Charlotte Edgar, now a qualified Solicitor at Morisons LLP, shares her experience of being a mentor on the Law Society’s Student:Trainee Mentoring Scheme.
After the success of the Law Society of Scotland’s pilot Student:Trainee Mentoring Scheme in Edinburgh last year, the Scheme is being rolled out across Scotland for 2018-2019. I was lucky enough to be involved as a trainee mentor on this pilot scheme, and here’s why you should think about getting involved too.
What can I bring to the table as a mentor?
You might be thinking ‘What does a mentor do?’ or even ‘What have I got to bring to the table?’ Mentoring involves providing support to someone on a one-to-one, relaxed and confidential basis. Sometimes it can be as simple as being a friendly face and lending a listening ear! Mentoring connects people and gives them a space to ask questions and share experiences.
To answer the second question, a person who is a trainee with experience of working in the law can be a really valuable mentor to a student who is looking to find out more about what being a lawyer is like, or gain an insight into the legal profession to help inform traineeship applications.
I was surprised by how much my experience of studying law, securing a summer placement and working as a trainee could help someone who was in the early stages of their LL.B at University. Some of the topics we covered at our mentoring catch-ups included sharing study tips and skills, how to work in an office environment, what trainees do, what working in employment/litigation/property is like, how to balance studying and part-time working or volunteering, and coping with exams. I was pleased that in sharing my experiences I could give my mentee a bit of a ‘heads up’ on what to expect.
You might be thinking ‘that all sounds good, but what about time commitments?’ Mentoring can easily be fitted in with your work and free time. It is a flexible arrangement where the mentor and mentee decide how often they should meet. My mentee and I met around once a month, with some variation as a result of our work and study commitments.
Mentors and mentees will be matched according to the information they choose to share about themselves. For example if you are an in-house trainee you might be matched with a student who is interested in working in that area.
There is lots of support available from the Law Society for both mentors and mentees. As mentors we were given some really helpful training materials with suggestions on how to structure your mentoring meetings. We also had catch-ups with our fellow mentors and mentees on the scheme to find out how everyone was getting on and ask questions.
I found my mentoring experience to be very rewarding and I also met new people, gained confidence in my own abilities and learned about some of the current issues for new lawyers. The best part was seeing my mentee grow in confidence and knowing that my experiences had helped someone.
So, what are you waiting for?
We are currently recruiting trainee mentors to join our student:trainee mentoring programme! If you're interested, you can explore our website for more information, attend our information session on 22 January 2019 and book onto our next training session on 13 February 2019.
If you have specific questions, you can also contact a member of our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.