A Mentor Moment with Irma Roberts

January 16, 2024

“If it were not for the mentorship that I received, I would not be in the position I am in today. It is extremely fulfilling to help other lawyers navigate through their careering by sharing with them my experiences and lessons learned.”

Irma has been a mentor with the Law Society’s Mentor Connect and Mentor Express program since 2021. 

Q: Why did you get involved with Mentor Connect and Mentor Express?
A: “I got involved with Mentor Connect because I believe in the value of mentoring for both personal and professional development. Mentoring has been a crucial factor in my own career as an immigration lawyer, and I wanted to give back to the community by sharing my knowledge and experience with others.

When I started practicing immigration law, I faced many challenges and uncertainties. I had recently moved to Canada, and I needed to navigate through a demanding and foreign legal market. In addition, I had to learn complex and sophisticated nuances in the law. I was fortunate enough to find mentors who guided me through these obstacles and helped me grow as a lawyer. They gave me practical advice, constructive feedback and networking opportunities. They also challenged me to think critically, creatively and ethically about my work.

I was lucky that I could make contacts at the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) who were willing to mentor me years before any program existed. Through the CBA, I met lawyers from different backgrounds, and sharing our diverse backgrounds made my transition to legal practice in Canada significantly more enjoyable. The mentorship I received has helped me better serve the diverse needs and expectations of clients, and it has made me a more confident, competent and understanding lawyer.

That is why I got involved with Mentor Connect. If it were not for the mentorship that I received, I would not be in the position I am today. It is extremely fulfilling to help other lawyers navigate through their careering by sharing with them my experiences and lessons learned.”

Q: Tell us a bit about your current mentoring relationship:
“I have established with my mentees a good rapport and level of trust, which I believe is essential for a successful mentoring relationship. My mentees are very eager and enthusiastic to learn and improve their skills, and they treat me with a lot of respect. This has made my experience most enjoyable.

I try to provide them with constructive feedback and practical advice. I also share with them my own experiences, insights and lessons learned from my career as an immigration lawyer in Canada.

My mentees ask me relevant and thoughtful questions, and I leave my sessions with them feeling energized. I believe that we have both benefited from our mentoring relationship. They have expanded their knowledge and exposure to the legal community, and I have learned from their fresh perspectives and feedback. I find mentoring to be extremely satisfying.”

Q: How long have you been involved in mentorship?
“I have mentored informally for more than 15 years. However, I have been involved with Mentor Connect and Mentor Express since 2021.”

Q: What do you enjoy the most about your role as a mentor?
“I enjoy seeing my mentees development, learning from them and connecting with them as friends. I leave my sessions with them feeling energized. My conversations with them remind me of why I love immigration law and the impact it has on our community. Mentoring is rewarding and influential for both of us, and I hope that my mentees get out of our sessions what I got from my mentors when I was younger. I get very enthusiastic talking about immigration law when I speak with my mentees, and I hope they do too.”

Q: What do you hope your mentees take away from working with you?
A: “I hope my mentees feel motivated and confident in their abilities, as I encourage them in their professional development. I hope they feel supported and guided in their career development, such that they are able to achieve their career goals. I hope that I am able to help them identify and correct gaps in their skills and knowledge. I hope they feel confident and energized after leaving our sessions – I sure do.”

Q: What have you learned from working with your mentees?
“Working with my mentees has been extremely inspiring. I feel energized after seeing how smart, focused and passionate they are about their work. In addition, I have learned how to give feedback to people of various backgrounds. Further, I have admired how willing my mentees are to learn and their openness to suggestion. This has helped me be more open. It has also helped me to think more “out of the box”. They are a joy to work with, and I admire their enthusiasm and dedication.”

Q: If another lawyer is thinking about becoming a mentor, what should they know beforehand?
“Being a mentor is extremely rewarding and enriching, but it also requires some preparation and commitment. Mentoring is not socratic, it is a two-way relationship that involves listening, self-reflection and honest dialogue. Mentoring relationships are most fulfilling when they persist for several years, and I would encourage building a strong relationship with anyone they mentee. It is fulfilling and I believe that helping others is one of the best ways that you can help yourself!”

The Law Society of Alberta offers Mentor Moments to acknowledge the contributions made by volunteer lawyers in their mentorship programs and to encourage other Alberta lawyers to consider participating. Read more Mentor Moments.

We do not attempt to verify mentors’ statements in their Mentor Moment profiles and the opinions expressed are solely their own. The Law Society of Alberta does not endorse any individual profiled or contents provided.