A team of law professors at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, William H. Bowen School of Law has launched a national study of the best law mentors in the country. Right now, the authors are seeking nominees for their study via a website they have established, bestlawmentors.com. The webpage provides details about the project, the authors, and their methodology.
The authors’ stated goal is to identify attorney mentors who work with young lawyers to transform their careers and their lives, study those mentors in depth, and understand why they are so effective. Based on this research, they 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 resource for legal employers for hiring and training mentors, and a tool young lawyers might use to find good mentors,” said Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz, one of the four UALR Bowen professors working on the project. Other members of the research team include his colleagues Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Theresa "Terri” Beiner, Associate Professor of Law Kelly Browe Olson, and Associate Professor of Law Kelly S. Terry.
The authors have signed a contract with Harvard University Press to publish the book in 2019.
In addition to the book, the authors are launching a blog to encourage a robust exchange of ideas about law mentors. It is their hope that mentors and mentees will expand the conversation, share ideas, and build a useful and insightful mentorship platform. The blog can be found at bestlawmentors.com/join-the-discussion.
The methodology for the study will be simple. The authors will solicit nominations, gather evidence of nominees’ excellence, and pare the list to the most extraordinary legal mentors. They will then study the mentors where they work, interviewing both the mentors and focus groups of current and former mentees. They also hope to observe mentoring interactions. The authors plan to then sift through the information they have gathered, 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 believe 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 being selected one of the best mentors in the country,” said Beiner.