New Lawyer Training Program Summary
The Utah Supreme Court has approved a New Lawyer Training Program ("NLTP"). This program requires that all new lawyers coming out of law school and passing the Bar Exam and all newer lawyers who have practiced for less than two years and have moved to Utah to practice law must now be matched with an approved volunteer lawyer/mentor to participate one-on-one in a set of required activities and experiences over the first year of their practice in Utah. Mentors will be approved by the Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Professionalism and must have at least seven years of practice, no Bar discipline and if they are in private practice they must have malpractice insurance.
The Bar is administering this program for the Court and is calling upon the best and the brightest in the profession to volunteer and help show new lawyers the way to success, competence and professionalism. Mentors will receive 12 hours of CLE credit per year for their participation.
The goals of the program are to train new lawyers during their first year of practice in professionalism, ethics, and civility; to assist new lawyers in acquiring the practical skills and judgment necessary to practice in a highly competent manner; and to provide a means for all Utah attorneys to learn the importance of organizational mentoring, including the building of developmental networks and long-term, multiple mentoring relationships.
How the NLTP Works
Students graduate and newer lawyers move to Utah to practice, pass the Bar Exam enroll in the Program. (Or they request a deferral if they will not be practicing or will be clerking for a judge or a waiver if they have practiced more than two years.)
New lawyers will need to be matched with a new lawyer inside or outside their firms or organizations or by the Bar or they be will assigned to a group for "circle" mentoring seminars if a mentor cannot be located nearby. If a requested mentor has not yet been approved, he or she must submit a volunteer form and be approved.
New lawyers will submit a proposed Mentoring Plan. The plan may follow the suggested Model Plan or have similar activities and exercises for approval.
New lawyers will submit quarterly reports on their progress.
New lawyers will complete their plan with their mentor over a one-year period and confirm completion to be certified by the Bar for re-licensure. (Those admitted to the Bar in February and May Bar will begin the program in June. Those admitted to the Bar in October will begin the program in January.)
History of New Lawyer Training
There have historically been concerns with: (1) the difficulties new lawyers face when leaving the academic environment of law school and entering the practical demands of law practice; (2) increasing perceptions of an erosion of professionalism and civility as the bar has grown over the years and lawyers have become less familiar with one another and; (3) increasing numbers of younger lawyers leaving the profession due to growing dissatisfaction with their environment and law practice and balancing the demands of life.
These issues had been dealt with previously through specific New Lawyer Continuing Legal Education seminars; the Utah Standards on Professionalism and Civility, required professionalism CLE, and the Court's committee on professionalism. After the presentation of a paper to the Utah Supreme Court, comparing legal education in the United Kingdom and the United States, written by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, 10th Circuit Judge Deanell Tacha and Alan Sullivan, Chief Justice Durham asked the Bar to study the benefits and possibility of establishing a mentoring program. The Bar Commission appointed a committee chaired by Rod Snow and Margaret Plane which studied other current approaches to mentoring, particularly a mandatory mentoring program in Georgia; a volunteer program in Ohio and a 6 month preceptorship program in Delaware.
The Committee and the Bar Commission concluded that a mentoring program would be a very beneficial way to help resolve historic issues with the transition into the practice of law and to promote appropriate goals, and that the program should incorporate specific sets of activities and experiences for the new lawyer under the tutelage of an approved mentor for one year of the two year NLCLE requirements.
More Information and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
The cost to the new lawyer is $150 at enrollment and $150 at certification.
The Bar needs over 500 volunteer mentors each year.
We suggest the mentor and new lawyer spend two hours per month together.
Mentors will receive 12 of CLE credit per year for their participation.
Mentoring activities/time may be split among mentors and CLE pro rated.
Mentoring relationships are consensual and will be changed upon request.
"Circle" (or Group) Mentoring will be available as needed.
Mentors will need to attend an orientation session or view the orientation video.
"Outside" mentoring is not designed to create any business relationships. New lawyers and mentors are not to co-counsel together on cases or engage in specific work together for clients. Outside mentors will not render professional advice for the new lawyer's clients. All discussions must be limited to hypothetical situations. Cases are not to be referred.
Some law school activities may qualify upon approval for limited credit.
The program discourages inside mentoring by lawyers directly supervising new lawyers.
A Mentor Training and Resource Committee will be available to assist mentors.
The Orientation Manual, Model Mentoring Plan, Mentoring Timeline, Initial Meeting Guide and the Supreme Court Rules establishing the program are available at www.utahbar.org/nltp/. For more information contact NLTP Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-297-7026.