Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program
The Commission on Professionalism has authorized mentoring participants to complete their meetings via video conferences.
Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring links experienced attorneys with new lawyers who have recently been admitted to the practice of law. Mentoring is a one-on-one relationship designed to assist new lawyers as they begin their legal careers. Mentors and new lawyers meet in person six times during the course of a year to discuss topics and engage in activities they select from a mentoring plan. Upon completion of the program, mentors receive CLE credit and new lawyers receive required new lawyer training credit, depending on their registration status. By fostering positive mentoring relationships, Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring seeks to elevate the competence, professionalism, and success of Ohio lawyers.
- Submit your mentoring application
(For both new lawyers seeking mentors and experienced lawyers who would like to be mentors)
- Create, review, or modify your mentoring plan and acknowledge your mentoring agreement
- Submit Certificate of Satisfactory Completion
- Update information
- Renew commitment to the program (existing mentors)
Links & Resources
In 2004, the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Professionalism began exploring the feasibility of a state-wide mentoring program for newly admitted lawyers in Ohio. The theory underlying the initiative was that fostering mentoring relationships between beginning and experienced lawyers would assist new lawyers during the critical transition from student to practitioner, by which they could learn fundamental skills and core values of professionalism essential to the practice of law.
The Commission gathered information about existing mentoring programs throughout the country. Ultimately, it focused on a mentoring program adopted by the State Bar of Georgia. Georgia's program provided the general framework for Ohio's Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program.
In 2006, the Commission on Professionalism launched a state-wide mentoring program pilot for newly admitted lawyers. In the pilot project 174 new attorneys who were admitted to the Ohio bar in 2006 and met designated eligibility requirements opted to participate in mentoring as a way to fulfill part of their new lawyer training requirement. Surveys were issued to mentoring participants, and the responses received were overwhelmingly positive.
In 2008, the Supreme Court of Ohio evaluated the success of the pilot and adopted Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring as a permanent program to be offered to new lawyers admitted in November 2008 and every class thereafter.
In 2014, the Commission and the National Legal Mentoring Consortium co-sponsored a national legal mentoring conference entitled "Mentoring in Our Evolving Profession." This event brought together attendees from more than 25 different states for a discussion on the importance of mentoring in our rapidly changing legal profession and how to promote, establish, and support successful mentoring experiences.
Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring aspires to elevate the competence, professionalism, and success of Ohio lawyers through positive mentoring relationships. Mentoring works on several different levels to foster the development of a new lawyer's career while creating a sense of pride and purpose in the mentor. Specifically, the mentoring relationship should:
- Assist in the development of the new lawyer's practical skills and increase his or her knowledge of legal customs
- Improve legal ability and professional judgment
- Promote collegial relationships among legal professionals and involvement in the organized bar
- Encourage the use of best practices and highest ideals in the practice of law
- Contribute to a sense of integrity in the legal profession
Mentoring provides support that new lawyers need as they leave their academic lives behind and encounter the real-life challenges of practicing law. A mentor assists in your skills development, serves as an advisor and role model, and may even expand your professional network. A mentor's guidance can be extremely helpful as you undertake the demands of a new workplace and assume the identity of a legal professional.
Mentoring Term Requirements and New Lawyer Training Credit
Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring is a year-long relationship involving nine hours of mentoring over the course of six in-person meetings. Upon completion of mentoring, you will satisfy your new lawyer training requirement, depending on your registration status, provided that you have also taken the three-hour required class on professionalism, law practice management, and client fund management. Unlike other new lawyer training courses, there is no cost to participate in Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring.
New Lawyer Endorsements
New lawyers who have participated in Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring are very appreciative of their mentoring experiences. Examples of their comments about the program include the following:
- "The interaction with my mentor proved to be invaluable. I learned excellent lawyering skills."
- "[My mentor] pointed out ways of doing things and problems I had never considered, and would never consider, because of [my] lack of experience."
- "I learned more about the community aspect of being a lawyer. You don't just sit in your office and nail out cases. You are part of a community and I think my mentor helped me see that."
- "[My mentor] was great. I will still meet with him once a month after the program is completed."
- "My mentor was extremely helpful to me as I dealt with a difficult and unprofessional coworker this year."
- "My mentor gave great advice on how to further my career and get more out of my job. Without him, I doubt I would be happy [at the workplace]."
