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Ms. JD in Toronto: Women’s Caucus

Written by one of Ms. JD's 2011 Fellows, Kimberly Watson, this is the third installment in Ms.JD's series "Ms.JD in Toronto" covering issues related to women and gender at the ABA's 2011 Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  

A few of the Ms. JD Fellows had the opportunity to participate in the Commission on Women/Young Lawyers Division Round Table held in Toronto at the ABA Conference during the Women's Caucus. It was a fantastic event that brought together all generations of females in the legal community. At the beginning, the fellows were asked to share what Millennials are looking for from the older generations of females in the legal community. It was clear that Millennials want two things, (1) personal coaching and (2) a mentor. 

In terms of personal coaching, Millennials are looking for specific advice and examples. They want to know what has worked for females in their legal career and what hasn't work. The Millennials constantly hear that the legal profession is trying for females however Millennials rarely hear about the specifics. They want to know specifically what is difficult and receive suggestions on how to overcome these difficulties. 

Too often the younger generations are not advised on how to successfully combat issues that women face in the legal field. The Millennials have an advantage over the older generation because they have the ability to learn about the struggles and triumphs the older generations faced. It would be a shame if Millennials did not learn from the older generations.  Millennials want personal coaching so they can be educated before they act. This personal coaching in turn will increase the amount of females who will stay in the legal field.

The Millennials are also looking for mentors. They are not looking for just one but several. Millennials expressed that they have plenty of oppourtuties to find mentors to help them with their work. However, the Millennials struggle in finding a mentor outside of the office. The Millennials are looking for someone they can speak openly to, especially about issues outside of the office that come up as a result of working in the legal profession. 

At the end of the event, Millennials and the other females in attendance could discern what action steps they need to take to further females in the legal community. For the older generations: (1) tell the younger females about what worked for you and what didn't work and teach them and (2) find a younger female to mentor and be their advocate through their legal career. For the Millennials: (1) listen to the older generation and learn from their trials and successes and (2) pay the mentorship back, you are not to young to find a mentee. 

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