Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Ohio Supreme Court to Host National Legal Mentoring Conference

Columbus attorney Denise Mirman has taken new lawyers under her wing as their mentor for many years now.

“People who have been practicing for a while can’t very well complain about practicing with people right out of law school, and being frustrated with their lack of experience, without helping them through this thicket of very difficult and practical legal issues that you face when you first start practicing,” Mirman said.

She is part of the Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program through the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism. It’s a year-long pairing between new lawyers and experienced practitioners.

“It’s really good to be surrounded by youthful spirits and reconnect with the early enthusiasm that people have when they’re first out of law school, and to also remind myself how hard it really is to start the practice out of law school.”

Mirman’s former mentee Liz Zuercher and current mentee Heather Sobel are associates at Friedman & Mirman.

“It was just really a great experience to connect with a more seasoned attorney and have that person you can go to and be comfortable with and ask the questions you might think are dumb questions,” Zuercher said of the experience.

“They always say in law school that they teach you how to think like a lawyer and then when you get out and start working, you really learn what you need to do as an attorney. Denise’s insight has really been helpful not just ‘this is the law and this is how it works’ but all the little nuanced things that you might not know just from reading a textbook,” Sobel said.

“The new lawyers gain so much from the experience. They learn practical skills – things they don’t teach you in law school and are hard to teach in law school. They learn about the etiquette – the unspoken practices that you need to do well and succeed in the practice of law,” according to Lori Keating, secretary of the Commission on Professionalism that oversees the program that started in 2006.

Keating is also chair of the National Legal Mentoring Consortium, which will bring its national conference to Columbus in May. The conference on May 1-3 will bring together mentoring experts with leaders from bar associations, law schools, supreme courts, law firms and other legal organizations from across the country.

“I hope overall that participants of our programming here in Columbus will walk away with an understanding of what makes a successful mentoring program, and if they have an existing program up and running how to continue that momentum and even improve upon it,” Keating said.

The conference will also be a chance to showcase Ohio’s program that has supported more than 3,000 new lawyers like Sobel and Zuercher in the first year of their practice.

Details about the conference are available on the National Legal Mentoring Consortium website.