Inception and Overview
The Commercial and Federal Litigation Section’s Mentoring Program,
inaugurated in the fall of 2010, is a groundbreaking endeavor inspired by
former NYSBA President Steve Younger’s emphasis on the future of the legal
profession. The program provides newer
attorneys (0-9 years in practice) with the opportunity to build one-on-one
relationships with seasoned practitioners (10 years and more) for the purpose
of opening new avenues for professional development. The Section also benefits by recruiting,
maintaining and more deeply engaging mentees in Section committees, reports,
events and other activities.
Initiation of the Program
There are currently 43 mentors and 57 mentees are participating in
mentoring program. (Several mentors have
graciously agreed to take on two or more mentees.) We recruited our mentors from among the
state's most experienced attorneys, including present and former Presidents of
the NYSBA, present and former Chairs of the Commercial and Federal Litigation
Section, Section executive committee members, and other prominent commercial
litigators. The mentees were invited via
e-blasts to all Section members and word of mouth, as well as an outreach
effort to members of the Young Lawyers Section.
We devised questionnaires for prospective mentors and mentees to fill
out both at the inception of the program as well as during subsequent
recruitment periods for new mentors and mentees. We provided prospective mentors with a
three-week turnaround time to return their questionnaires, so that we would
know in advance of mentee recruitment how many mentors would be available. We then solicited mentees through an e-blast,
which hyperlinked to a questionnaire designed for prospective mentees.
The Matching Process
The co-chairs met in person to match up prospective mentorship pairs
based on geography/locality, sub-specialties within commercial litigation (for
example, a common interest in employment litigation, or antitrust litigation),
and, if requested by the mentee, by demographic grouping such as gender, race,
disability or parental status. Each pair
was then “introduced” to one another with an email attaching both the mentor’s
and the mentee’s forms, together with contact information.
In November 2010, the Section hosted a reception and kickoff for
program participants at Lincoln Center.
At the event, the Section’s committee chairs were encouraged to
circulate and invite the new pairings to become involved in committee
activities. Sign-up sheets for each
committee were also available at the door.
The event was a great success, with the Honorable Judith Kaye sharing her
thoughts about the importance of mentoring.
News coverage was arranged with the New York Law Journal. At the kickoff program held in the fall of
2011, former Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau was our keynote speaker who,
like Chief Judge Kaye, also embraced the importance of mentoring in her remarks
to the group.
The mentee-mentor pairs were invited to attend our various Section
programs, including the Commercial and Federal Litigation's CLE and Annual
Luncheon and Reception. In addition, the
Mentoring Program organized a private tour of Manhattan Supreme Court, where
participants interacted with, and learned from, from key court personnel about
the front and back-office operations of one of the busiest and most important
courts in the nation. Over the past two
years, the Mentoring Program invited the mentor-mentee pairs to its Speaker
Series, which featured informal discussions with prominent jurists including
Hon. Jeffrey Oing of the Commercial Division and Hon Richard Sullivan of the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The program hosted an outing last summer at
Citi Field where program participants received complimentary tickets to watch
the Mets host the Miami Marlins. At our
last kickoff program held in the fall of 2012, we were fortunate to have Hon.
Loretta A. Preska, Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York on hand to speak to the mentors and mentees about
the importance of mentoring.
Lastly, the Mentoring Program will be encouraging mentees (and mentors)
to attend the third edition of the Commercial Litigation Academy which will be
taking place in New York City later this year.
This cutting-edge CLE program, which was created in conjunction with and
as an integral part of the Mentoring Program, will again feature some of the
top commercial litigators in the profession.
Because one of the important goals of the program has been to increase
Section membership and involvement, the Section requires all mentees who were
not already members to join. It has
granted requests for waiver or partial waiver of dues in appropriate
circumstances as part of its overall accessibility policy.
How Do We Measure Success and Plan for the Future
In consultation with professional coach and mentoring expert Elise
Holtzman, we set out several factors by which we constantly measure our
Establishing attainable goals
- Setting benchmarks for achieving those goals
- Achieving buy-in among Section leadership
- Creating accountability and
- Facilitating feedback
We believe that our exciting and innovative program will foster
stronger relationships between experienced and newer attorneys and will give
all those involved a greater sense of satisfaction and fulfillment in the
practice of law.
The Committee on Mentoring is co-chaired by Jonathan D. Lupkin, Lupkin & Associates PLLC, New York City and
Matthew R. Maron, The Trump Organization, New York
City and Dana Syracuse, NYS
Office of The Attorney General, New York City,