The first years of a lawyer’s practice are a critical time in the development of professional habits, practices, and character. It can also be stressful and challenging as a new lawyer adjusts to the pressures of practice management, client relations, and the adversarial process.
The Ready. Set. Practice. Mentoring Program is a voluntary program that matches new lawyers with experienced mentors in order to assist with law practice management, effective client representation, and career development. If you are a new lawyer looking for guidance from the study of law to the practice of law, this program is for you! Likewise, if you are an experienced lawyer interested in sharing your knowledge with new lawyers, this program is for you!
Hear from past mentee and mentor pairs on their experiences with the program:
“I thought the Ready.Set.Practice. Mentoring Program would be the perfect chance to meet someone new and soak up their knowledge in the process. Everyone at every stage of their career can benefit from the mentee/mentor relationship. My mentor pointed me in a better direction when I was working on a particularly difficult project, and offered practical tips. Having the chance to bounce ideas off an attorney who has also worked in-house is truly invaluable. She was so gracious with her advice, listening ear, and perspective. I had such a great experience that I became a mentor to a high school student. I would definitely encourage new lawyers to participate in this program."
Kristen Hardy, Mentee 2018
Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee
"In my career, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from some extremely talented lawyers and judges. Serving as a mentor allowed me to offer a similar opportunity to new lawyers and give back to the legal profession. I chose to become a mentor after completing the State Bar's G. Lane Ware Leadership Academy in 2018. I can't say enough positive things about the experience. The Academy inspired me to volunteer as a mentor, and I encourage anyone considering participation in either the Mentoring Program or the Leadership Academy to sign up."
Lance Leonhard, Ready.Set.Practice Mentor 2019
Marthon County Court, Wausau
September - October 2021
Members enroll in program - mentors may continue to enroll throughout the year
November - December 2021
Mentors and Mentees are matched
Mentors and Mentees are encouraged to watch the Webinar Training videos at their leisure
January - December 2022
Pairs hold initial meeting and begin mentor relationship
Members interested in participating in the Ready. Set. Practice. Mentoring Program can submit an application (accessible at http://www.wisbar.org/mentoringprogram).
Currently, Wisconsin does not require new lawyers to participate in a mentoring program or grant CLE credit for mentoring.
The program runs during the calendar year – January through December. Meetings between the mentor and mentee are determined by the pair’s schedule.
Designing the Mentoring Plan
The Mentoring Plan includes core concepts and experiences that will introduce mentees to the practical aspects of lawyering.
During the initial meeting, the mentee and the mentor should review the required elements of the Mentoring Plan. (See the Mentoring Handbook for more details.)
The Mentoring Plan may include as many practice area activities as the mentee and mentor agree are practical, but it is recommended that the plan include at least ten (10) activities – five (5) from the core curriculum activities and five (5) from the practice area activities.*
*The activities listed in the handbook are not exclusive; the mentee and mentor may choose to supplement the listed activities or substitute others that they identify as basic competency skills. Similarly, if the mentee is interested in a substantive area for which no activities are suggested, the mentee and the mentor may customize the Mentoring Plan to build basic skills in that area.
The mentor alone is not expected to personally address all of the Mentoring Plan elements, but rather serve as a conduit to the larger legal community for the mentee. If the mentor knows a member of the community particularly well-suited in one area, he or she can arrange for the mentee to work with that individual on an item.
Completing the Mentoring Plan
The Mentoring Plan should be completed in approximately one year. It is expected that the mentee and mentor will meet regularly and allow sufficient time to review and discuss the various experiences and activities that make up the Mentoring Plan.
Mentees may choose to complete some of the activities in small group settings rather than by individual discussion. Similarly, programs offered through sections, divisions, local or specialty bars, may be used to address some of the activities found in the Mentoring Plan.
Ensure that you are familiar with The Rules of Professional Conduct. Be mindful of confidentiality and conflict of interest issues when participating in your mentoring relationship. For more information on ethical considerations, the program strongly recommends each participant watch the Ready.Set.Practice. webinar training videos, which are available online at www.wisbar.org/formembers/membershipandbenefits/Pages/Ready-Set-Practice-Training-Video.aspx.
A special thanks to the following affiliated sponsors who helped develop this program: