Doing the right thing was instilled in me at an early age by my father, Robert Palmer, a pastor who received his graduate degree from the University of Illinois and Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh and studied at Cambridge and Oxford. He taught me to do what’s right regardless of the circumstances, opinions, or individuals involved. My mother was also a significant inspiration for me. She went from being a teacher and a mother of four to going back to college to receive her Ph.D., eventually becoming a State Facilitator of Education. Her active mentoring style helped an immeasurable number of teachers in their careers. One of my fondest memories of her took place when she voluntarily took my entire girl scout troop to her office so we could work with her for a day.


law mentorI’ve always strived to take younger generations of associates under my wing and mentor them. Mentoring is a rewarding experience for both parties; the mentor gets to pass on their knowledge and experience to the mentee, who can use that information to enhance their career. Both parties are actively taking part in building a better future for their profession by mentoring. It also builds professional relationship-building skills and provides a welcoming atmosphere for newcomers, thus enabling a far more inclusive and healthy work environment.

I’ve mentored countless younger colleagues throughout my career, and I’ve even gone up against former protégés in court. Those are some of the most rewarding situations for me; I get to see how they have grown since leaving my tutelage, and it keeps me at the top of my game. There is also a great deal of respect in situations like that between two opposing attorneys. That respect can alleviate tension between legal clients and help provide a beneficial avenue for both parties in legal proceedings, especially in family and divorce law.

Gaining an Advocate

These days, it’s challenging to find and retain talented people; many worry that an investment in mentoring and training will lead to individuals moving on to new opportunities; however, this mentality is short-sighted and outdated. Regardless of what a mentee does in their professional career, taking the time to invest in their professional well-being will only benefit them in the long term—even if you end up on opposing sides in a case. The mentee will be an advocate for you, wanting to ‘do right’ by you for the time you took to invest in their professional well-being, and they will carry on that mantra and do right by the generation after them. Younger associates are the future of our profession, and their success directly correlates with our own.

Sibling Approach to Mentorship

law mentorA different perspective is seeing yourself as an older sibling advising a younger brother or sister in the hopes of having them avoid the mistakes you made. That’s the core of mentoring. It is assisting in improving their lives through your experiences and the knowledge you have built. Building these kinds of relationships only strengthens networking and future opportunities for both of you. Take an interest in a younger associate’s life, both professionally and personally, but don’t get too in-depth on the personal side. Our profession is oft-times too cut-throat, and some forget that we’re people first and foremost. Take care of the ones in your charge, and they will return the favor when the time comes.

Rebecca L. Palmer, Esq. is a Family & Marital Law attorney practicing in Orlando, FL. She is the Managing Partner of the Rebecca L. Palmer Law Group, and she can be reached at