More than 280 lawyers have already signed up to a mentoring pilot programme launched in two branch areas last month.
Almost a quarter of the participants in the two branch areas, Auckland and Canterbury-Westland, have selected to register as both mentors and mentees in the pilot programme.
The New Zealand Law Society launched the nine-month trial of a free mentoring pilot programme in early September and since its announcement, more than 150 mentoring relationships have been established in the two centres where the pilot is being trialed.
In a recent NZLS Lawyer Survey, only 36% of lawyers reported feeling well connected to others in the profession, and just 29% of lawyers agreed that the legal profession values diversity and inclusion and meets the needs of diverse groups.
“The mentoring programme is an opportunity to create more diverse and inclusive relationships which will benefit those involved and strengthen the profession overall,” says Law Society President Tiana Epati.
“I owe much of my own career progression to the support of incredible mentors,” Ms Epati added.
Lawyers from all areas of practice have been invited to participate from the two pilot areas. Participating in the pilot in Auckland and Canterbury-Westland will inform what works best for a national programme.
“Many mentoring initiatives already exist in the legal profession, this programme is designed to be complementary to these.
“It will be interesting to see if it is helpful for lawyers in smaller regions who are recently admitted or not part of special interest groups who may find it hard to locate a mentor,” says Ms Epati.
Lawyers can choose to be a mentor, mentee, or both, and are encouraged to participate in 6 to 8 sessions to establish and maintain a trusted relationship.