New lawyers responding to our end-of-term surveys provided the following feedback:
- 99% would recommend the program to other new lawyers
- 96% said they are better equipped to deal with ethical and professionalism considerations in their daily practice
- 94% said they learned about legal customs
- 92% said they are better prepared for the practice of law
- 92% said they have more practical knowledge about the practice of law
- 87% said they built collegial relationships with other members of the bar
New Lawyer Eligibility
Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring will be available to new lawyers who pass the Ohio bar examination and are admitted in November 2008, and to every class thereafter. To participate new lawyers must:
- Be admitted to practice law in Ohio or register for corporate status
- Submit a New Lawyer Application within 60 days of their admission ceremony or corporate registration
- Be subject to the new lawyer training requirement under Gov. Bar R. X
New lawyers interested in mentoring must submit a New Lawyer Application within 60 days of their admissions date or within 60 days of their registration for corporate status.
Begin the mentoring process by finding a mentor.
Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring needs experienced, ethical and professional lawyers to support new lawyers as they encounter the real-life challenges of practicing law. As a mentor, you will help in developing a new lawyer’s skills while serving as an advisor and role model. Mentors not only help out with the intellectual challenges that practicing law brings but also assist with a new lawyer’s acclimation to the legal workplace and new identity as a legal professional.
In a strong mentoring relationship, the mentor may benefit from the experience as well. Being a mentor may increase your personal satisfaction at your job and renew your sense of purpose in the profession. Mentoring counteracts isolation and helps you stay adaptable in your practice. Through mentoring you honor the mentors you had during your legal career and create a legacy of your own.
Judges Also Offer a Valuable Perspective
Judges are also encouraged to be mentors. In addition to your past experiences as a practitioner, as a judge you have a perspective from the bench that is invaluable. You have seen the best and worst examples of attorney competence and professionalism. You know what makes a legal career successful and what makes it less so. Depending upon your jurisdiction, you may deal with many different areas of law on a daily basis. It is important to build connections between the judiciary and the newest to the profession, and mentoring is an excellent way to do this.
Mentoring Term Requirements and CLE Credit
Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring is a year-long relationship that requires nine hours of mentoring over the course of six meetings. In recognition of the time needed to sustain a mentoring relationship, you will receive 12 hours of CLE credit, at no cost to you.
Mentors who participated in Lawyer to Lawyer have been appreciative of their mentoring experiences. Examples of their comments include the following:
- “[Participating] helped me feel that I was doing more than just my job each day, but helping someone else to hopefully get more out of their career.”
- “My mentee was feeling exactly the same trepidation, fear, and discomfort that I did when I was a young lawyer. It gave me a good feeling to help him realize that this was a natural – and even an important part - of becoming a lawyer, and in bringing him to the realization that that feeling will pass as he gains experience in his areas of practice.”
- “I found myself being reminded of the importance of ethics and professionalism, of treating ‘law’ as a profession, not a business, and [of] the personal satisfaction of being able to share my experiences while helping someone else.”
- “I think I learn as much as the mentee because I rethink the reasons why ... I do things and if what I am doing works currently, no matter how well something worked in the past.”
- “I am very glad I did this and would love to do it again.”
Mentors responding to our end-of-term surveys provided the following feedback:
- 99% said they would recommend the program to other experienced practitioners
- 85% said their participation contributed to an increase in their professionalism
- 76% said their participation contributed to an increase in job satisfaction
To be an eligible mentor you must:
- Be admitted to practice law for not less than five years or be registered corporate for not less than five years;
- Be in good standing;
- Have a reputation for competence and ethical and professional conduct;
- Never have been suspended or disbarred from the practice of law in any jurisdiction, nor have voluntarily surrendered your license to dispose a pending disciplinary proceeding;
- Not have been otherwise sanctioned in any jurisdiction during the 10 years preceding your nomination as a mentor*;
- Not have a formal disciplinary complaint pending before the Supreme Court of Ohio**;
- Carry professional liability insurance with minimum limits of $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 in the aggregate, or its equivalent. Government attorneys, in-house counsel for a corporation, lawyers employed by a non-profit agency, or lawyers mentoring in-house are exempt from this requirement.
- Submit a Mentor Application electronically online and be approved by the Commission on Professionalism
* For the purposes of the program, “sanctioned” means subjected to disciplinary action and includes public reprimands or private sanctions which occur in jurisdictions that impose them. Such sanctions also include administrative suspensions resulting from a deficiency in continuing legal education hours or a failure to renew attorney registration in a timely manner.
** If a formal disciplinary complaint is pending, a mentor nomination will be deferred until the final disposition of the formal complaint.
Three Ways to Get Started ...
- Join our Pre-Approved Mentor List: Submit a Mentor Application electronically online to become a part of our Pre-Approved Mentor List. If approved, you will be available to be chosen as a mentor for new lawyers.
