The Importance of Mentors

Young lawyers look to established attorneys in each field to help navigate their career paths. The legal field is ripe with endless possibilities for eager and driven young lawyers who strive to reach their goals and career aspirations. Despite the endless possibilities of each field of law, young lawyers may spend years wandering aimlessly and without purpose behind their career choices. The reason for the wandering is that there are many different routes for a young lawyer to develop professionally and attain personal aspirations. However, mentors within each practice area are able to assist young lawyers in their development and career advancement.   

Mentorship does not have to start and stop with senior associates and senior attorneys. There is the opportunity to be both a mentee and a mentor at every step during a lawyer’s career because there is always going to be one person who knows more and one person who knows less on any given topic. What young lawyers must accept is not allowing ego and pride to get in the way of seeking the advice of a mentor. Young lawyers do not need to search blindly in the dark from one job to the next as they attempt to establish themselves within the legal profession or within a specific practice field. A mentor who can provide guidance about the next step or the next goal can reduce the anxiety of what comes next for a young attorney.

The goal of a mentorship program is to cultivate the talent of a young lawyer. Mentorship programs in the public and private sector may be different, but they serve the same purpose. Mentorship not only increases the success of a young lawyer, but professional mentorship programs also create a dynamic where the firm or legal entity becomes invested in the development and growth of young lawyers. Those same young lawyers then become invested in the growth and development of the firm or legal entity. In other words, mentorship programs are entirely two-sided because young lawyers are more likely to stay in career paths where they have mentors to learn from and they then transform from the mentees to the mentors.

It is important for firms and legal entities to realize the importance of creating dynamic mentorship programs, both for their senior and junior attorneys. It is easy to get lost in the hustle of fast-paced work environments as a young lawyer, and mentorship programs can provide the much-needed career development and assistance that young attorneys crave. Regardless of educational or socioeconomic backgrounds, every attorney can think back to at least one person who impacted their legal goals and aspirations by providing some type of guidance as a mentor. The legal community as a whole succeeds with better mentors who are not only involved but also committed to the advancement of young lawyers. After all, the baton must pass from the senior attorneys to the junior attorneys eventually.    

About the Author

Shirin Afsous is as an associate attorney at Livesay & Myers, P.C., practicing exclusively family law.