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Will a Down Economy Mean the End of Mentoring?

In a time of economic uncertainty and loss of job security, young lawyers need guidance more than ever. But a story from the March 9 issue of the The Complete Lawyer ("Economic Pressures Work Against Natural Mentoring") contends that many law firms are cutting back on their formal mentoring programs. From the article:

As law firms have grown larger, economic pressures have increased. Partners are now called upon not only to bill more hours, but to develop more clients, become active in their communities, and assist in the increasing number of activities required to manage the firm. Inevitably, it becomes more difficult to find time for mentoring young lawyers....Though some mentoring relationships still form naturally, without a structured program it's often a hit-or-miss proposition as to whether a particular associate will find a mentor. But the advantages this relationship confers are too vital to leave mentoring to chance.

I realize that mentoring is important, but I'm not sure how much guidance older lawyers can provide. The current economic climate and the number of law firm layoffs is unprecedented, a crisis the likes of which firms have never before encountered. Old-school advice like working hard or getting involved in bar associations, while useful, may not be enough to help new lawyers succeed in dealing with the challenges they now face.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on March 2, 2009 at 01:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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