Resilience and Wellbeing

Mentoring matters: An opportunity to give and gain together

Sue Petricevic, a barrister at Vulcan Chambers, knows how overwhelming it can get for those entering the job market for the first time.

Mentoring matters: An opportunity to give and gain together

From finding roles to approaching companies to mapping out a career direction – law graduates face a myriad of new challenges.  

And Sue wanted to help them. So when she was given the chance to be a mentor as part of The College of Law New Zealand’s Mentoring Programme, she took it.

In this article, Sue shares the most rewarding aspects of being a mentor – and why new lawyers should try to have an experienced professional by their side.


A chance to step into the gap

I know how difficult it can be for a law graduate just starting out.

The gap between finishing university and entering the workforce can be tricky to navigate. Not every graduate has someone to turn to for guidance – unless they are lucky enough to already have a link or a contact in the field.

When I began my career, I had a few senior lawyers around me that I could approach when I needed support. But I wished that I had someone to mentor and guide me more closely. After working for a few years, I joined an in-house mentoring programme, and I still feel the benefits of what I learnt from that today.

So when the College offered me the opportunity to become a mentor myself, I saw it as a chance to be that person for someone else – especially those who are just starting out as a lawyer.

Being a part of this programme is a great chance for me to give back. I just want to be a friendly face to new graduates and new mentors. And help them make the leap from uni to practice and mentor others successfully.

Giving and gaining in return

As a mentor, I want to be there for my mentees. That means time and commitment. And that can sometimes be challenging – especially when I need to be in and out of court. But there are ways around that and I’m more than happy to make myself available in the evenings.

I’ve also learnt that it doesn’t always have to be a long conversation. We just need to start the ball rolling and keep in regular contact.

And it is all worth the effort. At the end of the day, it’s fulfilling to know I can genuinely help these young professionals. That I can open doorways or simply be there for them when they need me.

I enjoy being their sounding board. To walk them through their ideas and answer their questions. To help them find clarity and believe in themselves.

It’s immensely rewarding to know that I’m able to help someone else reach their potential.

The importance of having a mentor

I do believe that young graduates have a lot to gain by having a mentor.

In fact, it’s always invaluable to have someone to bounce ideas off and to get guidance from – through every stage of your professional life.

Having someone senior on your side to help you be and do the best you can really makes a difference.

And the beauty of it is that we are all on the same team. Ultimately, we all have the same goal. And that is to improve our legal service delivery to clients.

As mentors, we are here to share our knowledge and help you build your confidence as you start your career.

We are invested in your success. Because when you succeed, we all succeed.