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Lessons in chambers: LIV Judicial Mentor Program (part 2)

Lessons in chambers: LIV Judicial Mentor Program (part 2)

By Ashleigh Morris

Young Persons 

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This year the LIV was pleased to offer the newest members of the profession a unique opportunity to be mentored in groups by a member of the judiciary. In the second of a two-part series, program participant Ashleigh Morris provides her reflections on what she learnt in chambers with Justice Ginnane. Read part one here.

5. Establish multiple circles of support

Your personal relationships, such as family and friends, are vitally important in balancing out the professional side of your life. In the same vein, your professional relationships help balance the personal. But there’s another category that many people neglect, and that’s having a small circle of people who are neither family/friends or work colleagues. In the legal profession especially, you need to have people you can share your thoughts and experiences with who have similar values, interests and are likely going through similar circumstances. There are certain things about developing your legal career that you can’t talk with your family or friends about, or wouldn’t be appropriate talking about to work colleagues. The Judicial Mentor program provided a safe forum for each of us to discuss our challenges and share our thoughts without fear of judgement or repercussion. Justice Ginnane also remarked that the mentor program was an opportunity for new lawyers to pause for thought, and that regular reflection could be the difference between leading a richer life or one that’s “blown around by the next phone call”.

6. Treat the whole journey as valuable

Justice Ginnane said the advantage of these mentor sessions was that it allowed him to look back between where he is at in his career, and where we are, at the very beginning. His Honour said that quite often we can be so fixated on where we want to be that we lose sight of the bigger picture. If there was wisdom he could impart from this reflection, it would be to never wish away any stage of your life as being unimportant, but to treat the whole journey as valuable. There may be some experiences in life that don’t appear to be contributing to the end-goal, but more often than not, those experiences become invaluable later on. His Honour likened it to networking, suggesting that there may be networks you develop that may not be relevant at the time, but might be highly beneficial to you later in your career, as your situation and career goals are likely to change over time.

7. Be a valuable connection

The importance of networking, is drilled into us from the first day of law school. What is perhaps not taught, but ought to be, is that networking is about what value you can provide to others, and this value will in turn be reciprocated. I have kept this in mind when establishing new connections over the past nine months, and by offering what value I could, I noticed a higher return of value in response.

I know the lessons I’ve taken from this experience has had a defining role in my career. I would like to thank Justice Ginnane, and all Judicial Mentors from this years’ program, for the time you’ve taken to share your insights with the next generation of lawyers. I would highly recommend any new lawyer apply for the 2018 program.

The LIV Young Lawyers is grateful to both Justice Ginnane and Ashleigh for participating in this year’s LIV Judicial Mentoring Program. If you are interested in taking part in the 2018 program, please send your expressions of interest to mentor@liv.asn.au. Applications will open in January next year.


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