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Mentoring Spirit: Susan Grode

Help for budding legal eagles

Call it the Nike spirit. “We don’t refer to it as mentoring, we just do it,” says attorney Susan Grode, co-chair of the entertainment and media practice at Los Angeles law firm Katten Muchin Zavis Rosenman, where every junior associate is assigned a senior partner.

“We try to teach them what they didn’t learn in law school,” says Grode. Subjects range from learning how to properly draft a contract to spotting complex legal issues and making them understandable to dressing appropriately. “The idea is to get associates acquainted with all aspects of being a professional service provider.”

Associates are invited to attend meetings with clients or listen in on conference calls. And there’s the social component; lunches to facilitate bonding and a monthly dinner for the entire firm.

Grode, whose specialty is intellectual property, was in publishing before she switched to law in 1977. She’s a leading authority on domestic and international animation, with clients like “Simpson’s” creator Matt Groening and TV shows like “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Hey Arnold!”

“I get satisfaction from putting well-trained people into the industry,” she declares. Former associates have wound up as inhouse lawyers at entertainment firms and some have became producers.

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