Finding a Mentor in the Workplace
So you’ve finally graduated, found the job of your dreams and living the Boston Legal lifestyle that you thought would never happen. Well... actually, you’re hiding under the desk in your office, praying that you don’t stuff anything up and that the scary partner stays in his lion den on the other side of the office.
Beginning your legal career can be daunting. The safety of the lecture rooms and the tutors who were happy to answer all of your ridiculous questions are a distant memory.
You’re now under pressure to be the confident lawyer that you presented yourself as during the interview.
This is where mentors come in handy.
Mentors provide valuable support for your transition from uni to work, and they’re there to any questions that you might have.
The reality is that not all bosses have time to be mentors, and there are many other things in the office that unfortunately take priority.
Some law firms already provide formal mentoring programs, with new lawyers given a buddy who they catch up with every few weeks. If your firm offers something like this, make the most of these programs, as they can be live saving to a new lawyer.
If your firm doesn’t have a mentoring program, seek out a colleague that you feel comfortable with and ask them if they’d mind answering your questions. No matter how stupid you think the question is, ask it. Whether it’s how to prepare for a guilty plea or how to best to source case law, don’t be afraid to ask. Most experienced lawyers are more than happy to show you the ropes and pass on their wisdom to you.
Having a mentor can be also helpful during those frustrating moments at work; they can see things from another perspective and offer valuable advice on how to deal with things in the office. Working as a lawyer can be stressful and your mentor can provide advice on how to handle difficult matters.
We’re all guilty of making excuses and putting things off. If you’re starting your career, don’t wait for a mentor to find you. Actively seek out your mentor and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!
Enjoyed this post? Sign up for the Survive Law weekly newsletter for more.