Guide to getting involved in YRes

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Course: Getting involved in YRes
Book: Guide to getting involved in YRes
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Date: Monday, 15 April 2024, 4:28 AM

1. Introduction

National YRes launch 2015It’s a really exciting time to be part of YRes. After our national launch at the Resolution Conference in 2015, YRes has gone from strength to strength. We have formed a National YRes Committee, and are seeing more and more engagement from YRes members across the country, both with their local committees and also at a national level.

This information has been prepared by the National YRes Committee, with the aim of helping regional YRes committees to ensure that they are running effectively and have the best possible resources and guidance available to them.

All members of the National YRes Committee are involved in YRes regionally and sit on committees around the country.

Over the last couple of years, we have gathered information from numerous regional YRes committees, from well-established groups to those who are just being formed, and from large and small regions alike, to understand what it is that makes a YRes group successful.

What's included in this guide?

You will find the following information included in this pack:

  1. Introduction
  2. What is YRes?
    • National YRes
    • National Resolution structure
    • Regional Resolution structure
  3. Setting up a new regional YRes group
  4. Running your YRes committee
  5. Finances
  6. Engaging with your regional members
  7. Regional committees and YRes
  8. Event planning
    • Funding and sponsorship
  9. Key contacts and resources

2. What is YRes?

Naomi House Hampshire YResYRes is Resolution’s network of family law professionals at the start of their careers. YRes is aimed at meeting the needs of Resolution members and junior practitioners with up to 10 years PQE

As a Resolution member first and foremost, YRes members are committed to promoting the Resolution Code of Practice and adopting a constructive approach to family law issues. Each YRes group is integrated with their Resolution Regional Committee. Working together, both groups benefit from shared knowledge, strength and resources.

YRes exists to ensure that there is an opportunity for Resolution members who are starting out on their career path to share their experiences, concerns and ideas, ask questions, and develop skills and knowledge in a friendly and supportive environment.

Regional YRes groups also provide a wide range of seminars, training and social events throughout the year.

National YRes

Following the national launch of YRes at National Conference in Brighton in 2015, a permanent National YRes Committee was formed. The committee exists to ensure that the voice of YRes is at the heart of all discussions and decisions made across the whole of Resolution and to provide support to our junior members and regional committees.

National YRes Chair Sarah Green sits on the National Committee and represents YRes’s interests at the highest level.

Resolution's regional structure

Across the country, Resolution is represented by regional committees, who run events and promote Resolution across their regions. There are 42 regional committees. Each regional committee represents its region nationally through the Regional Liaison Committee to ensure a joined-up approach between the work that takes place regionally and what is being achieved nationally.

Many regions also have their own YRes group which is linked to their regional committee.

3. Setting up a new regional YRes group

West Mids YresOver half of the Resolution regions now have a YRes group and new groups are being set up all the time.

If there isn't a YRes group in your region and you are interested in setting one up, this section provides you with some guidance and tips about how to get started.

Starting up your own group or working with a YRes group that needs a boost is a great opportunity to really make YRes something relevant to the junior practitioners in your region.

You might already have people in mind to form a committee, or you may have no idea where to start!

There’s a bit of work to be done to get set up and we hope that this guidance will help you do that as quickly as possible.

Registering your interest

The first step is to register your interest with Resolution – let Sue Gunn (Director of Membership Support) know that you are looking to set up a new YRes group. She may know of others in your region that have also registered their interest and can put you in touch.

Recruiting committee members

Talk to your Resolution Regional Committee about setting up a YRes group. Do the people sitting on the Resolution Regional Committee have junior colleagues who may be interested in getting involved? Why not get their contact details and arrange a get together?

Remember that YRes comes under the umbrella of your Regional Committee. If you don’t have a Regional Committee but want to start one, contact Sue Gunn to discuss this further.

If you have to spread the net a bit wider, you can use the template letter in this guide. Find out who your local firms are and start sending letters and emails. Don’t forget that YRes isn’t just for full Resolution members but affiliates too. Many of the junior practitioners in your region may be paralegals or trainees as well as NQ’s and junior lawyers.

Depending on the size of region, we’d suggest that ideally you will want to start with 4/5 committee members. As the group grows, so will your need for a bigger committee.

Working with your Resolution regional committee

If you do have a regional committee, it is important that you work with them as much as possible. We have set out more detail about this below, but remember that your regional committee can provide you with a wealth of experience, support, contacts and information.

Where to start?

