If my experience in the first three months of practising law has taught me anything, finding mentors who you can trust will get you through it! I am lucky, I have many mentors. I share an office with two experienced counsel. I have developed mentoring relationships with both of them. As we got to know each other, I realized that they genuinely wanted to answer my questions and point me in the right direction.
One of the two walked me though costs submissions on a Friday afternoon and then gave me his cell phone number in case I had any last minute questions after he left the office.
The other practices in the same areas as I do. She watches over me and checks in. I share both my successes and my mistakes. She has invited me to shadow her on several occasions. My advice? Take those opportunities! You will meet opposing counsel, other lawyers around the courthouse, courthouse staff, and judges. Soon they will become familiar with you.
As a brand new lawyer you can find time to shadow experienced counsel. It is not hard to ask. Debrief what you witnessed with them and they will soon become your mentor. Try to ask questions that are well thought out.
I have learned to save the silly questions for junior lawyers. They can be your mentors, too! You would be surprised what your law school buddies have learned in the time that they have been practising law. My law school friends and law partner have offered me endless support and I have done my best to reciprocate.
The last thing I want to say is thank your mentors profusely. Sometimes an email will suffice but if I feel like someone really went out of their way I send a handwritten card.
by Ceilidh Henderson, Advocacy Club Member
Ceilidh practices Family law, Child Protection law, and Refugee law, in partnership with Altynay Teshebaeva. Email: email@example.com.