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Angelique Mamby claims to be not the sort of lawyer who sways others with her oratorical power. Nonetheless, she wowed law students participating recently in the Corporate Law Institute, an annual event hosted by Sponsors for Educational Opportunity. Last year, Mamby became a corporate partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, which she joined in 1996 after graduating from Harvard Law School. She is also a beneficiary of Sponsors, the venerable nonprofit organization founded in 1963 as one of New York City’s first mentoring programs for minority high school students. In 1980, Sponsors expanded its mission from helping students through high school and college to arranging internships geared to career paths such as investment banking. In 1986, Sponsors expanded again, creating about 40 internships at major Manhattan law firms to help minority undergraduates accepted to top law schools. “Mentorship is a two-way street, so you can’t just expect someone to support you,” Mamby advised students gathered for dinner at the Harvard Club. “You have to make an effort. You have to keep the dialogue going. You have to reach out to different people.” She added, “Don’t limit yourself to people who look like you — or to those in your age group. Yes, it’s important to talk to someone who shares your experience. But you can’t limit yourself because a law firm is made up of a wider array of people. Some of my strongest mentors are older white men sensitive to the needs of people of color.” Lois F. Herzeca, also a partner in Fried Frank’s corporate department, is also among those mentors. “There has always been mentoring, but it’s been quite informal,” said Herzeca, who found other few women attorneys when she began her own career. “People need some formality in mentoring. They need someone to help them feel extra confident and capable.” Herzeca said women established in firms have an obligation to help younger women advance their careers. Accordingly, Mamby remains with Sponsors — as a mentor. William Goodloe, president of Sponsors, said there are special needs when it comes to mentoring young Latino, black or Asian lawyers. “Because many of them are the first from their families to go into law, they may not be as aware of some of the nuances required to rise to the top of the profession,” he said. “There are so many unwritten rules. If you don’t know somebody who’s already at a law firm, or if you aren’t raised in a family that has lawyers, those rules won’t be second nature to you.” He added, “You’re already a person of color, so you stand out. Now you need to really distinguish yourself … by the quality of your work. You need to work harder and faster and ask for more.”

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