Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring: Lawyers completing a comprehensive year-long structured mentoring program, as either a mentor or mentee, may earn credit equal to the minimum professional responsibility credit during the two-year reporting period of completion, provided that the mentoring plan is preapproved by the Commission on Professionalism, the completion is attested to by both mentor and mentee, and completion occurs during the first three years of the mentee’s practice in Illinois. For reporting periods ending in 2011 or earlier, the maximum number of professional responsibility credit hours shall be four. Beginning with the reporting periods ending on June 30 of either 2012 or 2013, in which 30 hours of CLE are required, the maximum number of credit hours available shall be six.
Goals of the Commission in Implementing Rule 795(d)(12)
A mentor is defined as a wise, trusted counselor and teacher. (Merriam-Webster 4th Edition) Mentoring creates an opportunity for an experienced lawyer (the mentor) to provide professional guidance and share practical knowledge and skills with a new lawyer (the mentee) during the critical transition from law student to legal practitioner. The intent of a Lawyer-to-Lawyer mentoring relationship is to facilitate the transfer of valuable information and insight from experienced lawyers to those lawyers just entering the practice of law. Although legal theory and application can be learned during law school, the practice of law is learned in the workplace, whether in private practice, government service, or public interest work. An effective and successful mentoring program will serve to elevate the competence, professionalism, and success of new lawyers.
Skillful mentoring takes time and attention. How the mentors introduce young lawyers to the profession forms a foundation for their continued growth and development as practitioners. Skillful lawyer mentors stretch and expand the new lawyer’s abilities and capacities for professional thinking and problem solving. Skillful mentors facilitate the development of civility and ethics through consulting, collaborating, and coaching their mentees. By building relationships between new and experienced lawyers, experienced lawyers pass on fundamental skills and core values of professionalism essential to the practice of law at the highest levels of professionalism.
In seeking to advance the substantive professionalism goals of Rule 795(d)(12), the Commission has developed procedural guidelines and protocols for learning focused mentoring whereby experienced lawyers facilitate the professional learning and development of new lawyers. Specifically, the Commission has developed a process, specific strategies, and resources for skillful Lawyer-to-Lawyer mentoring which are set forth in the ILSCCP Program Guide and the ILSCCP Mentoring Plan.