Finding The Perfect Mentor
Keeping the perfect mentor is one thing, but, first, you must find the perfect mentor, which is easier said than done. As we move down the path of law school from the first year to graduation, we read and brief a lot of cases, listen to a lot of people talk a lot about the law, and, hopefully, grow personally and professionally. We also meet a lot of people and forge lasting relationships.
Many of the people we meet on this path are well-established scholars, professors, and, of course, attorneys, of the legal profession who typically offer us and place their experience and expertise at our disposal. Depending on the circumstances, as students, we have the opportunity and potential to forge long-lasting friendships with these learned members of the legal profession and count them as mentors.
Not enough may be said about having knowledgeable, experienced, and caring mentors. Mentors may impact a young lawyer’s life in so many ways. From academic and professional advice about where to apply for a job or simply to help with more personal matters, mentors have usually been there and done it all.
Sometimes, mentorships just happen and sometimes you must intentionally put the work in and seek them out. A workshop, seminar, or simply a sample interaction may lead to a mentorship. Here are some tips on how to actively find mentors and then make the most of and sustain the relationship.
- Determine what you are looking for and what you value
It may be a tired adage that says if you do not know what you are looking for, you will never find it. This is true when it comes to mentors as well. Not every person who graduated from law school and passed the bar exam will be a good match to mentor you.
Preliminary to any consideration is determining your desired career fit. Large litigation firm? Small client-based law-firm? Something in academia? Something else entirely? A significant mistake that many students make is ending the inquiry here. It is not enough to merely find someone who is doing what you want to do, but he or she should be doing it your way, as well.
- Let people know you are available
In essence, this is networking in professional terms. It may be considered a form of professional socializing. Regardless, staying home most of the time will not put you in a position to meet people, let alone your ideal mentor. You must make yourself available and you must inform people that you are, in fact, available, ready, willing, and able.
Some of the best opportunities to meet mentors may be hosted by your law school. The CDTA believes that mentors are crucial to graduates’ first-day success as practicing attorneys. CDTA students are privileged with the ability to access mentors as many of the faculty, attorneys and judges, and other legal professionals that students encounter at CDTA College of Law are graciously generous with their time and knowledge. The CDTA regularly offers invaluable panel discussions, workshops, and speaking events that students may attend to meet potential mentors. When attending these events, it is important to dress and act professionally. Be the best, most polished version of yourself. Be polite and respectful to every person you meet and ask thoughtful questions.
At CDTA, we train, educate, and develop students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.