The Washington State Association for Justice Mentor Program is a membership benefit based on the belief that our members’ knowledge and experience is one of WSAJ’s most valuable assets
In large law firms, new attorneys often have the benefit of drawing upon the knowledge of experienced attorneys within their firm to assist them with specific situations. As many WSAJ members practice in smaller firms or are sole practitioners, this type of one-on-one counseling and advice may not be readily available. WSAJ has established the Mentor Program to meet this important need.
The goal of the program is to support the development of talented, committed trial attorneys within WSAJ’s ranks by providing meaningful mentorship opportunities with more experienced WSAJ members.
HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS
Mentees: The program is open to WSAJ members with 1-5 years of experience as an attorney. Applications are accepted in February and March. Matches are assigned in March. The program runs for twelve months.
Mentors: Mentors are drawn from WSAJ members with 10 or more years of experience. Each month, mentors will receive a suggested activity/topic for when they meet with their mentee. Mentors are encouraged to invite mentees to special events, CLEs trials and other relevant opportunities.
The mentor should be available for informal consultation on an as-needed basis, as well as for regular meetings with the mentee. It is WSAJ’s intention that this program will be a membership benefit, wherein our senior members volunteer their time at no cost to the mentee. WSAJ also appreciates that volunteer mentors have limited time to donate. Therefore, we suggest both the mentor and mentee follow the guidelines below:
1) The program’s purpose is to allow newer bar members to share the mentor’s experience on a periodic & regular basis in respect to building a successful legal practice, law office management, legal ethics, the benefits of participating in WSTLA programs or handling particular cases.
2) The Mentor Program is a flexible arrangement to be determined between the participants.
a) The mentor has a responsibility to maintain regular, mutually convenient, contact with their mentee.
b) The mentee also has a responsibility to maintain regular, mutually convenient, contact with their mentor.
c) Mentors and mentees should otherwise meet monthly, for lunch, coffee, or to participate in one or more of the suggested list of activities following these guidelines.
d) Further meetings or phone conversations should be mutually convenient and conducted only on an as-needed basis.
3) Mentors will provide the benefit of their counsel without the expectation of any personal gain. As a general rule, they will not associate on, accept referrals from, or participate in any fee sharing agreement in cases or matters in which they are consulted as past of the Mentor Program. Exceptions to this rule may occur under circumstances that require an extraordinary time commitment, cost or consultation that the mentee may be unable to afford. Thus, we suggest the mentor provide one hour of consultation and guidance to the mentee each month.
4) Those requesting a mentor will acknowledge that a lawyer’s time is the most valuable commodity he or she has to offer. With this understanding, mentees agree not to abuse the consultation privilege. (A mentor’s request to reduce the frequency of calls or meetings must be respected.)