Mentoring: An Offer You Can’t (or shouldn’t) Refuse
On Monday I wrote about the importance of mentoring. Today I’d like to illustrate. A November 2008 report by former Superior Court Chief Justice Patrick LeSage and University of Toronto law professor (now Superior Court Justice) Michael Code questioned the adequacy of sanctions for courtroom misconduct.
Up until recently, judges had two options to deal with inappropriate behaviour in the courtroom: a finding of contempt or referral to the Law Society of Upper Canada for possible disciplinary action. Out of the Code/LeSage report has come the recommendation and recent implementation of mentoring as a third option for behaviour not serious enough to merit disciplinary action.
Mentoring has traditionally been a learning mechanism that is completely voluntary, in that it is sought out and arranged by mentor and mentee on a more or less informal basis. Mentoring is taken to the next level with the new LSUC Mentoring Referral Protocols, which invite Ontario Court and Superior Court judges to identify lawyers in need of mentoring.
Requests go to LSUC’s CEO, Malcom Heins. If mentoring is considered an appropriate response, the lawyer will receive a letter identifying the impugned behaviour together with a consent form. If the lawyer accepts mentoring, he or she will be referred to the Advocates Society, the Criminal Lawyers Association or the Ministry of the Attorney General to be paired with an appropriate mentor in his or her area of practice. For more information see this article in The Lawyer’s Weekly.
Many legal organizations offer mentoring on a casual, as needed or ongoing basis. Here are some for your reference, should you wish to be a mentee or a mentor:
- The Advocates’ Society
- The Criminal Lawyers’ Association
- The Law Society of Upper Canada
- The Ontario Bar Association
- The Women’s Law Association of Ontario
It is worth noting that although our regulator has reponsibility for those amongst us who do not act as we should, LSUC’s Mentorship Program extends far beyond the Mentoring Referral Protocols. It is comprised of three initiatives that match volunteer lawyers with those interested in becoming lawyers; students-at-law to provide assistance and advice with their careers; and practising lawyers in general need of advice.
Sharon Davis – Click here for more information on Sharon Davis.