Middletons will host the launch of Victorian Women Lawyers’ 2009 Law Student Mentoring Program and farewell the highly successful 2008 class in Middletons’ Melbourne office on 1 April 2009.
Victorian Women Lawyers Convenor, Jennifer Kanis, said “It’s fantastic to have Middletons’ support, which actually seems rather natural as Middletons has the highest number of VWL members of any law firm in Victoria and contributed about a dozen mentors to last year’s Program.”
The program consists of law students and mentors (female lawyers) being paired together based on common professional interests and backgrounds – all pairs are encouraged to meet on a monthly basis.
The Honourable Justice Marcia Neave AO of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Court of Appeal, will be in attendance to mark the occasion.
“The benefits of mentoring are widely acknowledged, particularly in the legal profession. Career progression, the culture of law firms and work-life balance are among the hot topics that female law students are concerned about and that practitioners deal with on a daily basis. Additionally, practitioners seek opportunities to develop their leadership skills among their junior peers.” said Justice Neave.
A participant in the 2008 program, Middletons’ Senior Associate, Jacquie Mangan, described the experience of being a mentor as “really rewarding”.
“I felt a real sense of satisfaction in being able to inspire and assist a law student as she took the initial steps in her legal career. I also benefited from reflecting on my own career as I shared my professional experiences with her,” Ms Mangan said.
Ms Mangan plans to stay in touch with her student beyond the conclusion of the 2008 mentoring program, saying “I am really looking forward to witnessing this young woman develop into an exceptional lawyer in the years to come. I hope I can continue to offer her useful guidance and support as her career progresses.”
Middletons has a well established Women’s Information Network which aims to provide opportunities for female lawyers in different practice groups to meet and form professional relationships, assist in the professional development of female lawyers, encourage female lawyers to actively mentor more junior staff, provide educational opportunities specifically relevant to female legal practitioners, enhance relationships with the firm’s existing female clients through events and seminars, and contribute to the wider community.
According to Middletons’ Director, Human Resources, Tracey McDonald, “In providing these opportunities to female lawyers we are supporting a new generation of women leaders and highly skilled legal practitioners who are realising ever increasing possibilities.”
In addition, Ms McDonald highlighted Middletons’ strong commitment to the Victorian Women Lawyers Law Student Mentoring Program “as a great initiative to support and guide junior women lawyers as they prepare for their legal career and develop through the ranks of law firms such as Middletons.