When mentoring of associates became all the rage, some law firms thought that the solution to keeping new associates happy was to assign them a mentor. They would recruit senior associates or partners willing to participate in the program. But mentoring as we discussed in my last post involves certain characteristics that do not lend themselves well to “assigned” mentors. Accordingly, for mentoring (including marketing) to be successful, the relationship needs to evolve based on mutual interest and respect.
So, where does one find a mentor, and how can the relationship begin to blossom?
We look again to Pamela Slim at Escape from Cubicle Nation for some insight. She suggests in her post “How can you find great mentors?” that you can find one at work, through family or organizations of all kinds, including your alma mater. They certainly don’t have to be someone at your law firm. There are people with marketing talents in many fields and endeavors that could benefit your legal marketing efforts. I particularly liked Pamela’s suggestion about researching for mentors, and her personal experience in not being scared off by someone who might appear “too ‘big’ for you.”
How do you get the mentoring relationship started? Simply:
- Introduce or reintroduce yourself,
- Find ways to stay connected,
- Ask for advice and see how it goes, and
- Reciprocate (offer advice, information, and names of contacts of possible interest to mentor).
Pamela concludes that you may just attract a mentor by being a mentor yourself. Makes good sense.