There are two attorneys who have been my mentors in my first 18 months of attorneyhood. They both have different styles and each have decades of experience. They have been my supervisors in the sense that I've sought their assistance, almost exclusively, in developing my trial advocacy skills and trial strategy. One is a quietly sarcastic, somewhat brusque-mannered, tell it like you need to hear it kind of guy. The other is a mild-mannered former hippie / activist, big hearted, kind, nurturing, big-picture type of guy. When I come to a crossroads on a case, I'll speak with both of them in hopes that one will agree with the path I was inclined to take. And several times, that's been the case - one says go, the other says stop, and I get to pick the one I thought was right all along. They are both excellent trial attorneys and excellent teachers, and we have all since parted ways.
Despite the fact that we've parted, I started working on a trial this week and they are the first people I contacted to help me work through some tricky strategy decisions. Both of them have been happy to make the time to speak to me. Tonight I needed a brainstorming session ASAP, so in the middle of his evening at home one of my mentors took half an hour to brainstorm with me and help me work out some perplexing issues that I've been having a hard time resolving on my own.
I love that I have them to turn to for guidance and support, for some nurturing and nudging in the right direction, and best of all, I like that now I can do more of the brainstorming and the decision making and hear them tell me that I'm on the right track. I love that they are still so open to supporting me and offering me their help. Having them as my mentors, two people who are such good teachers, great attorneys, with differing perspectives, is such a blessing. Every day I am thankful that I have these people I respect and care for, who respect and look after me.
My advice to new attorneys: Find these mentors. Get out and about in your office, meet the attorneys who are there, take every opportunity to brainstorm with as many attorneys you can assemble in a room at one time. You'll find the ones who are a good fit for you, and finding these mentors will forever enrich your life, even after you go your separate ways.