The Club Retreat 2019

By Jonathon Naef, Lawyer

It has been just over two weeks since the BFL team returned from Clarissa Rayward’s Happy Lawyer Happy Life Club Retreat in Kingscliff, and we are still on a high after spending time with our wonderful colleagues from around Australia and across the ditch.

The Retreat is not like any other law conference. The aim of the conference was not to focus on the substance of the law, but on the business of law and, more importantly, the people who work within it. Over the two days, there were 18 amazing speakers who presented on a range of topics from the best ways to optimise your business, strategies for pursuing your ideas and goals, how to design your workspace to generate inspiration, and being authentic.

From these presentations, some of our key takeaways were:

  1. Your breath is your voice, and it is something that you give – think about where your voice comes from, how you’re positioned when you’re speaking, who is your audience and what is their mood/agenda. To understand this and to speak with intention and conviction, is empowering and will lead to successful conversations.
  2. Focus on your “superpower” – too often we try and be good at everything, whether it be at work or in our personal lives, and many people do a hell of a job at it. But sometimes we need to sit back and revisit our “superpower”, what it is that we are really good at. It may be a technical skill or a soft skill – it can really be anything, but once we start focusing on our strengths and on our “superpower”, that’s when we start to thrive.
  3. Surround yourself with amazing people – whether it be family, friends, or colleagues, it is important that you surround yourself with the people who support you, not only those who are there to celebrate your successes with you, but also those who aren’t afraid to tell you how it is, call you on your mistakes, and (sometimes) pull you back to reality. Connection is important, and we all need it to be happy.
  4. Watch out for those squirrels – we all have so many ideas running around in our heads, or if you’re like us, scrawled across butcher’s paper, and it is easy to get distracted by those ideas which may not be right (for now). Sometimes it is great to get distracted and carried away, but it is important to be able to manage those ideas, properly think them through and, if you find they are worthwhile, plan and prioritise.
  5. I am enough – this was the overarching theme of the weekend, and an important one. We are often told that we need to strive to “be better”, to want to earn more money or have the newest shiny thing because that’s what’s expected. But, it is important to remember that you don’t need more or to be more if you’re happy where you are/with what you’ve got, to be just the way you are is enough.

Attending a conference and being surrounded by like-minded, collaborative and friendly professionals, working in, and to change, an industry that is traditional, hierarchical and competitive, was refreshing. The Retreat motivated us to ensure the growth of our business and our own personal growth, values and ethos, are in alignment. We can’t wait for the Retreat 2020.

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Finalist - Corporate Kindness Awards

Issued by Corporate Kindness Awards · Winners announced April 2022

Winner - Sole Practitioner of the Year

Issued by Australian Law Awards · Dec 2021

Winner – Partner of the Year (Family Law)

Issued by Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards · Nov 2021

Winner - Service Business Award

Issued by Ausmumpreneur Awards · Sep 2021

Winner - Service Business of the Year

Issued by Roar Awards · Sep 2021

Winner - Innovation Award for Legal Education and Change Initiatives

Issued by APAC Insider · Aug 2021

Winner - Top Boutique Law Firm 2021

Issued by Australasian Lawyers · Aug 2021

Winner- Boutique Law Firm of the Year

Issued by APAC Insider · Aug 2021

Finalist - Boutique Law Firm of the Year

Issued by Australian Law Awards · Jun 2021

Finalist - Innovator of the Year Award (Company)

Issued by Australian Law Awards · Jun 2021

Finalist - Innovator of the Year Award (Individual)

Issued by Australian Law Awards · Jun 2021

Finalist – 30 Under 30 Award (Family Law)

Issued by Lawyers Weekly 30 under 30 Awards · Apr 2021

Winner - Rising Stars in Family Law

Issued by Global Corp Media · Mar 2021

Finalist -Rising Star Ausmumpreneur of the Year

Issued by Ausmumpreneur Awards · 2021

Finalist -Social Change Hero

Issued by Roar Awards · 2021

Winner - Boutique Law Firm of the Year

Issued by Australian Law Awards · Sep 2020

Winner - Family Law Firm of the Year

Issued by Corporate Live Wire · Sep 2020

Winner - Service Business Award

Issued by Ausmumpreneurs · Sep 2020

Winner -Emerging Mumpreneur

Issued by Ausmumpreneur · Sep 2020

Finalist - Sole Practitioner of the Year

Issued by Australian Law Awards · Aug 2020

Winner - Rising Stars of Family Law

Issued by APEC Insider · Jul 2020

Winner – Family Law Firm of the Year (Australia)

Issued by International Advisory Experts (IAG) 2020

Outside of Balance, I am an adjunct lecturer and assessor with the College of Law in the ACT. In this role, I lecture and mentor future lawyers in the ACT and surrounding regions, as they complete their Practical Legal Training (which is the course you are required to complete to be able to practice as a lawyer).

When I am not lawyering I love to travel and have already made it to 18 countries across Europe and Asia. My personal goal is to travel to every continent, including Antarctica. My favourite destination so far is Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland, where I skydived over the Swiss Alps!

My innovative approach to law has seen me, and Balance Family Law recognised with over 23 national and international awards and accolades since 2020 including the prestigious Lawyer’s Weekly Family Law Partner of the Year 2021, Australian Law Awards Sole Practitioner of the Year 2021, Australian Law Awards Boutique Law Firm of the Year 2020 and the Gold Ausmumpreneur Award for a Service Business in 2020 and 2021. I have also received consecutive Chief Minister’s Awards for Excellence for my work with families and children on the frontline during my time working in child protection. In 2022 and 2023, I was invited to be a Judge at the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards, and Partner of the Year Awards, and the National Ausmumpreneur Awards.

As one of Australia’s most respected family lawyers and a gamechanger in the lawyer space, I look forward to working with you to navigate this challenging time in your life.