|ALPS Attorney Match|
Attorney Match is the result of a partnership between the State Bar of Montana and ALPS. As part of Attorney Match, lawyers can create a profile and identify themselves as “looking for someone to mentor” or “looking for a mentor.” There are additional categories available as well depending on an attorney’s networking interests. Attorneys can then search by category or area to find other attorneys with matching interests.
Signing up for Attorney Match only takes 5 minutes. Click the button below to sign up.
Draft an Attorney Match profile that describes exactly what you are looking for and willing to provide. You may indicate that you are interested in mentoring only on certain issues, on a specific case, or on the practice of law generally. The needs of mentees will vary greatly and so will the offers of mentors.
Attorney Profile examples:
Set clear expectations
Mentorship can mean different things to different people. Before you have agreed to serve as a mentor, make sure that you have set parameters regarding (1) method and frequency contact (2) scope of mentorship (substance and length) (3) level of involvement.
You may want to form a mentorship agreement. A template is available through the State Bar of Montana at [Link to template agreement].
Attorneys in Montana are very diverse in their interests, approaches, styles and practices areas. Therefore, it is not only expected, but encouraged, that mentors be thoughtful before entering into a mentorship relationship.
If you receive a mentorship request that you do not feel comfortable with, you may deny the request. It would be best practice to possibly refer the requesting mentee to a colleague or the State Bar to assist in locating a more appropriate fit.
If you are engaged in a mentorship relationship that becomes uncomfortable for any reason, communicate with the mentee honestly and consult the State Bar of Montana to assist in unresolved issues.
What are the benefits to being a mentor?
You will be providing a valuable pro bono service which satisfies Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. You will share your time with other professionals, fostering a collegial legal profession. Most importantly, you will be expanding the growth of pro bono service in the legal community.
How do I define the scope of a mentorship arrangement?
Mentees are encouraged to ask questions regarding substantive, practical or ethical issues which they may encounter. Mentees should not be afraid to ask even the most basic questions. Remember that Mentors probably had similar experiences when they began in the practice area and Mentors are more than happy to answer questions.
Mentees should not: (a) ask mentors to perform any legal research as a result of inquiry; (b) ask mentors to accept employment as co-counsel; or (c) refer clients to Mentors to handle their cases.
Mentors shall not be required to perform any research as a result of an inquiry.
How do I serve as a mentor on certain issues
You may be sought out as a mentor because of your area of expertise or professional profile.
As this type of mentor you may find yourself referring the mentee to legal resources that will help the mentee start building a similar knowledge base. You may also find yourself connecting the mentees with other colleagues or community resources that you think the mentee will find helpful.
How do I serve as a mentor on a specific case?
Attorney supervision on a specific case may involve substantive questions on the law and review of case documents. You may be asked to explain court procedures or review legal strategies to provide general guidance. For example, a new attorney who receives a discovery request may not be familiar with the reasonable level of detail in these requests and would appreciate some guidance on how much information must be disclosed.
A mentor is not expected to do legal research for mentees. If mentees ask very detailed questions, mentors may refer mentees to specialists they know who practice in those areas of law. A mentor may also respond to specific questions with their general observations. New lawyers are not familiar with the boundary between general legal knowledge and legal argument. That is, mentees may ask overly specific questions because they merely think you might know the answer. Sharing your lack of specific knowledge may help the mentee focus their work appropriately.
Providing template forms and example filings may be very helpful to your mentee. It is not necessary that you appear as co-counsel with your mentee or disclose your relationship to the court. Mentors are, however, encouraged to provide mentees with names of other attorneys who could act as co-counsel or to whom cases may be referred. As a mentor on a specific case you may also find yourself providing information on the general practice of law.
What do I do if I become overwhelmed with mentees?
What is the role for a mentor regarding the general practice of law?
What about client confidentiality and mentorship?
When mentees and mentors are discussing a particular case, they should pose their questions in the form of hypotheticals, not only to avoid disclosing their clients’ identities but also to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. Detailed conversation about the specifics of the problem and situation of a client may require prior consent from the client before making such disclosure. Failure to obtain this consent may violate the Rules of Professional Conduct. If a client’s identify must be disclosed, the Mentor shall ascertain that no conflicts of interest exists before responding to the inquiring mentee.
Mentees may be affiliated with large firms, small firms or starting their own practices. Please be sensitive to the fact that mentees' questions may reveal information that should be kept confidential. Mentees might ask mentors questions which they would be embarrassed to ask a member of their firm, and mentors can be very valuable to mentees if they are sensitive to the mentees' position.
What is a reasonable frequency and duration of contact between mentor and mentee?
Mentors serve on a voluntary basis. Mentees should be respectful of the mentors' time. The communication in a mentorship relationship will vary depending on the nature of mentorship relationship. Mentors may want to outline specific times of day when the mentor is more available as well as preferred mode of communication: email, phone, or periodic in-person meetings that are as simple as a monthly or weekly lunch.
What effect does the mentorship relationship have on malpractice liability?
Read the Guidelines for Mentorship Relationship before signing up for ALPS Attorney Match.