Thank you for your interest in the State Bar of Arizona Mentor Program. A lawyer’s first few years of practice can be a challenging time as they transition from law school to the practice of law. New lawyers are faced with the pressures of client relations, practice management and the adversarial process. This program has been instituted to assist with this transition. A mentor relationship can help facilitate this transition by providing guidance and counsel in the practice of law.
The State Bar of Arizona worked closely with the Mentor Advisory Council that was formed in 2019 to develop a comprehensive mentor program. We appreciate the Mentor Advisory Council’s continuous effort and participation.
Mentor Advisory Council 2019-2020
Frederick Aspey Jacob Jones
Will Knight Hon. Patricia Norris (Ret.)
James O’Sullivan Cindy Kay Schmidt
Staff Resource - Lisa Deane
Staff Advisor - Elena Nethers
Staff Liaison - Kendra Owens-Johnson
Mentor Advisory Council 2020-2021
Chair - Will Knight
Hon. Patricia Norris (Ret.)
Staff Resource - Lisa Deane
Staff Liaison - Kendra Owens-Johnson
The Mentor Program was developed through research, exploring mentor principles and practices across the country and experiences of legal mentor work of other states. This program is modeled on programs in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and South Carolina. We appreciate the use of their programs as models of effective mentoring.
History of the Program
In 2018, former State Bar of Arizona President Jeff Willis convened a task force to review the status and develop future programs and services which included mentoring. The Task Force evaluated current State Bar Programs and considered opportunities for encouraging continued engagement of the Bar’s more seasoned attorneys. The Task Force recommended a statewide mentoring program to provide newer lawyers with the skills and resources necessary to increase competence and professionalism in their legal practice.
The State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors approved the mentoring program and established a Mentor Advisory Council to develop and then implement a voluntary mentoring pilot program. In April 2020, the State Bar of Arizona Executive Council gave final approval for the mentor program to launch.
How the Mentor Program Works
The mentor and mentee fill out an application on the State Bar of Arizona website where you will indicate which program interests you, One-to-One or Lawyer Down the Hall. The staff reviews the application to ensure the eligibility qualifications are met. The parties are then matched based on practice area, geographic location and preferences. The parties will receive a confirmation email with contact information regarding their potential mentor/mentee.
The One-to-One Program is a one-year commitment. The mentor and mentee are required to attend a one-time training where they are educated about the requirements, goals as well as provided mentoring tips. Immediately following the training, the mentor and mentee will meet and discuss their mentoring plan. The Mentoring Plan is a document which outlines the mentoring activities during the mentoring term. They should also schedule upcoming meetings. The Mentoring Plan will be signed and submitted to the staff.
The Mentor pair is required to meet at least one hour each month. Communication is important. The Mentor pair should discuss which communication style is best. Because of COVID-19 and social distancing orders, in person meetings are discouraged at this time. Parties should communicate via telephone, email or videoconference. It is intended for the mentor/mentee meetings to integrate work environments as well as the ability to attend legal, professional and/or State Bar of Arizona meetings together virtually. The Mentor pair will submit monthly reports briefly explaining their meetings. The mentor pairs will receive CLE credit upon successfully completing the full year and meeting all requirements.
Lawyer Down the Hall
Lawyer Down the Hall is a short-term mentoring connection where an experienced lawyer is paired with lawyers who need assistance on an issue, discuss career guidance, practice area or management issues, professionalism resources or attend events. Because of COVID-19 and social distancing orders, in person meetings are discouraged at this time. Parties should communicate via telephone, email or videoconference. Lawyer Down the Hall does not include a curriculum or require monthly meetings. The mentor pair does not receive CLE at the end of this mentoring relationship.
The mentor and mentee may earn up to 8 hours of CLE credit for participation in the One-to-One program. The parties must meet all qualifications of the program which includes attending the mandatory training, meeting monthly, submitting program evaluations and completing mentor plan activities. The mentor pair does not receive CLE credit for the Lawyer Down the Hall program.
Qualifications and Guidelines
The mentee must be within his or her first three years of practice after admission to the State Bar of Arizona or within his first year of practice in Arizona and have practiced for less than three or less years in another jurisdiction.
The mentee is expected to prepare for meetings with the mentor by reviewing the checklist items from the Mentor Plan and prepare specific questions and issues to be raised and discussed during mentor/mentee meetings. Questions should be regarding substantive, practical and ethical issues which they may encounter. The mentee should recognize that a mentor is not expected to do legal research, nor does the mentor accept professional responsibility for any advice given. The mentee is responsible for making a professional evaluation of all advice received from the mentor and shall advise his/her client based on the mentee’s own reasoning.
Mentees are expected to treat mentors with professionalism and respect. Mentees must be considerate of the mentor’s time and be punctual and consistent with meetings.
The mentee should be open, eager and ready to receive ideas and guidance on the practice of law.
Mentors must be an active member and in good standing at the State Bar of Arizona. They must have been in practice a minimum of 5 years (in Arizona or another jurisdiction). The mentor should not have been subject to any disciplinary sanctions within the past five years.
The mentor should schedule meetings, calendar reminders and reach out to their Mentee on a regular basis. Mentors should be considerate of the mentee’s time and be punctual and consistent with meetings. The mentor should be dedicated and willing to commit the time to serve as a mentor. They should value guiding and counseling new attorneys regarding developing their professional habits and to improve the legal profession.
The Lawyer’s Guide to Mentoring, 2nd Edition by Ida O. Abbott
Mentoring Across Differences: A Guide to Cross-Gender and Cross-Race Mentoring by Ida O. Abbott
Innovative Mentoring Increases Diversity and Inclusion by Ida O Abbott
Does Mentoring Still Matter by Ida O Abbott
PD Insider: Attorneys and Mentorship by Ida O Abbott