According to a recent article on Law.com (password required), newly admitted attorneys in Oregon will be required to undergo a new, yearlong mentorship program which “requires new attorneys to pair up with experienced practitioners who will offer monthly guidance on everything from ethics and professionalism to the inner workings of a transactional or litigation practice.” It will go into effect for February Bar takers. The article notes that Oregon is the third state to make mentorship a part of the formal education requirements for admission to the Bar. Soon, Wyoming will become the fourth.
The program will require applicants to complete 2 hours of mentoring a month, which can be completed at the firm in which they work. There is also some flexibility in how the program is handled by private firms, a move that responds to the more rigid Utah program.
While the new plan is not without detractors, supporters argue that in the current economy, mentorship is a must. They point out that, in the past, “‘You would graduate law school, get a job at a firm and people there would serve as mentors,’ . . . ‘Now, there are so many people who can’t get firm jobs and are hanging out their shingle. We’re trying to connect them with the professional side of the job and teach them the culture – teach them how to be civil, how to network and introduce them around at the courthouse.’” Detractors are mainly concerned about another cost to bar applicants for administrative costs of the program. It is not clear what the cost will be, but the article states that Oregon foresees a $100 fee.
The mentor program is a good idea. As has been mentioned here many times before, students should be prepared to use their J.D. for their own profit. It is understood that schools cannot teach everything, so even where Best Practices is followed, a mandatory mentorship would provide for a proper transition into the professional world.
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