Mentors offer invaluable advice for young attorneys, but the thought of finding a good mentor can be overwhelming. Here are tips for success in being able to find the perfect mentor for you.
- Give it advance thought. Before seeking out a mentor, consider what your own needs and goals are first. Then think about the type of mentor that would be able to guide you in getting to those goals. Different needs and goals will require different mentors, and know you don’t have to have just one mentor.
- Do a little research. In considering who would be best as a mentor, do a little research into possible mentors. Look at their background, where they started, where they are from; some of the best mentor relationships come when you can make a personal connection and doing a little research will pay off.
- Set up a time for coffee. If you don’t know if someone will be a good fit, you could always set up a time for coffee to learn more about the person and see if your personalities match. Building a good mentor/mentee relationship is key and you don’t want to realize months down the road that your personalities don’t match at all.
- Bring something to the table. The most successful relationships are a give and take, so think about what you can bring to the table for the mentor. Even if it is just an exuberant willingness to learn, know what you can bring to the relationship and use that to your benefit.
- Set specific and achievable goals. Come up with a list of specific and achievable goals that you want to see, such as developing professional contacts, and think of the timeline you wish to see those goals follow.
- Time is precious. Everyone is busy, so make sure when you meet with your mentor you have a game plan in mind.
- Set expectation up front. Then once you have your goals and a mentor, be upfront about your goals and what you are looking for. Also, include what you can bring to the table. Make sure to discuss how often you wish to meet and set guidelines for the time commitment. Doing all this upfront will make sure that both parties are on the same page and no one is left wondering later on.
- Pay it forward. When you become an experienced attorney, pay it forward by mentoring the next generation of young attorneys.