While attending the American Bar Association Equal Justice Conference last week in Orlando, Florida, I had many enjpoyable reunions with colleagues whom I hadn’t seen in at least a year or more. Being in the public interest field, I have been able to form many professional and personal friendships. In my work environment here in Georgia, and within my national and regional networks of colleagues, I have found several key mentors over the years to help me in my work.
The mentoring I have sought out over the years has centered on effective writing, management skills and listening. The mentors I have chosen may not even realize that they are serving in that role for me. One thing is certain: my mentors are ahead of me or beside me in their career paths and on the management ladder.
With one notable exception.
I have been actively engaged in applying technology to the delivery of legal information and volunteer lawyer support for about six years. I have formed wonderful, lasting professional and personal relationships with techies and techie lawyers in this period of time. I chose several of these people as mentors on special topics. Most everything I have learned about technology and about its nature as it relates to law I have absorbed from my mentors.
As I looked around the room in the several technology-related sessions at last week’s ABA conference, what should have been obvious to me all along became quite clear: my tech mentors are younger than I– and in some cases, much younger! Some are on very different career paths; some are management, some not yet management. I’m betting they haven’t even realized they are serving as valued mentors to me (and others).
So, if you’re like me, tail-end baby boomer or older, think about your tech mentors and support them in ways that help them grow in their careers.