The Vance Center Joins Webinar on Mentorship in Law Firms

June 2021

The Vance Center’s Women in the Profession program co-hosted with the Asociacion Iberoamericana de Propiedad Intelectual (ASIPI)webinar entitled “Mentorship in Law Firms and New Generations: a challenge that is gaining more space each day.” The webinar highlighted how mentorship is an indispensable tool to meet the challenge for law firms to retain professionals, as well as prepare new lawyers, at the highest skill levels.

More than 65 people from Latin America and the United States participated in the webinar. Margarita Zambrano, partner at Meythaler & Zambrano Abogados and founding member of the local WIP chapter in Ecuador, gave opening remarks and introduced and moderated the panel. Vance Center Committee member Taisa Markus introduced the Vance Center and explained how the WIP program began with a survey by the New York City Bar Association on best practices for gender equity in the New York City legal profession and led to various conferences in Latin America, supporting women attorneys striving to improve conditions and opportunities in their home countries and develop local WIP chapters.

Markus, a retired law firm partner, recounted her 36-year career including how mentorship influenced her. Mariana Herrero, first female partner at Galicia Abogados in Mexico and founding board member of AbogadasMX,  described how Mexico’s WIP chapter started as a mentoring program with only 20 pairings in the first year and seven years later with 170, including male  mentors. The organization over this time, according to Herrero, has impacted more than 800 people, and although there is no proof of correlation, the number of women attorneys in law firms has increased.

Marcus de Monzarz, of Monzarz Consultores in Peru, with more than 20 years of experience managing people, discussed the difference between executive coaching and mentoring: coaching is led mainly by the coachee, and the coaching goes at the pace of the coach; in contrast, mentoring can be directed by both the mentee and the mentor with greater benefit. De Monzarz also explained that mentoring within law firms can be strategic, for example, by enabling the firm to retain talent and reduce turnover, and connecting different generations of lawyers. He identified two types of challenges: technical and adaptive, and stressed that all mentoring programs should start with clarifying the objective, elicit feedback, and provide evaluation of results.