Professional Mentor Program

The Professional Mentor program pairs every 1L student with a practicing professional or judge in the Seattle area. Mentors and students are selected based on common characteristics such as areas of interest, undergraduate alma mater, or previous employment experiences. Mentors meet with their mentees throughout the academic year to offer guidance and encouragement, facilitate networking opportunities and share specialized knowledge. Experience has shown that mentor/mentee relationships can influence the academic and career choices students ultimately make.

Suggested steps for a successful mentor/mentee relationship

  • Agree how frequently you want to meet. We suggest meeting at least once per quarter, at the 1L Mentor-Mentee reception and at the end of the year event.
  • Decide what kinds of topical discussions will be helpful.
  • Discuss the best methods to communicate with each other.

Tips for Mentee

As UW Law student your conduct is held to a high professional standard.

  • Do research on the mentor prior to your visit
  • Respect the mentor’s time by keeping appointments and promptly returning calls or emails.
  • Follow up on recommendations and contacts that the mentor provides in a timely manner.
  • Respect the relationship - keep confidential discussions confidential.

Set realistic expectations for the mentorship relationship.

  • Propose an agenda for meetings based on your interests.
  • Discuss a career plan with your mentor and work towards achieving stated goals
  • Learn about specific career paths, organizational cultures, and fields of law.

Communicate clearly

  •  Prior to the initial visit, send the mentor your resume and a short excerpt on each of your interests.
  • Be proactive. Ask the mentor how he/she would like to be contacted, and take action. • Be flexible. Mentors are busy so be extremely flexible regarding the places and times you are available to meet with them.
  • Be open to receiving constructive feedback about personal and professional skills.

Tips for Mentors

Find out about the student.

  • Request a resume, narrative statement or anything you feel will give you a sense of the student with whom you will be meeting.
  • Ask what your mentee would like from the mentoring relationship.

Consider what the student might like to know about you. What information will make it easier for the student to work with you?

  • Discuss how you got started in your career.
  • Explain why you decided to be a mentor
  • Share your personal stories. Students are deeply interested in you and your career, not just your organization and your field of law. Let your mentee know about your struggles and successes.

Share your knowledge about the law.

  • Tell your mentee how their legal education can help them. How are J.D. graduates employed in your field? What career paths are available?
  • Advise the student about legal professionalism, the importance of character, civility, and service.

Give your mentee a tour.

  • A quick tour of your facility is one way of giving students an inside view of your work place. Keep it short, though. These students came to meet you.

Making the relationship work.

  • Be flexible. Offer to meet for coffee or talk on the phone if student needs advice.

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