Wisconsin Lawyer: President's Message: Mentoring:

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    President's Message: Mentoring

    Mentoring a less-experienced lawyer benefits both attorneys in the relationship.

    Patrick J. Fiedler

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    As regular readers of this column are aware, my deadline for submission is the fifth of the month before the month when the column will run. If you are not a regular reader, do not fret. I am fully aware that my monthly messages are not carved in stone and brought down from Mount Sinai. But I digress. To me, the toughest part of my year as president is writing this column. Coming up with 500 words is not the problem. The problem is coming up with a topic that will have some degree of interest. This month my thanks go to a legal assistant at Axley who has asked me to mentor a young lawyer named Alicia, who I was scheduled to meet in person for the first time on January 6. Thus, my topic is mentoring.

    Patrick J. Fiedlercom pfiedler axley Patrick J. Fiedler, Marquette 1980, is a litigator with Axley Brynelson LLP, in Madison.

    Alicia and I have spoken by phone. She received her law degree in 2011 at a school in New York state. Alicia now resides in Dane County and wants to build a solo practice. She has an interest in criminal law. So what will I tell her?

    The first thing I will do is listen. I need to know her background, how established her practice is, why she located here, and where she sees herself in five years, 10 years, and beyond. What drove Alicia to become a lawyer? I will encourage her to be candid and assure her that what she tells me will remain confidential and that the only dumb questions are the ones not asked. We will then kick ideas back and forth.

    Undoubtedly, I will encourage her to get involved with the local bar association, the Dane County Bar Association. We will discuss not only the networking opportunities it presents but also the CLE credits that can be obtained. The DCBA also has great social events, which are a lot of fun. And I would be remiss if I did not tell her about similar opportunities offered by the State Bar.

    My advice to Alicia will be to get involved and be active. Many of my referrals come from other lawyers. Typically, you do not refer someone to a lawyer you don’t know. Finally, I will tell Alicia to call me at any time with any type of question. And to keep me updated on how her career is progressing.

    “Over the years, I have received much help from other lawyers and judges. This is my chance to acknowledge and partially repay that debt.”

    What will I get from this? Over the years, I have received much help from other lawyers and judges. This is my chance to acknowledge and partially repay that debt. I like lawyers. I don’t always agree with them, but I respect the advocacy they provide for each client, one client at a time. Frankly, I am flattered any time that someone asks for my advice.

    So Alicia, I look forward to meeting you. Thank you for your confidence in me. And thank you for choosing this noble profession.