Greetings from New Orleans where I will be spending the day with a law firm. I have a busy two weeks. On Friday I will be in Fort Myers, FL. Next week I will be visiting law firms in Toronto and Montreal.

When I return, Nancy and I will be substitute grandparents on Grandparents Day (didn’t know there was such a day) at Rucker Elementary School in Prosper.

Enough about me, I want to chat with you today about mentoring. I have written here before that I received a great deal of informal mentoring as a young lawyer, although we never used that term. Later, I mentored many young lawyers.

I remember when I was busy practicing law.

I loved mentoring young lawyers, but I also recognized I could only do so effectively, if I got my mind off of my work and paid close attention. It was sometimes challenging, but really important.

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Your  best leaders and mentors pay attention to details, to subtleties. Sometimes even to what you aren’t telling them.

If you have built a good relationship, your mentor should be able to quickly perceive potential trouble and opportunity early. Your mentor should initiate discussion when needed; this should not be your responsibility alone.

Again, if your mentor seems less sensitive to your needs or curious about your progress than you’d like, make your feelings known. Perhaps you can begin by educating your mentor.

The challenges you face are not the same as the one he faced when starting out, so he may need a primer. This will help your mentor relate to you on your level. What may seem like inattention on your mentor’s part may just be lack of understanding.