SCL Mentoring – a call to your better self!

September 19, 2018

I was once told by a venerable colleague to put my punchline
at the beginning, justify it in the middle and then repeat it in the
conclusion, following that advice:

Become an SCL Mentor, it will improve your professional life
and help you to connect with the wider SCL community. Your unique experience
and a few hours of your time could make all the difference to the next
generation of lawyers. You don’t need to have 20 years’ experience, in fact
being closer to the experience of being a student may well provide useful

I first became a mentor by accident. It was a happy

I attended a Business Link (now defunct) law clinic as an advisor
as a favour to a friend. Business Link wanted to run more of these clinics but
couldn’t find lawyers to support it consistently. I spoke to our trainees, put
together some brief training for them and then oversaw their advice. As a
by-product of this process, the trainees provided feedback on what they enjoyed
and what piqued their interest from the wide variety of issues which popped up
at the clinics. We discussed this, and it helped in trainee skills assessment
and career choices.

Without realising it, I had started on a fairly clumsy,
homespun path to becoming a mentor.

Since then I have participated in several mentoring schemes
for aspiring lawyers and tech business owners, for everyone from undergraduates
to those seeking mid-career change, for organisations involved in supporting
start-ups like Amazon Web Services to LPC course attendees. It has always been
interesting and challenging.

What I really like about it is that it is probably some of
the most concentrated effective use of time. A small amount of effort can make
a real difference to someone who might not have a relation in a law firm or
grades which allow them to glide into the next phase of legal life.

Lawyers are often by nature, pragmatic, sociable,
fair-minded and generous with their time. I appreciate that flies somewhat in
the face of the numerous jokes at our expense of the “what do you call 100
lawyers at the bottom of the sea?” variety, but nevertheless, with the odd
exception, helping others is in our DNA.

We can all recall the lawyers along the way who provided a
few memorable wise words or provided an example to follow. The lawyers who went
out of their way to spend a bit of time to help our thinking when we didn’t
know what route to take, those who took the time to explain their reasoning and
method, not just the task they wanted undertaking.

Reaching a little further back in time, many of us can
remember the level of worry around finding a training contract or a first step
into the world of legal work. Many of us benefited from assistance with getting
started in tidying up a CV, or tips on what skills or experience to try and
brush up, in applying for a training contract or a first step into a law firm
or a legal work environment.

SCL’s tagline is ‘Tech Law for Everyone’. For many of the
current student population without a relative in a law firm or perfect grades
(and even for those who do), an experienced helping hand from a mentor can make
all the difference, not just to get them a start they might not otherwise have,
but to make better decisions about what a future career might look like.

SCL has made a great start to widening participation and
helping the next generation of tech lawyers, with the launch of the SCL
ambassador scheme earlier in the year. SCL are committed to providing
structured and helpful support to SCL mentors, but now we need the wider SCL
community to get involved. Whether you have been a mentor before or not, we
would love to hear from you.


Be an active part of the SCL community, become an SCL
Mentor, it will improve your life and probably the opportunities and decisions
of others. Contact SCL at to find out more about the SCL mentoring scheme and to apply to become a
mentor, it may be the best few minutes you spend at work this week.

Mark Lumley is a Partner at Shulmans LLP and an SCL Trustee. 

All SCL University Ambassadors are offered the opportunity to be mentored and SCL is also seeking to recruit
mentors for the forthcoming Student
Tech Law Challenge
. But, while the need for mentors for those purposes is especially
pressing, mentors are sought beyond these categories.