In this post-recession era, there is new focus on mentoring young associates—if not in practice, at least in the amalgam of theories for how to improve our profession. The concept is simple and oft repeated. Mentoring leads to better lawyers.
While data indicates a modest uptick in entry-level associate hiring over the past five years, the profession is still far from its pre-recession heyday. This may translate into small firms hiring only one or two new associates over several years. Yet, simply by the numbers, this may also mean that there are more seasoned lawyers available and willing to mentor young associates. For those of us fortunate enough to be new hires, fewer numbers may provide greater and earlier development opportunities. For firms, with new hiring criteria and definitions of "quality" applicants, the prospect for effectively grooming the next generation is arguably now at a several-year high. Through mentoring, we all have the ability to use these circumstances to our advantage.