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How Mentorship at Rissman Made Me a Better Attorney

By Meredith Stephens

A firm-wide commitment to mentorship is a major key to our success at Rissman. It ensures that knowledge gets passed on—and that strong bonds form across generations of lawyers.

For me, mentorship has made all the difference in my time at Rissman, and has strengthened my practice in just about every way possible.

As Rissman celebrated its 50th anniversary recently, I had the opportunity to spend an evening with two of my favorite people in the world: my mentor, Art Young, and my mentee, Kendall Griese.

Resolving to Learn

Art took a chance on me as I wandered through my first three years of practice clueless—and, let’s be honest, mostly useless. At some point, I began to show signs of promise, and Art showed up big time.

He taught me to be on time and prepared, to know my audience, to let go of things I couldn’t control, and to own my victories. He taught me to do the hard things, even and especially when I was scared.

I’ve learned so much from Art. About the law and about this job, but also about nature, travel, and brown liquor. We have laughed a lot, especially while embarrassing his kids by dancing on the sidelines of their football games.

He taught me to do the hard things, even and especially when I was scared.

Resolving to Teach

Art exemplified the mentor I aspired to be someday. When Kendall Griesse accepted a job working for us, I had my chance. Kendall is a brilliant, fully-formed powerhouse of a woman. She’s my confidant and dance partner.

Kendall is guidable because she is open and honest. She’s willing to face her vulnerabilities. She feels the fear and does it anyway. She asks direct questions and isn’t scared of candid conversations. And did I mention that she’s brilliant?

But most of all, Kendall gives me energy. I leave a meeting with her feeling filled up, emotionally and intellectually. Kendall makes me want to be a better lawyer, mentor, friend, and human. Talking to her allows me to reflect differently on my path because I admire how she sees the world.

Resolving to Grow

Both my mentor and mentee have given me so much, and as the firm that brought us together enters its next 50 years, I’m looking forward to more of everything—professional success, learning, laughter, dancing, and friendship.


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