The 2024/25 programme will be open for Mentor and Mentee applications soon.
Supporting Women in the Profession
The Law Society is committed to promoting gender equality, diversity and inclusion within the solicitors’ profession.
As part of our commitment, we are proud to offer the gift of a highly successful and rewarding Women in Leadership Mentoring Programme. The Law Society is focused on investing in the success of its members with the aim of supporting women who wish to grow personally and professionally and advance their careers to a senior level.
Mentoring partners generally commit to meeting once a month for around an hour over the course of eight months.
Why become a Mentee?
As a mentee, it could be that you have concerns about how to progress to your next role, want help to develop a new skill that you find difficult, improve job performance and increase your chance of promotion or simply want some guidance to network and build connections through this important stage in your career. If you are a solicitor who is willing to ask questions, take direction, be open minded, eager to learn and honest about how you want to progress your career, your participation in this programme is recommended.
For the programme, all female solicitors, who are members of the Law Society of Ireland may apply to be mentored.
Why Become a Mentor?
As a mentor, passing on your experience and knowledge can be very rewarding and is a great way to give back to others in the legal profession. The mentor panel is made up of senior solicitors (female and male) from the public and private sectors– Are you focused on sharing your wisdom and actively listening to a mentee? Are you able to focus on the experience of the mentee and eager for them to succeed? Can you take the initiative and lead a mentee?
We welcome applications from solicitors from all sectors of the profession and all parts of the country. Training and guidance are provided in the form of Law Society Skillnet and peer support.
The training is in two parts and is coordinated by Law Society Skillnet. Part 1 is a self-paced eLearning course that will take participants approximately 90 minutes to complete. The course covers an introduction to mentoring in a professional setting, an exploration of how you can successfully build the foundations of a strong mentoring relationship and an outline of the key skills required in the role. There are interactive activities to complete (including scenario-based questions) and useful resources that can be downloaded. The course must be completed prior to Part 2 of the training.
Part 2 of the training is a follow-up one-hour session (via Zoom) where we will look at the structure and key elements of the Law Society’s Women in Leadership mentoring programme and allow time for any questions participants may have about the process. Following the training, participants are provided with details of their mentor/mentee match.
Timelines for the 2024/25 Programme
April 2024: Applications for both Mentors and Mentee open.
July 2024: Matching takes place during the month of July.
August 2024: Applicants (mentors and mentees) are informed via email if they have been successfully matched*. Where a match has been secured, applicants will be contacted and provided with access details to the Law Society Skillnet mentor and mentee self-paced online courses. This course must be completed in advance of the training session in September 2024.*Please note we will endeavour to match candidates based on specified preferences in the application form, however, this cannot be guaranteed.
September 2024: One-hour training in best-practice mentoring techniques session. Training will be onsite or online - online learning via the self-paced courses and the follow up sessions are eligible for CPD hours.
September 2024: Following successful completion of training, applicants are informed of the match details i.e. the name and contact details of the mentor/mentee.
October 2024: The Mentoring relationship begins. May 2025: The Mentoring relationship comes to an official end.
The time commitment for the Women in the Leadership mentoring programme is set out below. Please bear this in mind before submitting your application.
Self-paced training – 1.5 hours
Online Zoom session – 1 hour
One-hour meeting (approximate) for each month of the 8-month programme
Total time commitment – 10 hours (approximate)
Meet our facilitator
The 2024/25 programme is facilitated by Darina Mulligan.
Darina Mulligan facilitates the 2024/25 programme. Darina is a leadership and entrepreneurship coach for women. Based in the UK for 15 years, she worked in London’s high pressure, dynamic events industry before moving to Ireland to focus her energy on supporting women in business to realise and achieve their potential. She is an ICF accredited coach, NLP practitioner, programme facilitator and speaker. She has 20 years of experience designing talks, workshops and masterclasses. Darina has worked with leaders and executives across companies including Salesforce, Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia, Cancer Research UK and Women Returners UK. Darina is passionate about supporting women to advance in their careers and to step into senior leadership roles.
If you have any queries about the programme please contact the Women in Leadership Programme Manager, Shane Farrell, at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any queries about the training please contact Gwen McDevitt, Marketing & Communications Executive, Law Society Professional Training and Law Society Skillnet at LawSocietySkillnet@lawsociety.ie
Some comments from mentors and mentees from previous programmes.
"I am delighted to be on this programme, I find it really good and my mentor and I have clicked. At present, the programme has exceeded my expectations and I am very thankful for being a participant."
"I'd like to express my thanks to the Law Society for organising and coordinating this very worthwhile programme."
"Thank you for organising this very worthwhile programme."
"I am enjoying the experience - it's refreshing to hear about working life from the other side of the spectrum."
Justine Carty, Law Society Council member - mentor
"Anyone who has made, or is looking to make, a transition or progress in their career would benefit from mentoring. Mentoring really is about sharing experiences, approaches, successes and failures with someone in a confidential and trusted setting. It’s an opportunity to meet a colleague in a safe environment to talk through concerns and seek guidance on possible solutions."
Elaine Byrne, Elaine Byrne Solicitors, Co. Meath - mentee
“I was at a crossroads in my career, I had three beautiful young children and just back from maternity leave after the birth of my youngest child. I wanted to progress my career."
“I found the programme really helped me. You are working with somebody who ‘has been there and done that'. It is also beneficial from a networking point of view. In my case, the training was in the Law Society so I made some good friends with other mentees in addition to my mentor. My confidence really gained from the programme."
“I found it to be a really positive experience. It was one of the best things I did. The more you put into it the more you will get out of it. We can all do with a little helping hand from time to time. Guidance from an ‘outsider’ can be beneficial.”
Juli Rea, JRAP O’Meara LLP, Co. Cork - mentor
“I was a first time mentor and apprehensive that my level of knowledge, experience and career progression might not be ‘high flying’ enough to enable me to mentor anyone. However, I was matched with a mentee who was working in a similar area, had similar goals and expectations for her career and the pairing could not have worked better."
If you love your work and feel that Law can be a hugely rewarding and interesting career, then mentoring is for you. The fact that you may feel you didn’t have a five-year plan for your own career and that you may have stumbled from career opportunity to career opportunity should not be a barrier; your capacity to lean in and seize opportunities as presented can be model enough in itself."
"There is no need to feel that Women in Leadership is only for the solicitors who want to be Managing Partner of Arthur Cox or Matheson in five years; as a mentee your ambitions may be simply to try and figure out how to achieve work-life balance, how to ensure your voice is heard at meetings or how to have the difficult conversations about pay and workload and it can be nice to have someone objective to discuss those issues with. "
"As a Mentor you get to reflect a little on your own journey and recognise those who helped and supported you. You get to then pay that help and support forward. I would probably previously have been a bit dismissive of the concept of Mentoring programmes, but I have come to appreciate that even low level support and encouragement can make a huge difference to the confidence level of someone at the start of their career."
"The expectations for the were clearly set out at the outset so that, as a mentor, I knew exactly the extent of the commitment being sought. It was clear that considerable thought had been given to what the programme delivery would look like, and the support provided was most impressive. Your time commitment is really honoured, and you really do feel the benefit of your contribution."
"As a mentee, you get an ally who has the benefit of a bit of knowledge of the legal landscape and the challenges of a legal career."
"Everyone starting out needs a mentor and if you can get one hand picked for you, why would you not take the opportunity to take it?”