Canadian Lawyer recently reported on a panel discussion on the topic of mentorship, held at the 2021 Young Lawyers Summit, in which WeirFoulds’ Commercial Leasing Associate Robert Eisenberg participated as a panelist.
Finding a mentor can be a crucial tool for young lawyers to get their careers on the right track, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be someone from your workplace.
“I’ve found that I have mentors in many different aspects of my life,” said Robert. “Generally, it’s somebody who has experience or has done something you’re looking to do, and who can be a sounding board or provide some advice or guidance.”
In addition, most law firms have established formal mentorship programs, pairing articling students or associates with someone more senior. Robert said that while larger firms often can match lawyers with mentors in the same areas of interest, at a smaller shop, “you might not have the luxury of choice.”
As a mentor, Robert said he prefers to be in a position where he doesn’t formally evaluate his “mentees.” He added that he has found “that can sour that relationship and sour that trust. “So, one of the things I set up with my mentees is that I’m going to be an impartial person in the sense that I’m not evaluating you. But I can always be on your side and help you navigate what’s going on.” He added that “informal” mentors can often be as important, if not more, than a formal mentor. “We tend to tend to gravitate towards people that we like talking to, people we respect, people we want to interact with.”
The panel also discussed the value of networking and how to find mentorship relationships effectively.
Click here to read the full article, “Explore your options – even outside the legal profession – to find mentors: Young Lawyers Summit” by Canadian Lawyer.