Issue 42, Fall 2015

What an exciting time for those of us interested in mentorship and sponsorship! The importance of these processes for professional growth, development and advancement, especially for women and minorities, is now being celebrated across the globe. It is taking me from Indianapolis to Istanbul, from Las Vegas to London, from DC to Delhi, and many other places far and near. People everywhere now appreciate the unique value of relationships that foster practical learning and professional growth, increase integration and retention, and promote greater diversity, inclusion and equality throughout the firm and the profession. Here are three examples:

  • International: I am helping create a mentoring program for new lawyers in a Middle Eastern country. (Although we meet in Istanbul, the program is for another country, not Turkey.) The purpose of this mentoring program is to improve the country’s criminal justice system and strengthen the independence of the bar. The initiative is intended to encourage more young lawyers to pursue careers in criminal defense law. The judicial system now in place presents considerable risks and dangers for defense lawyers, which drives many of them to seek safer practice areas. The mentoring program will provide training, support, advocacy and protection for new lawyers who want to pursue criminal defense work. The pilot program will launch soon, and I will elaborate on the project in a newsletter when the program is under way.
  • California: I have been serving as a Vice-Chair of the California State Bar Task Force that is considering a mentoring program for all new lawyers in California. In contrast to my work in the Middle East, which is intended to protect new lawyers, the California Task Force is focused on promoting competence and ethical behavior in new lawyers in order to protect the public. We solicited public comments about our initial proposal, and after considering the comments we received, we will soon submit a final proposal to the State Bar Board of Trustees.
  • National: Breakfasts for Champions continue to be a powerful way to expand the role of men in advancing women. Based on my book, Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know, these events highlight men who champion women in the firm and through their stories, explain how to make cross-sex sponsor-protégée sponsorships easy and effective. Some of my clients also feature champions for minority lawyers, not just women, and many firms invite their own clients and outside guests to the program. To learn more about these events, see the Breakfast for Champions page on my website or contact me.

Upcoming speaking engagements and interviews:

In This Issue

Special Book Offers!

Publishers are offering limited time 20% discounts on two of my books. One book is primarily for women, the other for men, but both offer insights and lessons for readers of any gender. Both of these books make great holiday presents, so buy several copies now and save! For purchasing information, go to:

How Do You Find a Sponsor?

Every lawyer can use a hand up, especially when it comes to navigating the unwritten rules of making partner or stepping into a leadership role. Sponsorship by someone with more seniority can make a difference in a career – particularly for a woman.

But that begs the question, how exactly do you go about finding a sponsor? Read my recent article for practical suggestions about finding a sponsors on or LinkedIn.

Resources on Social Media

In order to share information with you more frequently, I now post reports, articles, studies and other resources on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. If you are interested in the topics I cover in this newsletter, please follow me on Twitter (@IdaOAbbott) and LinkedIn, and on the Facebook page for Sponsoring Women. Here are some of the items I recently posted:

  • video from McKinsey Women on unconscious gender bias that would make an excellent resource for training and discussion.
  • An article from McKinsey about the underrepresentation of women at the top of their own company despite years of being a leader in the drive for gender balance. "Gender equality: Taking stock of where we are" describes why they are still lagging and how they are redoubling their commitment to advance women.
  • "Men want powerful jobs more than women do," an article discussing a provocative and controversial study about women's career goals and attitudes toward power. 
  • Black Women: Ready to Lead, an important research-based report from the Center for Talent Innovation about the aspirations and readiness of black women for powerful leadership positions and how employers can recognize and support them.