Make us your home page
Instagram

Hundreds of Florida attorneys seek help through new mentoring program

Hundreds of lawyers are seeking guidance from their more experienced peers in the first weeks of a new program launched by the Florida Bar and its Young Lawyers Division.

At the receiving end are more than 500 lawyers who have volunteered to mentor early-career attorneys on issues ranging from unfamiliar legal areas to marketing small firms.

"What we're trying to create here is a virtual hallway," Bill Schifino Jr., Tampa-based president of the Florida Bar, said. When he began his career 30 years ago, "it was easy for me to walk down the hall and sit in someone's office" to kick around ideas on cases.

But such collaboration can be tough for many Florida lawyers today. A 2016 survey by the Florida Bar found 35 percent of Florida lawyers operate a solo firm — a one-lawyer shop. That means they need to curate their own professional network for advice, which is challenging for those just starting out. Another 30 percent of attorneys surveyed work in a firm with two to five attorneys. This makes collaboration easier, but can mean the number of areas of expertise within a firm is limited.

That's where Lawyers Advising Lawyers comes in. Attorneys seeking advice are matched up with a lawyer who is experienced in particular area of law. Mentors are required to have a minimum of five years experience with the subject they will advise on. Currently, the mentors have expertise in 50 areas of law.

Mentees aren't the only ones who benefit from mentorship. Interacting with young lawyers can help senior attorneys stay in touch with young lawyers' needs and learn how the next generation of lawyers operates. Additionally, it earns each mentor five credits annually towards the Florida Bar-required 33 continuing education credits every three years.

Zack Zuroweste, a Clearwater-based lawyer and the president-elect of the Young Lawyers Division, is a mentor with the program. He enjoyed coaching a recent law school grad on a probate case.

"We've all been new to this very challenging field," he said. "It's just nice to be able to give back to our profession."

Contact Malena Carollo at mcarollo@tampabay.com. Follow @malenacarollo.

Hundreds of Florida attorneys seek help through new mentoring program 03/20/17 [Last modified: Friday, March 17, 2017 6:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump's decision on Jerusalem

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Hundreds rallied near the University of South Florida on Friday night to protest President Donald Trump's recent declaration that the United States will recognize the divided city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

  2. St. Petersburg chamber of commerce charts 'Grow Smarter' economic development strategy

    Economic Development

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG — What started more than five years ago as an exploratory conversation among a handful of business leaders blossomed Friday into a full-blown community discussion of how to nurture business while working to make sure St. Peterburg's urban renaissance doesn't leave anyone …

  3. Visit St. Pete/Clearwater makes Orlando tourists a top target

    Tourism

    In a decision driven by some major data crunching, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater next year will focus its tourism advertising on three target markets: Orlando, New York City and its Tampa Bay home.

  4. Gravel spill shuts down parts of northbound Howard Frankland Bridge

    Accidents

    TAMPA — Authorities are cleaning up a load of gravel spilled onto the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge on Friday afternoon, shutting down at least two lanes of traffic.

  5. Appointments at Palms of Pasadena, Moffitt Cancer Center and AMIkids Inc. highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Health care

    Mitchell Rubinstein has been appointed chief medical officer for Palms of Pasadena Hospital and St. Petersburg General Hospital. He is the newest member of the senior management teams for both hospitals. Rubinstein has experience in the role, previously serving as vice president of …