Law Mentoring Programs at The National Legal Mentoring Consortium

The National Legal Mentoring Consortium is an organization that administrates and contributes to mentoring programs. They receive sponsorship from:

  • Law schools
  • Bar associations
  • State supreme courts
  • Law firms
  • Other organizations

They help professionals to develop in their mentoring program. And, all this guidance they do it through free exchange of ideas among the community that creates a net of mentoring programs across the country. They also aim to foster mentoring within legal profession and the free mentoring in the legal profession  ideas exchange is promoted in order to  encourage professionals to do so. Also, they are in charge of providing the resources needed to create as well as operate mentoring initiatives. And, they are in constant contact with law firms, bar organizations, law schools, courts, and other entities within the legal profession. Hence, the net is growing up faster.

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Image courtesy of Keri-Lee Beasley at Flickr.com

The following list provides information about the mentoring programs with law firms The Legal Mentoring Consortium has with:

Alston & Byrd

Mandatory – Status:  Ongoing – Type:  Individual Mentor Matching

The program contacts a junior associate with a partner at the practice group. This last one has  the responsibility for shepherding the associate through the first few years of practice. This program aims to make both participants complement each other with their knowledge and experiences.  More info:  http://www.alston.com/careers-professionaldev-mentoring/

Arnold & Porter

Mandatory – Status:  Ongoing – Type:  Individual Mentor Matching

They have a formal three-stage mentoring program that pairs associates with more senior attorneys as they progress and advance in their careers. Also, they match new  associates with mid-level associates and it is part of the junior associate mentoring program. Then, after mid-level associates have finished their two years of partnership, they are paired with partners and counsel. More info: http://arnoldporter.webfactional.com/work/professional-development.html

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz

Mandatory – Status:  Ongoing – Type:  Individual Mentor Matching

Every associate has one mentor minimum during the first year. It is usually a senior associates who serve as shareholders. And, as long as the needs of the mentee change, their mentors could change as well.  More info: http://www.bakerdonelson.com/professionaldevelopment/

Cravath, Swain & Moore

Mandatory – Status:  Ongoing – Type:  Individual Mentor Matching

“The firm’s rotation system establishes a framework in which partners help guide the careers of associates.”  It consist on mixing associates in different stages at their careers, so that they will keep a close relationship with most of the partners. All of them can contribute to groups in a different manner, according to the skills they have and will to share with the groups. More info: http://www.cravath.com/mentoringandtraining/

Davis, Polk & Wardwell

Mandatory – Status:  Ongoing – Type:  Individual Mentor Matching

All associates are assigned an associate mentor and a partner mentor to provide assistance and encouragement to new lawyers. “The associate mentor’s role is to welcome the new associate to the firm, and be available to assist with any introductory issues or questions the new associate may have. After establishing him/herself within a practice area, associates are matched with a partner mentor. “ These last ones  meet with associates and discuss work and life at the firm, especially  experiences and development inside the firm.
More info: http://www.davispolk.com/careers/us/training-and-professional-development/

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Image courtesy of Keri-Lee Beasley at Flickr.com

Duane Morris

Mandatory – Status:  Ongoing – Type:  New Lawyer Mentoring Program

“Each associate is assigned a mentor in his or her practice area soon after arriving at the firm.” According to them, both of them, mentee and mentor, help each other to prepare professional development plans outlining professional, client development and community involvement goals, review and schedule available Duane Morris training and activities, meet formally and informally on an ongoing basis, and once a year, jointly evaluate the associates’ progress, revising and setting new goals for the coming year.
More info:  http://www.duanemorris.com/site/associates_mentoring.html

Frost Brown Todd

Mandatory – Status:  Ongoing – Type:  New Lawyer Mentoring Program

Since they aim to quickly integrate the new associates to the firm, each associate is assigned with two mentors, an associate and a member. Their roles are the following: introduce them to legal professionals within their department and throughout the firm, act as a link to the firm for work, explain firm issues and unwritten rules,develop associate’s legal and practice skills, provide feedback, monitor performance and experience, give “stretch” assignments, connect associate with internal resources to address particular issues, hold an informal bi-monthly lunch program where two associates are matched randomly with two senior attorneys in each office. More info: http://www.frostbrowntodd.com/careers-development.html

Do not miss the next post where we will discuss further law mentoring programs. Do not miss the chance to enroll a great law mentoring program or to implement one at your firm.

Law Mentoring: the help future lawyers need

It is no secret that mentoring relationships have proven to be beneficial and desired both for mentors and mentees. This mentoring legacy for guiding others is permeating increasingly the legal world.  Therefore, mentoring programs are being implemented as a means to provide a space where experienced lawyers impart their wisdom to the next generation. This can take place in law schools or can be provided by a law firm to junior attorneys.

Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation 7th Annual Picnic - 220
Image courtesy of Florida Coastal School of Law at Flickr.com

What would mentoring a law student look like?

A way to teach law from experience is to pair students with a mentor. Far from being true, some students think that mentoring means just sitting with a “guy” once every month, and being asked by this person questions like how school is going, or receiving suggestions to take certain classes with a certain professor. However, a mentor can give so much more than a mentee could ever expect or imagine.

In this kind of mentoring…

  • Mentors share their knowledge, expertise and wisdom, and students surely will have a person to turn to whenever they have a question about curriculum, about the legal community in general, or share their concerns.  Mentors listen to those concerns, identify problems, model an appropriate conduct, confront wrong attitudes and practices, challenge perspectives and help consolidate learning.

  • Students participate with attorneys to engage in conversations about what it means to be a lawyer.   These conversations encourage students to think about the meaning of their chosen professional path and help attorneys reflect on their career and what it means for them to be an attorney as well.  The results of this sort of reflections are very positive.

  • Mentees benefit from sharing with someone who has walked the same steps they are in.   Also, they appreciate having a person that has already taken those steps or made the same mistakes.  Mentors are able to look back on their experiences and advise their mentees on the best approaches to be taken in order to confront certain situations.  That is invaluable experience.

  • Mentees are greatly edified when they have a partnership with someone that has legal experience to complement what they are learning inside the classroom.  Undoubtedly, any law student can benefit from spending time with experienced lawyers.  The fact that they have practiced law for a while means that they know the obstacles; they know the wide places and the narrow places in the road.   They know what works or is likely to yield positive results and what does not.

  • Mentoring a law student will produce better future lawyers just because they will be prepared when they get out of law school in the sense that they will have some degree of experience under their belt.  

 

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Image courtesy of Brian Ujiie at Flickr.com

What would mentoring a junior attorney look like?

New lawyers should understand the value of a mentor in the professional life.  To practice law effectively, a junior attorney must be humble enough to understand that mentoring is still beneficial to him, and that seeking guidance is paramount for his success and professional growth.

In this kind of mentoring…

  • Mentors can be immensely valuable for junior attorneys.  They can provide advice concerning substantive and procedural legal matters, mechanisms, and help their mentees with their social and professional development.

  • Law firms understand that through mentoring they can provide more skills, knowledge and experience necessary to produce legal work of great quality.

  • Although a new attorney has all the theory, the right attitude, dedication and an excellent performance at law school, the input from an experienced attorney will provide guidance about how to deal practically with difficult clients, how to manage cases and files, how to handle complex situations, etc. In sum, how to survive the first years of legal practice.  This is not exactly displayed in a law book.  It comes through years of experience that the mentor will make available for the mentee.

  • A good mentor to a junior attorney will take a look at his mentee’s career development and encourage him to always take it seriously. He will teach his mentee how to conduct himself in a civil manner, foster respect and foresee potential consequences of bad choices.  His guidance will be more than assigned supervision; it will be a true commitment to the mentee’s welfare, especially in those first years of practice when the junior attorney is most vulnerable, inexperienced and influenceable.

Whether you are a law student or a junior attorney, you must understand that mentoring relationships are seasonal and recurrent.  One day you are a mentee and you receive greatly appreciated guidance and support. You are challenged, corrected, inspired. Very likely, the professional you will become, will have great expertise and skill to be able to help somebody else through mentoring.  Becoming a mentor should be a desired and a rewarding experience.     

A Brief Overview of the ABC Sale Process

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A type of insolvency proceeding similar to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an assignment for the benefit of creditors (ABC) allows buyers to purchase a leveraged company’s assets as a going concern. Known as turnkey sales, ABC sales offer an alternative to distressed sales in that they are shorter and less expensive than transactions under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code, but provide protections not afforded to buyers in out-of-court sales.

An ABC sale allows a distressed company, known as the assignor, to transfer legal control of its assets to a third party, or assignee. Acting as a trustee, the assignee carries out the liquidation of these assets and uses the proceeds to pay off a portion of the assignor’s debts.

Before an ABC sale begins, the assignee and distressed entity identify a buyer, who then negotiates with the assignee to draft a purchase agreement. Since an ABC does not affect secured creditor rights, the buyer also negotiates with the troubled firm’s secured creditors. In some cases, the assignee may seek an appraisal of the assets before finalizing the sale. When purchasing assets in a turnkey sale, buyers do not receive representations or warranties. In most cases, the assignee only guarantees that he or she legally possesses the title for the transferred assets.