Benefits of Mentoring

Our mentors are welcomed as members of our University of St. Thomas Community and are encouraged to become involved. Opportunities include:

  • CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION PROGRAM. The Mentor Externship program presents one or more free CLEs each year that explores mentoring and other topics of interest to mentors. Mentors and their students who wish to attend. See Events for Mentors for details on this year’s programs.
  • MENTOR APPRECIATION RECEPTION. Mentors are honored at a reception held each April to celebrate the end of a successful year. Mentors are provided the date at the beginning of the school year and receive an invitation closer to the event. See Events for Mentors for details on this year’s Mentor Appreciation Reception.
  • MENTOR APPRECIATION PUBLICATION. Each year approximately 450 mentors put in an average of 6,000 hours and 3,000 experiences with our students. We recognize the lawyers and judges who make this possible in an insert in the Minnesota Lawyer newspaper in the spring. View the 2016 Mentor Appreciation Publication
  • ADDITIONAL CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS are offered by the University of St. Thomas School of Law, the Holloran Center, the Murphy Institute, and St. Thomas Law student organizations. Mentors can earn CLE credit for free or at a significantly reduced rate as a show of appreciation for their service in the program. Programs of interest are posted under Events for Mentors at right.
  • INVOLVEMENT IN THE LEGAL EDUCATION PROCESS. Mentors are encouraged to offer insight on important classroom topics and debrief experiences to share the benefit of their experience with students.
  • EXPERIENCE LIST AND DISCUSSION TEMPLATES. Mentors are welcome to contribute ideas for the experience list and debriefing templates in our Mentor Externship Manual. Email lawmentors@stthomas.edu with any contributions.

The Mentoring Process

The program allows students to set their own path and begins with a meeting to discuss what the student hopes to observe, do and talk about with the mentor, and for mentors to indicate what experiences, events and opportunities they may have to offer during the year. The student is required to initiate and maintain good communications with his or her mentor, and schedule experiences and opportunities for conversations during the year. At the end of the school year, the mentor and student meet to talk about what the student did and learned during the year.

How to Become a Mentor

We value personal contact with each of our mentors. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, we would love to tell you more about the program. Please e-mail us at lawmentors@stthomas.edu. We look forward to talking with you!

What Our Mentors Say

“The University of St. Thomas School of Law Mentor Externship program is great for both students and mentors. Students have the opportunity to gain practical experience which comes with the day-to-day realities of practicing law and working with clients and colleagues. Mentors have the opportunity to experience, once again, the curiosity, eagerness, optimism, vision and enthusiasm which led us to this calling in the first place, and to learn more of the law from these students. It’s a beneficial two-way street.”
—James F. Dunn, P.A., James F. Dunn & Associates, Mentor '03-'14

What do we ask of our mentors?

MENTORS COMMIT 15-18 HOURS TO MENTORING OVER THE COURSE OF THE SCHOOL YEAR. 
Approximately 450 respected lawyers and judges volunteer their time to serve as mentors each year. Service as a mentor promotes the highest ideals of ethics, professionalism, leadership and service for the future generation of lawyers. A mentor is a role model who provides students with an experiential window to view the professional world, who exposes students to the wide spectrum of work lawyers and judges do, and who engages in discussions with students about their observations and experiences, professionalism, and the legal system. By imparting the traditions, values, and expectations of the profession, our mentors play a pivotal role in a student’s development of professional identity and an understanding that traditional law study cannot capture. 

We ask our mentors to engage with students, be responsive to their communications and be available to them. While there is room for how each mentor guides his or her student, we ask all mentors to assist by completing at least the following objectives:

Mentor Responsibilities

  1. MEET with your student during the month of September
  2. SET GOALS with the student during the initial meeting to create a Personal and Professional Development Plan (PPDP)
  3. COMMIT 15-18 hours to mentor activities between September and April
  4. ENGAGE IN EXPERIENCES at least twice
  5. DEBRIEF (discuss) at least two topics during the year
  6. REVIEW AND DISCUSS your student’s completed activity log in April

Confidentiality

All students read Rule 1.6 of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct and certify that they will maintain confidentiality and ensure any clients are aware they are students. The Minnesota Supreme Court certifies each student under Minnesota Student Practice Rule 3, Student Observation of Professional Activities. This certification allows students to observe lawyers conducting professional activities with clients, including private lawyer-client communications without violating confidentiality or destroying the privileged nature of communications in a professional setting.

Students must be identified as students to clients and accepted by the client. Mentors are encouraged to discuss confidentiality with students.  The discussion provides an opportunity to teach students the meaning of confidentiality and how it is protected in practice. The discussion also allows a mentor to discuss any particular concerns a mentor has regarding confidentiality. The Mentor Externship Manual has more details.  

How do I update my contact information?

If you have recently changed your contact information, we appreciate the chance to update our records. Please send us your updated contact information to lawmentors@stthomas.edu or call us at (651) 962-4987.