”Law school is law school, but mentoring is lawyering school, and that is so valuable to have not just the substance of knowledge to know what statute is governed where, but how to use all of those tools and all of that knowledge.”
That’s a quote from a podcast with Maria Dolder and Richard Uchida from the ABA Young Lawyer’s Division Mentorship Project. We’ve talked at length about how law school teaches you the law, and nothing about running a business. Mentoring also falls into that category as it is also part of a running a business. And while there are similar definitions for mentoring, some more specific than others, the relationship is a powerful, and important one.
I was reminded of this over the long weekend while watching an episode of the USA show Suits. In the first season, there’s an episode where Harvey Specter is asked to testify against his mentor. He is adement against testifying, repeatedly saying “he was my mentor.” There’s a bit of a subplot, too, of Specter gradually taking on a mentorship role with his new associate.
Granted its TV, but it does illustrate the importance of mentoring in the legal profession, and its importance in business development. This is especially true for solo and small firm lawyers who are not assigned a mentor once they start. I bet if you take a moment, though, you no doubt will come up with one or two people you consider to be mentors who were not assigned to you. A particular law school professor, a coachor a more seasoned solo or small firm lawyer you met at a networking event.
And as your practice grows, the question becomes: how do you step into the mentorship role?
Do you join a mentoring organization? Seek out someone to mentor? Setup a mentoring program in your firm? Do you seek out someone to mentor, or let someone come to you? And what, exactly, does mentoring entail?
This month, our aim is to answer some of these questions, share our experiences and help you be prepared to take on a mentorship role.
Have some advice or experience to share? Send it in.