Colorado Supreme Court
Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel
Promoting Professionalism. Protecting the Public.
CAMP expands the traditional
The Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program has developed several new programs tailored to specific attorney groups.
By RYANN PEYTON
The legal profession in the United States has been going through evolution for the past two decades. Law firms are changing. Bar organizations are changing. Lawyer demographics and characteristics are changing. The same changes are seen in the Colorado legal community. The need for mentoring, however, has remained constant. In fact, mentoring is needed more than ever.
Mentoring has had to adapt with the changing legal landscape. Economics and busy work agendas have reduced the time and resources for the traditional organic mentoring in law offices and bar associations. The Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP) has recognized its changing role in providing attorney mentoring in Colorado and is pivoting to meet the needs of Colorado’s lawyers.
Expanding the Traditional CAMP Program Model
Since its inception in 2013, CAMP has focused primarily on matching new attorneys (under three years of practice experience) with specially selected and experienced mentors to help with career choices and with networking in the legal community. Mentoring pairs are provided with a "12-month CLE Mentoring Track," which suggests activities and discussion points for the mentor and mentee. The original mentoring track contains discussion topics and activities relevant to a new attorney seeking to gain insight and knowledge into Colorado’s courts, bar associations, ethical and professionalism questions, and client management skills.
CAMP has experienced an increasing level of mid-level and seasoned attorneys seeking mentoring and coaching at various times of career transition. In an effort to provide a more valuable mentoring experience to these attorneys, CAMP has developed seven new mentoring tracks to provide unique and specific discussion topics and activities for mentoring pairs in need of more advanced mentoring curriculum. New mentoring tracks include:
Attorneys New to Colorado
This mentoring track is ideal for attorneys at any stage of their practice who are new to Colorado generally or are relocating from the Denver metro area to smaller or rural Colorado community. This curriculum addresses issues specific to Colorado law and the Colorado legal community, as well as practicing in rural, mountain, western slope, and eastern plains communities.
Attorneys Changing Practice Areas
This mentoring track is ideal for any attorney who is transitioning into a new practice area or thinking about adding a new area of practice to their repertoire. Mentees in this track will receive mentorship for the purposes of career path advising, practice specific resources, and practice group networking in Colorado’s legal community.
Attorneys Entering Public Service/Government Positions
This mentoring track is ideal for any attorney who is transitioning into public service or government legal practice. Mentees in this track will receive mentorship for the purposes of career path advising, practice specific resources, working with indigent and modest means clients, and developing a career in public legal offices.
Attorneys Hanging Out Their Own Shingle
This mentoring track is ideal for any attorney who is considering hanging a shingle or currently operating a solo or small firm. Mentees in this track will receive mentorship for the purposes of law office set up and management. In addition, this track covers career path advising, practice specific resources, and networking and educational opportunities for solo and small firm lawyers.
Attorneys Raising or Caring for Families
This mentoring track is ideal for any attorney who is raising children, caring for an elderly parent, or caring for an ill or disabled family member. Mentees in this track will focus on professional success while balancing their role as caregiver. This curriculum addresses issues specific to work/life integration, attorney wellness, and development of professional identity.
This mentoring track is ideal for any attorney who self-identifies as a diverse attorney. Diversity does not have a single definition and may include attorneys of racial, ethnic, religious, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, or socioeconomic status minority. This mentoring track focuses on the unique challenges faced by diverse attorneys in the legal profession and assists mentees in elevating themselves as professionals through leadership and sponsorship.
This mentoring track is ideal for any attorney whose practice is primarily transactional in nature. Mentees in this track will receive mentorship for the purposes of career path advising, practice specific resources, and working with in-house counsel clients.
The availability of unique and specific mentoring tracks will allow Colorado attorneys at any stage in their career take advantage of the benefits of CAMP mentoring and more productively engage with CAMP mentors.
Innovation in Legal Mentoring: A New Single Trial Mentoring Model
In recognizing the need to make practical trial skills available to new attorneys seeking to build a trial practice, CAMP developed the Colorado Trial Attorney Mentoring Program as a pilot program in 2015. The Trial Attorney Mentoring Program provides experiential mentoring to Colorado attorneys by offering first chair co-counseling opportunities on actual fee-for-service and pro bono cases with seasoned mentor litigators. The success of the pilot program has led to the implementation of Colorado’s newest and most innovative experiential mentoring program for emerging trial attorneys.
