An important thing for law students and young lawyers seeking mentors to know: It is an advisory relationship, not a job opportunity.
Board of Governors member Jay Kim offered that advice at the Leaders Helping Leaders: Boosting the Confidence and Success of Young Lawyers in the COVID Era and Beyond, an online CLE held November 16 and sponsored by the Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee and the Young Lawyers Division.
The event featured a review of Bar resources to help lawyers with their personal and professional challenges, heightened by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as participants offering their tips and observations.
Such as Kim’s.
“A problem that many of the mentors have is that the mentees invariably use the opportunity to seek jobs,” he said. “I think it’s a very, very shortsighted strategy because you’re driving a wedge between you and your mentor by even visiting that subject….
“Now you’re on the defensive. What do you do with that? Now it’s gone from a mentee-mentor relationship to a potential employer dealing with an interview situation. It kind of ruins that relationship. We should have a cultural shift in not even talking about that.”
Board of Governors member Scott Westheimer said lawyers seeking advice should know they can have several mentors — and mentors can also advise more than one mentee.
“I’ve had mentors for my practice area, I’ve had mentors to help out with what I’m doing with The Florida Bar,” he said.
You may not find one lawyer who’s going to cover everything for the young lawyers out there, but having multiple mentors is just as good. You get different aspects and I think having multiple mentors as you work your way through your career is very helpful.