Getting involved with the next generation of lawyers at UW Law

A Message from the Alumni Engagement Committee:


At a recent UW Law Alumni Engagement Committee meeting, discussions turned to ways to give back to our alma mater other than merely taking out our checkbooks. It was evident that many alumni have a desire to give back, to be a resource for current and future students, and to support the organizations they were a part of during their time in Gates Hall — but aren’t sure how to do so. 

For those looking for meaningful ways to give back to the law school, perhaps the most impactful resource to donate is time. Getting involved with the next generation of lawyers at UW Law has a multitude of rewards — it not only comes with the rosy glow of good deeds done, but also the opportunity to interact with future generations of legal leaders before they venture forth to take over the world.

This article discusses a few of the ways in which practitioners can provide mentorship and guidance to current law students.

For those looking for a longer-term commitment, the Professional Mentor Program pairs current law students of all class years with legal mentors. Mentors and mentees are paired based on common characteristics such as practice area interests, undergraduate institutions or previous employment experiences. Professional mentors offer guidance, encouragement and support, and they facilitate networking and job-shadowing opportunities. The program runs for a full calendar year from January through December. To register, email uwlawpmp@uw.edu.

For quicker bites, the Mock Interview Program and Coffee With Counsel events offer shorter, one-off engagements.

The Mock Interview Program pairs alumni with students to conduct a mock interview in preparation for future opportunities. These usually last about one hour. The program allows interviewers to specify practices areas and provides a window to engage with students in a one-on-one setting. Volunteers are always needed, so please register by completing the catalyst survey available here.

Coffee With Counsel is an academic year program that brings legal professionals into small group settings to discuss their own professional paths and answer student questions in an informal and user-friendly experience. Sessions usually involve a pair of lawyers and three-to-eight students, and typically last for about 90 minutes. Bonus: the coffee and donuts are complimentary! Interested individuals can volunteer by emailing uwlawpmp@uw.edu with the subject line “Coffee With Counsel.”

Looking for more than just good karma? Consider registering to judge competitions hosted by the UW Law Moot Court Honor Board to earn CLE credits. These events happen in the evening throughout the academic year, and they include mock trial events, moot court events and a mediation/negotiation event. One upside to the ongoing pandemic — which has forced competitions to go to online programs rather than the traditional in-person approach — has been the increase in out-of-jurisdiction alumni “coming back” to judge. Since alumni can request to judge with specific colleagues, consider asking a friend who practices out of state to join in determining whether guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. To add your name to the judge pool, email MCHB at judges@uw.edu.

Speaking to alumni who have participated in these programs and events shows the value of partaking in these opportunities.

As one explains: “It's fun to meet someone at the start of her career and be a resource as she makes the transition from law school to practice.” Another notes: “Law school doesn't seem so long ago, so I enjoy sharing tips, regrets and other reflections with my mentees, and helping them manage stress by putting things into perspective.” A veteran volunteer offered: “I've done this for years, and dealing with students is always enjoyable. I always enjoy working with students and discussing their needs and desires.” Another found a surprising reward, “learning about how capable [their] mentee was and getting tips on paddleboarding.”

We know these are just a few of the ways alumni have found to stay involved with the current student body at UW Law, and the positive experiences alumni have had in doing so. We hope to hear from you about other ways you have found to get involved, and we would love to hear stories about the experiences you have had in doing so.

Sincerely,
UW Law Alumni Engagement Committee

The UW Law Alumni Engagement Committee seeks to provide meaningful opportunities for the law school's alumni community to give back to their alma mater by engaging with current and future students and by supporting the organizations they were apart of during their time in law school.