The Return of WILHK’s Mentoring Programme

As part of Women in Law Hong Kong’s (“WILHK”) commitment to enhancing the profiles, skills and networking opportunities for women in the legal field, we are delighted to launch, for the second year running, the WILHK Mentoring Programme.

Following the positive reception of last year’s pilot mentoring sessions, the 2017 WILHK Mentoring Sub-Committee has built this year’s programme with a strong focus on empowering mentees with key skills to navigate their legal careers: a slate of skills workshops form one pillar of the curriculum, while social events and time spent in mentor/mentee pairs and mentor/mentee small groups complete the foundation.

”We are lucky to have very active mentors and mentees, who are keen to share their ideas, experiences and suggestions for strengthening and improving the programme. We are continuously incorporating feedback from programme alumni and are always excited to see the level of engagement from those involved,” says Ka Yin Au Yeung, Mentoring Chair.

This past March, alumni mentors and mentees from the mentoring class of 2016 joined a discussion panel to share their thoughts on mentorship and their experience of the 2016 WILHK Mentoring Programme to prospective participants:

”The WILHK programme is, so far as I am aware, unique – it gives a young female lawyer the opportunity to seek impartial advice and guidance from someone she trusts without that advice being prejudiced by organisational baggage. This is why I wanted to get involved. If I can help just one person stay in the industry and make private practice more diverse, it will be worthwhile,” said Allan Wardrop, Partner at Hogan Lovells and Mentor, Class of 2016.

The programme saw more than 100 percent increase in the number of applications from last year. “There is a need for more mentoring in Hong Kong for females in the legal profession, and the level of interest is the best evidence of that. We hope to be able to expand the programme over time, and to build up the sponsorship infrastructure to give as many women no-cost access to mentoring as possible,” Susan Wong, Mentoring Vice-Chair noted.

“We are also extremely encouraged that so many 2016 mentors who had just gone through a mentoring cycle with us last year have again applied to be mentors this year. Again this shows real commitment from senior legal practitioners who are really trying to do their part in changing the industry landscape,” added Maya Wodnicka, Sponsorship Director.

Ten mentees and 13 mentors were shortlisted for the 2017 programme. All successful applicants were invited to participate in two matching sessions in April and May that involved ice breakers, with mentors giving 3-minute elevator pitches covering what they would like to offer mentees and their commitment to mentorship. The session hosted a mentor and mentee “speed-dating” to let mentors and mentees get to know each other and find the most suitable pairs for the programme. After the two matching sessions, mentors and mentees were asked to submit their top three choices and were matched based on mentoring needs and preferences to optimise the mentoring relationship.

This year, WILHK has partnered with and has been generously supported by Unibly, a startup mentoring platform application, and its Managing Director, Joash Lee. At the end of May, through Unibly’s software application, WILHK announced all matched mentor and mentee pairs.

“WILHK is keen to optimise the mentor/mentee relationship, and we saw the Unibly app, which is new to the mentoring market as a great way to bring ‘tech’ into the game.” Stella Loong, Committee Member, remarked.

The WILHK 2017 Mentoring Programme workshop series is now in full swing and summer informal mentoring sessions are planned for the next few months: more details of these will be available in an upcoming issue of the Hong Kong Lawyer.

The application period for the 2017 cycle of the WILHK Mentoring Programme is now closed. The next mentoring cycle will commence in the first quarter of 2018. The application process will begin around March 2018. To receive the most updated information about WILHK, please go to and register as a WILHK member. 

This year’s programme is currently being sponsored by FTI Consulting, Oldham, Li & Nie, Jones Lang LaSalle, Hogan Lovells, Herbert Smith Freehills, Unibly and Ashurst.