THE LEGAL COMMUNITY

NLTP Introduction to the Mentors Office

NLTP Introduction to the Mentors Office

This resource is intended to facilitate a discussion between the mentor and new lawyer with regard to the introduction of the new lawyer to the members of the mentor’s firm or office.

 

Required Section 1(b): During the initial meeting, or shortly after the initial meeting, the mentor should introduce the new lawyer to other lawyers and staff members at the mentor’s office or ascertain that such introductions have already occurred. (Not required for an outside mentor)

General Mentoring Tips

Inside Mentoring

  • Introduce the new lawyer to other lawyers and personnel in the firm/office.  If the office/firm is large and it is not feasible to introduce the new lawyer to everyone, introduce the new lawyer to partners and supervising attorneys, as well as those associates and staff in the division(s) in which the new lawyer will work.
  • Explain from whom the new lawyer should expect to get work.  Do all assignments come through one person?  Is the new lawyer responsible for checking in with a group of people to obtain assignments?  To whom does the new lawyer report?
  • To the extent possible, discuss the working styles and preferences of those lawyers in the firm/office for whom the new lawyer will likely be working.  If the mentor does not have this information, introduce the new lawyer to other lawyers in the firm who can share this information.
  • Discuss office culture and administrative details, such as the following:  (1) what time new associates are expected to arrive at the office and leave; (2) any flexibility allowed for work hours and “work from home” opportunities; (3) appropriate office attire; and (4) type of social climate amongst staff.
  • Discuss the types of tasks new associates should expect on their first three months, first year, and first three years of practice.  If the firm evaluates associates using competencies or other methods of evaluation, the mentor should explain these methods of evaluation.  Explain how the new lawyer will obtain practical experience while employed in the firm/office.  If there is a formal program for new associates with training over a period of time, explain the structure of that training.
  • Discuss the importance of having support staff on your team and treating them with respect.
  • Explain to the new lawyer each non-lawyer employee’s role in the mentor’s office/firm including the employee’s title, job duties, and relationship to the new lawyer, if any.
  • Share the “do’s and don’ts” of dealing with support staff, colleagues, and those more senior than the new lawyer.
  • If the new lawyer has an assistant, secretary and/or paralegal, explain the types of tasks that are appropriate and inappropriate to ask each of them to perform.

Outside Mentoring

  • Introduce the new lawyer to members of the mentor’s firm, including non-legal staff.
  • Explain each employee’s role in the firm and each lawyer’s area of practice.
  • Share co-workers accomplishments that the mentor recommends the new lawyer try to emulate.  If the new lawyer is interested, the mentor should assist in scheduling a meeting with those co-workers to discuss their practice.
  • Discuss the importance of having support staff on your team and treating them with respect.
  • Explain each non-lawyer employee’s role in the mentor’s office/firm including the employee’s title and job duties.
  • Share the “do’s and don’ts” of dealing with support staff, colleagues, and those more senior than the new lawyer.
  • If the new lawyer has an assistant, secretary and/or paralegal, explain the types of tasks that the outside mentor believes are appropriate and inappropriate to ask each of them to perform.

Getting Off to a Good Start

Share tips for succeeding in the practice of law, especially in the practice setting in which the new lawyer works.  Discuss the suggestions made in the attached articles.  David J. Levy, Surviving Your “Junioring” Years, Law Practice Today, March 2005.  Dennis Kennedy, Twenty Lessons for Lawyers Starting Their Careers, Law Practice Today, March 2005.  David Drummer, 10 Survival Tips for New Associates,Texas Lawyer, 2007.  Steven C. Bennett, How to Commit Career Suicide, National Law Journal, May 8, 2008.  Petra Pasternak, How New Lawyers Can Choose Assignments Wisely, The Recorder, Nov. 15, 2007.