Millennial Women

On Mentorship

This month, we wanted to talk about something very important to millennials as we contemplate our professional development: mentorship.

Quick note- mentorship isn’t the same as sponsorship, which is another important concept in career development (and maybe a future blog post?!). Sponsorship is where one party agrees to advocate for and refer work to another party. Typically, this looks like a more senior attorney at a firm, company or government office agreeing to sponsor a more junior attorney at the same place. This is different. Mentors don’t have to be at your workplace, don’t have to be able to give you work and don’t have to be substantially senior—really a mentor just has to have a desire to mentor.

Mentorship can be formal or informal. At some firms, they may pair their first-year attorneys formally with a more senior attorney. But often mentorships develop informally and organically. Often times, two attorneys might meet while working on a case or projects and strike up a mentor-mentee relationship from there.

The benefits of mentorship? There are many!

First having a mentor within even a couple years or two of practice under their belt can give you the perspective of someone who has been there/done that and made it through to the other side. Remember the stress of the first year of law school? Didn’t you start to feel better once you heard from 2L’s and 3L’s that you would survive? Same concept here.

Second, the mentorship relationships can remain even if someone changes firms or companies. Sometimes, its even better that way. Getting a third-party perspective on what’s going on in your work place or your career can be invaluable, especially if you can freely speak to your mentor.

Finally, one great thing about having a mentor is you have access to their connections. You may mention you’re interested in x law or wonder how to get involved in y organization, and you may not know anyone that can be of help, but maybe your mentor does. Having a mentor can help you broad your network and vice versa.

This month, we’re going to be grateful for our mentors and we’ll be thinking about opportunities to mentor others.

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