Be a great mentor with these tips
Thinking about becoming a mentor in law school? Here are 15 ways to be a great one.
Some of the most valuable mentors you can have in law school are your fellow students, particularly upper-level students who have been there, done that. So why not pay it forward and serve as a student mentor yourself?
Many law schools have peer-to-peer mentoring programs. For example, New England Law has a Law Student Mentorship Program that matches current students with new students to ease their transition to law school.
If you’ve ever been a mentee, you know how helpful those relationships can be. But you just might find you get as much out of being a mentor. Keep reading for 15 helpful tips on how to be the best mentor you can be in law school.
Related: Everything You Need to Know About Law School Mentors
- Set expectations early on for things like when you’ll meet, the kind of advice you intend to provide, how and when your mentee can contact you, and what your mentee hopes to get out of the relationship.
- Talk about your work experience outside of law school and how it relates (or doesn’t relate!) to what you’re learning in law school.
- Share what did and did not work for you when it comes to things like studying, prepping for cases, and maintaining a work-life-school balance.
- Put yourself in your mentee’s shoes: what do you wish someone had told you when you were a 1L?
- You’ll probably be matched with your mentee for specific reasons, like shared legal interests, home state, undergraduate major, etc. Use those shared experiences to connect to your mentee.
- If you’re familiar with the surrounding town or city, give your top tips for getting around, living in the area, and where to go out.
- Take the initiative in making your mentee feel comfortable. Be genuine and as outgoing as you can be.
- Introduce your mentee to your friends and professional network when you have the opportunity—or make an opportunity!
- Give sincere and honest advice, especially about the realities of the first year of law school. Be willing to share your struggles as well as your triumphs. Be open to candid responses from your mentee too.
- Though your mentorship is extra helpful early in the academic year, especially if you’re mentoring 1Ls, it’s nice to make yourself available throughout the year (or after) if questions or concerns arise.
- Remind your mentee that it’s okay and even necessary to relax and take breaks in law school, and offer suggestions for how they can fit that in.
- Be an academic and professional mentor but also be willing to talk about things beyond schoolwork, from extracurricular activities to dealing with stress.
- Prepare for your meetings in advance. Though it might seem silly, make a crib sheet of your own interests, skills, and learning experiences, including anecdotes that might be helpful to your mentee. Though your conversations with your mentee should be organic and natural, this list can help you remember details and lessons you may want to share.
- Brainstorm questions you might ask your mentee to keep your conversations going. For example, what classes or situations helped you grow the most as an undergraduate? Where do you see yourself five years after graduating law school? What drew you to law school in the first place?
- Talk about what “successful” means in law school and to your mentee, and then share your advice for how to achieve that success.
There you have it: 15 tips for being a great student mentor in law school. Now go out there and pay it forward!
Explore mentoring opportunities at New England Law.