By Anna Johansson • January 08, 2017•Issues, Mentoring and Networking
A strong mentor and solid networking skills are essential to the success of any new or inexperienced attorney. Due to the predominantly male environment found in many law practices, a strong professional network, and a knowledgeable mentor can mean the difference between success and failure for a young female attorney.
Countless issues can arise within the first year in the profession, and a competent mentor will provide sound guidance. Office politics, gender disparagement in the workplace, career planning, and another ethical issue that are bound to arise in this cut-throat profession. Take a look at a few tips that will set a path to success for women in law.
Understand the true meaning of networking.
Comprehending the true significance of the term, networking is vital. Networking is the process of building relationships. People help other people succeed in various ways. Solid networking skills can build a valuable support system that may make or break a career in law. A reliable network of professionals can also provide longevity in the profession.
Build a circle of support.
Spend time doing research. Find out what businesses and practices in the area that stand for similar principles. For example, Pembroke Pines Ford dealership honored the reverence of Women in STEM. Strong women in the field of science, technology, engineering, and math were presented with an award honoring their commitment to excellence in their chosen fields. Corporations and businesses who support women’s advocacy are ideal partners when building a career in law.
Find a well-suited mentor.
A mentor who works in the same practice can be helpful for several different reasons. He/she will have inside information and knowledge to pass down, and they will share personal experience navigating the workplace. A localized mentor will know the best ways to gain a promotion or progress in other ways in a given organization.
There are some disadvantages of choosing a mentor within the practice. It could pose a conflict of interest in a few different ways. If the mentor is a female, she might be somewhat protective of her position in the company. Her loyalty to the enterprise may also skew her perception of the organization and provide slightly biased information.
Understand the meaning of “Queen Bee Syndrome.”
It may be helpful to have a mentor of the opposite sex as well. “Queen Bee Syndrome” is a real issue for some women. The term refers to women in senior positions who do not maintain a helpful attitude. Female subordinates are expected to make it on their own, just as she did. It is a counterproductive outlook, but it still exists. This perspective can also lead to women with seniority being harder on other women to “prepare them” for a male-dominated industry.
Pay it forward.
Women in the professional world should always work to uplift their female colleagues. There are enough men in the workplace that will provide plenty of obstacles. We should not be contributing to another woman’s struggle. Even as a young profession, help others.