At a time when large firms are throwing young associates overboard and cutting down on training all in the name of profit, Iowa lawyer Steve Lombardi seems downright anachronistic. With thirty years of experience under his belt, Lombardi could be focusing his efforts on expanding his practice or prepping for retirement, but instead, he’s doing his part to help new lawyers find the kind of mentoring necessary to get off to a successful start. In a recent blog post, Lombardi lays out a dozen solid tips on how “can-do,” motivated young lawyers can find training and mentoring, like working hard to impress experienced lawyers and accepting decent referrals even if they may involve some work. Most importantly, Lombardi extends an open invitation to new lawyers to join a group who could meet once a month and learn the nuts and bolts of practice from other experienced lawyers in the community.
If you’re a new lawyer in Lombardi’s area, take him up on this opportunity. The benefits of this type of mentoring and relationship-building seem like a no-brainer, yet surprisingly, most mentor programs fail not because of lack of mentors, but rather, lack of participation from mentees. Likewise, if you’re an experienced solo, why not follow Lombardi’s lead and find a way to help the new generation of lawyers, whether it’s through hosting a mentorship program or organizing a field trip to the courthouse or even offering to review a newbie’s pleadings every once in a while? Just as we lawyers have an obligation to provide pro bono, so too, we have an obligation to train younger lawyers if only in fealty to those who helped us find our way.