About the WLF Mentorship Program

The WLF Mentorship Program is designed to operate throughout the province so that all women lawyers in BC will have the chance to be mentored. It is especially important for women lawyers from small communities to have the opportunity to be mentored by other women lawyers so that they are not left to feel isolated and alone.

Both mentoring someone and being mentored are an honour and a privilege. Mentorship can be the most important developmental support that a lawyer receives during her career. The Women Lawyers Forum is grateful to all those who participate in this program and give it their time and energy.

Remote mentoring is sometimes preferred by women from small communities so that they can safely discuss personal issues important to them with a mentor outside of their immediate community. Mentoring can easily be done by phone or computer and does not require face-to–face meetings. As such, we encourage women from all across BC to join this program and to be open to a mentoring relationship with someone outside of their geographic area.


Any woman lawyer or articling student in British Columbia who is a CBA and WLF member may participate in the Mentoring Program. The program is also available to any woman lawyer who has started or completed the NCA process and is a CBA and WLF member.

The mentoring relationship is a partnership through which both parties will learn and benefit. Mentoring can be done face-to-face, over the telephone, by email or using the computer. The Mentee will take an active role in the sessions by setting out her goals and being responsible for her own learning.  Essentially, mentoring is a collaborative learning partnership.

The parties must enter into a Mentoring Agreement supplied by the WLF Mentoring Committee if they wish to participate in this program.


The Mentoring Committee of the CBABC Women Lawyers Forum makes best efforts to match Mentors with Mentees based on the detailed information provided on the application form. Where there is no suitable Mentor in an applicant’s preferred geographic area, mentoring can take place over the phone, by video conference or email. Often successful mentorship relationships can develop between lawyers in different cities. There are many creative ways that Mentors and Mentees can choose to connect.

As noted above, Mentees should indicate in the application form whether they would be willing to be matched with a Peer Mentor if there are not enough Mentors available.

If the participant feels the mentoring relationship is not achieving the goals of the mentoring relationship, there is no obligation to continue. If there is a mutual understanding between Mentors and Mentees, arrangements may be made to find another match. For more information regarding this, please contact wlfmentorship@cbabc.org.


For those interested, the Mentoring Program will match lawyers of similar years of experience to participate as Peer Mentors. In particular, if there are not enough Mentors available to match with all of the Mentee applicants, Mentees will have the option of joining a peer mentoring relationship as an alternative.

Peer mentoring follows essentially the same guidelines as ordinary mentoring, except that in peer mentoring, both parties should set out their learning goals and focus on assisting each other to reach them.


The Mentoring Committee of the CBABC Women Lawyers Forum supports the Mentoring Program by:

  • defining program guidelines and agreements;
  • encouraging participation in the program;
  • matching mentoring pairs;
  • providing support through follow-up, training or circulating mentoring information;
  • sponsoring kick-off and closing celebration events;
  • providing advice or guidance to Mentors and Mentees during the program; and,
  • providing any other support that may be required to ensure that this program is a success.

The Mentoring Committee will not act as mediators or arbitrators if issues arise between the mentoring pairs that they cannot resolve themselves.  In the event of incompatibility, it will provide guidance to the participants and it may attempt to find another match if it is appropriate and other matches are available


Mentors may be practicing, non-practicing or retired members of the Law Society of BC. There is no minimum number of years of call to be a Mentor, but we suggest that women lawyers with at least 6 years of practice apply to be Mentors, as experience has shown that this best meets the expectations of both parties.

While the developmental opportunities for the Mentee are obvious, there are many benefits for the Mentor as well. The benefits of being a Mentor include:

  • develop better leadership, management and communication skills;
  • learn about the attitudes, interests and values of other lawyers;
  • participate in shared learning;
  • gain personal support from the Mentee;
  • leave a legacy by giving back to the profession and help to ensure that increasing numbers of women lawyers continue to practice law; and
  • have fun!

Mentors do not give legal advice nor can they be responsible for any advice that the Mentee uses in giving legal advice to a client.  The mentoring relationship is purely a developmental one for the Mentee and does not replace the need for the Mentee to consult appropriate legal advice or the Law Society before advising a client or before personally taking action.


