March 2014 Bar Bulletin
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YLD Honors Outstanding Mentors

By Pete Talevich


At the YLD's 2014 Winter Soiree on February 6, young lawyers delivered a message to the 15 nominees for the Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award and other mentors present: We couldn't do it without you. The annual winter event, and its opportunity to recognize outstanding mentors, recognizes that the bedrock of young-lawyer development is learning from seasoned attorneys.

While we all need mentors, the manner in which this relationship occurs will vary. This is clear from the numerous reasons that young lawyers provided for nominating their mentors for the award.

For example, many of the lawyers were nominated for entrusting young attorneys with complex projects or cases, such as Dan Syhre of Betts Patterson Mines. Syhre was recognized for embarking on a sophisticated trial with a new attorney and providing that attorney with the space to learn and the gentle feedback to assist the attorney in improving her own trial skills.

At least one of our nominees was recognized for his own mentoring activities and for his extensive work in helping others to locate mentors. David Keenan, our former YLD chair and an attorney at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, assisted our organization in starting a mentoring program and also assisted the Seattle University School of Law in starting an ambitious mentoring program matching local attorneys with 2L and 3L students.

The winner of the Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award, Bill Shaw of K&L Gates, gained this recognition due to the breadth of mentoring work he performed in a big firm; his selfless efforts to maintain in-person contact with young lawyers to ensure that they are thriving in their practices; and, quite simply, his openness and decency in communicating with young lawyers.

Our nominees were effective for diverse reasons, often depending on their mentees' needs. We think we get that at the YLD and our mentoring initiatives have sought to encourage a broad array of mentoring activity.

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