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In the latest episode of The Good Wife, Diane (Christine Baranski) receives high praise from the State chief justice. "What you have done for women through example, encouragement, and perseverance is truly unparalleled," she says. Among Diane's successes, the justice names "your work on EMILY's list, your mentoring of young women, and your shattering of the glass ceiling."
I did a little digging, and it's clear The Good Wife writers are working with a timely message. A law journal recently ran a story confirming the power of female mentoring, based on a new survey of high-achieving women lawyers. "Having a mentor as a career champion is a key element in the success of many accomplished women in the legal profession," writes Helen Burnett-Nichols.
Later in the episode, Diane realizes that the perception of her as a mentor might need tweaking. "You should knock on my door more often," she tells Alicia (Julianna Margulies). "You're doing a good job. My apologies if I haven't told you that until now."
The timing couldn't be better for Alicia, as she comes up against a corrupt but popular judge, and needs a champion to guide and fight for her. Diane steps up and helps, although it means going against the wishes of the very State chief justice who tapped her for a possible judgeship. In the end, Diane loses the opportunity. The implication seems to be that she hurt her own career doing the very thing the chief justice commended her for earlier—going to bat for another woman lawyer.
"Try not to cause any more ripples," the chief justice tells her--but doesn't appear to recognize the irony in her words.
Were you helped in the workplace by a mentor who championed you? Chime in below!