Those of us fortunate enough to have had parents, older siblings, teachers or trusted friends who were there when we needed them to provide valuable career guidance and support can appreciate the importance of good mentoring relationships. When embarking on a legal career, the value of a good mentoring relationship within a law firm is no less important to a young lawyer’s career advancement. Developing confidence, skills and judgment, establishing career goals and building a successful practice can all be enhanced by such a relationship.

The range of mentorship relationships in law firms run the gamut, from formal programs with assigned mentors and regular meetings, to informal relationships that are the product of initiative on the part of the mentor or mentee, or that simply evolve from working closely together on various projects. In either case, there is no limitation on developing multiple mentoring relationships that serve different purposes. In large and midsize firms, for example, it is not unusual for a new associate to be assigned a mid-level or senior associate as well as a partner as mentors. Such an arrangement can provide the mentee greater comfort that he or she can have more open and honest conversations about how to succeed in a law firm with a colleague that has been through the process more recently than an older partner.

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