Every lawyer’s experience and goals are unique; therefore, the Paths Mentorship Program was developed to be flexible enough to meet the needs of members wherever they are on their career path. The Tax Section will offer four types of mentoring. Initially, members will be invited to participate in traditional mentoring.
Traditional mentoring pairs a mentor and mentee based on geographical location and/or specialty. The arrangement usually lasts one year during which time the mentor and mentee discuss pre-selected topics and complete activities together. These topics and activities are chosen and identified in a mentoring plan that the pair create during their initial meeting. Typically, mentors and mentees meet at least once each month, either in person or virtually.
The WSBA offers CLE credits for mentoring if certain criteria are met. Both eligible mentors and mentees can earn one hour of CLE credit for every 60 minutes of qualified mentoring. Under the traditional mentoring plan, many members will be eligible for CLE credit.
To qualify for CLE credit, the mentor and mentee must both separately meet the eligibility requirements (see below), and the mentoring pair must complete an orientation, sign an agreement, and develop a mentoring plan. The mentor and mentee then follow the mentoring plan that they agreed to and complete an evaluation form at the end of the mentoring term. For more information about CLE credit for mentoring see the Self-Directed Structured Mentoring Program Guide.
Eligibility requirements: to be eligible for CLE credit, a mentor must be an active member of the WSBA, in good standing, and admitted to the practice of law in the state of Washington for five or more years. Mentees are eligible for credit if they are active members of the WSBA.
In addition to the above requirements, note that the mentor and mentee may not work at the same employer, and mentors may not charge or be paid for being a mentor. CLE credits earned for mentoring are restricted to “other” and “ethics” credit.
A sample mentoring plan, the agreement, and the evaluation forms required for qualifying for CLE credit are available on this website.
You can become a mentor or mentee by filling out an application and submitting it to PathsMentorshipProgram@outlook.com.
Informal mentoring is less structured than traditional mentoring. Mentees will select a mentor from a list that includes information about the mentor’s area of practice, area of expertise, location, and contact information. The mentee then contacts the mentor for the purpose of meeting with the mentor one or more times for coffee or lunch. The mentor might be asked for an informational interview or to review the mentee’s resume or to answer questions about practicing tax law. Consequently, informal mentoring offers mentors and mentees a more episodic relationship where mentees may reach out to mentors infrequently.
More information about informal mentoring will be available on this website later this year.
Peer-to-peer mentoring brings lawyers together for the purpose of discussing specific topics. Members of the Tax Section will be able to create mentoring groups that other members of the Tax Section can then join. Topics can be specific to an area of tax law, such as estate and gift tax, corporate tax, or state and local tax law. Topics can also be unrelated to substantive law. Examples include work/life balance, law office management, networking, being a working parent, and navigating a legal career in the presence of racial or gender biases. Peer-to-peer mentoring benefits members of the Section by providing a means for connecting with other lawyers in the legal community while developing personally and professionally.
More information about peer-to-peer mentoring will be available on this website later this year.
Mentoring doesn’t just benefit lawyers. Law students who are interested in pursuing a career in tax law can benefit from the experience and advice of established lawyers. Law students may have questions about networking or creating a resume. They may also have questions about what a career in tax law looks like. Group mentoring connects one or more lawyers from the Tax Section to a group of law students for purposes of bridging the gap between law school and a career in tax law.
More information about group mentoring will be available on this website later this year.