Kim Le speaks on the importance of mentorship with Canadian Lawyer magazine

January 24, 2020
Stikeman Elliott Toronto partner Kim Le discussed her path to partnership with Canadian Lawyer magazine, as well as the unique challenges that young lawyers face when it comes to taking advantage of mentorship, vocalizing goals and learning to ask for what they want.

Featured in a “Women in Law” article, Kim spoke about her own professional journey and the priority that lawyers should place on building relationships within their firms. It took Kim a while, she said, to learn the power of asking for what she wanted.

“I would have counseled myself when I was younger to be more vocal when it came to mentors and sponsors,” said Kim. “People – and women particularly – don’t ask for things because [they are afraid] it makes them look demanding or inappropriate, or [like they are] overstepping their bounds.”

“Mentorship helps people find their own voice,” she added. “I’m a big supporter of it, because I've experienced firsthand how powerful it is.” Kim reinforced the value of mentorship and sponsorship, as well as getting people to believe in you and your potential.

“Making partner is the product of so many efforts, you have to: be a good lawyer, know the law, be attentive with your work and be a great service provider to clients,” she said. “Getting to the next level is not something you can achieve alone.”

Kim believes that young lawyers benefit from having people in their corner to advocate for them. Having served as both a formal and informal mentor, she noted always wanting to be a person who opens doors for others.

She suggested that other mentors use infectious enthusiasm to generate excitement about their roles. After all, part of the power of having diverse leadership is being able to better represent a firm’s client base, as well as the people who work with and learn from you.

“[For example,] I grew up without having a person who was Asian [to look up to] in the partnership,” said Kim. “It was something that I had never known I was missing until somebody pointed it out to me.”

When asked about what she looks for in lawyers that she mentors, Kim said that promising signs in young talent are interest, curiosity and eagerness for the job.

Kim was recently named partner at Stikeman Elliott’s Toronto office, where she practices in the firm’s M&A and Private Equity Groups. Kim and Mario Nigro will lead a session at the upcoming Canadian Lawyer Women in Law Summit on February 12 in Toronto titled “Utilizing mentorship opportunities to grow your career.”