Consumer Attorneys of San Diego Women’s Caucus Retreat:

Consumer Attorneys of San Diego Women’s Caucus Retreat:

The Women’s Caucus Retreat was put on by the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego as a networking event that would help women plaintiffs’ attorneys share ideas and learn about a work-life balance and other issues that are unique in our field, such as marketing, branding, and stress-relief. As part of the weekend-long event, which included lots of social time, seminars, and spa treatments; and which was modeled on the event held yearly by a group of Canadian women lawyers and judges. I introduced something new that was conceived by me to be an inspiration to other working women to embrace their inner child, practice creativity (which will serve them both in their practice of law and their lives), and create a bonding experience that would have a beautiful end result. It is more about the process than the product, although the mural produced by the women, at the end of about two and a half hours and after a group dinner, was beautiful to behold.

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I conceived this project out of my own experience with visual art, having recently become a professional artist in addition to a trial attorney. The project itself involved a breathing exercise to warm up the group and create distance from our usual left-brained life approach, by focusing on being present and sharing with the group three feelings dominating our thoughts at the moment. The participants then closed their eyes and were asked to visualize a color they could associate with their feelings. Each participant chose a partner who they didn’t know to work with on the project, which consisted of drawing each other’s outlines on brown drop-cloth paper which had been secured to the walls of a hotel ballroom, write the three feelings somewhere within the outline of themselves, and then proceed to paint over the words with the colors they were feeling. The only concrete instruction on the drawing was to position the form against the wall in such a way that all figures’ hands were touching. 6 colors of acrylic paint were used, along with wide brushes. Within 10 minutes of beginning to paint, the room of seasoned, sophisticated trial lawyers became a group of 8 year olds, laughing, dancing, and having a whole lot of fun. The exercise bonded the entire group of women, who couldn’t wait to see what project I would come up with for next year, when attendance will surely double.

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