- Talk to a particular new lawyer who you would like to mentor. If you are interested in mentoring a particular new lawyer (or law school graduate who will soon become a new lawyer), talk to him or her about the program and indicate your willingness to be a mentor. If there is mutual interest, the new lawyer should submit a New Lawyer Application electronically online and you should submit your Mentor Application. In all likelihood, the mentoring match will likely be approved. Please keep in mind that a new lawyer must sign up for mentoring within the 60 days that follow his or her admissions ceremony or registration as a corporate attorney.
- Encourage your employer to adopt Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring. Talk to your law firm or legal organization about adopting Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring.
New lawyers need experienced, ethical and professional lawyers to support them as they encounter the real-life challenges of practicing law. As a law firm or legal organization who hires newly admitted attorneys, you may want to incorporate Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring with your existing mentoring program. If you do not have a mentoring program, this is an excellent way to begin one.
Requirements for Earning CLE and New Lawyer Training Credit
Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring is a year-long relationship that involves a minimum of six meetings for a total of nine hours of mentoring. Lawyers from your firm or legal organization who serve as mentors in Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring will receive 12 hours of CLE credit, including one hour of ethics, one hour of professionalism, and one-half hour of substance abuse. New lawyers who successfully complete the program will fulfill their new lawyer training requirement, depending on their registration status, provided they have also taken a three-hour classroom course on professionalism, office management, and client fund management, which is required of all new lawyers. This educational credit is awarded at no cost to your firm or legal organization.
How Mentoring Benefits a Legal Organization
Legal employers who support a strong mentoring initiative should reap the dividends of their invested time. A quality mentoring program aids recruitment and increases retention. Effective mentoring raises productivity and helps an organization adapt to change. Establishing strong relationships between the new generation of lawyers and experienced attorneys at your organization may be the most successful way to build and transmit your unique culture, foster loyalty, and develop new leadership for the future.
Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring includes a comprehensive curriculum, featuring 40 different topics and discussion points, each of which is supported by supplementary materials. These materials include questions designed to generate meaningful discussion between a mentor and new lawyer, cites to the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct, and legal articles.
If you are a new lawyer who would like to participate in Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring, you may find a mentor in one of three ways:
- Search our Pre-Approved Mentor List - After you have been notified that you have passed the Ohio bar examination, you will receive a password to access our Pre-Approved Mentor List. You may search this database, which contains individual mentor information, including areas of practice, size of firm or legal organization, geographical location, educational background, bar association membership, civic activities, hobbies and interests, and special skills. You then submit your top three nominations on your online electronic New Lawyer Application and will likely be matched to one of these mentors.
- Ask a Mentor on Your Own - If there is an attorney you respect and admire who is not on our Pre-Approved Mentor List, you may take the initiative and ask that attorney to be your mentor. If he/she agrees, you should ask this mentor to complete a Mentor Application electronically online and submit it along with your own New Lawyer Application to the program.
- Ask Your Employer If It Participates - Law firms and legal organizations are encouraged to adopt Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring. In such cases, your law firm or legal organization will likely suggest a mentor for you from within your own organization. Generally these suggested matches will be approved. You will still need to file a New Lawyer Application, however.
What to Consider When Nominating a Mentor
Whether you plan on selecting mentor nominations from our preapproved mentor list or asking an experienced attorney to be your mentor on your own initiative, you may want to consider the following about your potential mentor:
- Employer – Nominating a mentor who works for the same law firm or legal organization as you makes it easier to meet frequently and, depending on the relationship, may afford the opportunity to work together on cases. Sharing client confidences, accepting or receiving referrals, or serving as co-counsel is not permitted if your mentor works for a different employer than you. On the other hand, working with a mentor outside of your legal organization expands your networking circle and provides a different perspective of your work experience. Also, it may be easier to ask questions and share personal concerns with a mentor outside your legal organization.
- Practice areas – A mentor practicing in the same practice area as you may be more likely to understand and relate to your work experiences. Sometimes, however, new lawyers nominate a mentor who practices in an area of law that interests them or they hope to practice in later in their career. This is an effective way to learn more about an area of law that may be unfamiliar to you.
- Memberships and leadership positions outside of the office – Involvement in bar associations and civic activities helps to define a lawyer’s career. You may decide to nominate a mentor who is involved in groups that you would like to join or who holds leadership roles to which you aspire.
- Personal interests and background information – Success in a mentoring relationship depends largely upon developing rapport between you and your mentor. You may want to nominate a mentor who attended the same college or law school as you so that you have this common experience. Similarly, you may select a mentor who has hobbies or interests that you share and can easily discuss.
