“Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Why is having a mentor so important as you begin your legal career? When it comes to starting your career, having a guide as you venture into the ‘real world’ gives you that extra confidence; knowing that they’ve walked the path before you, understand the hazards, the opportunities, the challenges and the rewards that await.
But what exactly is a mentor and what can they do for you?
A mentor is a trusted advisor who guides you in your career and professional life. Like Mr Miyagi to the Karate Kid or Yoda to Luke Skywalker, they are an experienced hand who has been there before – ready to guide you along your own journey.
They can help you explore career options, set goals, develop contacts and identify resources. They act as a sounding board whenever you are faced with a sticky situation and provide insight into the profession with their experience. A mentor can impart their knowledge and wisdom to empower you to be the Whole Lawyer.
Practical Legal Training marks the end of your education and the beginning of your legal career. Law school focuses on the academic and theoretical, while PLT offers the opportunity to learn the practical skills required for a career in law. That’s why having an experienced lawyer as a mentor and trusted advisor helps to kickstart your career.
At Leo Cussen, the importance of this trusted advisor is understood. Experienced lawyers can no longer be the keepers of the knowledge but need to impart their knowledge to the next generation coming through. Each graduate in our PLT program is assigned an experienced lawyer mentor who is there to guide them.
The Leo Cussen PLT program is structured around working closely with both an experienced mentor as well as a supervising lawyer. The supervising lawyer, who is also a lawyer mentor, is a subject area expert, experienced in certain practice areas. You’ll work alongside various supervising lawyers through the Transactions, Specialist and Disputes rotations of your PLT.
Craig Collins, Senior Lawyer and Mentor at Leo Cussen, explains that mentoring is how lawyers learn in practice: “You won’t be reading textbooks, but you will be tapping into the unwritten knowledge, experience, and wisdom of more senior colleagues. Great mentoring is a fast-track to achieving competence, confidence and even mastery as a lawyer.” And these are the benefits that are there to be reaped – you get an insight into life as a legal professional, you have greater access to networks and contacts, they can guide you through ‘sticky’ situations and provide you with support and confidence.
Julie Anderson, Lawyer and Mentor at Leo Cussen, understands the importance of being of a mentor to a law graduate: “It is such an asset to have a mentor, who is dedicated to guiding you and helping you find answers when you need them.” Julie works closely with our WA law grads and often stays in contact with them long after they have completed the course.
The mentors at Leo Cussen, like Craig Collins and Julie Anderson, are dedicated to supporting law graduates – they are your champions as you enter the legal industry. They want to give back to the next generation of lawyers coming through, helping impart their own learnings and acting as a sounding board. It’s a best practice introduction to the profession, as they offer insights to help graduates be the Whole Lawyer.
Being paired up with a mentor is just one great reason to choose Leo Cussen for your PLT. You can find out other reasons to choose Leo Cussen at our upcoming online information session on 18 October at 7pm AEDT. To attend register here.