The Sonoma County Bar Association encourages attorney members to participate in our mentorship program.
Relaunched in 2020, this program is designed to pair seasoned attorneys with newer attorneys on a one-to-one basis.
While this is intended to be an informal arrangement, there are certain ground rules and expectations in participating in this program. Before applying, we ask that you please review the following guidelines.
THE PROGRAM IS PROFESSIONALLY FOCUSED. It is not to be used as a recruitment device, or for counseling unrelated to the law or the profession.
WE ASPIRE FOR YOU TO INTERACT REGULARLY. We hope participants will interact in person about every month or so, perhaps at a function such as seminars, SCBA events or luncheons, or Section lunches. It would be great if the mentor could help introduce the mentee to others in our legal community. With coronavirus and seasonal illnesses limiting in-person interactions, we ask participants make every effort to have regular contact, perhaps via platforms like Zoom or just a regular telephone call.
HERE ARE SOME THINGS WE HOPE YOU DISCUSS. What does it mean to be an ethical lawyer? For litigators, what are some dos and don’ts in the courthouse? What are beneficial research tools and techniques? How do you effectively balance work with life’s other demands?
DO NOT TALK ABOUT SPECIFIC CASES. The concern is two-fold. First, discussing specific cases may lead to a claim of conflict of interest at that point or in the future. Second, any detailed conversation about a specific client may require client consent or may later be construed as a co-counsel arrangement where someone claims the mentor owed certain duties to the mentee’s client, or vice versa. These are complications participants must avoid.
THE MENTEE MUST USE INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT. The mentee understands and agrees that (a) any information the mentor provides is not a substitute for mentee’s own judgment or opinion, and (b) no warranty is made by the mentor that information given is accurate.
USE GOOD JUDGMENT IN THE RELATIONSHIP. The SCBA relies upon all participants in the program to follow program requirements and to work in a professional, respectful and productive manner. Mentors should use patience and compassion in their interactions with their mentee, remembering what it was like for them as a new lawyer. Mentees should be gracious and understanding, as the mentors are volunteering and may be busy and require a little time to respond.
TO PARTICIPATE, PARTICIPANTS AGREE TO RELEASE SCBA FROM LIABILITY FROM THE PROGRAM. As a condition of participating in this program, participants agree not to sue the SCBA and to release SCBA, its board members, employees, volunteers, and staff from all liability arising from the mentoring program.