- Location – While meetings can be completed virtually, there may be a benefit to finding a mentor who works or lives near you. Being in the same geographic area provides the opportunity for in-person meetings and to learn any specialized local practices or rules.
Participants must complete at least nine hours of mentoring during the course of at least six meetings. The mentee and mentor should schedule these meetings at times and places most convenient for them. Some mentees and mentors find it easiest to schedule meetings that include breakfast or lunch rather than meeting in an office setting. Participants may complete their meetings via video conferencing and there is no requirement to meet in person.
Length of Mentoring Term
The mentoring term lasts approximately 11 months.
Mentees Training and CLE Credit
Mentees who successfully complete Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring will fulfill their New Lawyers Training requirement, depending on their registration status, provided that they also receive three hours of classroom instruction on professionalism, office management, and client fund management, which is required of all new attorneys. Mentors will receive 12 hours of CLE credit, which includes 2.5 hours of attorney conduct. There is no cost to mentors or mentees who participate.
Activities and Discussions
Participants must complete all activities selected as a part of their Mentoring Plan. Participants are required to have a discussion about substance abuse and mental health issues, as well as a discussion of pro bono service.
Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring does not require any journaling or submission of written work. However, the following must be completed by all participants:
- Mentee Application or Mentor Application
- Mentoring Agreement
- Mentoring Plan
- End-of-Term Survey
- Certificate of Satisfactory Completion
To be most effective in their new role, mentors receive training at a mentor orientation. Mentors are strongly encouraged to attend this training and will receive additional CLE credit for their attendance at the live webcast. In the alternative, mentors may view a prior year's orientation program online. Mentees are sent an orientation packet to review.
The Implementation Plan explains in great detail how the program will operate and outlines the program rules. Participants are not required to read this plan, as the orientation program and materials will explain how the program works.
Program Timeline & Due Dates
|For new lawyers admitted in May 2023:|
|New Lawyer Applications due||July 7, 2023|
|Mentoring Term begins||Aug. 1, 2023|
|Mentoring Plans & Mentoring Agreements due||Sept. 5, 2023|
|Mentoring Term ends & Certificate of Satisfactory Completion due||June 28, 2024|
|For new lawyers admitted in November 2022:|
|New Lawyer Applications Due||Jan. 13, 2023|
|Mentoring Term begins||Feb. 1, 2023|
|Mentoring Plans & Mentoring Agreements due||March 1, 2023|
|Mentoring Term ends & Certificate of Satisfactory Completion due||Dec. 31, 2023|
|For new lawyers admitted in May 2022:|
|New Lawyer Applications due||July 8, 2022|
|Mentoring Term begins||Aug. 1, 2022|
|Mentoring Plans & Mentoring Agreements due||Sept. 2, 2022|
|Mentoring Term ends & Certificate of Satisfactory Completion due||June 30, 2022|
- Mentors who are matched to a new lawyer must to attend a mentor orientation program prior to their first meeting with their new lawyer. Mentors may either:
- Watch a live webcast, details will be sent upon matching and attendees will also receive additional CLE credit, or
- View a video replay of a prior orientation, linked below. No CLE credit is available for the video replay.
New Lawyer Orientation Materials
New Lawyer Orientation
- The New Lawyer Orientation consists of reading the orientation materials that are mailed to new lawyers. New lawyers are responsible for knowing how the program works and when submissions are due so that they can successfully complete the program and receive New Lawyer Training credit.
Mentor Orientation Materials
Submit Your Mentoring Application Electronically Online
(For new lawyers seeking mentors and experienced lawyers who would like to be mentors)
View the Mentor Qualifications
(Determine if you are eligible to serve as a Mentor!)
Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring is collaborating with the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation to encourage mentoring partners to participate in pro bono opportunities. Monthly updates about pro bono activities will be sent throughout the mentoring term. Events highlighting pro bono opportunities for mentoring participants will be held throughout the state. Pro bono activities range from working at a brief advice clinic for an evening to co-counseling on a pro bono case.
Keep in mind that working with your mentoring partner on a pro bono project fulfills Activity F in your mentoring plan. Under Activity OO, you and your mentoring partner may co-counsel on a pro bono case. Mentors and new lawyers who engage in pro bono will enjoy an enriching educational experience while fulfilling their professional obligation to help ensure that justice is available for all.
Find pro bono opportunities near you:
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 South Front Street, 5th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431
Bradley J. Martinez, Esq.