CBA Record March-April 2021

Welcome to the Club: The ISC Commission on Professional Mentoring Program by Nina Fain, CBA Record Editorial Board T he Illinois Supreme Court Com- mission on Professionalism (the Commission) was established

available mentors are in short supply. The CBA has learned that perceived time commitments and doubts about their ability to be an effective mentor are two of the major barriers that keep senior lawyers from deciding to become a mentor. Knowing that some mentees have been left unmatched in the past, the CBA therefore has stepped up its recruit- ment of mentors this year by emphasizing two points: (1) the virtual nature of the program (meet with a mentee remotely on a schedule that works for both), and (2) mentees and mentors receive six hours of Illinois professional responsibility MCLE credit for participation in the program (senior lawyers satisfy their own MCLE requirement while helping a young lawyer get acclimated to the practice of law). The CBA will host a free seminar in late spring to encourage and educate members about the rewards and benefits of mentoring. Attendees will receive IL PR-MCLE Credit (see details and regis- ter at The goal is to identify and recruit 50 new mentors for prospective mentees, and we hope to feature more mentor pairs in an upcoming issue of this magazine. In this new initiative, the CBA is committed to partnering with the Com- mission to recruit mentors who want to bring their “A” games to help a new mentee. So, in this pandemic year, join us as a prospective mentor. Donate the time you have customarily spent dashing to trains or driving, and repurpose some of that reclaimed commuter time to talk to and guide a young lawyer to help them navigate this new world order of practice. You can learn more about the program at ing or contact CBA Young Lawyer Sec- tion Director Lindsay Wunrow at yls@

“The mentor ing program has pro- vided me with the ability to engage with young attor- ne y s t o r ema i n current with issues facing our l egal profess ion. Thi s

several years ago to foster the highest standards of conduct by lawyers and judges. Consistent with this mission, the Commission sponsors several programs for lawyers to create opportunities for professional growth and career devel- opment. One such opportunity that is often overlooked by senior lawyers is an innovative mentoring program. The CBA, like many bar associations throughout Illinois, is a strategic partner in this endeavor. The program’s goal is to encourage new lawyers to seek out the guidance of experienced attorneys to learn about the practice of law and enhance their legal skills. However, an understated outcome of the program is that the senior lawyers who participate in it join a unique club where the rewards are mutual: senior lawyers can reap career-long benefits from being involved in a short-term program. Many of us have been mentored throughout our careers, and each of us has a warm memory about the lawyers who played an important role in our professional growth. Upon reflection, we find that the quality of that interac- tion has been at the root of why we now probably stop to cultivate and take time in our professional lives to mentor a young lawyer. That mentorship can be agreeing to meet for a (virtual) cup of coffee or a more formalized commitment. So, in this pandemic year, we are asking our senior lawyers to rethink giving back the time they used to spend in a commute each day to a young lawyer who needs a mentor. Each year a plethora of young lawyers register for the Commission’s program through their affiliation with the CBA but are turned away when it is found that

results in a more vibrant practice and diversity of thought by bringing seasoned attorneys together with those early in their careers. In return, it has given me the opportunity to transfer knowledge and life skills for a successful career to the new leaders in our legal profession. Our professional obligation is to pass the torch to the next generation of attorneys.” - Cathy L. Cupp, General Counsel Consultant, CLC Legal Services (mentor in the CBA/Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s program)

“The benefits I’ve taken away from the mentoring program can’t be measured. I wa s p e r f e c t l y matched withCathy. As a new attorney, I have benefited from Cathy’s expertise in

For additional information on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s mentoring program, visit To learn how to get the most out of your mentoring relationship – both virtual and in-person – follow the Commission’s blog. such a vast multitude of areas, covering both personal and professional development. 2020 was a difficult year for many, including myself, and I had a mentor who was able to guide me through it. The mentoring program has not only provided me a mentor but a friend. I’m very grateful for that!” - Grant Ossler, Counsel, The Motley Fool (mentee in the CBA/Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s program)

14 March/April 2021

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