Cumberland School of Law is proud to introduce the Student Success Mentoring Program (SSMP). The program provides students with an excellent opportunity to receive consistent guidance, and provides alumni an opportunity to advise and impact the next generation of lawyers.
“The SSMP will be a real win-win situation of the law school. The program will pair our students with our outstanding alumni who will give them a real world insight into the practice of law. It will be a wonderful enhancement of Cumberland’s high quality education program.” -Dean Carroll.
Being a mentor is an opportunity for alumni and others to share personal and professional experience, knowledge and skills with a Cumberland student who is preparing to enter the legal world. Mentors act as a coach and role model with the intent to promote a mentee’s personal and professional growth. By connecting students with local lawyers and judges, SSMP gives students the opportunity to learn skills and professionalism they need to practice law which they may not learn in an academic setting, and expand their contacts in the legal community. Mentors assist students in defining and accepting their future roles as lawyers and serve as role models in dealing with clients, colleagues, the courts and the community.
SSMP is not a job placement program. Students are informed that the goal of this program is not to gain employment, but to facilitate relationships between students and alumni as well as provide a learning experience and means of professional development.
SSMP is designed with the assiduous professional in mind. Each mentor is encouraged to structure their own mentor/mentee relationship to meet the needs of their own practice and available time. However, it is encouraged that mentors commit a minimum of 2 hours per month towards the relationship. Typical time together could include discussions regarding what the daily practice of law is like in the mentor's practice area, mock interviews to help the student prepare for upcoming job interviews, going to court together, to local bar association meetings or special events, such as lectures and luncheons. Mentors also are encouraged to allow their students to shadow them for a few hours or half a day at their office, in court, at a hearing, oral argument, deposition, etc. Other forms of mentoring are also acceptable, such as meeting for lunch or coffee, or just talking by phone. It is the quality of the relationship, not the quantity of time spent, that determines the success of the mentoring relationship.
Students are matched – as closely as possible – with alumni mentors based upon the student’s interests, geographic preference and the alum’s area(s) of practice and location. Please note that because student interest in different practice areas varies from year to year, not all mentors will be matched every year. We hope, however, to keep the current mentor pool as large as possible to accommodate these fluctuations in student interest.
We ask for a commitment by the mentor for one year. At the end of the year, the mentor and mentee can decide whether or not they would like to continue the relationship.