Authored By: Iris Garrett
Finding the right mentor can be hard, even for attorneys. You may wonder, “Should I ask them outright? Do I chance it with a formal mentoring program? Should I consult a friend?” It’s especially difficult when you haven’t known someone long enough to feel confident to approach them at all. Yet, despite the somewhat uncomfortable nature of finding the right mentor, the task is exceptionally more difficult for female attorneys and those in a minority.
The American Bar Association (ABA) recently held a panel that explored this topic titled, “Mentoring Women and People of Color in Legal Tech,” and their speakers identified many ways for attorneys in these groups to find the right mentor. We’ve outlined a few of them below.
Don’t Ask Directly If you’re in search of a mentor, panelist Tiffany Graves advises, “The best approach might be to say, ‘I’ve been watching you, I like what I see, and this is how I’d like to shape my career. Can we grab a cup of coffee?’”
Make Sure You Admire their Work When choosing a mentor, panelist Judy Perry Martinez says be sure to reach out to someone whose work you admire. From there, “Tell him or her what you want out of your career and ask for help identifying various people who might be interested in assisting you.”
Gather Feedback from Others If you don’t want to approach a potential mentor on your own, Martinez says to ask colleagues for suggestions, and “If they agree that a certain person would make a good mentor, then maybe they can even make an introduction.”
Connect on Social Media If you meet someone at a conference who could be a good mentor, moderator Irene Mo suggests following their Twitter account or responding to their posts: “This can take it beyond a meeting… and help determine if they’d be the right person to mentor you.”
To learn more about the ABA panel, click here.
Photo Credit: Sergey Nivens