Through the Ms. JD Fellowship, Ms. JD annually selects women law students to be matched with accomplished women in the legal profession, and it is this program that brought us—a justice on the highest court in Massachusetts and a Harvard law student—together as mentor and mentee. When Perspectives asked us to write about our experience, a curious thing happened: we talked to each other.
It turns out that it’s not enough to put two driven women together and pronounce them mentor and mentee. Our thoughts before we spoke on the phone about this commentary illustrate the need for both women in a mentoring relationship to make the extra effort to communicate.
Why didn’t she call me?
When I communicated with Elizabeth about the column, she mentioned that she was overwhelmed by her job search. My first thought was, “why didn’t she call me?” Isn’t a mentee supposed to seek out advice and support from her mentor in difficult times?
Why is she e-mailing me?
I was surprised when Justice Duffly e-mailed about writing this piece. While she had involved me in a few events and introduced me to some wonderful women, we hadn’t been in touch much during our first year together and hadn’t spoken since I started my clerkship.
Our initial discussion was formal; we caught up on Elizabeth’s clerkship and exchanged pleasantries. But then we started talking, really talking, about what we thought had happened over the past two years. It became clear that our first impressions of each other, though positive, had formed a barrier.