Back in January, we announced the winners of our Set for Success Mentor Competition, with the eight winning students receiving personal mentorship from a leading industry professional. The students were paired with their mentors, all ULaw alumni themselves and working in areas of law matching their mentees aspirations.
We have since caught up with some of the winning mentees to see how they found the experience and what benefits they have gained from the mentorship.
Was there anything specific you wanted to work on with your mentor?
William Headlam-Wells, an LPC student, was mentored by Amelia Wilson, a program lawyer for Channel 4. “I was particularly interested in learning more about Amelia’s area of law and life as an in-house solicitor,” William said. He explained he hopes to become a media and entertainment solicitor himself. “I was also keen to get advice on the journey to qualifying from someone who converted later in their career like me.”
How did you find the mentoring experience?
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” William said, “I really enjoyed my meetings with Amelia.” Amelia Wilson also mentored GDL student Will Mak, another budding media and entertainment solicitor. “It’s very rewarding,” Will said, “Amelia provided an insight into the legal and compliance issues relevant to her role. She also arranged a call with her colleague who shared her own experience and gave me some career advice.”
Jessica Lynn Boakye, one of our LPC LLM students, was mentored by Michael O'Neill, senior legal counsel at Aviva. “It’s been great learning from someone with extensive knowledge and experience in the legal field,” Jessica explained, “and it has come as a timely source of motivation to continue pursuing a career in law.”
What have you learnt is the most important factor in being a good mentee?
“Be curious and ask questions,” Jessica said. Will suggests mentees are “proactive, curious about the mentor’s work, and not afraid to ask questions. Make sure you are committed to the mentor scheme and be open-minded. It will be very rewarding, if you are willing to learn from the mentor.”
What did you get out of the mentorship?
“The mentorship exceeded my expectations,” Will said, “I have also become more confident in myself and optimistic about my future career.” Isabella echoed this, saying “My confidence has grown, I am challenging myself, which is all down to IU Ting-Kwok’s encouragement.” Finally, William found he learned far more than he anticipated about media law and said, “it was really useful and interesting being able to talk about that with a practicing lawyer.”
What skills do you think are important in a mentor?
All the mentees we spoke with emphasised the importance of a mentor being a good listener. Jessica suggests it’s also important for mentors to “relate to the stage the mentee is at in their career path, and tailoring advice and sessions in that regard. A mentor should be a key part in building a career.” Will thought important mentor skills included, “providing the mentee with constructive feedback and advice. Moreover, a mentor should be able to encourage and motivate the mentee to achieve their goals.”
What has been the best thing about your mentor? What have you taken away from this experience?
Each of the winners talked of the positive relationships they had built with their mentor. “Amelia was so generous with her time,” William said. “Always warm and friendly and interested in me and my career.” Jessica said of her mentor: “I have enjoyed how easy-going Michael has been,” and Isabella said she “cannot praise IU Ting-Kwok enough, he is amazing and super friendly. We talk regularly and he kindly updates me with good opportunities and articles.”
What has been the highlight of being a mentee?
“The highlight was the ability to gain one to one mentoring from the world’s most elite solicitors,” Isabella said. Jessica said the best part was “sharing my journey with Michael and getting to know more about his journey into the profession.” Will found the, “opportunity to network” with Amelia a highlight, and William thought “learning about the key role that legal teams play in creating TV programmes” was particularly helpful.
Would you consider becoming a mentor in the future after this experience?
Isabella, Jessica, Will and William each offered the same, emphatic answer. “Yes.”
What advice would you give to anyone considering joining a mentor scheme or entering the mentoring competition?
“Be engaging,” Jessica said: “No question is a silly question. Your mentor is willing to help you and they have extensive knowledge and experience to back that help.” William said: “Even the process of applying is beneficial because it makes you think about aspects of your career that you can work on.” Finally, Isabella suggests: “Have a go. There is nothing to lose. It is such a good experience. I recommend this to everyone.”
To find out more about our mentoring programme and the opportunity to apply to be mentored by leading industry professionals, speak with our Employability Team.