Mentoring on the Run

Winston-MentoringIn my experience, most lawyers are good at juggling the disparate aspects of their lives, mostly because they have to in order to get it all done.  This pair of lawyers, both members of Winston & Strawn’s Labor & Employment department, may have set a new standard for the rest of us.  Paired as mentor and mentee in Winston’s Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program, Rex Sessions and Ben Ostrander set a goal to complete a half marathon (13.1 miles) during the course of the one-year program.

Ostrander isn’t sure which of them first came up with the idea of completing the race together, but once they registered for the race, it became one of their regular topics of discussion as they met for their mentoring sessions.  “We are both runners, Rex being more accomplished than myself, and, on a whim we signed up for a race [the Advocate Dreyer Fox Valley Half Marathon],” Ostrander said.  “As we got together for mentoring meetings, we’d also compare notes on how our training was progressing and even engage in some friendly banter.”

The date of the race sort of “snuck up” on them, Ostrander said.  They ran together, chatting, for the first 11 miles, then Sessions surged ahead, finishing ahead of Ostrander.  Both managed to finish in under two hours, and celebrated together after the race. 

Both lawyers spoke enthusiastically about their experience with the mentoring program. “I am fortunate to have Rex as a mentor.  Not only is he the chairman of my department, he took a very active role in serving as a mentor.  It was great to get his guidance on issues I was facing, and he regularly used actual client matters we were working on as teaching opportunities.  Rex was also involved in a diversity initiative and invited me to attend.  We had a discussion of work-life balance issues at one point.  We covered a lot of ground.”

Sessions reported that he gained much from the mentoring relationship as well.  “I am a first-time participant in the Winston mentoring program, and have really enjoyed getting to know Ben better.  I hope Ben has benefited from the experience; I know I have.  As for the race, had Ben not cramped up at mile 11 or so, he likely would have been in the refreshment tent relaxing when I crossed the finish line.”

We congratulate them both on finding a creative way to strengthen the mentoring relationship while achieving some key work-life balance!

Katherine Erwin

Katherine Erwin

As the Commission's Special Projects Director, Katherine managed the statewide attorney mentoring program and other special projects. She practiced law in Chicago for 20 years. Then she founded the Chicago office of a legal placement agency, and placed highly credentialed attorneys in law firms, corporate legal departments and governmental agencies. Most recently, Kathy served in the Career Services Office of the University of Chicago Law School. A graduate of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and the University of Michigan Law School, she lives in Lincoln Park with her husband and daughter.

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Katherine Erwin

Katherine Erwin

As the Commission's Special Projects Director, Katherine managed the statewide attorney mentoring program and other special projects. She practiced law in Chicago for 20 years. Then she founded the Chicago office of a legal placement agency, and placed highly credentialed attorneys in law firms, corporate legal departments and governmental agencies. Most recently, Kathy served in the Career Services Office of the University of Chicago Law School. A graduate of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and the University of Michigan Law School, she lives in Lincoln Park with her husband and daughter.

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