Ernest Koschineg, Cipriani & Werner

Ernest Koschineg Cipriani & Werner

Koschineg encourages young associates at his firm to handle cases on their own and is always available for discussion and advice, developing them into capable attorneys. He is generous with client relationships and helps to foster relationships between his clients and associates.

A mentor is someone who not only gives you the legal tools to be a great attorney but one who encourages you, sometimes at the expense of their own time. In Koschineg’s words, “I see you as the future. I want you to become the best attorney, the best person and to be indispensable to clients.”

Why is mentorship important in the legal profession?

Mentorship, particularly in the legal profession, is of utmost importance since it allows those new to a tough profession to gain access to knowledge and experience that has been learned over the course of a career. It provides a real world point-of-view of a profession that can be highly competitive with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

Who mentored you as you built your career?  

John Kent, Esquire.

What’s one piece advice you would give to a young lawyer in today’s rapidly changing profession?

I would advise a young lawyer that there is no substitute for focus and hard work because there is always another lawyer trying to get the best of you. It’s the nature of our profession. Also, don’t be afraid to adapt and take a chance in something you enjoy but yet challenges you. There’s no place in this profession for a lawyer to be happy with mediocrity.

Joseph Manko, Manko Gold Katcher & Fox

Joseph Manko Manko Gold Katcher & Fox

Always forward-thinking and committed to building a strong foundation for the firm’s continued success, founding partner Manko met individually with every attorney and technical consultant during the fall of 2017. Through these personalized meetings, he shared his expert advice and extensive knowledge and discussed the strategic steps that each member of the firm could consider pursuing to improve their practices and reach their long-terms goals. 

Why is mentorship important in the legal profession? 

To ensure that our profession will benefit from the experience of senior attorneys. 

Who mentored you as you built your career?  

Fred Wolf and Walter Spiro.

What’s one piece advice you would give to a young lawyer in today’s rapidly changing profession?  

Stay current on new developments in your focused area of law and enjoy counseling your clients.

Patricia Toland, Post & Schell

Patrice A. Toland Post & Schell

Toland has provided valuable insight to countless attorneys throughout her tenure at Post & Schell, helping to mentor associates across the firm’s practice areas. This includes providing them the benefit of her legal experience, advising on interactions with the Pennsylvania judiciary, and how to handle themselves professionally and ethically with their colleagues, the claimant’s bar, and clients. Her professional yet friendly approach appeals to attorneys at all stages of their careers, and she has been influential in helping young attorneys ascend to higher positions in and outside of Post & Schell.

Why is mentorship important in the legal profession?

Investing in our young lawyers is essential to the future of our profession, particularly in this time change and uncertainty. Everyone benefits from having a mentor in her or his career, but it’s especially true for lawyers who balance the significant demands of carving out a rewarding legal career with their family and personal lives. Not only is professional guidance important for young lawyers, but they sometimes also need a cheerleader and a figurative and literal shoulder to cry on.

Who mentored you as you built your career?

I’ve been fortunate to have great mentors throughout my legal career, and I have learned from both attorneys senior to me, and younger attorneys who have brought new perspectives to our profession.

Early on, I had the honor of working with and learning from Ken DeMarco, who established the workers’ compensation department at Post & Schell. His influence is still felt throughout our department and firm.

As our firm celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, I’ve also reflected on how influential the founders of Post & Schell, Bart Post and Al Schell, were in helping me navigate the profession and learn how to help the next generation of attorneys.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to a young lawyer in today’s rapidly changing profession?

As much as possible, shut out the negative in our industry and focus on the positives and our true mission—to help others by advocating for and defending them in the legal justice system. Being a lawyer is a noble profession that has women and men of deep integrity and commitment. When young lawyers shut out the noise and focus on that truth, they will find their most rewarding career path.

Dorothy C. Wolbert

Dorothy C. Wolbert Burns White

Wolbert works hard to ensure that everyone on the team plays an important role, regardless of his or her level of experience. Everyone knows all the details of every case, and could step in should a conflict or issue arise for the lead attorney. This total transparency and trust helps to create buy-in, and shows a level of confidence in each attorney’s skill set. To be a successful mentor, one must be confident in her abilities, giving of her time, and passionate about supporting the goals of others. In her short time at Burns White, Wolbert has found a creative way to apply the professional skills she has refined to elevate the women with whom she works.

Why is mentorship important in the legal profession?

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” —Will Rogers

This quote, which happens to be a favorite, epitomizes why mentorship is essential for attorneys—the learning doesn’t stop after law school. If anything, it becomes more important since new attorneys need to learn what often isn’t taught (or can’t be taught) in school. When I started in the workforce, I had no idea how to be an empathetic lawyer, how to communicate effectively with verbal and nonverbal language, how to network/build a community of support (and why this is so important), or how to give back to my community. Mentorship is a way for experienced lawyers to teach those new to the legal profession how to become, not only a well-rounded attorney, but a well-rounded person.

Who mentored you as you built your career?

An important and inspirational mentor to me has been Judge Carol Hanna, for whom I clerked fresh out of law school. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in family law, and she was a family law judge. We clicked immediately at my interview, realizing that we both have an affinity for deep organizational skills (we loved organized binders!). She taught me to be patient, genuine and open-minded, to live with passion and act with grit. I will never forget her soft touch when speaking with children in tough situations—this quality is now ingrained in me. Her values are values that I am still tirelessly attempting to perfect. Who she is as a woman, and her success in her career, has deeply influenced me to take the time with younger attorneys, particularly women.

What’s one piece advice you would give to a young lawyer in today’s rapidly changing profession?

Since lawyers can’t just follow directions and give one piece of advice, here is my very abridged version: Don’t get caught in the monotony of just surviving each day. Rather, self-reflect and create professional, personal and community-based goals on an annual basis. Check in with yourself quarterly. Seek help from your mentor and your community of support to achieve your goals. Finally, have those fierce conversations, the tough conversations that aren’t easy. Ask for specific feedback, ask for introductions, ask for the experience and most importantly, follow up! Opportunities won’t just be handed to you, so raise your hand for the opportunities.