Last week I attended a conference organized by the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. During the Q&A session my former classmate, a friend and a passionate human rights advocate inquired about mentorship opportunities available to us, new calls, who are interested in pursuing careers in social justice. This is how I learned about LAO’s Second Chair program.

This program allows new calls and junior lawyers seek mentorship from more senior lawyers. There are two types of mentorship.

The first one is a case-by-case opportunity whereas a new call is tackling an interesting case which can benefit from the knowledge and expertise of a more senior lawyer. This opportunity is also open to a senior lawyer dealing with a case that he or she believes would provide a useful learning to a new call.

The second opportunity is open to practitioners working on small or medium sized cases. These lawyers can obtain a pre-approval for a pre-determined number of mentoring numbers.

Benefits of the Second Chair program:

  • New Calls get an opportunity to work closely with senior counsel
  • Mentors are paid for their mentoring
  • Exposure to interesting and complicated cases

Shortcoming of the program:

  • Applies only to legal aid funded cases
  • Need to have a specific case to apply for mentorship
  • Mentors need to take active role in obtaining the pre-approval

For more information about the program, please click here.