The Law School Magazine  ·  Fall 2007 :

The Dual Gift of Mentoring: A Success Story

By - Fall 2007
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Megan St. Ledger ’07 admits that the Michael E. Moritz Merit Scholarship was the impetus for her choosing The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, but the benefits of the program – specifically her relationship with her mentor – are what shaped her three years at the College and what she’ll cherish for years to come.  St. Ledger, a Wilmington, N.C., native, and her mentor, Suzanne Richards ’74, a partner with Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP in Columbus, formed the epitome of a successful mentor-mentee relationship.  St. Ledger and Richards met often, chatted regularly, and, probably most importantly, both admittedly walked away from the experience with invaluable lessons learned.

The Michael E. Moritz Merit Scholarships in Law Fund was established in 2001 through the generosity of Michael E. Moritz ’61.  Scholarships were created to help Ohio State attract and train a select group of students with outstanding academic and personal histories who are dedicated to improving the lives of their clients, their communities, and profession of law. Moritz Scholars are assigned mentors who are nationally recognized individuals chosen for their leadership in a wide variety of areas including academia, business, law, government, and public interest.

Since they first met at the Moritz Scholars dinner in September 2004, the then-aspiring attorney and already successful one began to regularly exchange e-mails and schedule lunches and dinners.  “We really hit it off at that first meeting,” St. Ledger said.  “She took a really sincere interest in me and my development through law school.  Anytime I called or e-mailed her she would get right back to me, and she was always ready to talk about whatever was on my mind.”  Their discussions weren’t always strictly law related.  The two ESPN-watchers would often discuss sports and even went to an Ohio State women’s basketball game together.  But St. Ledger said that she did approach Richards with countless questions pertaining to law school and sought other guidance.  She said she used her mentor’s knowledge of the profession to her advantage.  That attitude, Richards said, was what made the relationship so beneficial.  “I always found Megan as somebody who was open and receptive,” she explained.  “She was always willing to tell me about her experiences and what she was going through.”

Once that trust was built, both Richards and St. Ledger admitted that they were able to delve beyond any formulaic questions and answers.  First-year law students undoubtedly have trepidations when they first step foot on campus and start their three-year trek to becoming an attorney.  St. Ledger said Richards made those years of her life easier.  “Everyone tells you the most important things are first-year grades,” St. Ledger said.  “Sue taught me that although those things are important it is equally as important to do other things outside the classroom.  I don’t know if I would have ventured out as much if she hadn’t given me that advice.”  In her third year at Moritz, St. Ledger was the vice president of the College’s chapter of the Public Interest Law Foundation and involved in several other activities and organizations.

St. Ledger also credits her Moritz Merit Scholarship for her ability to pursue such interests.  Without the aid, St. Ledger said that she would not have had the opportunity to pursue as many activities and summer internships, which included working three months at a major New York City law firm.  “I was able to really focus on law school and was able to do whatever I wanted do without having a giant debt,” she stated.  “The program gave me a lot of freedom.  I just felt really lucky that it all worked out the way that it did.”  St. Ledger most recently accepted a clerkship with the Hon. James J. Brady in the Federal District Court, Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, La.

Richards also said that she did not walk away empty handed from the mentoring experience, which was her first with the Moritz Scholars program.  “It was good for me to see the perspective that she and other law students had,” explained Richards, who added that she often encouraged St. Ledger to bring along her law school peers to their conversations.  “I think that when you have been practicing law for a while you can get caught up in the hustle and bustle.  Sometimes you forget about the underlying principles, values, and reasons why you went to law school in the first place.  It was nice to stop and think about those things.”  Richards joked that her time spent with St. Ledger “brought her back” to her law school days at Ohio State.  But in all seriousness, Richards said that she cherished the opportunity to chat with someone who was eagerly planning for her future.

Richards said that she hoped to instill two ideals in her mentee.  The first is the desire for St. Ledger to become a mentor in the future.  Unsurprisingly, and without knowing Richards’ aspirations, St. Ledger admitted that she already has plans to mentor a law school student if the opportunity presents itself.  Such a decision is a monumental step towards Richards’ second goal for St. Ledger: “to teach a sense of professionalism that should exist in law.”  Through Richards’ kindness and dedication to the College and St. Ledger’s willingness to confide in her mentor, both Ohio State law graduates have formed a bond that the Moritz Scholar’s program originally aspired to create.

 

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