Once you have identified members in your region who are interested in creating a YRes committee, you should arrange to meet to discuss this further. Depending on the number of people interested and the size of your region, you may want to choose a venue convenient to as many attending as possible. This could be a local café or bar. You may also consider taking it in turns to host the meetings at your various offices. Many firms will allow you the use of your meeting rooms to hold a meeting (but check with your supervisor first).

Your meeting can take place at any time that is convenient to you and those interested, whether this is during the working day, early morning, lunchtime or evenings.

What to discuss

Your first meeting will be to introduce yourselves and to decide how you want your committee to progress and how you see YRes developing in your region.

You should decide who will take on different roles within the committee. As a guide, some roles are identified below. Remember that you may not need all of these roles, and you may decide to add roles as the committee grows. You may share the roles, or take on a couple of roles if you have a small committee, but you will likely find that there will be some crossover and that you will all help out with the different tasks at hand.

You may decide that introductions and assigning roles is enough for your first meeting, in which case the next step will be to simply arrange your next meeting, where you can start discussing ideas for your committee’s first event.

As your committee develops you will also find that you need to discuss other matters affecting your region, from updates fed through your regional committee and also nationally (whether from the National YRes Committee or national communications). You will discuss your training needs and perhaps organise educational events that are tailored to what your committee believes will be helpful to other junior practitioners in your area.

Your first event

All of the regional YRes groups hold regular events, both educational and social. If you are struggling for inspiration, perhaps contact another region to find out what events they have held which have been successful. Members of the National YRes Committee will also be more than happy to discuss event ideas with you.

There is no requirement for there to be a specific number of events, it will be up to your committee as to what is manageable in your area. Some areas are more active than others and this will depend upon the needs of the region, how active you main Regional Committee is, what other events are on offer to family practitioners in your region and of course the time that your committee can give to arranging events.

If you are able to plan ahead and agree to dates to aim for, assign and minute who will arrange what, your first event can easily be organised. A social, informal welcome drinks is always a good way to introduce yourselves and your committee to the local family law community and spread the word about YRes in your region.

Start-up costs and finances

It will be important to liaise with the Regional Committee’s Treasurer to establish how to best finance any initial events. The goal for regional YRes committees is not to generate huge profits at events, but to ensure that costs are covered and events are accessible to the YRes network. That being said, if any profits are generated, those funds will be accounted for separately to the main regional committee’s funds (even if they remain within the same physical bank account) and can be used to fund the cost of future events.

At the outset, the regional committee might agree to provide with YRes committee either with a ‘float’ or ‘loan’, or might give the committee some start up funds. You can discuss ideas with Sue Gunn at Resolution who may be able to help.

If you are hosting a launch event, local firms/chambers/accountants/IFAs/businesses might be prepared to sponsor or fund some of your costs and it’s a great way of launching your profile.

Your regional committee may also be able to help with finances.

Please also see the section on YRes Finances.

4. Running your regional YRes committee

East SussexNow that you have established a committee you will need to think about how you run the committee, including the assignment of roles and responsibilities to committee members and the frequency of meetings.

Committee roles

Each YRes committee will have their own roles and responsibilities, and this will be affected by the size of the committee and the needs in each specific area. However, we have set out some of the roles that are currently allocated in various regions, and a description of their responsibilities:

Role description
Chair - Leads the committee and responsible for directing the committee’s activities and ensuring goals and objectives of the committee are met, has the casting vote in decisions.
Vice Chair - Supports the Chair and has the final decision in the absence of the Chair.
Treasurer - Responsible for all finances including receiving and then paying any payments for events.
Secretary - Responsible for taking the minutes of each meeting and circulating in advance. Also responsible for sending diary invites out for each meeting and any events to all committee members.
YRes Recruitment Rep - Responsible for maintaining an up to date list of all YRes members including email address, firm and firm address. Also responsible for maintaining a list of attendees for each event.
Social Secretary - Responsible for organising socials (e.g. Christmas party drinks) throughout the year but will of course be supported by all committee members.
Marketing & Communications Officer - Responsible for producing leaflets, newsletters and marketing documents etc. for any events and then sending out to all members. This person will obviously need to work closely with the Membership Development Officer.
Social Media Officer - Responsible for all social media posts e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

If you are Chair, you may find that having other distinct roles within the committee makes it much easier for you to see who is doing what and who may need more support.

Some committees adopt a stringent rule about attendance at events and committee meetings to ensure that everyone is sharing the load. This is up to you and the running of your committee.

Meetings

On average groups meet once each month to plan ahead and ensure that things are running smoothly. Committees are not required to have a prescribed number of meetings and you may find that you don’t need to meet as frequently as once a month.

