Overview

Goals and Purpose of Mentoring Program

  • Assist law students to matriculate through law school
  • Connect law students with legal and governmental community
  • Shorten learning curve for law students to be practicing attorneys
  • Socialized law students to local practice customs and behaviors
  • Impart professionalism and ethics for law students
  • Share professional values and techniques with law

General Benefits of Mentoring Program

  • Mentoring
    • Promotes legal, professional and ethical development.
    • Provides Mentee’s with access to local legal community
    • Shape the future of the practice of law
    • Personal satisfaction and growth
    • Gives back and pays forward to the legal profession
  • Mentors and Mentees
    • Educate and learn from each other on legal related topics
    • Help understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses
    • Learn about the business of practicing law
    • Network and access to legal community, for the present and future

Mentor Qualifications

  • Practicing as an attorney or judge licensed to practice law
    • In good standing with a State Bar
    • Minimum of 10 years experience in field
    • No pending complaints or disciplinary action
    • No 10 year disciplinary history with a State Bar
  • Mentors must be available for in person program requirements

Mentee Qualifications and Limitations

  • Full-time or part-time student at Florida A&M University College of Law
  • Soft cap of 15 students per class year, with fill-ins subject to hard cap
  • Hard cap of 45 students total

Role of the Mentor

  • Advisor, Coach & Counselor
  • Networker & Introducer
  • Advise students on studying for Florida Bar
  • Connect students with legal and governmental community
  • Help transition students from law school into attorneys
  • Advise students on local practice customs and behaviors
  • Counsel students on professionalism, reputation and ethics as attorneys
  • Share professional values and techniques
  • Encourage and reassure to mentee where needed
  • Assist student on selecting area of law and successful path
  • Coach student on interview process
  • Discuss treatment of privileged information
  • Share “war” stories from practice on failures, obstacles and successes
  • Allow student to observe practice situations, depositions, mediations etc
  • Respect student’s individuality and avoid assumptions
  • Discuss life/work balance, perspectives and values

Program Requirements/Joint Obligations of Participants

  • Mandatory Requirements
    • Attend Kick-Off Meeting to greet and meet Mentors/Mentees
    • Meet in person no less than four (4) times during the school calendar year
    • Attend at least one of two group mentoring meetings with preset topic during the school calendar
    • Signs agreement to abide by program, including a liability waiver provision
    • Attend Year End Meeting of Mentors/Mentees (with Sponsors)
    • Update program and pairs of new employment/internships during program year
    • Mentors will alert committee of mentees’ lack of participation
  • Optional Requirements
    • Attend OCBA or voluntary Bar Association meeting together
    • Attend Depos/Mediations/Trials/Arbitrations/Closings/Meetings
    • Shadowing opportunities with mentor and others, including judges, and government officials
    • Appropriate social events
    • Attend charitable events
    • Observe court proceedings as well as meet with judges, clerks, and judicial assistants
  • Suggested Topics for In-Person Meetings
    • Professionalism in the court room and law firm
    • Conflicts of Interest and Client Confidentiality
    • Acting as Local Counsel and Co-Counsel
    • Independence and Accountability for Actions
    • Practice Areas – Pros and Cons
    • Law Firms, Government and Other Employment
      • Hanging your own shingle vs. working for a firm
      • Public vs. Private sectors
    • Hearsay exceptions/evidentiary issues
    • Motions and how to succeed at them
    • Ethical and professional dilemmas
    • Client engagement and closing letters
    • Negotiating and drafting legal contracts
    • Trust fund accounts and use of interest
    • ADR – Arbitration and Mediation
    • Business of Practice of Law
    • Dress code/ courtroom etiquette
    • Communication with clients/courts/opposing counsel
    • Law firm culture
    • Managing future finances/billing
    • Management of law school finances/student debt
    • Managing case loads
    • Emerging areas of law
    • Completion of the Florida Bar Application
    • Florida Bar preparation and passage
    • Stress management and risk of substance abuse
    • Work-life balance and prioritization
    • Transitioning from law student into an attorney
    • Job search/interviews