A few weeks ago I visited the Bennett Jones  Calgary and Edmonton offices to make presentations on How to Prepare a Business Plan and Client Development 2014: Using the Old and New Tools for Success.

While in Calgary, I spent time with Greg Liakopoulos, a real estate partner I had coached in 2010. When I coached Greg, I noted that one of his core values was mentoring young lawyers in his firm. In Calgary, I learned that he is currently mentoring a young real estate associate, Christie Conway.

I was impressed with the effort each put into the mentoring and the results they were achieving. I asked Greg and Christie to write about their perspectives on mentoring. Today, I want to share Greg’s perspective, and tomorrow I will share Christie’s perspective. If you are a mentor or a mentee, I am confident you will find some valuable takeaways from these two posts.

Here is Greg’s view as a mentor:



For me mentoring has always been about sharing my experience and providing advice (sometimes unsolicited) to help the associate mentee  become a better lawyer. I viewed it as a one-way teaching and learning experience. Recently, I have discovered it is a two-way learning experience as  I am learning from Christie. I am a better lawyer having her on my team.

What has made our mentoring relationship work so effectively?  Here are a few important things:

  1. The Ideal Mentee: Christie wants to have a mentor and wants to learn,  and she chose her mentor wisely, if I may say so… Seriously, she wanted to learn, not just about the law, but also about the process and career development to become the best lawyer she can become. I welcomed mentoring her because of her desire to learn each and every day.
  2. An Open and Personal Relationship: We are different people and are in different stages in our life, but we get along really well and understand each other. We communicate openly and seek to be candid with each other. Christie knows my family and I know her family. That has made our bond even stronger. I hear the saying sometimes that “its not personal its business.” In my world everything is personal. That’s how I roll and I don’t separate the two.
  3. Think Long Term and Pursue Excellence: Mentoring takes time. Building a successful career is a long term process. To use a phrase I have heard from Cordell, we are each pursuing excellence and in that pursuit, we hope to find success.
  4. Celebrate the Mentoring Relationship with Others: We celebrate our mentoring relationship. We want our real estate colleagues to join us on this journey. We strive to model what great teamwork is all about and encourage others to participate.
  5. Leave a Legacy: My clients know and trust Christie, in part because I have included her in client meetings. Clients feel comfortable calling her directly. I feel strongly that as partners, we are stewards of our practice for the next generation. That will be our legacy. I don’t want to be remembered by my time sheet. If we can build an even better team, I will be proud when I am no longer able to hold the pen (or blackberry).

I believe each of Greg’s points is on target. Tomorrow, I will share Christie’s perspective.