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Columbia Law takes an innovative approach to mentoring

Law school combines traditional mentoring models for a fresh take on student development

It’s never too soon to find a mentor. Found nearly everywhere throughout the legal world, mentoring programs are instrumental to teaching lawyers the skills they need to not only effectively do their jobs, but also learn how best to navigate the nuances of their careers. While both law firms and in-house legal departments recognize the importance of having formal and informal mentoring programs for their attorneys, law schools also see the importance of grooming students, and are starting the process early in the first year.

Columbia Law School believes that legal education is difficult to navigate, and is not necessarily intuitive for many new students. Because of this, Columbia has established a hybrid group/peer mentoring program where 80 second- and third-year students serve as mentors to first-year students. The 2L and 3L mentors go through a training program, receive a handbook and have regular communication with the administration in order to prepare them for work with the 1L mentees. The first-year students are then divided into groups of 15 people, and each group is assigned three mentors.

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