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Why mentoring matters

I heard on the radio last week January is “National Mentoring Month.” Intrigued, I did a little research and learned it’s been around since 2002 with a goal of promoting youth mentoring in the United States and recruiting new mentors.

Naturally, it got me thinking about the mentoring program the Maryland Professionalism Center Inc. administers. Each year, the center matches newly admitted attorneys with seasoned practitioners for a one-year commitment. The mentee and mentor are required to meet six times during a year. Both parties gain from the relationship. The mentee has an incredible opportunity to learn all the unwritten protocols about our profession, while the mentor has the opportunity to connect with a newer member of our Bar and provide a valuable service.

The Maryland Professionalism Center matches approximately 300 mentees each year with new mentors. Our mentors are dedicated and selfless lawyers who exhibit the highest standard of professionalism and collegiality. (If you’re interested, here’s the application.)

So, in the spirit of National Mentoring Month, let me jump on the bandwagon and thank our 500-plus mentors who make our program a success each year.

Last week, one of our esteemed mentors hosted the Center and its mentees for a lunch-and-learn at his firm. During his presentation, he gave a lot of advice and tips to the mentees but one struck me in particular.

“By the time you have reached 10 years of practice, if you are not particularly excited about coming to the office, then the law may not be for you,” he said.

I am so excited that there are so many attorneys in Maryland that demonstrate through their continued service that the law is for them and encourage newly admitted attorneys to have the same perspective.