February 27, 2012 Articles

Who Makes the Best Mentors for Female Associates?

While starting the career process can be a struggle for any fresh associate, it can prove especially difficult for young women just entering the firm environment.

By Holly J. Clemente

Lawyers face a myriad of difficulties when starting their careers—learning the many differences between law school and a law firm, juggling new clients, working with a secretary. Juggling all this while simultaneously learning to deal with office politics can be overwhelming; and while the process can be a struggle for any fresh associate, it can prove especially difficult for young women just entering the firm environment.

It may be possible to climb the corporate ladder on your own but having the support and the ear of a mentor, someone who is already where you wish to be, can make all the difference. According to Susan Black, vice president of Catalyst in Canada, “A mentor can be the person who helps you figure out how to get what you want, whether that is a strategy to go after the right assignments that will lead to a promotion or negotiating a flexible schedule.” Choosing the right mentors and convincing them to choose you is vital to your career. A good mentor can point you in the right direction, show you the big picture, point out where you could stand to improve, and highlight the areas where you are doing well.

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