Your Secretary should take notes of the meetings and agree action points and ideally, these should be distributed to your regional Resolution committee as well, so that there is a cohesive plan for Resolution in your region.

Timings of meeting vary- it will depend on what you have to go through. Ten minutes can be enough for some meetings!

If you are a geographically large region, consider holding your meetings at different venues to accommodate everyone, or hold them by Facetime/Skype if needed. The important bit is to communicate regularly.

Agendas and minutes

It’s definitely worth preparing an agenda and sending this out to your committee with a copy of the last meeting minutes. If possible, get this out a week before your meeting, so that action points can be worked on prior to your meeting. A template agenda is included in this pack. The chair is usually responsible for setting the agenda.

Minutes should be taken at every meeting (usually by the secretary) and these should ideally be circulated within a couple of weeks following the meeting. Template minutes are included in this guide.

Suggested agenda items

We have found that having a standing agenda template that can be modified as required a useful tool to provide structure to your committee meetings and to ensure that all members are kept informed of updates and developments. Some examples of agenda items are:

  • Apologies for absence
  • Volunteer to take minutes of this meeting (if not ascribed to a particular committee member)
  • Minutes of last meeting - approval
  • Feedback from last event
  • Next event
    • Topic
    • Speaker
    • Venue
    • Date
    • Cost to members & non-members
    • Budget
    • Key committee member(s) responsible
  • Chair/Vice-Chair’s report
  • Treasurer’s report
  • Recruitment rep’s report
  • Social secretary’s report
  • Marketing officer’s report
  • Social media officer’s report
  • National Resolution/YRes updates
  • Date, time and location of next meeting
  • Any other business
Succession planning

There are no hard and fast rules about elections, but most of us have found that recruiting for new members and having an application process works. It avoids creating “cliques” within the committee and has helped us all expand the range (geographically, experiences and skills) of committee members.

There doesn’t have to be a formal application process, but it might help as a committee for you to agree on what you are looking for in a new committee member, and what role (if any) you are looking to fill.

Standing down from the committee should ideally be done at around the same time as your regional committee AGM so that all committees run together. Where this isn’t possible, it’s good practice to give as much notice as possible of your intention to stand down, so that the committee can plan to recruit.

If you are standing down, think about how else you might become involved in Resolution. There are numerous committees looking for YRes members and it is often a natural progression for a YRes committee member to move onto their regional committee as they become more senior.

5. Finances

Where a YRes group is formed within an existing region, it will be desirable for the main regional committee to understand, and reflect in their accounts, the financial results of their activities. This allows both the YRes and main regional committees to identify what funds are available to arrange and organise events, and afford any expenses incurred in so doing.

Some YRes committees like to undertake their activities through the existing regional bank account, and some like to use a separate bank account set up specifically for their committee. Either scenario is acceptable from an accounting point of view, as long as the accounts accurately reflect the position.

The Treasurer of the regional committee produces returns and accounts for monies received during the course of each year by Resolution in that region to assist the Finance Director review the totality of Resolution’s activities and financial arrangements across the organisation. It is helpful if the YRes Committee appoints a YRes Treasurer within their own Committee to account for the YRes activity each year which can then be provided to the Regional treasurer annually, or after each event, before the accounts need to be produced.

It is important that the YRes Treasurer keeps a full list for each event of all attendees. The list needs to incorporate reflection of the sums paid and also note the payee’s email addresses so that receipted invoices can more easily be provided after each event. [1]

More details can be found on dealing with the finances and accounts of your committee within the Resolution Regional Accounts Overview, available from the Finance Director at Head Office. It will also be important to liaise with the regional treasurer in your region to establish who they operate and then they need to produce their accounts documentation each year.

Some committees do have their own accounts, but it is preferable for you to have an account linked to your regional committee if you have one. It is the Treasurer of the regional committee who has to do returns and account for monies received, so update them as to how many people attend your events and keep a copy of the attendance list.[2]

6. Engaging with your members

Merseyside YResOnce you have set up your YRes group, you'll need some members to attend your events. One of the first things you can do to drum up interest and support is let local practitioners , and also students, know that you have started a group. We have a template letter[3], which you are free to amend which you can send out. However, you'll need first to decide who you are going to send it to.

Mailing list

To put together a mailing list you can contact Resolution who will have a list of all members in your region with fewer than 10 years PQE. Resolution will also ensure that an updated list is circulated to your chair regularly.

