At Carlton Fields, we believe that persons with diverse backgrounds add immeasurable value to the legal services we provide to our clients and enhance and enrich the overall culture of our firm. As a result, we work continuously to increase the employment and advancement of minorities throughout the firm and throughout our communities.
One such effort is the development of our Community Minority Mentor Program. In many cases, the ability of young minority associates to make connections with established and successful minority professionals is limited by circumstances. Our program’s goal is to enhance the visibility of our minority associates and to provide each of them the opportunity to receive valuable advice and guidance from established minority business leaders in the communities in which they live.
What is a Successful Community Minority Mentor Relationship?
The concept of mentoring represents a voluntary alliance between experienced and less experienced professionals for the purposes of both personal enhancement and professional development. We want our associates and their mentors to enjoy participating in this program and both should take an active role in order for the program to be a success.
At a minimum, the mentor should plan to meet with the associate at least once a month for lunch, at the firm’s expense. The mentor may also want to invite the associate to a work-related or networking event. Our associates know this program is not intended as a business generation tool for the firm. Rather, our community minority mentoring program provides opportunities for associates to develop their leadership and relationship skills while they build ties to prominent professionals in their community.
Each mentoring relationship will no doubt be different. Therefore, the mentor and the associate should discuss their expectations with one another and decide together what they want to achieve in the mentoring relationship and how to pursue those goals. To assist in meeting one another’s expectations, the mentor and the associate may want to work together in drafting an Action Plan that formalizes what each party expects from the mentoring relationship. This Action Plan may also serve as a useful guide to determining the success and fit of the mentoring relationship.
If you wish to serve as a Community Mentor to one of our minority lawyers in your local area, please contact our Director of Legal Talent Management, Shannon Williams.