26 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 1 JANUARY 2020
• ethical duties (as one lawyer remarked, “The student needs to
understand the often conflicting legal duties that arise in the
course of practice and how to navigate the issues”)—the student
must consider relevant duties to the client, the court, opposing
counsel and the public at large;
• day-to-day office management; and
• professionalism—remember that the student may never have
worked in an office before.
The Importance of Ongoing Feedback: Professional and Personal
The principal should always keep in mind that mentoring is a dynamic and
ongoing experience. There may be lots of interesting work being assigned
to the student, but the student’s growth often occurs when both the principal
and the student can engage in a constructive review of progress from
both a practical (basis “How do I address the court?”) and an ethical basis
(“How do I deal with an unrepresented party?”).
Many of the lawyers interviewed for this article stressed that the principal
should always be aware of the student’s emotional well-being. The principal
should monitor whether the student is overly stressed, anxious,
worried, etc. Is there appropriate guidance that the principal can offer even
where the issues extend beyond the workplace?
A principal should always be aware of the specific temperament of the
student and interact accordingly. For instance, some individuals may be
more willing to seek guidance and assistance from their mentor proactively.
Others may be quieter and therefore more reticent in approaching
an individual they consider to be their “boss”.
Feedback is a two-way street. Principals should encourage students to
offer their perspective on the work product and the principal’s mentoring.
Exposure to Members of the Bar and Other Legal Resources
A student benefits by being exposed to a variety of lawyers with different
styles of practice and methods for approaching problems. It is important
for a student to see the legal profession outside the immediate office
Further, the principal should not hesitate to introduce the student to all the
resources available through the Law Society, CBABC and other relevant organizations
such as The Advocates’ Society, the Trial Lawyers Association and so
on. Do not assume the student will discover these resources on their own.
Tips for Success
Lawyers interviewed for this article noted the following tips for success: