Developing Mentors to Help New Attorneys
Good Mentoring Should Bridge the Generational Gap
Article Date: Friday, September 09, 2011
|Judge Jane Gray (left) moderates a panel
of judges on the topic of courtroom etiquette at the
"Help Me, Help You: Mentoring New Attorneys in Challenging Times"
was a new, live CLE program held on Friday, Sept. 9 at the N.C. Bar
Center. The purpose of the program is to train volunteer attorneys
to perform a service to the profession by helping them to become
effective mentors for newly licensed attorneys.
A host of speakers were on hand to discuss topic ranging from
generational differences in communication methods to courtroom
Joyce Brafford, the NCBA's new assistant director of the Center
for Practice Management, helped organize the CLE program and is
working closely with the NCBA
and its implementation.
"This CLE was a great way for mentors to learn what to expect and
how to handle the unexpected in a mentoring relationship," Brafford
said. "I highly recommend the program to any person interested in
becoming a mentor but who worries they may not be prepared."
Charlotte attorney Mark Merritt spoke about how the four distinct
generations in the legal field differ and interact with each other.
Merritt talked in length about how best to communicate with lawyers
that are from different generation and that one approach to
mentoring can be more situational than generational.
"We have a second-year associate in our firm and I thought the
information in this program would not only help him adapt to the
legal profession but it also helped me," program participant and
Greensboro attorney Tom Cone said. "Focusing on the generational
differences in regards to new attorneys was beneficial. I have kids
the age of many of these new attorneys so I already do some of that
but thinking about that in a legal perspective was helpful."
| John Sarratt spoke about depression and substance
abuse that new attorneys may face.
Raleigh attorney John Sarratt gave a brief talk on depression
and substance abuse issues that attorneys face and to let potential
mentors know how to identify the warning signs in new attorneys. He
focused on the benefits of the BarCARES
program and other resources that benefit both sides of the
David Mills of Smithfield spoke about practice management
solutions and the use of technology that new attorneys are using.
Established attorneys and mentors should be embracing and making an
effort to learn and utilize advancements in technology.
"I really enjoyed hearing about the generational differences and
how younger attorneys are thinking," program participant Kenneth
Knight of Madison said. "When you are dealing with another lawyer
it helps to be keyed in to what influences them and to understand
how attorneys are using technology in their practice."
The program wrapped up its session with a panel of four judges
from the local districts discussing courtroom etiquette and
potential problem areas that mentors can address with new attorneys
before they enter a courtroom.
This CLE was created by a planning committee under the leadership
of Cindy Pittard. The committee was a result of the efforts of
immediate past-president Eugene Pridgen and his NCBA Mentoring task
force. This task force helped create the NCBA Mentoring Program and
the mentoring CLE was part of the overall program objectives.
"The NCBA Mentoring Program gives mentors the resources they need
to be effective teachers and leaders to new attorneys," Brafford
said. "The goal is to ensure that every new lawyer has the guidance
"We had three focuses for this CLE," Pittard explained. "We
thought it was especially important for mentors to learn how to
deal with new attorneys, how to help them get started with law
practice management tips and how to have proper etiquette in front
of judges in court."
|CLE participants listen to the speakers at the