The Importance of Mentoring: How Strong is Your Network?

I’m passionate about helping other female lawyers flourish in the legal profession and one of the most powerful ways that women can support each other is to serve as mentors to other females in their chosen industries.

I am proud and happy to be ‘mentor-rich’. My array of mentors include trial attorney mentors, networking mentors, style mentors, judicial mentors, and rainmaking mentors. These women and men have been instrumental in guiding me through the first nine years of practice, allowing me to land in the wonderful place I am today. Some of my mentors have played small but important roles in my life, and others have changed its direction completely.

A mentoring story…

 

As an undergraduate student, I was involved in the planning of an Alumni Law Day. One of the guests was an esteemed Chicago trademark attorney and I was tasked to pick her up from the airport. I was mildly irritated at this prospect being that it cut into my…um…studying time, but I shouldered through the 90-minute drive to the airport to escort our prized speaker back to campus.

I was prepared to be miserable and suffer through dry, forced conversation until she was safely tucked away at the campus inn. I could not have been more wrong. To say the very least, we hit it off straight away. We chatted the entire time about my aspirations to be a lawyer, her experiences in the practice of law, including being in one of the first classes of women to graduate from her law school and many other subjects.

The next day we met again for lunch and at the end, my new mentor asked me if I had considered applying to her law school alma mater, Chicago- Kent. I had not but the next thing I knew I was in Chicago, staying with my mentor and visiting my future law school. This wasn’t the only way that my mentor changed my life – although recently retired, she continues to share her experiences as a practitioner, advice on how to handle tricky situations and support when I need a cheerleader. Despite being one of the busiest attorneys I have ever met, this woman dedicated time and energy to me – a young woman from Ohio that she did not have any reason to help – and consequently changed my life.

We don’t have to be at the beginning of our careers to have a mentor and we don’t have to be at or near the end to serve as one.

At all stages of our careers, we can use the support of another woman who shares our experience and love of our chosen career. Nor does mentorship have to be a time-consuming endeavor- some of my mentors and I have quick phone calls, emails or coffee when time permits, but I know they are there and I know they support me. In turn, I have hired four female associates during my years in leadership of my law firm. I have served as a mentor to a woman through the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois and I regularly accept coffee invitations from law students or attorneys looking to connect. Although I know I am doing something good for the mentee, I also benefit from these exchanges because they invigorate me in my practice and remind me of why I started out on this path to begin with – because I wanted to make a difference.

In this digital age where most human contact involves looking at a ‘newsfeed,’ it’s understandable that most people feel disengaged and isolated. Therefore, it’s important that we do not allow the community that we have built to fall prey to separation. Women must continue to foster relationships that provide support, hope and transfer our knowledge and power so that the presence of women in leadership of law firms matches our presence in the legal field. We are much more likely to succeed as friends than as detached individuals or worse yet, foes.

So in closing, I challenge you – whether you are a graduate or CEO – to reach out to two people – one that you would like to mentor and one that you would like to mentor you.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
Lyndsay Markley

Chicago-based attorney, Lyndsay Markley (www.lmarkleylaw.com) has dedicated her legal practice to fighting on behalf of persons who suffered injuries or death as the result of the wrongful or careless conduct of others. Lyndsay set up her own law practice in February 2014 and previous to this, was an equity shareholder at another established Chicago law firm. Her 2015 accolades include 10 Best Under 40 status from the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys, Premier 100 Trial Attorney status from the American Academy of Trial Attorneys and Illinois’ Rising Star status from Super Lawyers. Connect with @LyndsayMarkley on Twitter.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

Be Leaderly Talks Gender Bias on the TEDx Stage
Be Leaderly Talks Gender Bias on the TEDx Stage

More and more companies want to lessen gender bias in the workplace, but I contend

Turn Your Strengths Into Superpowers in 4 Steps
Turn Your Strengths Into Superpowers in 4 Steps

Ask a woman to name her signature strengths and she’ll often squirm in her chair,

Leaderly Quote: Find your voice…
Leaderly Quote: Find your voice…

Find your voice. Get comfortable with power. Lift others up. —Jo Miller

It’s Time to Go After Awards and Recognition
It’s Time to Go After Awards and Recognition

I have a question for you. What kind of impact could you make as a

The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month
The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month

Are you looking for motivation to help you take charge of your career trajectory?? Here

Want to Help Other Women? Then Talk About Your Mistakes.
Want to Help Other Women? Then Talk About Your Mistakes.

When most of us think back to an agonizing mistake, the last thing we want

6 Presentation Pitfalls That Kill Your Credibility
6 Presentation Pitfalls That Kill Your Credibility

I recently attended a conference in London hosted by a very reputable organization featuring speakers

Leaderly Quote: Unapologetically unleash your potential.
Leaderly Quote: Unapologetically unleash your potential.

“Unapologetically unleash your potential. Don’t wait for permission and validation to lead.” — Dr. Cindy

How to Ace the Q&A (When You Don’t Know the Answer)
How to Ace the Q&A (When You Don’t Know the Answer)

Even the most confident communicators can fumble when fielding unpredictable questions in front of an

7 New Rules of Teamwork
7 New Rules of Teamwork

Have you ever been on a team project where you didn’t make much of a

Ask Jo: How can I thank my mentor?

Question: I have an incredible mentor. She ...

Teamwork is a Skill. It Takes Practice!

Everyone wants to lead, or be a ...

It’s Worth the Risk (I promise)

This is Sarah. She’s one of my ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a ...

Leaderly Quote: Great Leaders Know When to Step Aside

“Great leaders know when to step aside.” ...

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Subscribe

captcha

PRIVACY

We will never share, rent, or sell your personal information or email address. Read more.
Copyright 2018, Be Leaderly