1. What is the mentoring initiative?
The mentoring initiative is a program approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court
that allows a beginning attorney to work with an approved mentor to learn about
many aspects of the practice of law. The program is tailored for each mentoring
relationship. The program focuses on skills, activities, and experiences
important for lawyers.
2. Why should I sign up as a beginning attorney?
As a beginning lawyer it is important to recognize that there is a gap between
what you learned in law school and the actual practice of law. Mentoring is
intended to help fill in the gaps and answer the questions that didn’t come up
until that first case came along.
3. Why should I sign up as a mentor?
No one understands the questions from a beginning lawyer like someone who has
already been there. Mentoring provides an opportunity for well respected and
experienced attorneys to share with a beginning lawyer the years of experience
that made them successful and to help them avoid the mistakes that they made.
It’s a service to the profession and it ensures that the next generation of
attorneys will be highly competent practitioners.
4. When does CLE credit become available?
Mentoring becomes available for CLE credit on July 1, 2013, the effective date of
the revision to Rule 21.
5. Can I be a mentor to more than one beginning attorney?
Yes, a mentor can mentor up to a maximum of two beginning attorneys in a calendar
6. What is a sponsoring organization?
A sponsoring organization is an entity that administers a mentoring program. The
sponsoring organization creates the match between the beginning attorney and the
approved mentor. The sponsoring organization oversees the mentoring relationship
and makes sure that the beginning attorney and the approved mentor complete the
program evaluation (required in order to get CLE credit).
7. Who can be a sponsoring organization?
Bar associations, law firms, law schools, governmental agencies, or other legal
organizations can become sponsoring organizations.
8. Can I still get CLE credit if I don’t complete the mentoring plan?
If you cannot complete a mentoring plan, you can still receive up to 4 hours of
CLE credit if the reason for the termination of the mentoring relationship was
• due to a breakdown of the mentoring relationship not attributable to the
• and the Sponsoring Organization certifies that it is unable to arrange for a
substitution of the Approved Mentor.
Examples of reasons include but are not limited to:
• the migration of the Approved Mentor;
• a Mentor's unjustified failure to complete the Mentoring Plan;
• a serious illness of the Approved Mentor or the beginning lawyer; or
• the decision by the Approved Mentor to change to inactive status in the
practice of law
9. What kind of CLE credit do I get for participation in a mentoring program?
An attorney who signs up as a mentor or beginning attorney can receive up to 6
hours of Dual CLE credit for participation in a mentoring program approved by
10. How long will the mentoring program last?
Mentoring plans must last a minimum of 6 months and can last up to a maximum of
11. Is there any other way for a lawyer to participate in Mentoring?
Yes, if you are referred to a mentoring program by the Board of Professional
Responsibility or the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program you can participate
in mentoring even if you are otherwise ineligible.