Why you should have a mentor as a junior lawyer
Navigating my way through my legal studies and into a legal career is the most mindboggling
thing I have ever done. There are so many routes into the legal industry now that it is easy to get confused or wonder which route is best for you. Having a mentor helped me more than I could ever imagine.
I have been paired with a number of mentors throughout my legal studies and through the Buddy Programme created by the Kent Law Society. Most mentor relationships last a year, and mentors are on hand for you to contact via email, video call or face-to-face meet ups to ask any queries you may have about anything law.
Most mentors are a few years post-qualification and will have been in your shoes before, and will know exactly what you are going through. Having someone that you can have informal chats with about your options and the next steps in your career is invaluable. A mentor can help and advise you in aspects that universities and careers advisors cannot teach. You can gain that experience first-hand by asking someone who has already been through it, on a one-to-one basis! Your mentor gets to know you on a personal level and can make suggestions of different things for you to try or where to look for further information.
Since having a mentor, I have learnt:
interview tips for training contracts
how to improve my CV
different places I could apply for a training contract (it’s not just law firms you know!)
how to record my work in a portfolio when I become a paralegal
how the SQE exams will work
how to gain confidence in my career
and so much more...
I have also had the opportunity to practice interviews with my mentors and obtain their feedback on how I can improve so that I am prepared and ready for the real thing.
If you have the opportunity to have a mentor at any stage in your legal career, I would seriously encourage it. It has not only helped me with working out my career plan, but it has also improved my confidence in a number of aspects, like networking, applying for training contracts and approaching firms.
Having a mentor has helped me so much in my own legal journey, that I have even volunteered as a mentor myself, so that I can help fellow students find their way into the legal industry.
If you would like a mentor, but don’t know where to start or how to be matched with one, I would suggest speaking with your university to see if they have a mentorship scheme, you could also contact GROW Mentoring to be matched with one of their mentors, or keep a look out for local law societies for their buddy programmes.
Also, whilst Women in Law Kent do not run a mentor scheme, please remember we are here to help empower and support you, so don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help or advice from us too!