Goals and Objectives
The OWBA Mentoring Program supports OWBA's mission of promoting leadership and advancement of women lawyers. In recent years, the program consisted of mentoring “circles” which paired 1-3 mentors and 8-12 mentees. Mentors were practicing attorneys. Mentees were law students.
The Mentoring Committee began looking for ways to improve the program, both in terms of participation and value to the participants. The Mentoring Committee developed the idea of creating circles where the focus was co-mentoring (also called reciprocal mentoring) instead of lawyer-to-law student mentoring. In the co-mentoring program, circles will include attorneys at different stages of their career as well as law students. This composition acknowledges that law students, recent graduates, mid-level attorneys and more senior-level attorneys all have something to contribute and to learn from one another. The goal is to take the mentoring experience beyond just networking, and beyond just advising law students, and instead create an opportunity for building long-term relationships, sharing perspectives across a more diverse group of participants, and fostering career development for all, regardless of where you are in your career.
Assignments to circles are not focused on practice area or expressed interest in a specific practice area. Instead, the goal is to have attorneys at all stages of their career in each circle.
Circles will be formed according to city. Only those cities with law schools will have mentor circles: Ada, Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo. The program will consist of the following elements:
Size – Each circle will have 6-10 members, ideally from diverse stages of their careers.
Meetings – Meetings are monthly and are organized by the members of the circle. Meetings will take place during the second semester of the school year (January – April), for a total of 4 meetings. Meetings are informal and all members in the circle are encouraged to attend each meeting.
Time of meetings – The scheduling of the meetings will be dictated by what time works best for the members of the circle. The length of the meetings will also be dictated by the members of the circle.
Topics – Members of the circle are responsible as a group for selecting and facilitating a topic for each of the meetings. The circle can invite guest speakers.
Flexibility – An OWBA event or another professional activity could be substituted for a meeting (e.g., attend CLE program, OWBA-OWBF Annual Meeting or OWBA-OWBF Leading with Style as a group). The members of the circle could also agree to volunteer together (e.g., Ronald McDonald House or a women’s shelter) or attend a lecture together. The OWBA also has access to a video conference program which could be used to create a virtual meeting.
Location – Members of the circle could decide to hold all meetings at the same location, or decide to move locations as part of the planning process. Law students should be active in the planning process and can take responsibility in arranging meeting locations.
Communication – Members of the circle can communicate via email list, Google group or other electronic means. The circle can use this means of communication to invite one another to “outside events” (e.g., court appearances, professional events, community events, law school events).