Passing the baton: the MLS mentor program
Phoebe Lin is a current 2nd year MLS JD student. Jorden Lam (BCom/LLB 2010, LLM 2014) is the Company Secretary and General Counsel for HESTA, the industry super fund for health and community services. They met in 2016 through the MLS Mentor Program, in which many MLS alumni like Jorden take part. Phoebe and Jorden reflect upon their participation in the program and share their story.
Above image (L-R): Jorden Lam and Phoebe Lin. Image credit: Thibaut Clamart
I was unsure about what to expect from a law degree. The mentoring program seemed to be the perfect opportunity to get some much-needed advice about my studies and possible career paths. I wanted to engage one-on-one with someone who would be able to give me insights into the legal profession, and who had been through what I was going through as a first-year law student.
Being able to participate in the program has been invaluable to me. Through our coffee catch-ups, Jorden shared her experiences of law school and her career progression, giving me insights into what working in the law entails. I was lucky to have been paired with a mentor as open, patient and generous with her time and knowledge as Jorden. She helped me to explore areas of law that I might like to pursue, gave me study tips, feedback on job applications and resumes, as well as recommendations on electives to take at MLS.
The most memorable moment of the experience was definitely when Jorden offered me work at her conveyancing firm! MLS had made it clear that we should not expect job offers, so when Jorden mentioned how her conveyancing firm was looking for someone and asked whether I would be interested, I was extremely grateful for the opportunity. Thanks to Jorden, I am now developing valuable professional skills.
I definitely think I will become a mentor one day. Participating in the program has really made a difference to me personally, so I know how much it can help a student who’s trying to navigate through the complexities of law school and career choices to have the valuable advice of a mentor. I would like to be able to do what Jorden has done for me.
I had been reflecting upon my career to date, and about how lucky I have been to have met inspiring leaders who have been generous in offering me their professional guidance. I had started writing about my learnings via an online blog as a way of processing and articulating my thoughts. Writing about my experiences made me think how important and valuable it has been for me to be given insights from those who had trodden the same path as me already, so I felt the desire to do the same as a mentor.
The most memorable part of the program has been seeing Phoebe’s enthusiasm towards learning and understanding what she wants out of her career. It’s hard to know until you have had some experience, and I think it has been great to see Phoebe be challenged in our conversations around articulating what motivates and interests her. When the role came up in my business, I thought of Phoebe straight away! It was a great opportunity to give her exposure to property law and to an office working environment, which I understood she hadn’t had any experience in.
Participating in the mentoring program has allowed me to reconnect with the law school and its students, and to re-engage with the University as an alumna to share my experience in a valuable and impactful way. I am passionate about exploring opportunities to knowledge-share, and I think sometimes in professional life we can become too focussed only on sharing industry specific knowledge across our work networks.
It is immensely important that alumni take the time to reflect upon their role and responsibility as leaders and how they can use their leadership and influence to create meaningful impact in different communities. Mentoring not only allows you to offer valuable guidance to someone by simply sharing your own story, but also causes you to think about your own learning to date. It’s so rewarding to develop a relationship with a mentee and coach them into achieving their goals by just giving them a few nudges in the right direction. These are clearly intelligent and talented individuals who will invariably join our workforces in the future, so we should certainly lend them a helping hand to succeed!
Find out more about the MLS Mentor Program here