National #Mentoring Month: Finding a Mentor in Law

January is National Mentoring Month. Mentoring is something we value greatly in law. Without mentors most of us would be floundering. But how do you find a mentor?

For me, it was really difficult. I didn't grow up in law. My mother was an accountant and my dad worked on computers. So when I got to law school I was completely lost. Not only that, but I went to law school in a completely different state. So I didn't have the local connections others had, I hadn't worked in law so I didn't have business connections, and I didn't have the family member who was a lawyer so I felt like I was completely disadvantaged.

So I went to a lecture held by someone in Career Services one day. That person gave me the best piece of advice I could have ever received: you need to get out into the legal community and make your presence known if you want not just a mentor, but a job.

I took the advice to heart. I joined a voluntary bar and began going to luncheons and different events. I got lucky too because as a President of an organization at my school I got a position on our parent organization's board. I discovered quickly that no one will hunt you down to help you, you need to go after the assistance. I began asking questions and talking with leaders in the community. The contacts and mentors I got out of it were amazing. So go out in the community, join a voluntary bar, go to events (there are lots of free ones), and make connections. Be sure to take a business card with you and hand those bad boys out to people you think will be great resources.

Another thing I did was I got to know upper classmen. Although upper classmen are not lawyers as of yet, they are great resources for information on exams, on how to survive certain professions, and how to get through school. These 2 and 3L's became friends who have assisted me throughout the years.

But when law school ended, I found myself once again struggling to find a mentor who wanted to work with me outside of school. So I needed to find a new avenue to get the help I needed.

Social media is an amazing tool you can use to find mentors. I became a Linked In and Twitter stalker. I followed people all over the country who may not know me but who I consider mentors because I follow things like their Twitter feed or their blogs which are full of advice. Use social media to your advantage. Link, friend, or follow people that you want to get to know or who you think can help guide you through the quagmire known as the legal community. And don't be ashamed to send an email. Most people are willing to help if you just ask for it.

Mentors don't find you, most of the time. You need to find them. So get off the computer and put on your game face. Or go friend, follow, and tweet those you want to help you. Just make it happen.

For anyone wishing for a mentor, you can also feel free to email me. I am always happy to help.


Joanne W.

Attorney with a B.A. in Writing

100+ hours
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