The importance of mentorship while studying for a law degree

The idea of mentorship has been around for a very long time. Consider Plato and Aristotle. Yet, even today, mentorship is still relevant – perhaps even more so. A mentor can be described as someone who uses their knowledge and personal experience to help another improve, especially in the career aspect. While some may wonder if they should pursue mentorship once they enter the workforce, others find it beneficial to be mentored while pursuing a law degree. Let’s explore some of the benefits of early mentorship.

Exposure to different career paths

Perhaps you want to enroll for a juris doctor degree online but are in a dilemma about the direction you want your career to take after. Notably, law is a broad field, so you can always find something that piques your interest. The degree offered by Cleveland State University prepares students for a wide array of careers. For instance, you can become a cyberspace lawyer if you have an affinity for technology. You would handle issues like intellectual property, censorship, and business regulations. Other paths include compliance law, marketing law, and family law. 

While it’s not easy to settle on a specific field, a mentor can help. Mentors can share personal experiences from which you can draw insights. You can also discuss the prevailing job market and what it takes to make it in a particular field. That way, you can weigh your strengths and weaknesses and decide which path suits you. Most importantly, your mentor can also involve you in their real-world work, which is a perfect way to determine what you want.  

Providing guidance and support

It takes more than finding a good school to become a good lawyer. You also need academic guidance in order to learn to navigate the coursework and best practices for preparing for exams. And who better to show you the ropes than a mentor who has been there before? Your mentor can also help you set academic and career goals and help you achieve them. For instance, when you are applying for an internship, a mentor can guide you on building a stellar resume and handling interview questions. 

A mentor can also help you become a well-rounded lawyer by assisting you in building essential life skills like communication and time management. These skills not only help you excel in your academics but also set you apart in the job market. For instance, you will learn to nurture professional relationships and make the most of every situation. 

Additionally, your mentor can provide much-needed emotional support because law school is demanding. Most law students will admit to struggling with stress and anxiety, but a mentor can help you stay grounded. 

Networking opportunities

Every successful person will tell you they got to the top through mutually beneficial working relationships with other professionals. That is the art of networking. It is essential to start building those relationships while you’re still in law school. By doing so, you will show people what you stand for. People will be more willing to work with you even after you complete your studies. 

However, it’s a delicate art that requires effort to master – effort and the help of a mentor. To begin with, the mentor will provide you with networking opportunities by introducing you to other members of the legal profession. That is a perfect opportunity to understand various aspects of this broad profession

A mentor can also use their connections to help you land internships while still in school. Therefore, you will get a chance to gain practical experience while still expanding your network. Most importantly, a mentor will help you hone your networking skills. For instance, they might share tips on following up with contacts or conducting yourself in networking events. 

A mentor is an accountability partner

Law students face numerous challenges and might fall victim to self-sabotaging practices like procrastination. That’s why it helps to have someone to hold you accountable, and a mentor would be perfect for the job. First, a mentor will help you set realistic goals and establish practical timelines. 

Once you set these goals, the mentor can check in regularly to discuss your progress as they provide feedback. You can even set up accountability agreements with them, such as having consequences for not meeting the set goals. That way, you will stay committed and motivated to your goals. And at times when you feel overwhelmed, your mentor can be a good source of encouragement and motivation. 

Most importantly, they can become your biggest cheerleader. When you hit your goals and milestones, they will be there to celebrate with you. That gives you even more zeal to set higher goals. 

Choosing a mentor

Now that you’ve seen the numerous benefits of having a mentor while in law school, the next big step is selecting a good mentor. Keep in mind that not everybody will be the right mentor. Since you need to work closely with your mentor, choosing someone with whom you have a rapport is incredibly important. It must be someone you can comfortably talk to about anything. Otherwise, you won’t gain much from them. You also want to make sure that it is someone you can trust. Your conversations will not be restricted to school and career advancement; you will also share aspects of your personal life. Working with someone who will not breach your trust is essential. 

It is also essential to get someone with extensive experience in the legal field. That way, they will have wisdom to share based on past personal experiences. However, don’t be afraid of being mentored by someone who views things differently than you do. You can even be mentored by someone from a different generation. You can find a mentor anywhere. It could be a colleague from your internship or a professional association. You can also look for formal mentoring programs. 

Once you find a mentor, you must also put in the work. Ask the right questions, keep a positive attitude, and be ready to take criticism.