Keeping The Perfect Mentor
Now that you have found an excellent mentor, it is time to allow the mentor to get to know you and see your dedication and commitment to the practice of law. After all, the mentor must see purpose in his or her mentorship and that the protege is worthy of the mentor’s time and contributions.
It will come down to one simple question: “Will you be my mentor?” Similar to the idea that you must look for something to actually find it, you must also ask someone to be a mentor to obtain a mentor. It is essential to make it clear that you wish to establish an ongoing relationship where you may ask for advice and professional counsel.
Once a relationship with a mentor has been established, the next step is to ask questions that relate to “how” the mentorship will be conducted and the clear roles of both parties. Instinctively, we ask mentors “what” we should do, which may be adequate for a certain purpose.
Young lawyers and law students state that mentorships tend to blossom when mentors are asked to discuss how they do things. This may even strengthen the relationships between mentor and student while having a positive impact on the careers of both individuals. For example, a better question than asking, “To what law firms should I apply?” is “How did you decide where to apply?” This will allow the student to learn more about the thought process rather than simply the final result. This may even help you develop the same decision-making skills yourself so that you may become a great mentor to a young lawyer in the future.
- Impress your mentor
Once you have formed a relationship with your mentor, the first step is to make them not regret taking you on as a protégé. This requires a lot of hard work and effort rather than innate intelligence. Do not ever be late. In fact, always be several minutes early. Proofread several times any written materials intended for your mentor. Always meet deadlines in a timely fashion. Never make excuses to your mentor when asked about anything.
After all, a mentor may be in a position to recommend you for a job or introduce you to other interesting and influential people in the legal profession. However, for this to happen regularly, you must prove to your mentor that you are adequately competent and someone on which the mentor may rely. After all, the mentor must feel comfortable putting his or her reputation on the line for you. View every interaction with your mentor as an opportunity to show them something. Then, show them something.
- Respect the mentor’s boundaries
As a protégé, you want to be positive, enthusiastic, and show your mentor that you are eager and ready for anything. However, in doing so, you do not want to be aggressive or annoying. It is a matter of common sense and becoming aware of the mentor’s habits, routines, and schedule, and then being respectful of this space. Emails are an excellent tool for interacting with your mentor at a safe distance and on the mentor’s time.
Keep in mind, if you have to force a relationship with your mentor, then it probably is not the right relationship for you. The best advice is to try to let things happen naturally.
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