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Conference call for country mentors

Briefs

Small acts of kindness can make a big difference – which helps explain why the idea of a mentoring program for young lawyers who work in country and suburban practices received so much airplay at the recent LIV CLAC/SLAC conference.

University of Melbourne fellow Dr Caroline Johnson made the comment about kindness during her address on mental health issues within the legal sector.

It resonated with Southern Solicitors Group president Celina Roth, who along with fellow delegate and Western Suburbs Law Association president Linda Paric, raised the idea of a “lawyers for lawyers” mentoring program to help younger lawyers who may feel isolated or overwhelmed by the demands of the legal profession.

“We found there was a lot of enthusiasm from country lawyers in particular for the idea of a mentoring system,” she told the LIJ after the conference.

“With the help of the LIV, we are hoping to get it off the ground as soon as possible.”

Ballarat and District Law Association president Sarah Edwards described the mentoring program as a fantastic idea.

She said many older delegates at the conference were interested in issues facing young lawyers, including how to stop them leaving the profession.

“One suggestion was to give young lawyers mentors who are outside their own communities, as in small towns there are only so many professional people you can speak to.”

Ms Roth said she would be willing to act as a mentor for young lawyers after experiencing the benefits of mentoring first hand.

“I think young lawyers, especially those in the country who may feel isolated, can really benefit from developing a relationship with a more experienced member of the profession who can support them when it comes to the pressures they face in this profession.”

She said the conference also provided a valuable opportunity for country and suburban lawyers to meet LIV staff and was a useful forum to network and discuss the problems faced by the various associations.

LIV president Tony Burke said the conference had built on the success of the inaugural conference last year.

“We now engage with the leadership group [of country and suburban lawyers] at least three times a year for the purpose of learning how we can better resource and support our members in those areas,” he said.

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