The Office of Alumni Relations and the Office of Career Services collaboratively facilitate a Mentorship Program that pairs select law students with alumni working in their fields of interest.
The goal of the program is to provide participating students with the opportunity to develop productive relationships with alumni and help them gain additional levels of support. Alumni provide students with career advice, practice area information, introductions to professional organizations and other practitioners, as well as invitations to professional events and guidance on appropriate professional behavior and ethics.
Mentor Wayne Cox ’15, an associate at Cullen and Dykman LLP, and mentee Adam Gomes-Abreu 1L share their experience participating in the 2019-20 Mentorship Program.
Wayne, it’s so wonderful to have you as a mentor. Why does this program appeal to you?
I often look back on my own time as a college and law student, as well as my first few years as a practicing attorney, and wish that I had access then to more helpful practicing attorneys to speak with, and ask for advice. I made sure to sign up for this program so that I could pass along what I have learned from my own experiences.
Adam, why did you apply for this program and what has this experience been like for you?
I applied to this program because I wanted to gain the perspective of an alum who has the same interests as I do, and has experienced success in the workforce. I can honestly say that I have received more than I had bargained for. Wayne is a great guy and I consider him to be a friend. On the occasions that we have met, either through the program or outside of it, Wayne’s advice has helped me focus my academic pursuits while also helping me understand the full picture of how my work in law school will affect my future prospects in the job market.
Wayne, what has been your approach to mentoring Adam? How has it evolved as the year has progressed?
Adam is an extremely intelligent law student that is also managing full-time employment while attending law school. Due to that, he is much busier than the average law student, so we have made sure to work around his schedule and to focus explicitly on practical topics involving the legal workplace environment in addition to his future interviews and job applications.
Adam, has Wayne given you any standout advice that you would like to pass on to other students, or even alumni?
The greatest piece of advice that I have received from Wayne has been to not be afraid to follow my own path. At the outset of my legal education, I was getting caught up in comparing myself to my peers both within the law school and even beyond. Wayne has helped me understand that being different in some cases is a good thing, and that future successes both academically and professionally will come from playing to my strengths — which will be different in most cases from those of my peers and colleagues.
Wayne, what is the most challenging and aspect of mentoring?
The most challenging aspect of mentoring is properly allocating time to make sure that your mentee is being giving the attention they deserve.
And most rewarding?
I truly enjoy spending time with Adam and helping him to become the best lawyer that he can possibly be one day.
Although a few years away, Adam, do you think you will return to this program as a mentor once you establish yourself as a practicing attorney?
Definitely. Mentorship is a great way for a student to start considering their future through a relationship that is both collaborative and supportive. I hope to one day come back as a mentor so that I can pay forward my positive experience to the next generation of students.
Wayne, do you have any advice for alumni interested in becoming a mentor? And what will you take away from this experience?
I fully believe that practicing attorneys owe a duty to pay it forward and to give their time back to young lawyers and law students looking for advice. It is simply amazing how helpful a quick conversation or actual advice can be for someone starting out.
I enjoy learning about Adam’s personal experiences getting to this point in his education and how the law school process has changed since my class graduated, especially regarding the greater amount of practical experiences available for Hofstra Law students.
As long as there are law students and young attorneys seeking advice, I look forward to being a part of this program.
To get involved in the Mentorship Program, contact the Allyson Lehrer in the Office of Alumni Relations at Allyson.T.Lehrer@hofstra.edu.