A Young Lawyer Needs You

Think back to when you were just starting out as a newly minted lawyer. Who was your mentor?

Since joining the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism last year to head our statewide Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program, I’ve found that most lawyers can immediately name a person or two who gave them a real leg up early in their career.

In some cases, it took the form of a gentle suggestion about how the new lawyer might have done something better. Sometimes, it was taking the time to edit a document—maybe even over and over until the young lawyer got it right. Sometimes, it was just making a timely introduction or including them on a project or program.

If we are honest with ourselves, we didn’t really know all that much as young lawyers—at least not about practicing law. Of course, many of us thought we did, but we really didn’t. Some lawyers are lucky enough to work in settings where there is a formal training program. Most of us, however, relied on the grace of colleagues, friends or sometimes even kind opponents, to keep us from stepping in it…or even sometimes stepping completely over the edge. READ MORE

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