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  • September 20, 2017

    A Good Fit: Mentors and Mentees Needed for 2018

    The State Bar’s mentoring program, Ready.Set.Practice., is now accepting new applicants. Both new lawyers and those who wish to mentor them should apply by Nov. 17.
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    Sept. 20, 2017 – As a new lawyer, Priya Barnes knew that help from a mentor would boost her solo practice. So she turned to the State Bar, and its mentoring program, Ready.Set.Practice.

    Now in its third year, Ready.Set.Practice. is a yearlong program that matches new lawyers with experienced lawyers in areas around the state without local, active mentoring programs.

    A Worthwhile Investment of Time

    Barnes, beginning a solo practice in Waukesha County, signed up in 2015 as a mentee in the program’s first year. As a general practice lawyer, she knew there were areas where she could use the help. “It was a great opportunity for advice from someone with so much more experience and in a more seasoned practice,” she said.

    Priya Barnes

    “[Ready.Set.Practice.] was a great opportunity for advice from someone with so much more experience and in a more seasoned practice,” says Priya Barnes, a young lawyer who signed up for the program in 2015.

    Barnes was matched with Steven Tikalsky of Brookfield. “It was a good fit,” Barnes said.

    She quickly overcame her hesitation about the amount of time the relationship would take. “It was really a very good investment of my time,” Barnes said.

    They began with monthly meetings, starting their relationship off using materials and a schedule provided by the program. Following the recommended procedure “helped us to move to the level where we were comfortable with each other,” Barnes said.

    She kept a list of topics to discuss at each meeting. Their meetings included discussions on topics Barnes needed help with, and covered procedures, ethics questions, and more.

    Outside of their meetings, Tikalsky was available for her questions and “very gracious” and generous with his time. “Steven really helped a lot with my knowledge gaps,” Barnes said.

    Priya Barnes

    “I wanted to help a new lawyer get a good start, so they would enjoy the practice as well,” says Steven Tikalsky, a mentor with the program.

    For Tikalsky, signing up as a mentor in the program stemmed from his love for the practice of law. “It is a wonderful profession. I wanted to help a new lawyer get a good start, so they would enjoy the practice as well.”

    It was also a learning experience for Tikalsky. “Starting out in the practice of law is much more complicated than when I started,” he said.

    How the Program Works

    The selection and matching process is coordinated by the Young Lawyers Division and the Leadership Development Committee. Candidates for mentees and mentors are selected based on:

    • Reason for wanting to participate in the program;

    • Level of commitment to serving as a resource for future program participants; and

    • Geographic diversity to establish a strong foundation for the program.

    Mentors and mentees who sign up for the yearlong program will watch a short webinar training and receive a handbook. Mentors and mentees are asked to complete 10 activities together, based on criteria in the handbook.

    How to Apply to the Program - Apply by Nov. 17

    For more information, and to apply to be a mentor or mentee, visit the Ready.Set.Practice. webpage on WisBar.org.




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