Mentees must be specific about what they hope to achieve through this mentoring relationship. The parties need to develop an open and honest relationship so that their expectations can be revisited throughout their time together. If either party is unhappy with how the mentoring is proceeding, they must feel comfortable addressing those concerns with the other party so that the issues can be resolved.


We recognize that legal professionals have very busy schedules, and therefore recommend a commitment of one hour per month, in person or virtually, cognizant of work schedule and availability.

The usual mentoring partnership will last for a period of one year unless the parties chose to end it sooner. The Mentoring Program will start in October and continue until the end of the following September.

The parties may continue with their mentoring relationship beyond the year-end if they choose, but any formal obligation on their part as well as the involvement of the Mentoring Committee will end after one year,  save for the obligation of confidentiality which will remain.

The program is voluntary. With generous donations of their time, Mentors ensure the program's success and continued growth. As much as we would like to reimburse participants, individuals are expected to cover their own expenses.

The parties are encouraged to meet at least once a month for a minimum of an hour either in person or virtually, as they decide. The parties will work out a meeting schedule on their own.

Scheduling these meetings in advance will help ensure that the meetings take place regularly. The parties are encouraged to contact each other whenever an issue arises for the Mentee that would benefit from the Mentor’s advice or guidance.

The Mentoring Committee organizes several events throughout the year for the benefit of matched pairs. These events offer the chance for pairs to not only meet with each other but to meet with and learn from other matched pairs.


Mentoring is a collaborative learning partnership where both the Mentor and the Mentee will benefit and learn from each other. 

The parties should discuss their expectations for the mentoring partnership at the first meeting.

This should include:

  • how frequently they will connect, and by what means;
  • the goals of both for the year;
  • the topics, both professional and personal, that the parties wish to discuss; and,
  • confidentiality requirements, including ethical considerations and Law Society responsibilities.

A frank discussion centered around what each party is expecting from the relationship, including any limitations on the relationship, is the single most important factor in making the relationship a success. When mentoring relationships break down, it is because either the parties do not commit to the time or they have different understandings about what will occur during the course of the mentoring year.

Limits to the Relationship

Mentoring is not counseling.  Mentors do not have experience in recognizing or helping with issues such as suicide, depression, substance abuse or other serious medical conditions. Mentees are encouraged to seek independent medical or mental health assistance for these or any other conditions and not look to the Mentor for assistance in these areas. For example, the parties may wish to investigate the assistance provided through the Lawyers Assistance Program and PPC Canada.

If a Mentee believes that she may be facing discrimination or harassment in her workplace, then she may be able to discuss the matter with her Mentor; however, if the Mentor feels that the Mentee should speak to someone more formally, then the parties may wish to investigate the assistance provided through the Law Society’s Equity Ombudsperson.


At the beginning of the mentoring relationship, the parties should set out the goals they would each like to achieve over the course of the year. Setting this out in writing will assist the parties to be clear on the expectations and the learning agenda of the Mentee and, if appropriate, the Mentor.

If the Mentor feels that they is not in the best position to assist the Mentee with their goals, the Mentor should advise the Mentee of this as soon as possible so that the Mentee can find a different Mentor or agree to seek that assistance from someone other than her Mentor. The parties should also advise the Mentoring Committee as soon as possible.

Mentoring is a collaborative learning partnership where both the Mentor and the Mentee will benefit and learn from each other.  The parties should, at the beginning of the mentoring relationship, set out the goals they would each like to achieve over the course of the year.  Setting this out in writing will assist the parties to be clear on the expectations and the learning agenda of the Mentee and, if appropriate, the Mentor.

Goals can include professional development, career planning, networking, work-life balance issues and any other professional or personal issues that the parties agree to discuss.


We believe that mentorship is a worthwhile and rewarding experience. As responsible legal professionals, we respect the rules of conduct guiding the profession. We, therefore, acknowledge the professional standards established by the Law Society of British Columbia.

The parties should keep everything that is discussed between them strictly confidential unless they have the explicit permission of the other party to release it. This confidentiality agreement should continue even when the formal mentoring relationship has ended.