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Mentoring made easy

Associate Editor Regular News

Mentoring made easy

YLD Web site provides opportunities for those who seek guidance

Associate Editor

T he Young Lawyers Division is fulfilling its promise to provide its members with a variety of mentoring possibilities, thanks in part to the launch of its “Mentoring Matters” Web site.

The site, which went live in January, provides young lawyers with a list of local and statewide mentoring programs designed to educate members as they enter the practice of law.

“I have personally been the beneficiary of great mentoring, but I realize that not all young lawyers are as fortunate,” said R.J. Haughey, president of the YLD. “So this page seeks to provide opportunities to those who want the guidance and advice that a mentor can provide.”

Mentoring efforts became a priority last March after a decision by the Florida Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism and the Bar’s Standing Committee on Professionalism to table discussions regarding a required mentoring program. (See Bar News story, March 1, 2009.) Attentions then turned to voluntary mentoring efforts sponsored by a variety of parties, including the YLD.

“When the decision was made. . . to table the mandatory mentoring idea, there was a very mixed reaction among YLD members,” admits Haughey. “There were certainly some that were happy there was no new ‘mandatory’ requirement imposed, but there was a huge number of young lawyers who voiced the desire for more mentoring.”

Jennifer Kuyrkendall Haughey conveyed the importance of a mentoring project to YLD Board of Governors representatives and encouraged them to carry the message back to their respective circuits. Third Circuit YLD representative Jennifer Kuyrkendall immediately began collaborating with other lawyers statewide to compile submitted lists of local, statewide, and national mentoring programs for publication on the then in-production Web site.

Today, “Mentoring Matters” offers a list, by location, of organizations willing to provide mentoring services to new lawyers. The links, Kuyrkendall points out, are just as much for the mentors as they are for the young lawyers looking for them.

“We also included links to well-established mentoring programs in Florida and other states so local programs may explore how mentoring programs operate in other areas and adopt any and all operating procedures already in place in other programs,” said Kuyrkendall.

The goal of the site — and the voluntary mentoring programs in general — is to help provide younger lawyers with the guidance they need as they begin to navigate the legal world.

“With so many attorneys graduating from law school without a job, more and more people are opening their own practice straight out of law school,” said Kuyrkendall.

“There are so many simple things that you just do not learn in law school. Having a mentor will help the young lawyers transition from law school into practice.”

To access the YLD “Mentoring Matters” page, visit www.flayld.org/mentoring. To submit additional resources and mentoring program information, e-mail Jennifer Kuyrkendall at [email protected].

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