Monday, April 27, 2015

What the Best Law Mentors Do: A Request for Nominations

Via Prof. Kelly Terry, a request for nominations for the best law mentors in the country:

 I am writing to ask for your help with a new research project.  A team of my colleagues here at University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law, Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz, Professor Terri Beiner, Professor Kelly Browe Olson, and I, are launching a study of the best law mentors in the country. We recently signed a contract with the Harvard University Press to publish our results.

We need your help finding the best mentors.  Our goal is to identify attorney mentors who transform junior lawyers’ careers and even lives, study those mentors in depth, and understand why they are so effective. Based on this research, we will identify and describe a set of behaviors, attitudes, and habits that are characteristic of the best law mentors.   We hope to produce a work that is a manual for attorneys who aspire to be transformative mentors, a benefit to legal employers for hiring and training mentors, and a tool more junior lawyers might use to find good mentors.  Thus, anyone (you, your colleagues, or your alumni) who contributes to our study by nominating a mentor will both honor a great colleague and help move the profession forward by improving lawyer mentoring.

The methodology for the study will be qualitative and similar to the approach Dean Schwartz and his co-authors used for What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press, 2013).  We will solicit nominations, gather evidence of nominees’ excellence, and pare the list to the most extraordinary legal mentors. We will then study the mentors where they work, interviewing both the mentors and focus groups of current and former mentees.  We also hope to observe mentoring interactions.  We will sift through the information we gather, identify what the best mentors have in common and areas of important difference, and organize the book by the common themes identified through this process. We plan to finish our research over the next three years and complete the book, What the Best Law Mentors Do, by January 2019.  

Here is a link to the website we have created for the book,, and here is a link to the page we are using to solicit and receive the nominations,  Please feel free to make nominations yourself.

We are hoping you will share the links with your colleagues, alumni, large local employers, and state bar associations.  We would be very grateful for your help with our efforts to find great mentors.  We suspect the mentors nominated for the study will be flattered by the nominations, and the ones we choose to study in depth will appreciate the publicity resulting from selection as one of the best mentors in the country.  If a nominated mentor chooses to remain anonymous or does not wish to participate, however, we will not pursue the nomination.

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