FLiP FACULTY APPROVED FAMILY LAW SUPERVISOR - BRIDGET GARROOD
I am a family law consultant solicitor and a trained collaborative family lawyer. I have chaired Devon Resolution, having practiced in the South West for 30 years , including 20 years as a partner. I have felt keenly the cyclical pressures of working alongside clients facing the trauma of family breakdown, and endeavouring to broker solutions. It has been tough meeting the challenges posed by clients, colleagues and “the other side”; my duties to the court and to the over-riding objectives of the FPR and CPR; an overwhelm of professional and regulatory standards. It is only for the past 3 years however that I have experienced these challenges with regular and expert support of individual (non-legal/non-judgemental/non-target focussed/reflective/psychological) supervision on a regular basis**.
This is not the same as the familiar conversations we hold with colleagues between workshops at conferences, or in the office over the water cooler, comparing our battle scars as we swap our family law “war stories” over a coffee. Enjoyable and cathartic though such conversations undoubtedly may be, there is a wholly different quality to the conversations we can hold in family law supervision. Family Law Supervision has challenged and supported me time and again to catch glimpses of invaluable insight. Learning to notice and to trust these, even as a work situation is unfolding, is sometimes adding a surprising new enjoyment to my work.
As your family law supervisor I will aim to support you to notice and reflect, so that when the next tricky situation arises, you may be better at interrupting a potentially unhelpful pattern/way of working, and perhaps to consider a different way. Conversely, you may become better at noticing when and what you are doing well, and less inclined to feel as so many family lawyers do, “not good enough”.
As part of my work supporting lawyers as all stages of their career journeys, I also mentor student groups and individuals, from aspiring lawyer, to fellow solicitors and barristers, to circuit judge.
I am a proud member of The Law Society LGBTQ+ Lawyers Committee, actively acquiring experience, which I bring to my supervision practise, by listening to and actively supporting lawyers who are less well represented in our profession.
(** Such supervision is described as “the gold standard” for psychological support for lawyers exposed to traumatic material in the course of their work. (in Vicarious Trauma in the Legal Profession published in 2021 by Legal Action Group)).