Educating Lawyers in the World of Differences

By: Katerina Lewinbuk  

The depictions of lawyers as “blood-sucking parasites” have become a troubling stereotype that every graduating law student has had to encounter in the United States. This typecast not only damages the reputation of lawyers, but can also affect multiple facets of the legal community. The negativity surrounding lawyers begins upon admission into law school, with friends and family trying to convince incoming students to run before it is too late. Upon graduation, associates are expected to work long hours under high stress. A solution that can help alleviate these problems is to implement mandatory mentoring programs beginning as early as during law school. Such programs will educate law students about numerous environments they will be a part of, as well as many diverse clients they will have during their practice. Mentorship is a long-standing tradition that can direct, guide, and support those new to the profession. In addition, it can be used to rehabilitate attorneys that have gone astray. This study does not propose a “one size fit all” mentorship program. Rather, it suggests that states adopt programs that best suit their needs in light of the diversity of their actual population. Attorneys have to deal with the negative perception by the public, high stress levels, and long work hours. Voluntary mandatory programs are clearly not enough. A formal mentorship requirement can implement changes this industry needs. Every lawyer starting should have access to a structured framework and a reliable mentor.

Education and Learning in a World of Difference
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Katerina Lewinbuk

Professor of Law, Law, South Texas College of Law Houston, United States
Texas , United States