DBA Mentoring Program Plan and Guidelines
Participating Organization in the New Lawyer Mentoring Program in Colorado (NLMPC)
Objectives of the Program:
The 2013 Denver Bar Association Mentoring Program is part of a special pilot project approved by the Chief Justice Commission on the Legal Profession and the Colorado Bar Association to determine whether a statewide, voluntary mentor program should be recommended.
a. The objectives of the Program can be viewed broadly as promoting pride in the profession; excellence in service; and strong relationships with the bar, clients, and the public, through teaching (1) the core values and ideals of the legal profession and (2) the best practices for meeting those ideals. More specifically, the objectives are:
i. Promote excellence in the practice of law.
ii. Promote professionalism and collegiality among members of the bar through exercise of ethical and civil behavior.
iii. Inclusion and involvement of attorneys in the Colorado legal community, including teaching the value of networking and developing mentor relationships.
iv. Promote high standards for client representation through early instruction regarding competency and the exercise of sound and reasoned judgment.
v. Promote high standards for client representation through early instruction about best practices, including law office management and legal customs learned from practical experience.
vi. Promote public service as an indispensable component of professionalism, and instill pride in the profession and the role lawyers have played and continue to play in shaping and preserving our nation’s values.
vii. Raise the consciousness and sensitivity of the members of the bar to the importance and the role of effective mentoring in promoting the above values and best practices.
b. While the Program has components that include group activities, an emphasis is placed on the one-on-one professional relationship between the trained lawyer and the new lawyer because this is one of the best ways to pass on the values, ideals, and best practices of the profession.
II. New Lawyers
a. Who may participate
i. Licensed, active Colorado lawyers within their first three years following admission to practice law in Colorado, who are either practicing or intending to practice law in Colorado, although the program must be completed prior to the end of the attorney’s third year of practice.
ii. If a lawyer serves as a judicial law clerk immediately following licensure, the lawyer may participate in a Mentoring Program within two years of completing the clerkship(s). A lawyer serving as a judicial law clerk is not precluded from participating in a Mentoring Program while a judicial law clerk, although due to ethical restrictions, the law clerk’s Mentor must be a judge on the same court as the law clerk’s judge.
iii. Lawyers admitted on motion to the Colorado Bar who have been in practice three or more years in another jurisdiction may elect to participate in a modified Mentoring Program in the attorney’s first year of practice in Colorado.
iv. Lawyers not otherwise within the parameters above may petition the Executive Director for permission to participate in the program.
III. Mentors - Experienced Colorado lawyers
i. Colorado attorney or judge, with an active license, in good standing, and engaged in the practice of law; or retired Colorado attorney or judge, who retired from the practice in good standing.
ii. Admitted to practice law in Colorado for not less than five years.
iii. No suspensions or disbarments from the practice of law from any jurisdiction, nor surrender of license to practice law for purpose of disposing of pending disciplinary proceeding in any jurisdiction.
iv. No sanction by a governing authority in the five years preceding application as a Mentor.
v. No formal disciplinary complaint pending before Attorney Regulation pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.12, or current participation in a diversion program pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.13. An attorney is not disqualified from serving as a Mentor if an investigation was conducted or if there was previous successful completion of participation in a diversion program, and no formal complaint was filed.
IV. Credit for Participation
a. Mentors and New Lawyers who satisfactorily complete the one-year Program will receive 15 CLE credits, 2 of which will count toward the ethics requirement of C.R.C.P. 260.2.
b. Mentors and New Lawyers (on-motion attorneys) who participate in the six-month Program will receive 7 CLE credits, 1 of which will count toward ethics requirement of C.R.C.P. 260.2.
c. The New Lawyer or Mentor who fails to complete the program will not receive the CLE credit otherwise awarded.
d. New Lawyers may participate only once in the Program for credit.
e. Mentors may participate in this Program—one mentor relationship at a time—as often as they wish, but may receive the available credit only once per compliance period.
f. The award of CLE credits will apply to the compliance period in which the Program is completed.
g. Mentors and New Lawyers who participate together in pro bono representation during or as a part of this program may not also receive CLE credit under C.R.C.P. 260.8.
