In 2013, we launched our pilot career mentoring scheme for students, trainees and solicitors as part of our professional support for solicitors. Now in its fourth year, the scheme has grown from strength to strength, and currently has over 60 active mentors.
The aim of our mentoring scheme is to support students and graduates, trainees and solicitors in managing and developing their careers. Our objectives are:
- to share knowledge and expertise
- to support mentees with goal setting and career management
- to provide information about different options and career paths
- to support mentees in taking responsibility for their own skills and career development
Mentoring relationships facilitate personal and professional development through support, challenge and review. Mentoring isn't about telling someone what they should do or how they should behave, it's about encouraging mentees to take responsibility for their own progression and asking them questions which provoke the responses to help them find their own answers. In practice, it involves listening to the concerns of the mentee and using experience to help see new perspectives, identify opportunities, perhaps challenge assumptions and develop self-awareness, all with a view to expanding on the mentee's capability to excel in his or her profession.
Mentoring provides valuable experiences to the mentees, who are able to call on the experience and knowledge of members of the legal profession. It also provides an enhanced network of legal professionals for those starting their career, as well as improving self-confidence and giving new perspectives on career goals and ambitions.
Mentors also find being involved equally valuable. Not only are they able to achieve the gratification of passing on their knowledge and expertise but by attending mentor training, they have also developed their own leadership and management skills, while at the same time gaining new and fresh perspectives during their conversations with the mentees.
Many of our mentors say they wished they had been able to benefit from a similar opportunity when they were in the early stages of their careers.
The legal profession is extremely competitive and challenging, and trainees and young solicitors can benefit from the support and guidance a mentor can provide. Having a mentor is also a great self-development tool, and solicitors of all stages and levels of experience have been keen to be mentored to develop their own skills and perspectives .
Watch our video below for interviews with mentors, mentees and people who have been both, describing their experiences and the benefits of mentoring.