Survey Says…Mentors Reap Benefits of Mentoring

by Elizabeth A. Wright
At the Utah State Bar Summer Convention in Sun Valley, Idaho, the Bar Commission will recognize Sharon Donovan of Dart, Adamson & Donovan and Riley “Josh” Player, an Assistant District Attorney at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, as Outstanding Mentors in the New Lawyer Training Program (“NLTP”). New lawyers who have been mentored in the NLTP were invited to nominate their mentors for the first “Outstanding Mentor” award to be given in July. Though Ms. Donovan and Mr. Riley are to be commended for their outstanding service, there were many other terrific nominees. The large number of thoughtful nominations indicates that the new lawyers are truly appreciative of the time mentors devote to them and the relationship that is formed. The following comments from mentees demonstrate the significance of mentoring in the early stages of a lawyer’s career:
• “The relationship that [my mentor and I] developed through the mentoring program is one of the most valuable assets I maintain in my practice.”
• “[My mentor] guided me through my first year as an attorney and continues to do so as I become a more experienced attorney. I am a better attorney because of [my mentor’s] guidance.”
• “I gained a life-long friend and confidant.”
• “My mentor taught me how to be a good member of the legal community.”
• “[My mentor’s] encouragement and advice helped me through a very difficult first year as a new lawyer.”
• “[My mentor] was genuinely interested in making sure that I was prepared to be a well-rounded and skilled attorney.”
The Bar’s mentoring program has been humming along nicely since 2009. The NLTP requires new admittees to the Utah State Bar to work with a Utah Supreme Court Approved Mentor during their first year of practice.1 The mentor and new lawyer are required to meet once a month for twelve months to discuss the new lawyer’s legal work, professional development, and adjustment to the practice of law. They are also required to discuss the Rules of Professional Conduct as a means of more effectively teaching and fostering professionalism, ethics and civility. Both the new lawyer and the mentor receive twelve CLE credits for participating in the program. There are 804 approved mentors in the NLTP, 285 of whom are currently mentoring new lawyers. By the time this article appears in print, 561 new lawyers will have completed the program.
As Coordinator of the NLTP, I have the pleasure of interacting on a regular basis with our state’s newest lawyers and have found it extremely rewarding to work with new lawyers as they begin their careers and find their way in the profession and our legal community. I am glad to answer new lawyers’ questions about the Utah State Bar, how it works and what it offers to them professionally and personally.
However, because of the way the NLTP is designed, I have much less interaction with our NLTP mentors. I am aware of the time and effort NLTP mentors are devoting to their mentees, not only because I know what the program requires of them, but because I hear from the new lawyers about the work they do together. I know the practice of law is stressful and time consuming. I know people’s personal lives are busy. I know that mentoring hours are non-billable. So when I see and hear what NLTP mentors are doing to teach and help their mentees I am appreciative, but I also hope and wonder if they are glad they took on this huge task.
Why would a busy, experienced lawyer take the time to mentor a new lawyer? There are multiple studies and articles that discuss the benefits of mentoring for the mentor.2 The benefits of mentoring include building leadership skills, expanding horizons, revitalizing an interest in one’s own career, and expanding one’s professional network. Mentoring is good for business because it helps legal organizations attract and retain good lawyers. Finally, mentoring is community service. Lawyers who are successful and/or who had mentors themselves often like and want to give back to the profession.
To find out if NLTP mentors are reaping the benefits of mentoring, the Bar did a survey of mentors in 2011. The mentors who responded all said they would mentor again and recommend mentoring to other experienced practitioners. 88.7% think that mentoring is an effective way to train new lawyers in the practice of law. 94% will maintain a relationship with their mentee. 87.3% feel they benefitted from participating as a mentor.
Here are some quotes from the survey that support what the studies say about the benefits of mentoring:
• “Mentoring made me reflect on my practice and how I could improve.”
• “It is gratifying to pass on what you have learned in practice.”
• “It gave me an appreciation of how hard it is to commence a practice and what ‘blind spots’ new lawyers have that require assistance.”
• “I had to pay much more attention to detail and it required me to make sure I understood and followed correct procedure. Mentoring required me to update myself on certain areas of the law.”
• “It made me review the Rules of Professional Responsibility.”
• “It helped me share my experience and advice to better help the new lawyer, which in turn made me feel better about my job as an attorney.”
• “I benefited as it was a way of paying back to those that encouraged me in my early legal career.”
• “I had to analyze the ‘why’ of things.”
• “The preparation for each session was good review for me.”
• “New relationships will foster career development for both parties.”
• “I made a much stronger connection to the new attorney than would have taken place otherwise.”
• “It is a great feeling to be a mentor. Both times have been very special, particularly at months 10, 11, 12 as you realize how much you’ve been able to do together.”
• “I enjoyed being around enthusiastic young people.”
• “Acting as a mentor showed me how much my knowledge, skills, and confidence have increased since I was a new lawyer. I confirmed that I actually know a few things about practicing law and doing it well.”
The survey results mirror the scholarship about mentoring and demonstrate that mentors find the mentoring experience personally and professionally beneficial. Serving as a mentor creates an opportunity for mentors to develop new business contacts, friendships that may last a lifetime, the opportunity to pass on some of their insights from years of practice, and the satisfaction of knowing they have contributed positively to the well-being and integrity of the profession.
1. New admittees who have practiced in another jurisdiction for at least two years or who live outside of Utah are exempt from the NLTP.
2. See, e.g., Raymond A. Noe, David B. Greenberger and Sheng Wang, Mentoring: What We Know and Where We Might Go, 21 Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management 129, 151 (2002); Connie R. Wanberg, Elizabeth T. Welch and Sarah A. Hezlett, Mentoring Research: A Review and Dynamic Process Model, 22 Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management 39, 52-53 (2003); Sharon K. Gibson, Being Mentored: The Experience of Women Faculty, 30 Journal of Career Development 173, 173 (2004).

Thank You to those who are currently mentoring a new lawyer in the New Lawyer Training Program. The future of the legal profession is stronger because of your service.
Grace Acosta
J. Keith Adams
Nate Alder
Steve Alder
Stephen Alderman
Brent Anderson
Derek Anderson
Gary Anderson
Kevin Anderson
Robert Anderson
Steve Anderson
Dean Andreasen
Joan Andrews
Anne Armstrong
Patrick Ascione
Spencer Austin
Bruce Babcock
Justin Baer
Stephanie Barber-Renteria
John Barlow
Peter Barlow
Brent Bartholomew
Joseph Bean
Sara Becker
Ryan Bell
Tim Blackburn
Martin Blaustein
Nanci Bockelie
Troy Booher
Richard Bradford
Kenneth Bradshaw
John Braithwaite
Matthew Brimley
Brent Brindley
Allan Brinkerhoff
Berne Broadbent
David Broadbent
Daniel Brough
Robert Brown
Franklin Brussow
Stephen Buhler
George Burbidge
Richard Burbidge
H. Dickson Burton
Martin Bushman
Adam Caldwell
Ryan Carter
Patricia Cassell
Terry Cathcart
Grant Charles
Stephen Christensen
Jordan Christianson
Mary Jane Ciccarello
Perry Clegg
Christian Clinger
Matthew Cox
Daniel Cragun
T. Edward Cundick
David Cutt
Chris Dexter
Lynn Donaldson
Sharon Donovan
Sandra Dredge
Clifford Dunn
Doug Durbano
Matthew Durham
Phillip Dyer
Dawn Emery
David Evans
Mr. Dana Facemyer
Tamara Fackrell
Jennifer Falk
Mr. Dana Farmer
Adam Ford
Stuart Fredman
Steve Garside
Sarah Giacovelli
Barton Giddings
Corbin Gordin
Steve Gordon
Deirdre Gorman
Marlin Grant
Roger Griffin
Andrew Gustafson
Jon Hafen
David Hall
Narvell Hall
Kristy Hanson
Sheleigh Harding
Thomas Hardman
Laurie Hart
James Harward
James Haskins
Deacon Haymond
Bill Heder
Jack Helgesen
Roger Henriksen
Deborah Hill
Lincoln Hobbs
Trent Holgate
Michael Holje
Jeffrie Hollingworth
Randall Holmgren
John Holt
Michael Hoppe
Catherine Hoskins
Jackson Howard
Robert Huges
Loren Hulse
David Hunter
Graden Jackson
Robert Janicki
Annette Jarvis
Lindsay Jarvis
Nathan Jennings
Tyler Jensen
Bryan Johansen
Bart Johnson
Brandon Johnson
Greg Jones
J. Edward Jones
Philip Jones
Richard Jones
Kris Kaufmann
Anthony Kaye
Michael Keller
Steven Killpack
Felshaw King
Jennifer Korb
James Kruse
Jonathan Lear
Reid Lewis
Ben Lieberman
Laron Lind
Margaret Lindsay
Randy Lish
Kenneth Lougee
Howard Lundgren
Nathan Lyon
Paul MacArthur
Ronald Madson
Abigail Magrane
David Mangum
Brent Manning
Elaina Maragakis
Eric Maschoff
James McConkie
Karen McCreary
Benji McMurray
Gwyn McNeal
Stacy McNeill
Jeffrey Miner
Michelle Mitchell
Roy Montclair
Jerome Mooney
Marty Moore
Sophia Moore
John Morris
Mark Morris
John Morrison
Alan Mortensen
Robert Morton
Brennan Moss
Duane Moss
Robin Nalder
Robert Neill
Nathan Nelson
Matthew Olsen
Blake Ostler
Langdon Owen
Stephen Owens
Sheila Page
Bradley Parker
Robert Parrish
Robert Payne
Lisa Petersen
Richard Peterson
Robyn Phillips
Keith Pope
Albert Pranno
Stephen Quesenberry
Laura Rasmussen
Scott Rasmussen
J. Bruce Reading
Kenlon Reeve
Reuben Renstrom
Tupakk Renteria
David Reymann
Rodney Rivers
Charles Roberts
Kristine Rogers
Richard Russell
Scott Sabey
Brent Salazar-Hall
Daniel Sam
Stephen Sargent
Dean Saunders
Stacey Schmidt
Christina Schmutz
Peter Schofield
Kent Scott
Thomas Scribner
Thomas Seiler
Lori Seppi
Paul Simmons
Jeremy Sink
Michael Skolnick
Greg Skordas
Neil Skousen
Everett Smith
Kelly Smith
Trystan Smith
Amy Sorenson
Terry Spencer
Ryan Springer
Justin Starr
Daniel Steele
Steven Stewart
Doug Stowell
Robert Sykes
Cory Talbot
Anne Marie Taliaferro
Reid Tateoka
Benjamin Thomas
Mark Tolman
Justin Toth
Randall Trueblood
Allen Turner
Chad Utley
Richard Van Wagoner
Malanie Vartabedian
Padma Veeru-Collings
Phyllis Vetter
Charles Veverka
Ed Wall
Robert Wallace
Curtis Ward
Beatryx Washington
Judge R. Scott Waterfall
Gary Weight
Todd Weiler
Judge Brent West
Robert West
Gary Weston
Heather White
Nathan Wilcox
Mark William
Donald Winder
Bruce Wycoff
Drew Yeates
Lisa Yerkovich
Brent Young
Jamie Zenger
Linda Zimmerman

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