Specific Ideas for Fostering Long-Term Mentoring Relationships 

This week marks the end of most 2021 summer associate programs across the country. Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of presenting to a dozen law firms’ law students, teaching them how to thrive and get the most out of their experiences.   

During our trainings, I heard many express their desire to forge strong relationships with the lawyers they worked with and to find career mentors.   

As summer programs are coming to an end, I want to offer a few pieces of advice from Chapter 7 of my book, Your Fairy Job Mentor’s Secrets for Success, on how to create long-term career mentors.   

  1. Thank each attorney who helped you. Send an email or schedule a Zoom call to express your gratitude and cite what they did that impacted your growth and experience. This will not only recognize their investment in you, but ensure that they are there to support your success in the future!  
  2. Let others at the firm know how helpful your formal and informal mentors have been. You can mention this on your end-of-summer feedback form, or better yet, tell others including firm leaders. For example, if you’re at an end-of-summer celebration and the Practice Group Head is there, you can tell them how helpful an Associate was when they took the time to explain the documents in a deal. Or, that a Partner invited you to sit in on a client meeting and that it provided great insight into the client’s needs. Spread the word and acknowledge others’ time and teachings!  
  3. Think about ways you can make your mentors look good when you return to school. No matter where you are in your career, there are opportunities to make others look good! As you return to law school, be on the lookout for visibility opportunities for your mentors. Does your journal or moot court need an experienced attorney to be a judge or speaker? Can you quote one of the lawyers you worked with this summer for an article you write for a class or suggest to your professor that they share their expertise as a guest lecturer? There are many of these opportunities to “shine light” on your mentors and career advisors, and I encourage you to seek them out and take brave action!  

If you are a professional who is starting a new career, my advice is to take responsibility for being a great mentee! If you do, you will create life-long relationships with mentors and who are dedicated to your success! 

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