Mentoring at Mayer Brown: A Preview for Law Students

Published: May 17, 2024

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For law students, the journey from classroom to actual practice can include uncertainty and challenges, and the perspective and advice of someone more experienced in the field can make all the difference.  Mentors offer invaluable support, insight, and encouragement for navigating legal education and practice.  In this piece, we share what mentoring looks like at Mayer Brown and provide practical tips for mentees to develop fulfilling mentoring relationships.

Mentoring at Mayer Brown

Mentoring is an integral part of our summer program and a core value of the firm.  Each summer associate is typically matched with a partner mentor and an associate mentor during the ten-week program.  Mentors ensure that each summer associate is integrating at the firm, meeting lawyers, and receiving work assignments and observational opportunities in their practice areas of interest.  Mentors also advise on ways to approach work situations and assignments.  Many summer associates have not worked in a law firm before so it helps to have such personal support. 

This year, US summer associates from eight local offices will gather in Chicago for our inaugural Summer Associate Academy.  We will offer content on developing your personal brand, building trust, navigating communication styles in the workplace, and making the most of the summer associate experience.  Additionally, we will host a speed-mentoring event where summer associates and firm lawyers have topic-focused and impactful conversations, rotating periodically to maximize the number of new connections. 

The summer previews what mentoring opportunities await students upon their return as full-time associates.  Our associates benefit from formal office mentoring programs and interactive mentoring events planned by their offices.  They can access firm-wide mentoring resources, including CONNECTIVITY – a technological platform that recommends mentors for aspiring mentees – as well as a Global Mentor Roster for Lawyers that identifies enthusiastic mentors and their mentoring topics of interest.  Annually, we offer global mentoring trainings and panels, featuring external consultants and experienced mentors at the firm who share best practices and career advice.  Our quarterly Mentoring Spotlight series showcases thoughtful interviews with mentors and mentees, who address what mentoring means to them, how they developed mentoring relationships, their approach to professional growth, and more.

Mentoring Tips and Best Practices for Law Students

We suggest below some mentoring tips and best practices for summer associates before, during, and after the summer program.  The ten weeks pass quickly so it is important to make a plan and invest in these relationships early on and throughout for success. 

Before the Summer Program

Before the summer program, ask your program coordinators if there is a formal mentoring program for summer associates.  If so, you will likely hear from your assigned mentors; you can also email them and introduce yourself.  Review their profiles on the firm’s website to learn more about them and their areas of practice.  Consider asking about their client work and upcoming office events so you can preview what to expect once you start.  Doing so will help you connect with other colleagues and identify early potential opportunities.  Tell your mentors what you are most anticipating about the summer program and what you hope to gain from the experience.

During the Summer Program

When the summer program starts, your assigned mentors should invite you to coffee, lunch, and office events.  Feel free to invite them, too.  They can show you around the office, facilitate introductions, and answer any questions.  Knowing what practice areas and people interest you most will help you identify additional colleagues to meet.  Lawyer schedules often fill quickly, especially in the summer, so request to connect sooner than later.  Meet as many people as you can, without stretching yourself too thin.  Get curious, genuinely take an interest in them, and ask how you can be helpful to them.  No problem if you do not click with everyone.  Mentoring can happen through formal matches or through organic interactions.

Additionally, schedule regular check-in meetings with your mentors, which will help everyone stay on track in the mentoring relationship.  Be prepared for these meetings and have an agenda or topics you would like to discuss.  Ask questions to which you actually would like answers and, not just for the sake of asking questions.  Set realistic meeting goals, be intentional, and express vulnerability if it feels comfortable.  It is completely normal not to know much and feel uncertain.  Discuss your work experiences and assignments.  Be open to your mentors’ feedback, viewing it as a gift – ultimately, you decide whether or not to implement it.

At the end of each mentoring conversation, identify and reflect on any key takeaways.  What are your next steps and how will you stay accountable?  Consider scheduling your next mentoring check-in so everyone can look forward to it.  In the meantime, keep mentors updated on your progress and outcomes on discussion topics.  Expressing your gratitude for their time and advice goes a long way in strengthening the relationship.  Thank-you cards and emails at the end of the summer often leave a positive impression. 

After the Summer Program

After the summer program ends, stay in touch with your mentors.  If they shared upcoming work or life events with you, ask how they went.  Let them know how school and life are going and how their advice is turning out for you.  Pass on articles or other events that may interest your mentors.  Stay abreast of office and firm news.  Attend any firm programs that are open to law students.  Express gratitude for the kindness you received and pay it forward.  Your sincere efforts will ease your return to the firm and lay a strong foundation for becoming an excellent lawyer.

For more information about Mayer Brown including career opportunities, please visit our Careers page.


Andrea Yang is the Career Development Advisor – US at Mayer Brown LLP, helping lawyers with professional development, career satisfaction, and work/life transitions.

Brooke Ross is the Assistant Director of Student Recruitment – US at Mayer Brown LLP, overseeing the national summer associate and student recruitment programs at the firm.