Mentoring Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the mentoring initiative?

The mentoring initiative is a program approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court that allows a beginning attorney to work with an approved mentor to learn about many aspects of the practice of law. The program is tailored for each mentoring relationship. The program focuses on skills, activities, and experiences important for lawyers.

2. Why should I sign up as a beginning attorney?

As a beginning lawyer it is important to recognize that there is a gap between what you learned in law school and the actual practice of law. Mentoring is intended to help fill in the gaps and answer the questions that didn’t come up until that first case came along.

3. Why should I sign up as a mentor?

No one understands the questions from a beginning lawyer like someone who has already been there. Mentoring provides an opportunity for well respected and experienced attorneys to share with a beginning lawyer the years of experience that made them successful and to help them avoid the mistakes that they made. It’s a service to the profession and it ensures that the next generation of attorneys will be highly competent practitioners.

4. When does CLE credit become available?

Mentoring becomes available for CLE credit on July 1, 2013, the effective date of the revision to Rule 21.

5. Can I be a mentor to more than one beginning attorney?

Yes, a mentor can mentor up to a maximum of two beginning attorneys in a calendar year.

6. What is a sponsoring organization?

A sponsoring organization is an entity that administers a mentoring program. The sponsoring organization creates the match between the beginning attorney and the approved mentor. The sponsoring organization oversees the mentoring relationship and makes sure that the beginning attorney and the approved mentor complete the program evaluation (required in order to get CLE credit).

7. Who can be a sponsoring organization?

Bar associations, law firms, law schools, governmental agencies, or other legal organizations can become sponsoring organizations.

8. Can I still get CLE credit if I don’t complete the mentoring plan?

If you cannot complete a mentoring plan, you can still receive up to 4 hours of CLE credit if the reason for the termination of the mentoring relationship was

• due to a breakdown of the mentoring relationship not attributable to the beginning lawyer,

• and the Sponsoring Organization certifies that it is unable to arrange for a substitution of the Approved Mentor.

Examples of reasons include but are not limited to:

• the migration of the Approved Mentor;

• a Mentor's unjustified failure to complete the Mentoring Plan;

• a serious illness of the Approved Mentor or the beginning lawyer; or

• the decision by the Approved Mentor to change to inactive status in the practice of law

9. What kind of CLE credit do I get for participation in a mentoring program?

An attorney who signs up as a mentor or beginning attorney can receive up to 6 hours of Dual CLE credit for participation in a mentoring program approved by the Commission.

10. How long will the mentoring program last?

Mentoring plans must last a minimum of 6 months and can last up to a maximum of one year.

11. Is there any other way for a lawyer to participate in Mentoring?

Yes, if you are referred to a mentoring program by the Board of Professional Responsibility or the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program you can participate in mentoring even if you are otherwise ineligible.