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Law Society to pilot peer-support network for solicitors
Michael and Enid Balint

02 Feb 2021 / Law Society Print

Law Society's peer-support network for solicitors

The Law Society’s Professional Wellbeing Project is piloting a new solicitor-led peer support network and is inviting practice principals from across the country to apply.

Funded by the Law Society Finuas Skillnet, with the support of Skillnet Ireland, the peer-to-peer support network will operate using the Balint method.

The Balint method is commonly used among peer groups who work closely with clients, including medical trainees and social workers.

The Balint name comes from Michael and Enid Balint, renowned psychoanalysts who met in 1949 and worked together in the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.

Together, they developed the Balint Group method to help GPs reach a better understanding of the emotional content of the doctor-patient relationship.

Benefits

Director General Ken Murphy, said: “Peer networks are an invaluable resource and can provide a huge return on time investment for members by way of improved personal resilience, wellbeing and better stress management.”

“The Law Society’s pilot peer-support network will operate using the Balint method, which offers three simple objectives,” he added. 

“The first aim is to provide a safe space to talk about the interpersonal and relationship aspects of working with clients. Secondly, it encourages members to appreciate the vulnerability and different perspectives of their clients.”

“Finally, the Balint method requires members to stop and reflect on their work, and the clients they work with,” he said.

“The meetings will facilitate an environment to develop a deeper understanding of a member’s own feelings on the work they do, as well as an understanding of their clients’ feelings.

Having this understanding will make professional relationships easier to manage.”

Monthly meetings

“The Balint group comprises eight to 12 solicitors who can meet monthly in a neutral setting. Due to current restrictions in place, these meetings can be facilitated online, which means practice principals from across the country can participate,” Ken Murphy explained.

“While the Law Society will offer guidance and assistance in the early operational stages of each group, it will have no role in the group discussion. This is to ensure free discussion amongst the members in each group.”

Apply today

Practice principals who are interested in participating in the pilot peer-support network can register their interest by emailing:

“As part of the ongoing Professional Wellbeing Project, the Law Society will continue to deliver supports and aim to contribute to the improved wellbeing and resilience of our members in an effective, modern and evolving way,” said Ken Murphy.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland