By Misty Griffith
The practice of law is challenging, especially for new lawyers. When starting the legal journey as a new lawyer, it is beneficial to have a trusted advisor who can provide sound guidance and support. The new Mentor Advice Program (MAP) the NHBA is introducing at Midyear Meeting will partner new attorneys (advisees) with experienced practitioners (mentors) in order to provide guidance regarding ethical, practical, and professional issues. MAP seeks to promote positive relationships among members of the NHBA.
Mentors wanted! One key to the success of MAP will be having an enthusiastic group of well-qualified mentors ready to help guide newer attorneys. Attorneys in good standing who have practiced in New Hampshire at least five years and have not been subject to any disciplinary complaints in the last five years may apply to be a mentor. Retired judges and attorneys are also welcome. Mentors should have a reputation in the New Hampshire legal community for ethical and professional conduct and competence.
The role of the mentor is to provide ethical, professional, and practical guidance. Mentors do not have any responsibility to supervise or evaluate the work of the advisee and mentors assume no responsibility for services performed by the advisee. Serving as a mentor is a valuable service to the New Hampshire legal community and can be a fulfilling experience for seasoned attorneys. Attorney Charles Bauer of Gallagher, Callahan and Gartrell states:
“I encourage experienced New Hampshire lawyers to volunteer for the New Hampshire Bar Association Mentor Program and provide pro bono mentoring assistance to attorneys who might be inexperienced, younger, or otherwise unclear of our New Hampshire legal practices and procedures. I also encourage lawyers to take advantage of the NHBA Mentor Program. I have been involved in mentoring for many years, and have found it to be a worthwhile public service, and rewarding to assist others.”
If you are an experienced attorney, consider making one of your New Year’s resolutions giving back to the profession by mentoring a new attorney. Please contact Misty Griffith, member services coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on mentoring.
New attorneys, we are here for you. Attorneys who have been in practice for less than three years may apply for the Mentor Advice Program. MAP is also available to attorneys who have not actively practiced law for the past three years and are now seeking to return to the legal community. Additionally, attorneys who are new to New Hampshire within the last year, but have practiced more than three years elsewhere, may apply for a mentor in order to seek basic insight regarding the nuances of Granite State law practice. If there is a waiting list to receive a mentor, preference will be given to attorneys who are new to the practice of law.
Apply online. Applications for the MAP will be available on the NHBA website by February 1, 2021. In matching advisees with a mentor, a variety of factors will be taken into consideration. These include primary practice areas, size and type of employer, specific preferences/concerns, and geographic location. Geographic location will not be a barrier to an otherwise good match, especially given the ubiquity of web conferencing and videoconferencing platforms. The goal is to create a compatible match that will be professionally fulfilling for the participants. Once a match is made, both parties will be notified by the NHBA and the mentor will schedule an initial meeting with the advisee.
Guidelines to success. The MAP is solely for educational purposes and any legal problems should be discussed in a general, hypothetical manner. Mentors do not have any responsibility to supervise or evaluate the work of the advisee and mentors assume no responsibility for legal services performed by the advisee. The commitment to the program is for 6 months, during which time the mentor should connect with the advisee at least once a month. All program participants will sign a participation agreement which will be kept on file at the Bar Center.
During their initial meeting, the mentor and advisee will define the parameters of their relationship including preferred means of contact, goals, boundaries, avoiding potential conflicts of interest, and plans for the next meeting. Each mentoring pair should develop a plan that best suits their specific professional relationship, respective work schedules, and goals for the program. Throughout the program NHBA member services will be available for support.
After the initial six-month term, both participants will be asked to fill out a brief, confidential evaluation of the program. The parties may by mutual agreement renew the relationship for an additional six-month term. The formal mentorship may continue for a total of up to two years. However, participants are encouraged to continue an informal relationship beyond the term of the program
Learn more. Check out the mentor booth at Midyear Meeting to connect with MAP coordinator Misty Griffith. Applications for participants, both mentors and advisees, will be available.