Mentoring Program

As part of our diversity initiative, Pepper established a mentoring program for all minority associates, and, due to its success, expanded it to all associates.

Pepper associates participated in a career roundtable discussion titled, <em>Build, Secure, Establish: Tips on How to Succeed at Pepper</em>.

Because we also believe that valuable mentoring and networking occur outside of the firm, we sponsor our attorneys’ membership in affinity bar organizations.

On Mentoring and Diversity

Kassem L. Lucas photoWhen Kassem L. Lucas came to Pepper as a summer associate, one of his first experiences was discovering there was always someone willing to lend a helping hand. Now a partner with the firm, Kassem is a member of the firm’s Commercial Insurance & Reinsurance Practice Group and is vice chair of the Diversity Committee. He possesses the full perspective of mentor and protégé:

When I first arrived at Pepper, I was told that to be successful, you need a mentor - someone who will look after you at the firm. I found a mentor who has provided excellent guidance over the past 10 years. Certainly, as the years have passed, I’ve spent more time mentoring than being mentored. Having a mentor, even as a young partner at Pepper, is still positive. In the beginning, obviously, it was very basic – here is how to be a good lawyer. Now the mentoring I receive focuses on how to be a good manager.

Thomas P. Wilczak photoThomas P. Wilczak, a partner and head of our Environmental Practice Group in Detroit, is the former president of Affirmations, Southeast Michigan's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) Community Center. Tom, who joined Pepper as an associate in 1986 and was elected to the partnership in 1993, notes:

As a young attorney, it would have been easy for me to sit in my office and keep my nose to the grindstone. I realized, however, that it was important to put myself out there … to move outside my comfort zone and seek advice and build relationships with partners and associates who did not necessarily share my background or views.

I had several great mentors throughout my years as an associate. I realized that it’s important to have mentors both inside and outside of your practice group. Internally, it helps to build relationships with the attorneys within your group. Externally, it helps to broaden your perspective. Both formal and informal mentors are extremely important.

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