Lawyer-to-Lawyer mentoring doesn’t just occur within state lines for the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism. Our 2Civility Mentoring Program has gone global.
Recently, the Commission on Professionalism assisted Chinese law firm, Beijing Shangquan Law Firm (BSLF), and a number of other Chinese legal professionals as they work to develop their own mentoring program models in and around Beijing, China.
Earlier this year, The Rights Practice (TRP), a London and Madison, WI-based non-governmental organization that focuses on supporting the improved protection of human rights in China through a range of projects, and BSLF tapped the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism asking for our insights and expertise on facilitating a lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program. TRP has been focusing on supporting the development of young lawyer mentoring and skills training in relation to criminal cases in China.
Last Saturday night, Mark C. Palmer – Professionalism Counsel and director of the Commission on Professionalism’s Lawyer-To-Lawyer Mentoring Program – presented via video conferencing to a delegation of Chinese legal scholars and practitioners in Beijing. Palmer’s goal was to share what has worked well for new and experienced attorneys in Illinois with our friends overseas – to “mentor” the Chinese legal professionals on mentoring.
Palmer discussed the benefits of legal mentoring to new lawyers, experienced practitioners, and to the legal profession as a whole. His commentary included best practices for goal setting and increasing lawyer engagement and awareness for mentoring initiatives. Using the Illinois Supreme Court’s Mentoring Program as an example, Palmer demonstrated how a successful mentoring program may provide professional guidance and share judgment and skills between lawyers as they transition into the start of their careers. He further emphasized that a successful mentoring program must have both structure and flexible to guide the participants while serving a wide cross-section of lawyers by location and practice areas.
Mentoring relationships continue to provide an ideal setting for passing the highest aspirations of the profession on to new attorneys. They often report how much mentoring helped them in their transition from ‘backpack to briefcase’ in their careers.
The participants were very interested in learning about international approaches to new lawyer training and mentoring as they conclude their own three-year project developing mentoring models to share with a wider audience of legal scholars and professionals in China. The Commission’s Mentoring Program has both the structure and flexibility that could be suitable for China and appealing to the Chinese audience.
As the quality and delivery of justice advances in other parts of the world, the continuation of education and promotion of values of civility, integrity and professionalism springs from the mentoring relationship.
Just as we assist those nationally and internationally, the Commission on Professionalism also facilitates the launch of statewide mentoring programs here in Illinois. At the Commission, we have assisted over 80 Illinois bar associations, law firms, law schools, and other legal organizations establish their own statewide mentoring programs to deliver the Court’s Program to thousands of attorneys.
If your law firm or legal organization is interested in establishing a year-long mentoring program OR you are a new admittee seeking guidance OR a seasoned lawyer looking to give back, we are here to help. For more information, please contact Mark C. Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit 2Civility.
About the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
The Commission on Professionalism was established by the Illinois Supreme Court in September 2005 to foster increased civility, professionalism and inclusiveness among lawyers and judges in the State of Illinois. By advancing the highest standards of conduct among lawyers, we work to better serve clients and society alike. These duties we uphold are defined under Supreme Court Rule 799(c). For more information, please visit 2Civility.org, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s website.