Mentoring and its Effects on the Progression of Female Solicitors’ Careers

MADEJ-WALLS, Edyta J. (2019). Mentoring and its Effects on the Progression of Female Solicitors’ Careers. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Mentoring can be conceptualised differently according to the contributor, but at the core of the mentoring practice is a focus on learning, power sharing, inclusivity, participatory actions and democratic engagement. 1 Increasingly, younger people desire a better work life balance. They want to be empowered, to thrive and be more in charge of their career building. As a result this younger generation requires to be kept motivated in their career and also to have access to guid es who can help them achieve such a balanc e. For many years, men have benefited from informal mentoring in male dominated fields while women experienced difficulty in fi n ding mentors in masculine organization culture. It can be argued that this is the place for career mentoring programme s Mentoring is a directive form of help, especially benefiting early career individuals on their journey to the most senior levels. It is meant to reduce the chances for, in the context of this research, law firms los ing valuable individuals and as a by p roduct of advancing the career aspirations of this group to enable them to prosper in a n increasingly competitive environment Furthermore, mentoring aims to help develop better professional practice, collaboration between different generations of law f irm leaders and cultural intelligence. Indirect benefits of effective mentoring programmes can include a reduction in staff turnover and the associated costs in recruiting replacements; and motivating and/or replacing underperforming individuals who are no t acting to their full capacity. The mentoring programme may offer a solution to such problems or perhaps could be used to anticipate the m, create solutions and thus establish better functioning law firms. Together with the mentors who have relevant experi ence and knowledge, they are able to proffer guidance,advice and recommendations to mentees. The focus then stays on real and practical development, helping individuals to develop their careers to more senior levels with the support of the mentor. This empirical, qualitative study is based on female lawyers’ experiences of mentoring at various stages of their legal careers. Particular focus is put on female lawyers and their career progressions to more senior levels of the profession with the suppor t of either /or formal or informal mentoring programmes. The participants to this study were practising lawyers at different phases of their legal careers. Hence, the participants perceptions offer a range of views and evidence which help when draw ing conc lusions from the contrasting perspectives of the ir shared experiences. The varied mentoring practices evidenced in this research incorporate formal mentoring programmes established to run for a designated period of time; informal mentoring programmes op erating with no such fixed duration and formal mentoring programmes which progress to an informal type, and then continue indefinitely T he findings demonstrate diverse support such as positive developments of broader networking, professional and personal growth of mentees’ confidence and individual career progression. In addition to the above, significant enthusiasm was reported for the development of a multi mentor form of support to further improve female lawyers’ career progressions However, an ultima te conclusion i s the finding of a general lack of consistency in mentoring support amongst the participating lawyers’ employers which continue s to limit the effectiveness of mentoring in law firms.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Marson, James [0000-0001-9705-9671]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr James Marson
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2020 15:37
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:04

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