Home Antioch Op-Ed: The Honor and Responsibility of Mentoring Female Attorneys

Op-Ed: The Honor and Responsibility of Mentoring Female Attorneys

by ECT

Since I began my business several years ago, I have had the honor and responsibility of mentoring and training three relatively new attorneys, all females, from various back grounds.  Like a proud parent, watching them grow and develop their skills as attorneys is part of my personal story and purpose.  Not only do I consider mentoring part of my purpose, but also it is my responsibility as a person with certain gifts.

Like the Bible says, to whom much has been given, much is required.

I feel very strongly about mentoring because of my own journey, and the fact that someone took a chance on me.  He spent the time to mentor me and was a great encouragement in my early career, and is still a friend.  But here are their stories.

My first associate was hired after she had her first child and when she was on maternity leave.  She had been working as a prosecutor and was concerned about the stress of that job and the hours away from home away from her new baby when she had to go back to work.  On a whim, I reached out to her about working for me from home part-time.  We already had a relationship because we both worked for my mentor prior to me starting my own firm and before she went to law school.  I already knew she had a strong work ethic and I could trust her to not over bill my clients.  The timing was truly perfect for both of us.  She wanted to continue working and I was not ready for a full-time associate.  At the time, allowing her to work from home was unheard of for attorneys.  When she started, she had some experience in family law, the type of law that I practice, but needed training in preparing legal documents, the specifics of the law and strategies of cases.  Over the next few years, she grew into my right hand and her writing was basically turnkey by the end of her time with me.

My second associate was an even newer attorney.  She had no experience in family law and little experience with dealing with financial issues.  But her work ethic and passion was unmatched.  I sent her to numerous professional trainings and spent time discussing the law and strategy with her.  Her greatest challenge was financial documents, she just did not have any experience with financial documents and financial issues.  We focused on this area and before too long, she was preparing accounting’s and support calculations for me to use in trials that were fantastic.

My third associate is a brand-new attorney.  She has the least experience.  To help her start, she is doing some intense virtual trainings for attorneys new to family law.  She also has access to various research tools to help her understand the law better.  I already see a lot of growth in her and am excited to see her develop.

I do not have a formal training program, because my associates have all come in with different levels of experience.  But a common thread is an online course for new attorneys that they have all gone through and training on financial issues for attorneys.

My goal as an attorney is to be very knowledgeable in the law and I also need my associates to be knowledgeable as well.  A common thread through all of my associates has been their passion towards our clients and helping them reach their goals.  Their passion aids the training.  And they have very different backgrounds, a military wife and mom, a first generation American and a graduate from Southern California.

To see these women go from very green to being able to handle a case on their own is a true joy to me.  I know that I will have a life-long friendship with them that transcends employment.

If you are not reaching out to others, then really, what’s the point.  Anyone can make money, but helping someone reach their goals is creating a generational impact.  Helping women rise up on their own is creating branches of legacies that will reach far beyond what one person can do on their own and is the best reward.

Amy S. Hilton, CFLS
Attorney at Law


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