New Lawyer Training Program®

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FROM MENTORS

Q: WHAT IS THE NEW LAWYER TRAINING PROGRAM?

The NLTP is a required mentoring program the Utah Supreme Court, in conjunction with the Utah State Bar, provides for new lawyers to facilitate their transition into the practice of law. The program requires new lawyers admitted to the Utah Bar to work with experienced lawyers over a twelve-month term. 

The goal of the NLTP is to provide new lawyers with practical training in professionalism, ethics and civility. Moreover, the NLTP is a means for all Utah attorneys to learn the importance of organizational mentor, including the building of developmental networks and long-term mentoring relationships.

Q: HOW LONG IS A NLTP MENTORING TERM?

The NLTP mentoring term is twelve months. There are two mentoring terms each year. One begins in January and one begins in July. There are Timelines for each term on the bar website that list the deadlines and requirements for each term. New lawyers must begin and end the NLTP on one of the terms. It would be administratively impossible for new lawyers to begin on a rolling basis.

Q: WHY SHOULD I VOLUNTEER TO MENTOR?

The legal profession needs experienced and respected lawyers to help new lawyers acquire the practical skills and judgment necessary to practice in a highly competent manner. Historically, the profession has been concerned with: (1) the difficulties new lawyers face when leaving the academic environment of law school and enter the practical demands of law practice; (2) increasing perceptions of an erosion of professionalism and civility as the bar has grown over the years and lawyers have become less familiar with one another; and (3) increasing numbers of young lawyers leaving the profession due to growing dissatisfaction with their environment and law practice and balancing the demands of life. 

As experienced lawyers, you have the ability to address these historic concerns and shape the future of the profession. 

Moreover, mentoring relationships have been shown to be beneficial to both the new lawyer and mentor.

Q: WHAT ARE THE MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS TO BECOME A MENTOR?

Qualifications for becoming a mentor include the following:

1. Minimum of seven years of active legal practice;
2. No past or pending public or formal discipline proceeding of any type or nature by a court or a state bar;
3. If in private practice, malpractice insurance in an amount of at least $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 in the aggregate. The Court requires this as an example to new lawyers that carrying malpractice insurance is a best practice.
4. At least three references from the legal community.
5. Approval by the Utah Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Professionalism.

Q: HOW DO I BECOME A MENTOR?

Lawyers who meet the above-listed minimum requirements and who are interested in becoming mentors must complete an application and submit the application to the NLTP Coordinator. The volunteer mentor application is available in the Mentoring section of the Utah State Bar’s website. 

The NLTP Coordinator submits all applicant names to the Utah Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Professionalism for consideration. Once approved, mentors receive a letter from the Court and their name is added to the “Approved Mentor” list which is available for review by new lawyers on the bar’s website.

Q: DO I NEED TO ATTEND ANY TRAINING TO BECOME A MENTOR?

Yes. Mentor training is required and can be completed by attending a live training that takes place once a year or by watching the online mentor training video available on the bar’s website. Mentors need only attend the training one time. Mentors who attend live training receive 1 ethics CLE credit and 1 professionalism CLE credit.

Q: WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES OF A MENTOR?

The primary responsibilities of the mentor include the following: 

1. Devote the time required to be an effective mentor which includes meeting with the new lawyer two hours per month;
2. Guide and teach the new lawyer practical skills, seasoned judgment, and sensitivity to ethical and professional values;
3. Assist the new lawyer in developing a mentoring plan;
4. Monitor the new lawyer’s progress in completing the mentoring plan and sign two mid-term progress reports.
5. Certify at the end of twelve-months whether the new lawyer satisfactorily completed his or her mentoring plan.

Q: DO I RECEIVE ANY CLE CREDITS FOR MENTORING?

Yes. NLTP mentors receive a maximum of 12 hours of CLE credit (including two ethics credits) for mentoring a new lawyer. However, if a mentor fails to serve the full twelve months or shares mentoring responsibilities, the mentor will receive CLE credits proportionate to the time served as mentor. Credits are awarded upon submission of the new lawyer’s Certification of Completion for the NLTP. 

Mentors who choose to mentor more than 1 new lawyer during a NLTP mentoring term only receive a total of 12 hours of CLE credit. 

NOTE: Any experienced lawyers who are not approved by the Court but serving as informal mentors to a new lawyer are not entitled to CLE credit.

Q: CAN MENTORING RESPONSIBILITIES BE SHARED WITH OTHER COURT- APPROVED MENTORS?

Yes. Frequently a mentor is unable to assist the new lawyer on all of the activities included in the mentoring plan. In those situations, mentoring responsibilities can be shared with other court-appointed mentors. The new lawyer should notify the NLTP Coordinator when mentoring responsibilities are being shared. 

Additionally, when mentoring duties are shared, mentors are encouraged to maintain a record of the activities and time spent engaged in mentoring a new lawyer so that proper CLE credit can be allotted at the end of the mentoring term.

Q: WHAT IF I DON’T GET ALONG WITH MY MENTEE ?

