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Purposeful Mentoring

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

by: Megan West Sherron, Campbell Law School Assistant General Counsel & Assistant Dean of External Relations

Mentoring is an experience that most of us have at some point in our career.  Perhaps your first mentor was your supervising attorney in your first job or maybe it was an informal connection with an attorney you admired.  However you came to find a mentor, they all provide value to us in multiple ways.  Legal mentoring has four specific functions and mentors can provide all or one of these various functions.[1] 

One of the first and most significant functions of mentorship is career mentoring.  Career mentoring is all about helping a protégé learn the ropes and advance in their career.[2]  This type of mentoring should help a protégé develop networking skills, instill time-management, assist with career planning, and provide practical legal knowledge.  People who have had career mentoring report greater career outcomes including advancement and compensation.[3]

Psychosocial mentoring is another important function that mentoring can provide.  This function is about creating self-esteem and professional and personal growth for a protégé.[4]  This type of mentoring is accomplished through challenging yet manageable work assignments, feedback, acceptance and confirmation, and even something as simple as coffee and a conversation.  This function is powerful because it affects how a protégé is likely to feel about their job.[5]

Legal mentoring has two additional functions that business mentoring does not have, role-modeling and professionalism.[6]  Role-modeling focuses on developing professional standards, knowledge, and skills.[7]  This could include lessons in getting and maintaining clients, relationship management, counseling, negotiations, finding solutions to legal issues, and practice management.  The professionalism function focuses on instilling the ethical standards required by the legal profession.[8]

Mentorship is a unique relationship in which one or all of these functions come to play.  Recognizing where you need mentoring or perhaps where you could be a good mentor is an important step in a successful mentorship relationship.  The Campbell Law Connections Mentorship program will start again this August and we welcome new mentors and new attorney protégés to join our program.  For additional information on the program and requirements, please contact Megan West Sherron at sherron@campbell.edu.

 


[1] Neil Hamilton & Lisa Montpetit Brabbit, Fostering Professionalism through Mentoring, 57 J. Legal Educ. 102 (2007).

[2] BELLE ROSE RAGINS & KATHY E. KRAM, THE HANDBOOK OF MENTORING AT WORK: THEORY, RESEARCH, AND PRACTICE 5 (Sage Publications, Inc. 2007).

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id. at 5-6.

[6] Hamilton et al., supra note 1, at 108-109.

[7] Id.

[8] Id. at 109.

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