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Mentoring Program
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The Hillsborough County Bar Association Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Mentoring Program is designed to provide guidance to recent Florida Bar admittees and provide participants with an opportunity to form mutually beneficial relationships that foster professional growth and career development. By harnessing the experience of highly principled, successful practitioners, new Florida Bar members will be offered a resource sparing them from experiencing many of the pitfalls that result from a lack of familiarity with the practice of law in Florida.

Practically, the mentor/protégé relationship should bridge the gap between law school and the practice of law by providing guidance in the new lawyer's professional conduct and promoting a sense of pride in being a practicing lawyer. The qualities of an excellent lawyer include evidencing good character, exhibiting competence in the practice of law, and establishing a commitment to clients, the profession and the judicial system. The mentoring program, through assigned mentor/protégé relationships, seeks to facilitate the newly admitted lawyer's attainment of these attributes.

Protégés Eligible for the Mentoring Program

New members of The Florida Bar who are, or become, members of the Hillsborough County Bar Association may apply to be a protégé within three years of admission to The Florida Bar.

Mentors Eligible for the Mentoring Program

Members of the Hillsborough County Bar Association who are and have been members in good standing with The Florida Bar for at least 12 years may apply to serve as mentors.

Mentoring Program Administration and Topics

Mentors are expected to meet with their protégés at least once a month in an informal setting (i.e. over lunch) but with a formal purpose in mind: to explore in-depth aspects of the protégé’s professional development.

During the mentoring meetings, potential discussion topics should include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Professionalism and legal ethics
• Practical application of the HCBA’s Standards of Professional Courtesy
• Thirteenth Judicial Circuit local rules and administrative orders
• Obligations to clients, the Bar and the court
• Effective attorney/client communications
• Law office management
• Practice and career enhancement
• Balancing careers with family
• Common malpractice and grievance traps
• How to screen for, recognize and avoid conflicts
• Best practices in trial court litigation

Duration of the Mentoring Program

The minimum duration of a mentor/protégé relationship in the Mentoring Program is one year.

Expenses Associated with the Mentoring Program

There is no charge to participate in the mentoring program as a mentor or a protégé. However, the mentor and protégé are each expected to individually absorb any costs or expenses they incur in association with the mentoring relationship. We recommend that the mentor and protégé utilize a “Dutch Treat” practice as a rule.

Mentoring Program Application Forms

Prospective mentors and protégés are encouraged to participate in the mentoring program by completing either a Mentor Application Form or a Protégé Application Form, as appropriate. Application forms must be mailed to the Hillsborough County Bar Association, 1610 N. Tampa St., Tampa FL 33602, attention: Mentoring Program.

If you have any questions or would like additional information about the Hillsborough County Bar Association Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Mentoring Program, please call (813) 221-7777.