available with 4 case studies that shows you exactly how supervision may benefit you and your staff. In summary, the content of sessions are entirely led by your changing needs and can be
How does it work and what does it cost?
Supervision is suitable for all levels of practitioners, employed and self- employed. It can be paid for by an employer or by the individual.
Supervision works best when a relationship is built up over time and I therefore price my supervision in renewable packages of multiple sessions. You may wish to come to supervision to cope with a particularly difficult time or to have a regular habit of using supervision for self-care. I consider the frequency and timing of sessions with each individual to provide the service they require. I am able to provide a limited number of early evening sessions. I will also take one off sessions for cases of emergency.
If you are interested in supervision for a number of your staff please contact me to discuss a bespoke package which may include both individual and group sessions.
I charge £150 per hour. I am not registered for VAT. For trainees and pupils paying themselves I offer a reduced rate of £110 per hour. As supervision relates to your work it is a tax deductible expense. sessions can be for 60 minutes or 90 minutes.
Supervisees have full access to me in between sessions for short conversations in the event that they need to discuss an urgent matter. If a matter requires extra discussion a next session can be brought forward if required.
Considering working with me?
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Have questions? Read my Blog to get a feel for what I do. Or just send me an email and I’ll reply as soon as I can.
Existing client? Book an appointment with me now.