The Trial Attorney Mentoring Program is now a formal curriculum of the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program. For those attorneys without access to fee-for-service cases from which to draw a potential mentoring experience, the program offers pro bono trial experience. Additionally, the program has expanded to include most every practice area, so long as the co-counseling relationship can be created pursuant to the limitations of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct.
CAMP recognizes that the practice of law comes in various forms. The integration of work and life responsibilities requires some lawyers to limit or pause their practice at some point during their careers. The Trial Attorney Mentoring Program is here to ensure that no Colorado attorney has to worry about their trial skills going stale during a period of absence or limitation in practice.
In addition to new or inexperienced trial lawyers, the Trial Attorney Mentoring Program is also available to lawyers seeking to stay engaged in the practice of law while taking time away from traditional practice to raise a family, enjoy a sabbatical, care for an ailing spouse or parent, or reassess the direction of their legal career. Whatever the reason, the Trial Attorney Mentoring Program can help non-traditional and transitioning attorneys keep their fingers on the pulse of Colorado trial practice.
The Trial Attorney Mentoring Program is also ideal for any attorney considering making the leap to trial practice. The program provides a rare opportunity for attorneys considering a change in practice to co-counsel a bench or jury trial with a mentor to assess trial and advocacy skills and evaluate their desire to pursue a litigation practice. This opportunity is ideal for transactional attorneys and government or public interest attorneys without previous trial experience.
· Attorneys seeking trial practice are paired with experienced mentors who assist in all aspects of trial preparation and practice
· Mentors and mentees act as co-counsel and each receives ample responsibility and credit for representation
· Mentees have the benefit of a safety net as they develop trial practice skills
· Clients receive the benefit of two attorneys at trial
· Mentors have the opportunity to learn from the mentee through critique of and questions regarding trial technique
· Professional succession planning by training the next generation of trial attorneys
· Improvement of the trial experience for everyone involved
· Free CLE Credit
· Cost effective for law firms looking for ways to train new trial lawyers
· Learn trial technology skills
· Broader opportunity for feedback from Judges, Opposing Counsel, and Jury Members
· Improved access to job opportunities for mentees with practical experience
· Supplement to expensive trial training programs
· Access to new areas of practice
· Pro bono opportunities
In the event that a co-counseling relationship cannot be formed as a result of lack of professional liability insurance, permission from employing law firm, client consent, etc. Mentors and Mentees may engage together in the Case Match process. In a Case Match mentoring pair, Mentors and Mentees do not engage together or with the client in a co-counseling relationship. Instead, the Mentee is solely responsible for case management and engagement. The Mentor is available to discuss the case in a “hypothetical” manner and provide guidance, practice tips, and suggestions for resources. The Case Match mentoring pairing is a good option for Mentees who have some previous trial practice experience, who operate solo law firms, or who simply need a practice resource mentor as they develop their trial skills.
Let’s Do Lunch: Speed Mentoring For the Time Limited
Most Colorado attorneys recognize the benefits of mentoring. However, many Colorado attorneys are lacking in the time to engage in our formal mentoring programs. To fill this gap, CAMP created the “CAMP Coffee List” to involve mentors and mentees who are looking for a one-time, short-term mentoring engagement.
Sometimes our mentees aren’t looking for a formal or structured mentoring program and are instead seeking a “cup of coffee mentor” who is available for short meetings to discuss career path questions, practice area issues, or to attend networking events. Mentors agree to make themselves available to meet with mentees for coffee, breakfast, lunch, drinks, or to attend a bar association or legal organization event together. The mentor’s role is simply to answer questions, provide insight, and make introductions. Mentees can contact CAMP Coffee List mentors for the following support:
· Seeking a “starting place” for networking within a certain practice area, bar association, or legal organization
· In need of a more seasoned attorney to serve as a resource for practice area specific questions
· Solo practitioners seeking other solo attorneys to serve as a resource for practice management questions
· New lawyers looking for someone to accompany them to a bar association or legal organization event
· Pursuing available leadership opportunities within a bar association or legal organization
· Resume review
· Informational interview
· Alumni connection
· Client development issues
· Professionalism resources
The CAMP Coffee List is available to any Colorado attorney or law student seeking an opportunity to expand their professional network and obtain supportive and useful guidance from some of Colorado’s best attorneys.
We hope that you will take the opportunity to engage with CAMP. We have worked hard to create engaging and meaningful participation opportunities for all Colorado lawyers. Attorneys interested in participating in any of these new programs can apply via the CAMP website at at www.coloradomentoring.org or contact the CAMP director at 303-928-7750 or email@example.com for more information.
Ryann Peyton is the Executive Director of the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program.