Most successful lawyers will identify one or more lawyers who have helped them become better practitioners. These informal Mentor relationships have guided the individual through the often-turbulent waters of law practice. Increasingly, however, traditional patterns of mentoring, in firms and communities, are threatened by the economic pressures and other realities of modern life and the practice of law. This is especially true in the Elder Law profession where many practitioners are solo or in a small firm. As a result, the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (VAELA) has recognized the importance of an organized Mentor program for the positive professional development of Elder Law practitioners.
The Goals of the Mentor Program
1. Help expand the knowledge base and practice of attorneys who are newer to Elder Law by establishing formal relationships between them and experienced and accomplished Elder Law practitioners with set expectations.
2. Enhance connections within the VAELA community.
3. Instill within VAELA’s members a common sense of shared professional values and a common professional culture.
4. Provide VAELA members with the tools and knowledge to navigate through the complexities of practicing Elder Law by providing the prospect of assistance with substantive, procedural, and practice management matters.
5. Provide a forum for VAELA Mentees to:
• address ethical issues
• discuss substantive legal issues (without giving specific legal advice)
• address practical concerns and problems
• assist with transitions into an Elder Law practice and professional development while in practice
6. Provide Mentors opportunities for sharing their unique knowledge and expertise, role modeling and supporting someone new to the Elder Law practice.
7. Promote VAELA membership, participation in it programs and positive relationships among members.
8. Identify lawyers with five years of Elder Law experience or less and recruit them to participate in the program as Mentees.
9. Identify and recruit experienced Elder Law lawyers to act as Mentors.
If you are interested in serving as a Mentor, please complete the following form. Mentee information coming soon!
The nature of Elder Law practice makes it imperative that an attorney understand and analyze the implications and applications of local law and practice before advising clients. Statements of fact and opinion are the responsibility of the Mentee/Mentor and do not imply an opinion or endorsement on the part of NAELA or VAELA or the officers or directors of NAELA or VAELA. Opinions and counsel from a Mentor should not be used as a substitute for the opinion and judgment of the Mentee. NAELA and VAELA disclaim responsibility for the acts and omissions of Mentors, and by participating in this program Mentees agree to hold NAELA and VAELA harmless for the same.