Women in the Law: My Mentoring Experience
The LUCY Mentoring Program is like a “buddy program.” Offered at most universities in New South Wales, it teams up young female students with women in senior positions.
Recognising the difficulties women still face in attaining senior positions in the legal sector, the LUCY program attempts to remedy this by showing young women their options during and after university, by pairing them with a woman in a particular field.
Each mentorship varies. The mentors can come from the public or private sector, and the program can entail anything from note-taking, work experience, networking events or Friday afternoon lunches.
Over a period of five days spread over a number of months, I met with an awesome, down to earth Trial Advocate from the DPP in Campbelltown. Here are some of the things that I got out of the program…
Meeting Badass Women
Any lawyer willing sacrifice their time to provide advice and take on wide-eyed, slightly clueless students like myself, will likely be of the awesome variety.
On paper, I was hugely intimidated by my mentor. High achieving, crazily intelligent, but somehow, still a normal, grounded person, I never would have met my mentor if it weren’t for the program (or even believed that people like that actually exist).
LUCY also provides you with the opportunity to meet other equally badass women (and men) at networking events.
Getting a Healthy Sense of Perspective
It’s easy to get caught up in the rush to find work experience, the panic about marks, the classic ‘what on earth am I going to do with my life’, or the ‘oh god, graduation is getting closer’ and other law student life crises.
Here’s where the wisdom (that comes only with life experience) kicks in. My mentor helped me to understand the options ahead of me, the importance of adventure as well as hard work, and is a living example of a successful lawyer who’s had a genuinely interesting life.
If it weren’t for my mentor, I wouldn’t have travelled as much, or known how to go about getting legal experience, or even remembered to have fun while I was still at university. While well-meaning friends and family can also give you similar advice, it’s especially helpful when it comes from a lawyer who’s gone through the same thing.
The program also gives you an opportunity to try out a field of law before you graduate. Having done the program I can now safely say that I am about 60% sure I know what I’m doing with my life.
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