November 20, 2009
New Lawyers: Register for Mentoring
As new lawyers recently admitted to the Ohio bar begin in earnest to chart their professional careers, a nationally recognized Supreme Court of Ohio mentoring program can go a long way toward helping them start off on the right foot.
The Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program is a one-year voluntary program that pairs new lawyers with experienced attorneys to help ease the transition from law school to law practice. The program was initiated by Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer and Justice Terrence O’Donnell and developed by the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, with input from law schools, bar associations and law firms throughout Ohio. A pilot program was offered to new lawyers admitted in 2006. The permanent program began last year.
In letters sent out to new lawyers, Justice O’Donnell encouraged them to participate in the program. “A mentor provides practical advice and assists in your development of lawyering skills,” Justice O’Donnell wrote. “In addition, a mentor listens to your concerns, offers encouragement, and expands your networking. A mentor can answer the questions that will inevitably arise at the start of and during your legal career.”
In addition to the benefits intrinsic in mentoring, mentors and new lawyers can earn continuing education credit for free. Attorneys who act as mentors will earn 12 hours of CLE credit at the completion of the program including one hour of professionalism, one hour of ethics, and one-half hour of substance abuse. Upon completing the program successfully, new attorneys will have earned nine of their required 12 hours of New Lawyers Training.
Justice O’Donnell called the arrangement a win-win scenario for everyone, especially for attorneys experiencing hardships during these challenging economic times.
Attorneys who participate in the program will complete a mentoring plan that will include nine hours of mentoring during the course of six, in-person meetings. Discussion topics range from law office management and client communication to substance abuse and mental health. Supplemental materials from the commission are provided online to guide the discussion and ensure consistency in program content.
New lawyers must register for the program by Jan. 8, 2010. To be eligible to participate, new lawyers also must have registered for active status with the Court (due within 30 days of admission) and practice or intend to practice law in Ohio.
Justice O’Donnell stressed that experienced lawyers understand the value and need for mentoring more than new lawyers. New lawyers often express regret a year or two in to their professional lives about not taking advantage of the program.
Visit the Supreme Court’s website for information on becoming involved in the program.