You can also research law firms and barristers' chambers in your geographical area and contact the head of department or head clerk to let them know you have set up a new YRes group, confirm what activities/events you will be running in the future and asking them to encourage their junior practitioners to become involved. Don’t forget to contact the relevant department of your Local Authority too as their maybe solicitors practising in public law children field who would be interested in joining your regional YRes group. Also be sure to find out whether their junior practitioners are Resolution members, and if not, encourage them to sign up.

Although not always easy, keeping your mailing list updated is a must. You may want to consider using a website based tool to help with this, such as Mailchimp.

You will need to decide whether you send your members your initial letter and events flyers in hard copy or via email. Different groups use different methods and you may initially like to try both to see what works best. Do bear in mind that if you are using hard copy, then you will need to think about how you are going to organise for the flyers to be sent out. Sometimes committee members combine a committee meeting with stuffing envelopes whereas other groups pay for a third party to do it on their behalf.

Email is cheaper and more time efficient, but do remember that hitting the delete key is all too easy so sometimes emails don't engage members as much as you might wish. Do also bear in mind limiting the number so there isn’t an overload. You could also nominate one of your committee to deal with any responses, or allocate depending on which committee position the enquiry relates to.

Newsletter

Newsletters are a great way of keeping in touch with members in between events and meetings and don't have to be long or time-consuming to put together. West Midlands region have a great example, which could help form a basis for your own region's newsletter. Victoria Sutton, Marketing Manager at Resolution, would be happy to review any newsletters before you send them out.

Things you could include in newsletters are: reviews/summaries of events you have hosted, advertising upcoming events, news from National YRes and your Regional YRes group, advertising Regional groups’ events, and anything else you think will be of interest to members.

Attendance at events

Do make sure that you go to events held by your Regional Committee or organised by Resolution nationally, as there are often lots of YRes eligible people there who don’t necessarily know about YRes. Often, junior practitioners will get sent to events on behalf of more senior members of their teams and so this is a great opportunity to spread the word about YRes in your region and nationally.

Social media

Many Resolution groups now have their own Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, micro-websites (available via the main Resolution website) and LinkedIn accounts, so do think about having one or more of these to help promote your group and your activities. Even just posting photos of events and Tweeting a few words can spark interest and get the word out about your group.

If you have more than one, link them together and it will make updating and posting event easier.

On Twitter, you can link with / follow Resolution (@resfamilylaw), YRes (@Yresnational), Resolution training (@ResFLTraining), other regional YRes groups and local law firms. You may even find members online who have been looking to get more involved with a more local committee.

Social media is also a great way to keep in touch with what other committees are doing. As a committee, we have got a lot of value from each other and have developed our committees and relationships as a result.

If in doubt, talk to Victoria Sutton, Marketing Manager at Resolution, who will be able to point you in the right direction.

As with any social media accounts, do think about access and passwords and keep these safe. If you move on from the committee, make sure that you have given any passwords you hold over to others in the committee so the sites can be accessed.

Attached to this guide is the YRes Guide to Social Media top tips / policy so do look at that for additional support.

Universities/LPC providers

Students can often be an overlooked source of YRes membership. Students can become Resolution members too for free! Some committees invite students to join the committee as members as ‘Student Reps’. It’s a great opportunity to talk about Resolution early on in their career and gives students the chance to start networking and thinking about family law in practice. It is also a huge boost for them and a great addition to their CVs.

YRes committees might consider hosting talks or events at or close to universities and GDL/LPC providers and advertise the events through the colleges and universities. It can be very helpful to create links with the senior lecturers or Head of Departments in these institutions as advertising from ‘within’ has been found to be the best way to promote and encourage attendance.

Regional committees are often keen to encourage these sorts of events and networks, and it might be an idea to contact them to discuss proposed plans and find out whether the regional Resolution committee might sponsor these events, or offer prizes to students for various successes.

It can be important to give consideration to the timing of the exams at the universities and LPC providers, but the lecturers and tutors can best advise in that regard.

Future family lawyers are the future of Resolution, so it is important to engage and encourage enthusiasm at the earliest stages in peoples’ careers so this sort of networking is not to be discouraged!

7. Regional committees and YRes

It is a good idea to have one YRes committee member present at every regional committee meeting and vice versa. This could be the same person, or you could rotate it, to share the opportunity.

It is also a good idea to share minutes of committee meetings with your regional committee so they know what activities and events you are running and both committees can ensure that you don't have event clashes. Ask them to do the same.

If you are unable to attend your regional committee meeting in person you can provide a written YRes update for your regional committee’s meeting agenda to help ensure they are in the loop about your activity. They might also be able to support some of your initiatives. If a representative from your regional committee is unable to attend your meeting ask them to provide a written update for your group.