New lawyers are allowed to change mentors one time during the course of the mentoring term. Changes are very rare and usually happen because the new lawyer switches jobs or moves to another city. In order to make a change, the new lawyer submits a “Mentor Migration Form” informing the NLTP Coordinator that he or she is changing mentors. The first mentor will receive CLE credit proportionate to the time spent mentoring the new lawyer.

Q: HOW DO NEW LAWYERS SELECT A MENTOR?

A new lawyer can find a mentor one of three ways: 

1. Search the List of Available Mentors – There is a list of available mentors on the Utah Bar website. The lawyers on the approved mentor list have already submitted an application and been approved to mentor. The new lawyer calls one of the mentors on the list and asks her or him to mentor.
2. Ask a Lawyer to Apply to Become an Approved Mentor – If there is an attorney the new lawyer respects and admires who is not an approved mentor and he or she meets the qualifications to mentor, the new lawyer can ask that attorney to submit a mentor application.
3. Ask An Employer to Suggest Potential Mentors – Most law firms and legal organizations have approved mentors working for them. A law firm or legal organization can suggest a mentor from within the organization.

Q: I AM A MENTOR BUT I HAVE NOT BEEN ASSIGNED A NEW LAWYER.
WHEN WILL I BE ASSIGNED A NEW LAWYER? DOES THE NLTP STILL NEED ME TO VOLUNTEER AS A MENTOR?

Once a lawyer is approved to be a mentor, he or she remains on the list available mentors. New lawyers often call the NLTP Coordinator asking for suggestions or advice about how to select a mentor from the approved list. An interested mentor should contact the NLTP Coordinator and he or she will direct new lawyers to call the interested mentor.

Q: WHAT WILL THE MENTOR BE DOING DURING THE NLTP MENTORING TERM?

During the mentoring term, the mentor assists the new lawyer in working through his or her mentoring plan.

The mentoring plan is the curriculum for the program. It consists of a list of activities the mentor and new lawyer must choose so that both individuals have a roadmap of topics to cover during the mentoring term. Additionally, the mentor and new lawyer may discuss other issues as they arise during the new lawyer’s first year of practice. 

The required activities outlined in the mentoring plan are those activities that the New Lawyer Training Committee identified as essential to the new lawyer’s development as a professional lawyer and they must be completed.

Q: HOW DO THE MENTOR AND NEW LAWYER CREATE A MENTORING PLAN?

The New Lawyer Training Committee, which developed the New Lawyer Training Program, created a comprehensive Model Mentoring Plan that mentors and new lawyers can use to create their mentoring plan. Although certain components of the plan are required and must be included in all mentoring plans, the plan provides great flexibility in designing a plan that fits the needs and goals of the new lawyer. The new lawyer and mentor work together to ensure that the selected mentoring plan fosters discussion and implementation of professional skills and values.

Q: THE MENTORING PLAN COVERS A VAST ARRAY OF LEGAL ACTIVITIES SOME OF WHICH I LACK SUFFICIENT EXPERIENCE. HOW DOES MY NEW LAWYER GET EFFECTIVELY MENTORED ON THESE ACTIVITIES?

The mentoring plan is extensive and provides an opportunity for new lawyers to tailor their plans to fit their legal practice. Occasionally, the mentor lacks experience in a particular legal area included in the mentoring plan. In those situations, the mentor should assist the new lawyer in finding another Court-approved mentor who possesses the experience to assist the new lawyer. 

Additionally, the new lawyer and mentor can seek assistance from the NLTP Coordinator in finding a mentor who can cover topics in the mentoring plan.

Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF THE NEW LAWYER DOES NOT COMPLETE THE MENTORING PLAN BY THE END OF THE NLTP MENTORING TERM?

The mentor has sole responsibility for certifying whether the new lawyer has satisfactorily completed the mentoring plan. Upon completion of the plan, the mentor completes the NLTP Completion Certification form and submits it to the NLTP Coordinator. 

Failure to complete the mentoring plan shall be reported to the NLTP office. The NLTP office will work with the new lawyer to assess options for completing the plan and whether license suspension is at risk. The program will have discretion in allowing extensions for NLTP completion.

Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF THE NEW LAWYER COMPLETES THE MENTORING PLAN PRIOR TO THE END OF THE NLTP MENTORING TERM?

The NLTP is mandated by the Utah Supreme Court. Participants are required to complete the program over a 12 month period. The NLTP has discretion to recommend to the Utah Board of Continuing Legal Education the license suspension of any new lawyer who participates in the program for less than 12 months. Moreover, the NLTP has discretion to withhold CLE credits to those mentors who fail to mentor a new lawyer for 12 months. 

If the new lawyer completes all of the required and elective activities in his or her mentoring plan in less than 12 months, the mentor and new lawyer should select other activities for the new lawyer to complete during the remainder of the mentoring term.

Q: HOW DO I GET ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT MENTORING?

For additional information, contact the NLTP Coordinator at (801)297-7026 or at mentoring@utahbar.org. Additionally, all NLTP materials and resources are available on this site.