Albuquerque Lawyer Bill Kitts was a consummate professional. He fought fairly, honestly and eloquently. Bill litigated with courage and absolute respect for the law, its courtroom procedures and its personnel. Beyond his dedication to the law, Bill took on the mission to help newer lawyers as a personal responsibility. His colleagues remember him sitting through many a young lawyer’s first deposition or trial to assure that the client got the best legal advice and that the new lawyer learned how to accomplish the task in the right way.
When Bill was killed in an automobile accident his friends wanted to do something extraordinary to remember and honor him. They determined to carry on his personal mission through the Bill Kitts Society by providing telephone and personal assistance in specific legal areas requested by newer lawyers.
In keeping with the spirit of the Bill Kitts Society which has been in existence since his death in 1982, the State Bar of New Mexico, in cooperation with many voluntary bar associations, the UNM School of Law and many friends of Bill Kitts has requested that the Supreme Court of New Mexico require all newly admited New Mexico attorneys participate in a program based largely on the Bill Kitts Society. This new program, “Bridge the Gap: Transitioning into the Profession” intends to continue the spirit of the Bill Kitts Society and is dedicated in his memory.
The story of Mentor*…
Mentor first appeared in Homer's Odyssey. When Odysseus, king of Ithaca, went to fight in the Trojan War, he entrusted the care of his household to Mentor, who served as teacher and overseer of Odysseus' son, Telemachus.
After the war, Odysseus was condemned to wander vainly for ten years in his attempt to return home. In time, Telemachus, now grown, went in search of his father. Telemachus was accompanied on his quest by Athena, Goddess of War and patroness of the arts and industry, who assumed the form of Mentor.
Eventually, father and son were reunited and together they cast down would-be usurpers of Odysseus' throne and of Telemachus's birthright. In time the word Mentor became synonymous with trusted advisor, friend, teacher, and wise person. History offers many examples of helpful mentoring relationships--such as Socrates and Plato, Hayden and Beethoven, Freud and Jung.
Mentoring is a fundamental form of human development where two people invest time, energy, and personal know-how in assisting the growth and ability of one another.
History and legend record the deeds of princes and kings, but each of us has a birthright to be all that we can be. Mentors are those special people in our lives who, through their deeds and work, help us to move toward fulfilling that potential.
*From Shea, Gordon F. (1997) Mentoring (Rev. Ed.). Menlo Park, CA: Crisp Publications
The Goals of the Bridge the Gap Program…
The five goals of the State Bar of New Mexico “Bridge the Gap: Transitioning into the Profession” (BTG) program are:
- To train new lawyers during their first years of practice in professionalism, ethics, and civility.
- To create a sense of pride and integrity in the legal profession and involvement in the organized bar.
- To assist new lawyers in beginning the process of acquiring the practical skills and judgment necessary to practice in a highly competent manner.
- To provide a means for all New Mexico attorneys to learn the importance of collegial relationships, organizational mentoring, including the building of developmental networks and long-term, multiple professional relationships.
- To encourage the use of best practices and highest ideals in the practice of law.
This course came about because the legal profession has been increasingly concerned with:
By requiring a formal mentoring program, new lawyers are provided with tools early in their careers to help them develop into respected and ethical members of the profession.
What Mentors Say About the Program…
Upon completion of a mentoring program in a nearby state, lawyers said the following about their experience as mentors:
What New Lawyers Say About the Program…
Upon completion of a mentoring program in a nearby state, lawyers said the following about their experience in a mentorship program:
Proposed Rule 24-110 NMRA (as of 2/16/11)…