You may also want to run joint events with your regional committee and attending their meetings is a great opportunity to discuss ideas.

Developing with Resolution

As an active Resolution member, you may get invited, or naturally progress onto your main regional committee. This does not mean that you cannot be involved with YRes too, but do give careful consideration to your time commitments.

If you move on to your regional committee, don’t forget to keep encouraging the YRes members to progress through the membership network.

8. Event planning

Charity eventThe world is your oyster as far as events go. Events can be split into two types - educational and social. It’s important to get a good balance of each depending on your region and what your local membership want.

Examples of events held by different YRes groups in the last year include:

  • Summer/Winter/Halloween/Springtime balls/drinks/parties. These can work very well as launch events to help get you started.
  • Quizzes
  • Seminars - tax/pensions/time management/stress management/mock hearings/Q&A sessions with Judges/enforcement traps and procedures/top tips for junior lawyers/talks to local students.

We’re sure you can think of other events which would work in your region.

You may want to consider events based around recent legal updates or cases, for example.

Alternatively, you could simply consider hosting an event aimed at providing networking opportunities for YRes members in your region.

Don’t feel that every event has to follow the same format. A mixture of more informal and formal events will help attract more attendees.

Do consider joining up with one or more nearby YRes groups so you can pool your resources together.

Also speak to your regional committee about whether you can run some joint events.

Venues

Think about where your event can be held. Firms and chambers are good at offering their space for free, though some may charge for refreshments, so do budget this into the cost of the event.

Funding and sponsorship

For some events, you may need some additional sponsorship or funding.

Cost of Events

There is no set price for events. Your committee will need to budget for each event, working out how much the event will cost to run (e.g. speaker costs, travel costs, food costs, venue hire), what sponsorship you have, and what deficit there will be, if any. Ticket prices can then be decided.

Sponsors

You may find approaching some of the organisations below helpful for funding. They may ask that their logo is on any literature or that you circulate literature or giveaways at the event. It’s courteous to thank any sponsors for their help at your event, so they’ll be more likely to offer again!

Remember that you are already volunteering for an organisation and you represent it, so if you are in doubt as to how far you can go with sponsorship, call Resolution and talk to one of the team.

Try:

  • Accountants
  • Financial advisers
  • Barristers’ chambers
  • Litigation lenders
  • Law firms
  • Your regional Resolution Committee
  • Mediators
  • Local businesses

Some sponsors may ask for the attendance list at the event. Unless your members have given their permission for their details to be released, you shouldn’t give their information out.

Charity

Hosting a charity event is another great way of raising the profile of YRes in your region, as well as contributing to a worthy cause.

You could consider having a charity of the year, to which profits (or a proportion of profits) from events could go. If so, think about whether you wish to support a national charity or a local charity, and whether you want to support a charity which has a link to family law (such as Relate, Reunite, local contact centres, etc.)

Alternatively, you may prefer to decide to support a variety of charities in your region with different events throughout the year.

When choosing which charity to support, make sure that you choose something whose aims and objectives are is in line with Resolution's. If you are unsure whether it is suitable to support a particular charity, please contact Resolution.

9. Key contacts and resources

We want to help ensure that running your local YRes committee is as easy as possible. Between the staff team and that National YRes Committee, we have a wealth of experience and there will always be someone who can help you with a question or specific issue you are experiencing.

If you would like to contact any of the Resolution's National YRes Committee their contact details are as follows:

    • Sarah Green – Sarah.E.Green@tltsolicitors.com – Bristol (Chair)
    • Joanna Blakelock - joannablakelock@kgwfamilylaw.com - Surrey
    • David Lister - david.lister@irwinmitchell.com - Sheffield
    • Joanne Radcliff - joanne.radcliff@brabners.com - Manchester
    • Louise Buttery - louise-buttery@birketts.co.uk - Chelmsford
    • Katie Chew - kc@raydensolicitors.co.uk - Guildford
    • Lucie French - lfrench@st-philips.com - Birmingham
    • Richard Handel - richard.handel@withersworldwide.com - London
    • Naomi Hayward - nfh@furleypage.co.uk - Kent
    • Sally Stanway - sallystanway@gmail.com - Liverpool

You can contact Resolution by emailing info@resolution.org.uk with any queries or by calling 01689 820272 to contact the Resolution staff team, who can put you in touch with the best person to handle your query.

Resources

There is a wealth of information available for YRes members. Please look out for regular ebulletins and updates in the online member’s area. You can also access the learn.resolution website for member resources such as training materials.

You can download templates for help contacting other YRes members in your region and organising meetings.