MLS Mentor Program

Coronavirus notification

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the University is clear about its responsibility to do everything it can to reduce rates of infection in the community. The health and wellbeing of our community is of paramount importance to the University.  We therefore ask all volunteers undertaking mentoring programs to exercise appropriate precaution when scheduling meetings with mentees. It is our recommendation that where possible face-to-face meetings be changed to online meetings using web conferencing software such as Skype and Zoom.

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The MLS Mentor Program provides an invaluable opportunity for students to develop a supportive relationship with an experienced law professional. It is designed to motivate and encourage students and, provide them with a sense of direction for their career paths.

Mentors are drawn from the legal profession and beyond, reflecting the diverse interests of our students. They are senior representatives of the legal, corporate, government and community sectors. Mentors are volunteers and are typically University of Melbourne alumni.

Read two more of our mentoring stories:

Information for Mentors

Mentor registrations are welcomed year-round, with calls to register/re-register peaking in December-March and June-July for respective upcoming matching periods. Law professionals with three or more years of post-law graduation experience (LL.B, MLM or JD) are eligible to register. Mentor registrations are welcome year-round.

Mentors are matched with a Melbourne Law School student based on the mentor's nominated law area(s) of expertise, gender preference (if any) of mentee, and location. Other factors such as personal hobbies/interests and educational background are also taken into account. Matching occurs in March for the Semester 1 full-time international MLM intake, April for the JD intake, and August for the Semester 2 full-time international MLM intake.

Depending on the cohort in which they are matched, mentors are invited to either the MLM Mentor Program Launch (mid-April for Semester 1 mentoring cohort or mid-September for Semester 2 mentoring cohort) or the JD Mentoring Reception (early May).

While the mentor program has well-developed objectives for its mentoring pairs, each mentor and mentee bring their own perspectives to the program.

One of the benefits of being a mentor is that it constantly challenges you as to how you do things and why you do them. That self-awareness and self-analysis is invaluable. Having the opportunity to assist the growth and personal development of students is a privilege. I would strongly recommend that others consider being a mentor.

Franz Holzer, Magistrate

Commitment required from mentors

Mentors and mentees (students) are expected meet three-to-four times during the mentoring period (two semesters). Meetings can be face-to-face, via email, phone or video call.

The program is intended to support the busy schedules of mentors, with mentees expected to initiate contact and prioritise the schedule of their mentor.

Mentors are provided with a range of support documentation to help them prepare for their mentorship. Mentees are required to bring a Mentor Program Agreement to their first meeting. The document is designed for the mentor and mentee to identify and agree upon shared objectives of their mentorship.

Mentors may engage their mentee with any of the following:

  • Discussions on a variety of work/law/career-related matters
  • Work shadowing (if appropriate)
  • Attend court/meetings with mentee (if appropriate)
  • Attend a public lecture together
  • Introduce your mentee to colleagues (if appropriate)
  • If mentoring an international student, assist to develop a network of professional contacts in Australia
  • Assist with goal-setting and decision-making

Mentors are not required nor encouraged to provide subject tutoring, offer jobs/clerkships/internships or provide personal counselling.

Register to become a mentor

For further information, please email or call +61 3 9035 6058.

Information for Students

The MLS Mentor Program is open to all JD students (each year of their degree) and full-time international MLM students. To be eligible, JD students must attend an information session (only need to attend one, even if participating more than once); and MLM students will receive a Program briefing in their Orientation, attend an information session after Orientation, and attend the MLM Mentor Program Lunch (mid-April for Semester 1 cohort or mid-September for Semester 2 cohort). JD students must register and MLM students my apply by the deadline, the dates of which are widely promoted, well in advance.

Mentees are matched with mentors (one per mentoring period of two semesters) based on nominated law area(s) of interest, gender preference (if any) of mentor, and location of mentor. Other factors such as personal hobbies/interests and educational background are also taken into account.

Mentors, who are volunteers, generally have busy schedules; meaning their time is valuable. Mentees are asked to share their commitments and availability, with priority placed on their mentor's schedule. However, it's the responsibility of the mentor and mentee to respectfully negotiate meeting times, locations and communication mediums that work best for both parties.

Commitment required from mentees

It is expected that all mentees commit to being actively and meaningfully engaged for the duration of the program.

Mentees should set realistic goals when they begin the mentor program, including what they hope to achieve or learn from their mentors. The aim of the program is to meet the needs of the students. A beneficial and rewarding mentoring relationship is often dependent on a mentee's initiative to engagement with their mentor.

Mentee are required to:

  • Bring the Mentor Program Agreement to their first meeting to discuss and complete with their mentor
  • Initiate communications with their mentor after the match is confirmed, and maintain communication with their mentor for the duration of the mentoring period
  • Meet with their mentor three to four times in the mentoring period
  • Consider topics of discussion and questions for their mentor before each meeting
  • Be punctual to meetings
  • Communicate regularly and promptly with their mentor
  • Honour all commitments
  • Be respectful of their mentoring relationship and communicate in a courteous manner
  • Thank their mentor at the end of the mentoring program
  • Keep shared information confidential.

Open from 1 January to the last Friday in March (dates subject to change): Register to become a JD mentee

Open two weeks after Orientation, and closing two weeks after that (dates subject to change): Apply to become a MLM mentee

For further information, please email or call +61 3 9035 6058.