Colorado Supreme Court

Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel

Promoting Professionalism. Protecting the Public.

Mentoring Circles: Enabling Lawyers to Self-Organize For Professional Growth


Executive Director, Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program

Forward thinking attorney mentoring programs no longer simply dictate how lawyers should mentor and be mentored. As an innovator in lawyer mentoring, the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP) has modernized its program to allow mentors and mentees to thrive by enabling them to self-organize into groups for their personal and professional development. CAMP Mentoring Circles are the newest way in which Colorado lawyers are finding mentoring opportunities.

What Are Mentoring Circles?

Mentoring circles are a form of group mentoring that encourages participants of all experience levels, positions, and knowledge to propose and own a topic of interest. This unique setup gives motivated lawyers an avenue to grow within the profession, and opens the door for all lawyers, no matter seniority or practice area, to find or create a circle that motivates them. Once a circle is created, other lawyers interested in similar growth and discussion can join and participate. These circles can occur virtually or in person depending on the group's needs.

While many circles are focused on specific practice areas, topics don't always have to be practice related and they can cover a wide range of ideas. A few inspiration topics include "Working Moms," "Young Lawyers," or "Time Management."

Whom Do Mentoring Circles Serve?

The versatility of mentoring circles allows them to serve a swath of lawyer learning initiatives and lawyer needs. Mentoring circles provide an equal opportunity for involvement and lawyer-driven growth. Mentees no longer need to cultivate and develop a traditional one-on-one mentoring relationship to meet their professional development needs. Instead, they can create their own group mentoring experience to foster diverse thought and perspective.

With the growth of Sheryl Sandberg’s lean-in philosophy and community meet-ups, mentoring circles have become an increasingly popular way to elevate women in the workplace. Mentoring circles can give women access to influential peers, future sponsors, and senior leadership they might never have interacted with before. This pulls women into networks sooner, engaging them earlier in their careers.

Likewise, mentoring circles are a great way to integrate other diverse populations—generational, gender, LGBTQ, cultural, socioeconomic, — more thoroughly into the Colorado legal community.

What Are the Benefits of Mentoring Circles?

With mentoring circles, the Colorado legal community can enhance its effectiveness by creating cross-practice connections for lawyers throughout the state. The free, self-selecting form of mentorship allows new lawyers to mix with senior-level lawyers, as well as with their peers. This allows lawyers to build more robust networks and connections they can turn to for support in new roles, practice area competencies, and future professional growth.

With the wide variety of circles that can be created, lawyers can learn about various skills and tools that can help them grow in their current roles and advance within the profession. From practice area competencies and business development best practices to handling professionalism and ethics issues, mentoring circles can impart knowledge to lawyers through others’ experiences and lessons learned.

The group style of mentoring circles elevates accountability for all involved. This type of interaction builds trust between members, which allows them to come together in support of each other’s goals while seeking to achieve their own. It also relies on participants to show up and interact. This group commitment keeps members engaged.

Finally, mentoring circles can go a long way in creating a space of trust and rapport for colleagues. This trust allows lawyers to confront difficulties in the profession, and discuss candidly the challenges they face. It encourages participants to embrace diversity within the circle, and learn from one another’s experiences inside the profession and out. These connections can create a more unified profession and build a more productive path to collaboration, and eventually greater innovation within the profession.

How to Get Involved in a Mentoring Circle?

Join us now to develop personal and professional relationships with others in the Colorado legal community who can help you learn and grow. If you're looking for community and peer guidance, you'll find participating in a circle to be a rewarding part of your experience in the CAMP program. Visit and select the “Join or Propose a Mentoring Circle” option to create a profile. You will then have the option to join a mentoring circle or suggest and create your own mentoring circle.

Consider it a new spin on an old mentoring paradigm. CAMP is proud of this creative new addition to our mentoring platform and we look forward to helping you find a group to provide mutual support, build professional networks, and develop practice skills.