For Women in Law By Women in Law

Empowering Women in Law: The Essential Role of Mentorship and Peer Support

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In the legal profession, where gender disparities persist, mentorship and peer support emerge as indispensable tools for empowering women and fostering their career growth. These programs not only provide guidance and support but also facilitate access to opportunities and advocate for women’s advancement in a traditionally male-dominated field. In this post I aim to explore the significance of mentorship and peer support specifically within the context of women in law and offer guidance for both mentors and mentees. Additionally, I wish to highlight the impactful Women’s Lawyer Forum Mentorship Program by the Canadian Bar Association of British Columbia (CBABC WLF), which has been fostering relationships among women lawyers in BC for years.


The Importance of Mentorship and Peer Support in Law

1. Navigating a Complex Landscape: Women in law often face unique challenges, including gender bias, unequal opportunities for advancement, and work-life balance issues. Mentorship programs offer a lifeline by providing guidance and advice tailored to navigating these complexities, helping women overcome obstacles and achieve success in their legal careers.

2. Peer Mentorship: Peer mentorship, or mentoring among colleagues at similar career stages, is invaluable for women in law. Peers can offer firsthand advice, share experiences, and provide emotional support, creating a sense of camaraderie and solidarity among women in the legal profession. Peer mentorship complements traditional mentorship by offering relatable guidance and a support system rooted in shared experiences.

3. Building Confidence and Networks: Mentorship and peer support programs contribute to building confidence and expanding professional networks, both essential for women’s success in law. Mentors, whether senior professionals or peers, provide support and encouragement, instilling confidence in mentees to assert themselves, pursue ambitious goals, and overcome barriers. Additionally, peer networks offer opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and mutual support, creating a supportive ecosystem for career growth and advancement.


Guidance for Mentors in Law:

1. Understanding Unique Challenges: Recognize the unique challenges women face in the legal profession, including gender bias, work-life balance issues, and barriers to advancement. Listen actively to mentees’ concerns and experiences, and tailor your guidance and support to address their specific needs and aspirations.

2. Providing Career Guidance: Offer practical advice and guidance on navigating the legal landscape, developing legal expertise, and advancing in the profession. Share your own experiences and insights, and help mentees set achievable goals and create a roadmap for their legal careers.

3. Supporting Peer Connections: Encourage mentees to build relationships with peers within the legal profession. Facilitate opportunities for peer mentorship and networking, and foster a collaborative environment where mentees can support each other and share resources and advice.


Guidance for Mentees in Law:

1. Setting Clear Goals: Define your career goals and aspirations within the legal profession, and communicate them to your mentor and peers. Work together to set achievable milestones and create a plan for advancing your legal career, taking into account your strengths, interests, and aspirations.

2. Seeking Feedback and Growth: Be open to feedback and constructive criticism from your mentor and peers, and use it as a tool for growth and development. Actively seek opportunities to expand your legal knowledge and skills, and take on new challenges that will help you progress in your legal career.

3. Building Peer Relationships: Cultivate relationships with peers within the legal profession, both within and outside your organization. Participate in peer mentorship programs, legal networking events, and bar association activities, and seek out peers who can offer support, guidance, and camaraderie as you navigate your legal career.


 Life in Law 

Life in Law (LiL) offers support via their online chat, phoneline and through the Dear LiL blog.

The online chat support can be found here and provides a safe and private way for lawyers in Canada who self-identify as women to obtain help, guidance and support. The Online Chat Support provides the same one-on-one, real time, confidential information from an advisor as would be received from a phone call.

The phone line is open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Callers are connected with an advisor, who are there to listen and support. It’s the perfect place to ask questions, share experiences and hear real-life stories to learn and grow from.

These support programs offer informal mentorship and support from LiL advisors. They are free to access and do not require any commitment.


The CBABC WLF Mentorship Program

The Women Lawyers Forum (WLF) believes that one of the best ways to support women in the practice of law and ensure their continued and successful participation in the legal profession is through mentoring. The goal of the WLF Mentorship Program aims to facilitate mentoring relationships for women in the legal profession and is a significant way for women lawyers to support other women continuing and flourishing in the practice of law. The WLF Mentorship Program is designed to operate throughout the province so that all women lawyers in BC will have the chance to be mentored. It is especially important for women lawyers from small communities to have the opportunity to be mentored by other women lawyers so that they are not left to feel isolated and alone.

Applications for the program open in the Fall. More information can be found here.

Both mentoring someone and being mentored are an honor and a privilege. Mentorship can be the most important developmental support that a lawyer receives during her career. The Women Lawyers Forum is grateful to all those who participate in this program and give it their time and energy.



In conclusion, mentorship and peer support programs are essential for empowering women in law and advancing gender equality within the legal profession. By providing guidance, support, and a sense of community, these programs enable women to overcome barriers, seize opportunities, and thrive in their legal careers. Whether you’re a mentor or a mentee, embracing the principles of mentorship and peer support can lead to mutual growth, success, and fulfillment in your legal journey.


About the Author

Guest Blogger, Karina Alibhai

Karina Alibhai is an associate with Harper Grey LLP and works with their Commercial Litigation and Construction Groups. Karina joined Harper Grey as an articling student in 2020, completed her articles with the firm and was called to the BC bar in 2021. She received her bachelor’s degree, from McGill University in 2017, where she focused her studies on International Development. Karina attended law school at Thompson Rivers University and graduated in 2020. She is the co-chair of the CBABC WLF Mentorship Program.

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