“I participate in RSP because I feel it's important for new attorneys to have access to experienced attorneys willing to be active listeners and to share what they've learned in their personal and professional life,” says Jennifer Lee Edmondson, a mentor with the State Bar of Wisconsin Ready.Set.Practice. (RSP) mentoring program.
Oct. 5, 2022 – When Jennifer Lee Edmondson graduated from U.W. Law School in 1986, there were no mentorship programs like there are today.
That’s why she signed up as a mentor with the State Bar of Wisconsin
Ready.Set.Practice. (RSP) mentoring program. “There were no attorneys in my family, and I could have used a program like this,” she said.
Edmondson, based in Appleton, has practiced in the area of worker's compensation for 28 years, and in a variety of areas before that. She also operates a nonprofit.
“I participate in RSP because I feel it's important for new attorneys to have access to experienced attorneys willing to be active listeners and to share what they've learned in their personal and professional life,” Edmondson said. “I also think it is especially important for women attorneys to help and encourage one another.”
This year, her mentee is Catherine Tang, founder of
Catherine Tang Law in Madison and Oakland, California. A 2018 graduate of Concord Law at Purdue University Global, she practices in intellectual property.
Tang signed up for the program because she was new to Wisconsin. “I thought it would be great to have a Wisconsin mentor. The pandemic made it challenging to be in a new area and it was comforting to have someone local to discuss the law with,” Tang said.
For Edmondson, “it was a pleasant surprise to learn that my mentee was also an Asian woman. Despite being from different generations, we learned that we have had similar experiences in both our professional and personal lives. When I was at U.W. Law School, there was no Asian Law Student Association. Meeting another Asian woman attorney has been wonderful.”
As a mentor, Tang said, Edmondson is extremely thoughtful, thorough, and helpful. “I learned about her career, and am able to pick her brain on various issues I encountered.”
There is learning on both sides, says Edmondson. “Catherine possesses her own excellent set of legal knowledge, skills, and life experiences. I've learned new things about technology and nonprofits from Catherine to incorporate into my law practice and also the nonprofit I operate,” Edmondson said.
The two have also become friends. “We plan to continue to keep in contact,” Edmondson said.
“I thought it would be great to have a Wisconsin mentor. The pandemic made it challenging to be in a new area and it was comforting to have someone local to discuss the law with,” says Catherine Tang, founder of Catherine Tang Law in Madison and Oakland, California. She is a mentee with the State Bar of Wisconsin Ready.Set.Practice. (RSP) mentoring program.
Make a New Friend, Gain Knowledge and Experience
It is very important for new lawyers to connect with more experienced lawyers to help navigate the industry, Tang said. “It's always nice to know that someone has been through the same things as you, and to get an idea of what your future could look like.”
For those seeking a mentor, the program offers the chance to benefit from more experienced colleagues. “As a mentee, you'll be able to pick the brain of an experienced attorney, and make a new friend,” Edmondson said. “It's a very fulfilling and enjoyable experience.”
Experienced lawyers willing to be mentors should not hesitate to sign up, Edmondson said. “Do it. Do it for others. Do it for yourself,” she said. “As a mentor, you'll be helping another person who wants help, and in the process, you'll learn new things from your mentee, and new things about yourself.
“Experienced lawyers can give back by helping someone who is just starting off,” Tang said. “I love the program and am glad that I participated, and I hope to one day give back to the next generation.”
About Ready.Set.Practice: Sign Up by Oct. 15
Ready.Set.Practice. is a volunteer mentoring program that matches lawyers in need with experienced mentors who can assist them with law practice management, effective client representation, and career development.
Currently, RSP is open for applications through Oct. 15. The program runs the calendar year, from January to December 2023. If you are an experienced lawyer interested in sharing your knowledge with a colleague, this program is for you.
If you are a lawyer just starting out, a law student looking, or an experienced lawyer who seeks guidance in a new practice area, apply to be a mentee. Law students are encouraged to sign up.
Participants in the program have access to many materials and resources designed to save time and assist in creating a plan and goals. For more information,
visit the Ready.Set.Practice. resource page on WisBar.org.
Sign up by Oct. 15. Fill out the application at
wisbar.org/readysetpractice – either:
Don’t hesitate – we’re filling the openings on a first come, first served basis.
Karen Beall, State Bar member services program assistant.