Four tips for finding a legal mentor
As a new associate or articling student, finding a mentor can be a top priority to get your legal career started on the right foot. Generally, we are told to seek out a high-powered leader who will take you under their wing and show you everything you need to know, but this is not always a realistic scenario.
The pressure to find a mentor in law, and in life, can feel, at times, near impossible when you are in the earliest stages of your law career. For this to become more attainable, you can seek creative ways to find a legal mentor that is a right fit for you.
The definition of a mentor is “an experienced and trusted adviser”. This mentor-mentee relationship doesn’t necessarily have to be a face-to-face interaction – in today’s world, there are now many ways to develop this relationship. A mentor can be a professional that you follow and admire, a site or social media page that gives you legal career guidance and workplace tips, books, or podcasts. There are many forms this type of relationship can take.
Here are some helpful ideas changing the way we define a legal mentor:
- Look for leaders in your area – Is there a leader in the legal industry or business community whose career path you admire? Reach out to them to grab a coffee or take 15 minutes of their time for a research interview to gain insights you are looking for. Start an email exchange with professionals in your area of expertise to not only gain connections but to gain a virtual mentor in an efficient way.
- Volunteer – Align with a legal non-profit organization, charity or cause you are passionate about to meet new people and leaders in your community. Professionals who are developing their career while volunteering might be willing to have a mentor relationship. Plus, an easy way to bond with others is to find a common ground with them such as a worthy cause.
- Expand your reach – Explore other locations, especially if you are not living in a central city. Reach out to companies and friends via LinkedIn or email to start a connection to ask advice. You would be surprised who responds and how most people are willing to help.
- Look online – A mentor does not always have be a physical person. Many professionals find advice and guidance through blogs, podcasts, or social media. This is a great way to stay up on trends in business in a global sense, keep motivated and inspired in a free and timely way. Find a podcast that you can listen to on your way to work that provides life and career advice. One of my favorite podcasts for life and work is The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes.