The Benefits of Having a Mentor

by David Ross

Do you ever find yourself with questions on how to prepare for your future?  Ever wonder how others may have gone through situations you’ve experienced?  Unsure just who to ask those pointed questions on things you really want to know but are afraid to ask – for example, what really is the best way to deal with office politics?  Consider identifying a mentor – someone you feel comfortable asking questions and engaging in conversation.

Mentoring can be formal or informal.  Some organizations you are already a part of may have structured, formal mentoring programs.  Take advantage of these opportunities to connect with individuals willing to share their experiences and be a resource for you.  In other instances, you may gravitate towards someone informally and periodically seek their perspectives on different issues.  These ad hoc “mentoring” situations can be just as informative and useful as well. Either way, mentors can be excellent sources of advice who may offer interesting ideas based on their own experience and knowledge.

While mentoring can be great from a career perspective, don’t overlook additional benefits.  Mentors may be interested in your growth and development as a person and can possibly offer their thoughts on any variety of subjects.   Once you identify additional, shared interests, you’ll find your discussions may expand to encompass a wider array of topics.

The strongest mentor/mentee relationships develop over extended periods of time.  Definitely seek out opportunities to connect with a mentor – you may find it a rewarding experience that serves you well both now and in the future.

What’s in a Number?

by Todd Rothman

While the annual law school rankings featured in U.S. News & World Report can certainly serve as a resource in the admissions process, as a pre-law advisor, I have found that their popularity, ubiquity, and influence among law school applicants continues to be undeniably significant, if not all-together overshadowing.  In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a law school applicant who couldn’t enumerate “the Top Ten law schools” in chronological order, or recite the rank number of their first-choice law school, with ease.  It is important to recognize, though, that this particular ranking system has some inherent flaws and inconsistencies in its construction and, as a result, some genuine limitations in its scope and usefulness.  To that end, I encourage applicants to maintain a healthy skepticism about how meaningful and objective these rankings actually are; and, more importantly, that they not be used as the primary or sole resource as they develop lists of schools and, ultimately, as they make their decisions about where to matriculate.


Law schools themselves, though, are far from immune from the aforementioned popularity, ubiquity, and influence of the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings.  This recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, however, sheds some light on how the competition that these rankings provoke among law schools can have serious, and sometimes detrimental, implications, for law students and law schools alike – specifically, considerable tuition increases and noteworthy declines in minority enrollments.