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January 19, 2022

January is National Mentoring Month and, here at Stroock, we celebrate the many who serve as mentors. Many successful individuals attribute their professional success to having a dedicated mentor. The Stroock AEP (Attorney Enrichment Program) pairs first year associates with mentors - many of whom continue the relationship throughout their career, while going on to become mentors to others. Read on to learn more about one such pairing: Karen Scanna and Danielle Grunwald.

 

Karen Scanna:

What do you enjoy most about mentoring?

It is extremely satisfying to play a role in the growth and development of young lawyers.  I have been practicing for a long time so to the extent I can offer guidance that can help someone else avoid mistakes or pitfalls that I may have experienced or seen others experience, I am happy to do it. 

What do you consider your biggest strength as a mentor/as a mentee?

Although I am now old enough to be the parent of some of my mentees (!), I think I am very approachable.  Communication is very important and young attorneys need to feel comfortable in voicing their questions and concerns to their supervisors.  People know that I am trustworthy, honest (sometimes to a fault) and a straight shooter who will not divulge confidences. 

How did your previous experience prepare you for this mentoring role?

I was fortunate to have someone take me under his wing when I started at Stroock.  Yes, he taught me the substance of real estate law.  But more than that he gave me insight into what being a lawyer in a prominent NYC firm was all about and helped me develop the intangible skills that are essential as you climb the ranks. 

What advice would you share with recently paired mentors/mentee?

Just as you would with any other relationship, put the time in to meet with your mentor/mentee on a regular basis and get to know them.  You will only get out of this relationship what you put into it.

 

Danielle Grunwald:

What do you consider your biggest strength as a mentee?

I think one of my biggest strengths as a mentee is my receptiveness to feedback.  In particular, I am able to listen to and process negative feedback and then implement corrective strategies going forward to make so-called “failures” valuable learning experiences.  I also am open to, and interested in, exploring alternative approaches to problem solving.  As a more junior attorney, I was very focused on trying to find the “correct” way to resolve substantive issues or navigate obstacles in my career path, but in listening to and internalizing feedback from my mentors regarding the resources and methods that have been effective (or ineffective) in their own skill and career development, I’ve been able to create my own legal toolbox that allows me to overcome a wider range of challenges.

What advice would you share with recently paired mentors/mentee?

I would encourage recently paired mentors and mentees to focus on building trust to enable honest communication.  For a mentor-mentee relationship to be successful, I think a mentee needs to feel comfortable being transparent in articulating to their mentor their goals, questions and concerns, big or small; this gets easier as mentor and mentee establish trust in the relationship, but at the very beginning a small leap of faith will go a long way.  One of the ways in which my mentors have successfully established trust is by disclosing to me in the course of our discussions their own limitations, challenges and vulnerabilities. Sharing their own perceived areas for improvement made it easier for me as the mentee to openly discuss my own strengths and weaknesses without concern that I was being evaluated and also softened the disappointment of subsequent critical, but honest feedback. 


 

January 19, 2022

January is National Mentoring Month and, here at Stroock, we celebrate the many who serve as mentors. Many successful individuals attribute their professional success to having a dedicated mentor. The Stroock AEP (Attorney Enrichment Program) pairs first year associates with mentors - many of whom continue the relationship throughout their career, while going on to become mentors to others. Read on to learn more about one such pairing: Karen Scanna and Danielle Grunwald.

 

Karen Scanna:

What do you enjoy most about mentoring?

It is extremely satisfying to play a role in the growth and development of young lawyers.  I have been practicing for a long time so to the extent I can offer guidance that can help someone else avoid mistakes or pitfalls that I may have experienced or seen others experience, I am happy to do it. 

What do you consider your biggest strength as a mentor/as a mentee?

Although I am now old enough to be the parent of some of my mentees (!), I think I am very approachable.  Communication is very important and young attorneys need to feel comfortable in voicing their questions and concerns to their supervisors.  People know that I am trustworthy, honest (sometimes to a fault) and a straight shooter who will not divulge confidences. 

How did your previous experience prepare you for this mentoring role?

I was fortunate to have someone take me under his wing when I started at Stroock.  Yes, he taught me the substance of real estate law.  But more than that he gave me insight into what being a lawyer in a prominent NYC firm was all about and helped me develop the intangible skills that are essential as you climb the ranks. 

What advice would you share with recently paired mentors/mentee?

Just as you would with any other relationship, put the time in to meet with your mentor/mentee on a regular basis and get to know them.  You will only get out of this relationship what you put into it.

 

Danielle Grunwald:

What do you consider your biggest strength as a mentee?

I think one of my biggest strengths as a mentee is my receptiveness to feedback.  In particular, I am able to listen to and process negative feedback and then implement corrective strategies going forward to make so-called “failures” valuable learning experiences.  I also am open to, and interested in, exploring alternative approaches to problem solving.  As a more junior attorney, I was very focused on trying to find the “correct” way to resolve substantive issues or navigate obstacles in my career path, but in listening to and internalizing feedback from my mentors regarding the resources and methods that have been effective (or ineffective) in their own skill and career development, I’ve been able to create my own legal toolbox that allows me to overcome a wider range of challenges.

What advice would you share with recently paired mentors/mentee?

I would encourage recently paired mentors and mentees to focus on building trust to enable honest communication.  For a mentor-mentee relationship to be successful, I think a mentee needs to feel comfortable being transparent in articulating to their mentor their goals, questions and concerns, big or small; this gets easier as mentor and mentee establish trust in the relationship, but at the very beginning a small leap of faith will go a long way.  One of the ways in which my mentors have successfully established trust is by disclosing to me in the course of our discussions their own limitations, challenges and vulnerabilities. Sharing their own perceived areas for improvement made it easier for me as the mentee to openly discuss my own strengths and weaknesses without concern that I was being evaluated and also softened the disappointment of subsequent critical, but honest feedback.