Mentoring Program

Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers Mentoring Program
The Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers (HAWL) invites you to join its Mentoring
Program. This program provides participants with an opportunity to form a mutually
beneficial relationship that fosters professional growth, career development, and personal
fulfillment.

The Mentoring Program pairs law school students from the Stetson University College of
Law and Thomas M. Cooley Law School (who are members of the Florida Association for
Women Lawyers’ chapters at their respective schools) with members of HAWL.

Mentors are encouraged to answer questions and give advice about aspects of practicing
law. Mentors will be an invaluable resource of practical advice, professional contacts and
support to aid and guide the mentees. This program is intended to help law school
students transition from law school to practice; it is not an employment solicitation program
or recruiting device.

The time commitment is a minimum of one face-to-face meeting between the mentor and
mentee during the program year (i.e., September to May); although the mentor and mentee
can communicate as often as they wish and they are encouraged to meet in person more
often.

The mentors and mentees can meet this requirement by attending one of the events the
Mentoring Program hosts or by meeting outside of the scheduled group events. The
Mentoring Program strongly encourages mentors and mentees to attend its group events
(e.g., kick-off event in the fall, courthouse shadow day, holiday party, and spring mixer).
The Mentoring Program also highly suggests attending HAWL’s Judicial Reception, the
Hillsborough County Bar Association’s (HCBA) spring diversity event, and HAWL’s annual
sports competition against local judges. The dates of these events will be provided to the
mentors and mentees as they become available.

Benefits of a Mentoring Relationship

For the Mentor:

-Shaping the future of the practice of law
-Gaining personal satisfaction
-Giving back to the profession
-Reviewing your own strengths and weaknesses
-Learning from your mentee

For the Mentee:

-Having a person to turn to with questions about the practice of law
-Learning about the business of practicing law
-Receiving help assessing strengths and weaknesses
-Receiving objective feedback
-Developing skills for success
-Enhancing professionalism
-Obtaining assistance with long-range career planning

What to Look For in a Mentoring Relationship

Mentors and mentees should have a good feel after a few meetings as to whether the
rapport is right for a mentoring relationship. Both mentors and mentees should hold respect
for each other and bring trustworthiness and the ability to keep confidences to the
mentoring relationship.

Look for similar qualities in a mentor and mentee, as well as a sense of humor, good
listening skills, a high comfort level in giving and receiving feedback, and the ability to
discuss a wide range of issues. The mentorship is especially productive when the mentor
believes he or she can learn from a mentee, and the relationship is a two-way street.

Topics of Discussion

Discussions between mentors and mentees may focus on general issues related to the
legal profession and the practice of law, such as:

-Law school courses and Bar preparation courses
-Law practice transitions and alternatives
-Professionalism and legal ethics
-Practice and career enhancement
-Law office management
-Effective attorney/client communications
-Balancing careers with family and personal lives

Possible Activities to Build the Mentoring Relationship

-Attend a hearing or trial
-Have lunch on a monthly basis
-Attend a continuing legal education program
-Attend Mentoring Program events, such as the kick-off event, courthouse shadow day,
holiday party, and spring mixer
-Attend HAWL and HCBA functions, such as HAWL’s Judicial Reception, HCBA’s spring
diversity event, and -HAWL’s sports competition against local judges
-Tour the courthouse
-Invite another lawyer to join the mentor and mentee for breakfast, so that the mentee can
meet another lawyer and expand his or her professional network.

What to Expect from the Mentoring Program

It takes time to build a mentoring relationship. Give the mentoring relationship a chance
to form over the course of several meetings. Try to communicate early on to understand
each other’s expectations. The HAWL Mentoring Program is not designed to provide
employment opportunities or be a substitute for continuing legal education, but to foster the
highest ideals of the legal profession.

If the mentoring relationship is not of value to either the mentor or mentee, take the
initiative to discuss it. It is better to resolve the matter and end the relationship on a positive
basis. The mentee should not expect the mentor to have all the answers. Mentors should
guide from experience, and share those experiences with the mentee.

If the mentor or mentee desires to end the relationship and be paired with a new mentor
or mentee, please contact the HAWL Mentoring Program.

Mentee Feedback from past Court Shadow Days:

“Wonderful opportunity; HAWL did a terrific job placing students with Judges in areas of
law that were of interest to them; Judges Catlin and Moody were very inviting and helpful
in answering any questions I had”

“Kudos to everyone responsible for organizing the event and to the judges who so
graciously welcomed us into their courtrooms and chambers. Great experience.”

“Great program. I really enjoyed being able to go behind the scenes of a criminal trial with
Judge Greco. I hope to do this again.”

“The hands on experience is priceless. The day was very structured and informing. Being
able to put studies into perspective was great. Special Thanks to all of the judges who took
the time out to guide us through the day. Thanks to HAWL and FAWL for this opportunity.
Thanks to all who put this event together!”