On September 7, 2021, Danielle Foley was quoted in American Lawyer on adapting during the COVID-19 pandemic to organize a successful law firm retreat that is both engaging and productive.
According to the article, retreats have been a go-to vehicle for reinforcing firm culture, which in today’s environment means either being fully virtual or utilizing a hybrid approach. Over the past year, firms have found ways to thoughtfully craft and execute virtual meetings that can be more efficient, can reduce lost billable time, cost a fraction of the overall expense, can create targeted interpersonal connections, and can be launch pads for action.
Venable shared with American Lawyer how the firm leaned into the virtual world at the its most recent retreat. Last fall, after canceling its in-person partner retreat, the firm quickly pivoted to the virtual. Venable took the opportunity to create a full Retreat Week, with forward-looking sessions for partners, counsel, associates, and all business professionals. Throughout the week there was substantive programming on the pandemic and its impact moving forward; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and client service post-COVID-19. There were also numerous social events aimed at supporting intra-firm relationship building: a week-long virtual 5K race, several days that started off with virtual coffee klatsches, and evenings that ended with social activities where small local businesses were tapped to offer virtual wine and whiskey tastings, a family-friendly Japanese-style mochi ice cream tasting, and an interactive cooking experience.
Ms. Foley, a co-chair of the firm’s Retreat Week committee, shared her observations: “We hit our goals of providing the right amount of virtual programming and social activities. Attendance exceeded our expectations, and our colleagues gave Retreat Week top marks in our post-event survey.”
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