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If new associates could submit wish lists to their partners and supervisors upon embarking on their legal careers, the request for mentoring would probably top the list. The value of the mentee-mentor relationship has steadily grown as a major concern for law firms because of its direct correlation to recruitment and retention. While most firms believe they have heeded the call to mentor by providing firm-assigned mentors to newly minted associates, such mandated relationships often result in infrequent (and mostly rescheduled) lunches, happy hours and occasionally, dinners. So what’s a new associate to do — wait until her firm-assigned mentor finally reaches out and bestows pearls of wisdom about the practice of law? Of course not. Most associates understand that while law firms bear some accountability for helping them forge meaningful professional relationships within the firm, the onus for one’s professional development lies squarely on the associate.

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