V. Mentor Appointment
a. To serve as a Mentor, an attorney must complete a Mentor Application and submit it to the DBA who will submit it to the NLMPC Executive Director, who screens the attorney for the qualifications set forth in these rules, and forwards the attorney’s name to the Colorado Supreme Court for appointment consideration.
b. The Colorado Supreme Court will review the names forwarded by the NLMPC’s Executive Director, and, if the qualifications are met, will appoint the Mentor for a five-year term, to begin on the date of appointment.
c. Appointment as a Mentor is valid for five years. After five years, the attorney must resubmit an updated Mentor Application to participate again in the program.
d. The appointed Mentor has a duty to notify the DBA, who will notify the NLMPC’s Executive Director of any change which affects the attorney’s qualifications to serve as a Mentor as set forth in paragraph III.a. Upon review of the changed circumstances, if the NLMPC’s Executive Director believes that the appointment should be terminated, the NLMPC Executive Director shall recommend to the Colorado Supreme Court that it terminate the appointment. After reviewing the NLMPC Executive Director’s recommendation, the Supreme Court may terminate the appointment.
VI. Matching of Mentors and New Lawyers
a. A mentee may nominate a Mentor who has agreed to be his/her Mentor in the program and attach the Mentor application to the Mentee Application and Registration.
b. The DBA Mentoring Program chairs and administrator will make matches of Mentees and Mentors based on the criteria contained in the applications received for those Mentees that have not nominated a Mentor.
VII. Express limitations to the mentoring relationship where the attorneys are not within the same firm or office
a. The mentoring relationship is a professional relationship, and must be limited to the extent that client confidences are not shared when inappropriate to do so.
b. The mentoring relationship is not intended to constitute the provision of legal or professional advice to the New Lawyer or his or her clients.
c. The mentoring relationship does not create a confidential relationship between the mentor and New Lawyer.
d. The Mentor does not assume liability or responsibility regarding any legal matter of the New Lawyer’s clients.
VIII. Procedure for Reassignment
a. Where extenuating circumstances prevent either lawyer from completing the program or if the mentoring relationship is not working the mentee or Mentor can petition the DBA program administrator for a new match.
b. The DBA administrator will attempt to find a non-committed mentee or mentor for the mentee.
c. In the event that a mentoring pair does not complete the mentoring term and the New Lawyer cannot be matched with a new Mentor to complete the term, the administrator may, in appropriate circumstances, sign off on a Certificate of Partial Completion and recommend to the NLMPC Executive Director that the Mentor or New Lawyer be approved for the appropriate number of CLE credits.
IX. Mentor and New Lawyer responsibilities
a. Attendance at Orientation (orientation is preferred, but not mandatory)
b. Timely submission of signed Mentoring Agreement. It is the New Lawyer’s responsibility to submit the Mentoring Agreement.
c. Timely completion of signed Mentoring Plan. It is the New Lawyer’s responsibility to submit the Mentoring Plan.
d. Completion of the Mentoring Plan during the mentoring term.
i. 12-month term: The mentoring pair must meet in person a minimum of 8 times, with a minimum of 20 hours of in-person contact.
ii. 6-month term: The mentoring pair must meet in person a minimum of 4 times, with a minimum of 10 hours of in-person contact.
New Lawyer Application due to the DBA – November 15
Mentor Application due to the DBA – November 15
Deadline for NBLPC & Supreme Court to appoint mentors – December 7
Matches by DBA made and Mentors and Mentees notified of match – December 31
Any conflicts with Match due to DBA by December
Mentoring Term Begins – January 1
Mentoring Plan Due to DBA (by New Lawyer) – January 31
Interim Report due to DBA (by New Lawyer) – June 30
6 Month participants Certificate of Completion and CLE due to DBA – June 30
12 Month participants Certificate of Completion and CLE due to DBA – December 20
DBA send CLE and Certificates to NLMPC Executive Director – (6 mo.) July 10 (12 mo.) January 1
NLMPC Executive Director to notify New Lawyers and Mentors of approval – (6 mo.) July 31 (12 mo.) January 31