Good mentoring relationships are important from the very start of a legal career. Effective mentors help new lawyers tailor their career paths to align with their aspirations and values. Mentors provide practical knowledge and expertise to assist all lawyers in both developing practice competencies and navigating the unwritten rules of the legal profession. Additionally, mentors help lawyers in transition as they change practice area, environment, or location to expand their professional networks and put themselves on a pathway to new opportunities.
It used to be that in the legal profession, experienced lawyers were expected to provide mentoring and professional development to newer lawyers as their professional obligation, whether through apprenticeships, clerkships, or informal mentoring relationships within firms. In today’s legal profession, many new and transitioning lawyers lack opportunities for face time with seasoned attorneys, and the notion of legal apprenticeships has all but disappeared. For some new lawyers, personal relationships with veteran lawyers who model competency and professionalism may be inaccessible or unfeasible.
In an effort to meet the needs of lawyers without access to meaningful mentoring or those seeking to supplement their informal mentoring relationships, states throughout the country began creating mentoring programs available to all lawyers, regardless of firm affiliation and in many cases, regardless of years of experience. The Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP), created in 2013, has evolved into one of the leading such programs in the nation.
The broad objectives of CAMP are to: promote professional pride and identity in the legal profession; promote the pursuit of excellence in service to clients; and promote strong relationships between the bar, courts, clients, law schools and the public. These are accomplished through teaching the core values and ideals of the legal profession, and training on the best practices for meeting those ideals.
CAMP generates meaningful and relevant mentoring relationships through 10 distinct mentoring programs. Each of these programs encourages mentoring pairs to incorporate principles of professionalism, ethics, law practice management, access to justice, and lawyer well-being into every mentoring relationship. CAMP also offers informal coffee mentoring, group mentoring programs, and co-counseling mentoring opportunities.
We believe that education and mentorship reinforce each other and that the best attorney mentoring programs bring innovative coaching and relevant instruction together. CAMP distinguishes itself with its unique mentoring curriculum and the close working relationships between mentors and mentees. Innovative training that recognizes the value of lawyer-centered learning at all levels – new, mid-level, and veteran – is fundamental to CAMP’s distinction.
CAMP’s innovative matching techniques include a comprehensive mentee profile and a pre-match interview to determine your professional goals and objectives and to identify the type of lawyer best suited to meet your mentoring needs. CAMP’s holistic, one-on-one approach will connect you with a vetted, expert mentor.
CAMP also hosts educational speaking engagements across the state and produces monthly in-house professional development webinars through uniquely tailored CLE courses spanning topics related to Leadership Development, Practice Readiness, Practical Skills Training, and Professionalism & Wellness. These events occur live in Denver and are live streamed via webinar to participants around the state. The webinars are recorded and accessible via the CAMP website for lawyers to view at their convenience.
CAMP is structured intentionally to be decentralized so that individual organizations can carry out the program on a local level in a manner that fits the needs of the members they serve. By encouraging the development of “grassroots” efforts to conduct mentoring programs, Colorado lawyers achieve more successful integration with their organization, local bar association, or geographic region. For example, CAMP works closely with the Colorado Women’s Bar Association to facilitate the LIFT! Mentoring Program, a unique opportunity for CWBA members to engage in mentorship experiences geared toward women lawyers.
CAMP is a place where reflection, ambition, and constructive relationships lead to legal careers of purpose and positive consequence. The CAMP approach is to catalyze the power of collaboration among individuals with different perspectives, backgrounds, and areas of expertise to foster training and education with meaningful positive influence on legal practice in Colorado. CAMP cultivates an environment of thoughtful and informed professionalism and invests in the long-term intellectual, professional, and social growth of Colorado lawyers.
Join us today to develop personal and professional relationships with others in the Colorado legal community who can help you learn and grow. If you are looking for community and peer guidance, you'll find participating in CAMP to be a rewarding part of your experience in the profession. Visit www.coloradomentoring.org to find a mentoring partner, register for an event, and connect with our community. We look forward to working with you!
Ryann Peyton serves as the Director of the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP), a program of the Colorado Supreme Court. A former litigator and a seasoned consultant and advocate on professionalism, diversity, and equity in the legal field, Ryann is a frequent commentator, presenter, and lecturer. Prior to joining CAMP, Ryann focused her law practice on civil litigation with an emphasis on LGBT families and civil rights. Ryann has been routinely recognized for her legal practice, most recently earning the 2019 American Bar Association Rosner & Rosner Young Lawyer Professionalism award and the 2014 Colorado Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Attorney of the Year award. Ryann sits on the boards of the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, Colorado Bar Association, and The Center on Colfax. Ryann is a graduate of the Colorado Bar Association Leadership Training (COBALT) program and the Center for Legal Inclusiveness’ Level I Diversity and Inclusiveness training program. Ryann earned her law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law and holds an LLM and undergraduate degree from the University of Denver.