Affinity Mentoring Programs

Program Overview

The Law School is pleased to facilitate mentoring relationships between 1Ls and alumni by pairing first year students with alumni mentors in the Chicago area. These mentoring programs are intended to provide students with the tools to guide their success in the legal profession and to better connect them with the Chicago legal community.

Please see below for more details for each affinity program and to sign-up as either a mentor or mentee. Recruitment for the 2024-2025 programs will begin in September 2024. 

Please contact Anna Jenkins, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, at annajenkins274@uchicago.edu with any questions.

What is an Alumni Affinity Mentoring Program?

The Alumni Affinity Mentoring Programs provide first-year law students the opportunity to connect with the Chicago legal community to equip them with the tools and resources to guide their success in the legal profession. Mentoring programs allow students to meet and network with alumni in legal professions within a specific affinity group. 

Which affinity groups will host mentoring programs during the 2024-25 year?

  • Asian Pacific American Law Students Association and South Asian Law Students Association (APALSA and SALSA)
  • Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
  • Latinx Law Students Association (LLSA)
  • OutLaw
  • Women’s Mentoring Program

Who participates in the program?

Mentoring programs are open to all first-year JD students interested in being mentored by a UChicago alumnus/alumna working in Chicago. Mentors are recruited by the sponsoring affinity group student organizations and the Office of External Affairs.

What is expected of me as a mentee?

The mentoring programs span the length of the academic year. Therefore, we ask that all mentees to commit to being involved in the program from November 2023 through June 2024.

Your level of involvement with your mentor is entirely up to you and your mentor. Please remember that mentors have very busy schedules and that their time is valuable. During your first meeting, we encourage you and your mentor to discuss your expectations for the year with each other, including meeting/discussion frequency, meeting location, and medium for communication. The Law School will provide more information to guide your mentorship.

Be respectful of the time commitment required of mentors and make sure to respond promptly to communications, be punctual to events, and honor all commitments. We hope that at a minimum you will:

  • Meet in person or virtually with your mentor once per quarter
  • Participate in group events throughout the year, 
  • Communicate with your mentor via email, phone, or Zoom periodically as agreed upon by you and your mentor

While this program is designed for one academic year, we hope your mentoring relationship continues past your 1L year.

Please review our How to Make the Most of Your Mentoring Relationship webpage to find out more specific information about expectations, communication, and relationship building, as well as suggested discussion topics during initial meetings.

What is expected of me as a mentor?

The Affinity Mentoring Programs span the length of the academic year. Therefore, we ask that mentors commit to being involved in the program from November 2023 to June 2024.

Your level of involvement with your mentee is to be determined by you and your mentee. We are aware that your schedule is busy, and your time is valuable. We hope that at a minimum you will:

  • Meet in person or virtually with your mentee once per quarter
  • Participate in one or more group events
  • Communicate with your mentee via email or phone periodically as agreed upon by you and your mentee, and
  • Provide feedback, guidance, and encouragement to your mentee.

If you are unable to commit to being a mentor for the full academic year but would still like to be involved, please email Anna Jenkins at annajenkins274@uchicago.edu. We are happy to include you on invitations to approximately two mentoring program-related events during the academic year to connect with fellow alumni and law students.

Please review our How to Make the Most of Your Mentoring Relationship webpage to find out more specific information about expectations, communication, and relationship building, as well as suggested discussion topics during initial meetings.

Can I participate in more than one mentoring program?

In order to ensure the best experience for both student mentees and alumni mentors, students may only participate in one of the Affinity Mentoring Programs. We have found that student mentees tend to have a more enriching experience when they are able to work with one mentor and do not have to divide their focus between multiple programs.

The Law School Big/Little Sibling program is not included in this limitation.

Are there program-sponsored events?

Each mentoring program will offer approximately two mentor-mentee networking event. Events are scheduled by the sponsoring student organization and may vary by program.

How do I sign up?

Affinity Mentoring Program sign-ups are currently closed for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Important Dates

Please see below for important deadlines and upcoming events for the 2024-2025 Affinity Mentoring Program:

  • September 23 - Sign-up form opens for alumni volunteers
  • October 2 - Sign-up form opens for 1Ls
  • September 30 - First day of classes
  • October 11 – Deadline to sign-up as either a mentor or mentee
  • Late October – Mentors and Mentees will be matched via email 
  • Week of November 11 – Kick-off Event (In-person; Location TBD)
  • June 30 - Program conclusion

Who should I contact with additional questions?

Please contact Anna Jenkins, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at annajenkins274@uchicago.edu.