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Mentoring Associates in Business Development

There were so many good tidbits that came out of our LMA New Jersey meeting last week! Amy Adams shared her comments on the session she attended about mentoring associates in business development.

Amy’s comments were particularly helpful, because she’s speaking from the perspective of an in-house marketer, so she’s implementing the advice from the Annual Meeting in her daily activities. Using a phrase from the SMORS session, Amy said she’s deploying a pilot program for mentoring – she’s identified a couple of partners who work well with associates, and using the formula of one partner to four associates. 

These groups then meet once a month, and agree that everything that they discuss is to be kept private. Amy said that depending on what each group wants, the marketing professional at the firm can be involved or not involved. In her case, the groups want to include her. She said that the marketing professional should suggest topics for discussion though, such as business planning, and then the partners share their experiences and war stories in a safe place, where the associates can ask questions.

We also talked about some specific advice for associates, including:

  • Define different venues under which they can operate: Sure a bar event might be a place where you make connections that can refer business to you, but it might be made up mostly of your competitors – is it the best use of your time? Similarly with lunching with a law school buddy – help associates understand the difference between lunch with a potential client and lunch with a friend.
  • Don’t just join every association: Help associates define which associations would be of most benefit to them. Partners can also assist associates with how they can better make themselves known within these associations.

Does your firm have a mentoring program in place for associates? How is it working?