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Mentoring win-win situation

Briefs

Cite as: December 2010 84(12) LIJ, p.14

Having had a mentor at every stage of her career, solicitor Belinda Wilson wanted to share her knowledge and repay the generosity that past mentors had shown her.

She nominated for the LIV mentoring program 18 months ago and was linked with law graduate Nicole Douglas.

The program links experienced legal professionals with mentees seeking professional development, support or guidance.

Ms Wilson, a solicitor with Tyler Tipping & Woods in Traralgon and the current Gippsland Law Association president, said she had always looked up to her mentors and sought guidance from them.

“I feel honoured that someone would want me to assume that position for them,” she said.

“It is very much about understanding each other, respect, being a good listener and thinking laterally. Mentoring is not all about top down learning.”

For her part, Ms Douglas said the experience had been invaluable.

After graduating from LaTrobe University, she relocated to Lakes Entrance to undertake articles with Hibbert & Hodges. The town has two small firms and Ms Douglas became its only female lawyer.

“Although we are considered a small firm, the volume of work and areas of law are in no way small,” she said.

“Feeling isolated meant connecting with Belinda was essential to my professional development and continued personal mental health.

“It has also allowed me to gain greater confidence in the legal world and professional expectations. Belinda is a wonderful role model in every sense of the word and I am truly fortunate to have met her.”

Ms Douglas said the experience was critical to her decision to remain in regional Victoria as a lawyer. She now looks forward to the day she can be a mentor.

Ms Wilson and Ms Douglas shared their experience with potential mentors and mentees at a special LIV function on 6 October.

LIV Family Law and Collaborative Practice Sections lawyer Laura Muccitelli said LIV mentors felt they were contributing to the profession by assisting in the development of future professionals.

The mentoring program is available to all LIV members. To view the program guidelines or the online directory of approved LIV mentors, visit www.liv.asn.au/mentor.

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