Thanks, Winston & Strawn! What a gratifying experience to witness the mentor awards ceremony that took place on the lucky day of 12-12-12 at 12 noon at their office. Their Mentor of the Year award winners were selected for their exceptional commitment and dedication. Winston & Strawn was the first law firm to become ILSCCP’s partner in sponsoring the Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program, modifying its own robust mentoring program to meet the requirements of the Commission’s mentoring program guidelines. And as a result, over two dozen lawyers had a year-long mentoring experience that earned them 6 hours of professional responsibility CLE each!
I talked with several of the mentors and mentees at the celebration and was struck by two themes: 1) the relationship had substance and focus because of the structured activities and resources in the program documents; and 2) the mentors learned as much as the mentees. This reciprocal learning makes the great experiment in CLE that is self- taught lawyer to lawyer (like the days of apprenticeship) an unqualified success. Special shout-outs to Paula Holderman, Amanda Groves and Chiymelle Nunn who shepherded the program through its first year at Winston and have incorporated aspects of the program in the worldwide offices beyond Chicago.
So here’s the scorecard: to date 61 sponsoring organizations across the state of Illinois are administering a mentoring program in collaboration with the Commission on Professionalism. These include law firms, law schools, bar associations and other legal organizations. And over 850 lawyers are participating in the mentoring program, meeting face to face, exploring topics of professionalism, ethics, diversity, civility, and wellness. If you or your organization is interested in learning more, check out Mentoring or contact David Argentar, Deputy Director at the Commission on Professionalism.