Mentoring Circles Program Featured by 2Civility

In January, a pioneering initiative called “Mentoring Circles” was launched by the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI), the Illinois State Bar Association’s Women and the Law Committee, and the Chicago Bar Association’s Alliance for Women. This program, the brainchild of WBAI President Whitney K. Siehl, was designed to foster a nurturing and low-pressure environment where law students from all the Chicago area law schools and new lawyers could connect with seasoned legal professionals for guidance and support.

Mentoring Circles aims to facilitate authentic social connections and enduring relationships among Chicago’s legal community members, especially benefiting those at the outset of their careers. Scheduled meetups, like the one on April 4 at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, offer a structured yet informal setting for mentees to seek advice, share experiences, and engage with mentors on a personal level. Participation is encouraged for law students and new attorneys, with mentees attending free of charge.

The program has received positive feedback for its intimate group settings that contrast with larger, less personal networking events. Attendees, including law students from University of Illinois Chicago School of Law and DePaul University College of Law, praised the genuine connections made and the valuable insights gained from mentors. This initiative not only helps with professional development but also significantly impacts personal growth and confidence within the legal profession.

As the program continues to evolve, it seeks to encourage today’s mentees to become tomorrow’s mentors, thereby sustaining a cycle of support and growth within the legal profession. This reflects a broader goal of fostering a more inclusive, supportive, and interconnected legal community in Chicago and beyond.

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