by Krysta Pachman
I have been blessed with amazing mentors - from partners willing to invest their time in my development to judges who have offered sage advice. I actually met one of my most significant mentors on my first day of law school. I had sought out the advice of a classmate from college, who I located through social media. The woman, a 2L, was kind enough to sit down over lunch and give me the 411 on how to succeed in law school. She continued to serve as a mentor throughout law school, and even post-graduation, she has graciously provided me with her guidance time and time again.
A few weeks later, the law school formally paired me with another mentor, this time a 3L. At the time, I was trying to figure out what made the most sense for my post-1L summer job. The woman introduced me to dozens of 3L's, and all shared with me the pros and cons of their 1L summer jobs. Thanks to this woman, I decided to apply for a judicial externship, which was a fabulous experience.
Given the impact that my law student mentors had on me throughout law school, I am always surprised by a very common warning the WLALA Law Student committee receives from potential new mentors: "I'm not sure if you all want me as a mentor because I'm fresh out of law school." In fact, junior attorneys are one of the most helpful repositories of information for law students because of their recent experience. And junior attorneys can absolutely benefit from serving as mentors.
After law school, I formed formal mentoring relationships with law students through the WLALA Law Student Mentoring committee. The time commitment is minimal - even for a busy young lawyer - and the payout is huge. I have met some incredible women and have learned a great deal from them. A simple cup of coffee every couple of months has led to great networking opportunities, good friends, and the opportunity to pay it forward.
For those of you who are already serving as mentors to law students through WLALA's Law Student Mentoring program, thanks so much for everything that you are doing to improve our program. And for those of you who have not yet signed up, please do! We are always looking for new mentors for our law students and women at every stage of their legal career have a great deal to offer. Please sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!
Krysta Pachman is the co-chair of the Law Student Mentoring Committee and an associate at Susman Godfrey.