The Magic of Mentoring for Lawyers with International Practices

Do you have a mentor?  Are you mentoring a younger lawyer?  Mentoring can be magic–both for the mentor and mentee.

As I discussed in my recent article on Strategies for Staying Successful as a Partner for the ABA’s Law Practice Magazine, it is critical to develop a support system within your place of employment.  Whether you work at a large firm or have a solo practice, or whether you are a corporate counsel or a government employee, having a mentor as part of your overall support system can really help your star to rise. 

As my article explains, “…no one can do it all on their own so it is also important to develop a good support system of people ready to help you grow your practice and continually learn more. If you do not have a mentor, seek one out.”

 Ask your mentor for recommendations about:

1. Committees and other leadership opportunities;

2.  Career direction;

3.  Introductions to potential clients or other resources;

4.  Tips for enhancing your work experience and knowledge base;

5. Unbiased, confidential, “tough-love” feedback; and

6. Career insights gained by your mentor as an experienced international practitioner.

 As an international lawyer, it will be invaluable to have input from a more senior attorney about the rules of the road.  The finer points of a successful global law practice–such as the finesse required for global rainmaking–require experience and in sights that a more seasoned international lawyer can provide.  Seasoned practitioners also provide cultural tips, such as Do’s and Dont’s when Doing Business in Dubai or Dakar or Dublin. 

If you can’t find a mentor in your place of employment, look for one through a bar, industry or alumni association. Recently retired international lawyers can also be marvelous resources.

Similarly, you should willingly mentor more junior practitioners as they grow their international practices. Not only will this enhance the pool of more junior lawyers from which you can draw, but it will also create goodwill between you and the junior attorneys. As they progress up the career ladder, they will appreciate your mentoring–long after you have ceased to work together.   

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