April 26, 2018

Mentor Program - Information and Enrollment

Program Overview

The Mentor Program was created in 2000. It began with just a handful of ABA-accredited law schools in Washington, DC, but has expanded to include numerous law schools across the nation. Since its inception, the program has grown to accommodate hundreds of mentors and mentees.

The American Bar Association's Commission on Disability Rights established the National Mentor Program for:

  • law students with disabilities
  • prospective law students with disabilities, and
  • recent law school graduates with disabilities

The Program’s purpose is to provide mentees the opportunity to gain insight into the legal profession from an experienced attorney who practices in an area of interest, and/or who shares similar personal experiences with the mentee, such as a disability.  However, mentors do not have to have a disability in order to participate, and just have to have a willingness to mentor a prospective or current law student or recent law graduate with a disability.

In a recent study conducted for the ABA, those immediately out of law school cited having a mentor as an important driving factor of satisfaction with their career. Career satisfaction, however, is just one benefit of having a mentor-mentee relationship. Practitioners, students, and academics have all praised the benefits of a mentor program for those with disabilities, namely the availability of advice, guidance, and support.

Read participant testimonials here.

Prospective Mentees

Prospective and current law students and recent graduates are invited to complete an application for a mentor, specifying what type of mentor is desired (based on practice area, disability, and/or geographic region).  We invite seasoned attorneys, with and without disabilities, to complete our mentor application, specifying what type of mentor experience can be offered.  When you complete the appropriate online form, we will add your information to our database. For privacy reasons, all information submitted is kept confidential with the Commission and the ABA.

How We Match You

As soon as we receive an application from a new mentee or mentor, we look at our database to see what available mentees or mentors meet the applicant’s area of interest or expertise.  Matches are based on the specifications of the mentee and mentor and we make every attempt to make matches that respect the mentee and mentor’s stated preferences.  After an e-mail introduction, how the mentoring relationship progresses is up to mentee and mentor.

Commission staff members are always available to assist our mentors and mentees, in any way possible, in order to nurture and develop the relationship. In fact, staff occasionally monitor the status of the relationships to make sure all are being benefited.

 

Prospective Mentors

When you complete the mentor online form below we will add your information to the appropriate database. For privacy reasons, all information submitted is kept private with the Commission and the ABA. Whenever a mentee completes the online form, we match his or her answers with our mentor database and develop a list of potential matches. Matches are based on the requests of the mentee, such as the disability involved, common interest areas of the law, and geographical location. In order to further respect the privacy of the Program participants, the list of potential mentors is sent without names or contact information to the mentee. Once the mentee selects one of these potential mentors, we contact that mentor to see if they are available to work with this particular mentee. If the mentor is available, his or her contact information is then forwarded to the mentee.

From that point forward, how the mentoring relationship progresses is up to the individuals. Commission staff members are always available to assist our mentors and mentees in order to nurture and develop the relationship. In fact, staff occasionally monitors the status of the relationships to make sure all are being benefited.

As a mentor you can assist one mentee or, if you prefer, several mentees. Mentees typically require guidance regarding advocating for accommodations, finding summer employment or internships, learning about different areas of the law, getting involved with the ABA and other bar associations, studying for the bar exam, and making contacts in the legal profession.

We have a very diverse pool of mentees. They come from both large and small schools across the country, are recent law school graduates, or are considering attending law school. They are interested in finding employment with the government, small and large law firms, businesses, non profit organizations, or other law-related entities. Many of our mentees are interested in very specific areas of the law, while others are unsure and require information and advice.

If you are an attorney we can use you! We always have more mentees that mentors, so sign up and share your experiences with one or more of our mentees. As a mentor you do not need to have a disability to participate; all we ask is that you are willing to share your time and experiences with a student who does have a disability.

If you agree to mentor a student there is no obligation except that we ask you to be available to the student. You are free to end the relationship and exit the Program at any time. We only disseminate the contact information that you, through our form, have given us permission to share.

Enroll

Enroll as a mentee | Enroll as a mentor

If you have any questions about our Mentor Program, please contact Amy Allbright at (202) 662-1575 or Amy.Allbright@americanbar.org.