LAWPRO has long promoted the benefits of mentorship, which flow to both the mentee and mentor. Lawyers who have access to experienced mentors benefit from practical advice and information without having to learn “by trial and error.”
While many Ontario lawyers give their time generously to more junior members of the bar, some may be deterred by the potential risk of liability for a claim relating to the work of a mentee. Recognizing this, LAWPRO has special rules in place to address this concern and to encourage mentoring relationships.
Specifically, LAWPRO will waive any deductible and claims levy surcharge on any claim made against a lawyer mentor arising out of a mentoring relationship, provided that:
- the mentor and mentee agreed to enter into a formal mentoring relationship, as evidenced by a written document of some kind;
- the mentor had no contact with the mentee’s client that would create a solicitor/client relationship; and
- the mentee understood that they were responsible for individually and independently satisfying themselves of the soundness of any suggestions, recommendations or advice-like comments made by the mentor.
The written document evidencing the relationship does not have to be a formal signed mentoring agreement. It can be as simple as an e-mail acknowledging the relationship and the three terms listed above. The managing a mentoring relationship booklet contains a precedent of a simple mentoring agreement.
LAWPRO also encourages lawyers exempt from the payment of premiums (for example certain in-house lawyers, and retired lawyers) to be mentors. Accordingly, they can maintain their exempt status while having coverage for mentoring services (including the Law Society’s Coach and Advisor Network) and have their deductible (and claims levy surcharge if they return to practice) waived on any claim made against a lawyer-mentor arising out of a mentoring relationship provided that the above noted protocol is adhered to.