mentoring

Introduction to The Alliance for Women’s Mentoring Circles

The Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women’s Mentoring Circles are designed to benefit women of all ages and in all stages of professional development because junior members learn from those with more experience, and mid-level and senior attorneys gain an invaluable opportunity to hone management skills, build relationships and develop referral networks.

Under the traditional rubric of mentoring, experienced practitioners give and junior apprentices take. But in the AFW’s Circles, each member is both a mentee and a mentor. Each Circle is made up of 6 to 8 practitioners of varying levels of experience, and from different practice areas. The Circles allow women to discuss many of the same issues at the heart of the AFW’s mission: professional development, networking, and work-life balance. The Circles offer a smaller, private forum, which allows each group to tailor solutions and strategies for their members. Circle discussions might touch on, for example, the balancing act of a new mother, the decision to change practice areas or a firm’s promotional practices. They meet at least four times a year but some meet as often as once a month.

If you are interested in becoming a member of a Mentoring Circle, you should be aware of the time commitment. We ask that you only sign up if you are willing to commit to attending regularly, and staying in touch with your Circle. The benefits of the Circles can only be achieved if each member of a Circle is dedicated to making it a success.

For more information on the Mentoring Circles program, contact the Mentoring Circle Co-Chairs, Mary Curry at marykcurry@gmail.com, Nancy Hendrickson at nancy@hendricksonlawfirm.com, or Laura Bacon at lbbacon@nixonpeabody.com. To become a member of a Mentoring Circle, please click here to complete a Mentoring Circle application form.

Mentoring Circles Speakers Bureau
The Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women’s Mentoring Circles Speakers' Bureau has been created to compliment the Mentoring Circles program. The AFW understands that for some practitioners it can be difficult to join an organization or group that meets frequently or requires consistent participation. The Speakers Bureau allows senior-level attorneys, with 20 or more years of experience, to participate in the AFW Mentoring Circles program without committing to a particular Circle on a regular basis. Circle members are encouraged to call upon any Bureau member to join their Circle for one, or a few, visits to discuss particular issues or topics that would benefit the Circles members.

Please see the current list of Speakers Bureau member biographies here.

To invite a Speakers Bureau member to your Circle, please email either: Mary Curry at marykcurry@gmail.com or The Honorable Susan Cox at susan_e_cox@ilnd.uscourts.gov.