Goals and Activities
The mentorship program will establish and maintain an organizational structure within which experienced NOSSCR members can provide general professional and specific, but limited, subject matter guidance to junior NOSSCR members.
Participants enter into a voluntary relationship facilitated through NOSSCR in which the mentor is one aspect of a new practitioner’s support network. In monthly individual mentor/mentee video/teleconference sessions, the mentor is available to provide support to the mentee on career-related issues including subject matter, career development, and work/life questions from the mentee.
NOSSCR will recognize the program participants on an annual basis. Program directors may set a cap on participation, and program participants must sign a confidentiality/conflict of interest agreement. The NOSSCR board may terminate the mentorship program at any time at its discretion.
The estimated time commitment for participants is approximately 60 minutes a month.
Benefits to Mentees
- Receive support for professional/career growth
- Receive subject matter guidance (excluding legal advice)
- Enable engagement in NOSSCR and professional community
Benefits to Mentors
Provide professional support to the next generation of attorney/
Provide subject matter guidance (excluding legal advice)
Provide engagement in NOSSCR and professional community
Personal Satisfaction from giving back to your community
Benefits to NOSSCR
Increase established member engagement
Recruit and retain junior members
Promote professional development
Promote awareness of continuing education resources
- Attorneys practicing Social Security law as at least 50 percent of their caseload for more than 5 years, who are NOSSCR members in good standing.
- Non-attorney representatives with more than 5 years of full-time experience representing Social Security disability claimants, who are eligible for direct payment and are NOSSCR members in good standing.
- Attorneys who are NOSSCR members in good standing and have been either (1) practicing law less than 5 years OR (2) who are new to the practice of Social Security law.
- Non-attorney representatives who are NOSSCR members in good standing, are eligible for direct payment, and are currently representing Social Security disability claimants on a full-time basis, but have less than 5 years experience in such representation.
There will be a minimum of two volunteer Directors (Chair and Co-Chair) appointed by the President of the mentorship program, one of whom must be a NOSSCR board member. Additional Committee members to assist the Directors will be appointed by the President.
All participants in the mentorship program must remain NOSSCR members throughout the entire mentorship period. Failure to remain a NOSSCR member will result in termination from the program.
NOSSCR will gather and maintain database information of program participants in electronic format. NOSCCR will verify membership status and biographical information upon registration. NOSSCR will contact any program participant in the event of a membership lapse. If membership is not renewed, NOSSCR will inform the Committee. NOSSCR will provide a NOSSCR e-mail address accessible to Committee members to facilitate, streamline, and archive communications related to the program.
The program is ten (10) calendar months, from January through October.
Each mentorship match is one program year in duration, starting January 1 and ending October 31.
The enrollment period is from November 1 through November 30. Participants will be informed of their matches, or their placement on the waiting list, on or about December 15 for the following program year.
Matches will be chosen by the Chair, or alternatively, by two Committee members designated by the Chair, one of whom must be a NOSSCR board member.
The Directors will provide a yearly report to NOSSCR board for the prior year’s program.
The matches will be selected in accordance with the following limitations:
- We will do our best to match Attorneys with attorneys, and non-attorneys with non-attorneys.
- This provision is included to address the different ethical and professional issues that each membership category encounters in their practices, so that the mentor/mentee relationship can be most beneficial and relevant.
- If no non-attorney mentors are available, this provision can be waived by the attorney mentor and the non-attorney mentee.
- The mentor/mentee will state why they are interested in the program and provide basic information about themselves and their practice (e.g. a solo practitioner/larger firm in rural/urban area; alternate career; minority; LGBTQ; working parent; etc). The information provided by the mentee will be shared with the mentor.
- Requests for a specific mentor/mentee match by individual or by practice type will not be considered. Although types of practice are considered as part of the matching process, participants may be matched with someone who has a different type of practice (e.g. small firm vs. large firm, federal court practice vs. administrative only). Participants may or may not necessarily be matched with similarly situated individuals.
- Not everyone is guaranteed a match, as there may not be sufficient mentors/mentees enrolled to complete all match requests in compliance with the matching limitations.
- An individual cannot be both a mentor and mentee.
- Any mentor/mentee match who have been in, are in, or are planning on being in a co-counsel arrangement on a claim/case, or work together for compensation or potential future compensation in any manner, cannot be matched.
Registration to participate in the program constitutes agreement to the following confidentiality and conflict provisions:
As a participant in NOSSCR’s Mentorship Program, I understand that mentor-mentee communications regarding personal and practice related issues are confidential. I agree not to disclose such communications whether verbal or in writing.
Conflict of Interest Agreement
I understand that this program is not for the purpose of obtaining referrals and is structured to avoid conflicts of interest.
I understand that if I become co-counsel on a claim/case or work together with my mentor/mentee for compensation or potential future compensation in any manner, the mentorship program must be notified, and the mentor/mentee assignment will be terminated.
The sessions should conform to the same basic structure:
- Held once each calendar month at a mutually convenient time
- Occur by video or telephone conference
- Last a minimum of 15 minutes and not to exceed 1 hour for
The mentor and mentee should start the program year with a discussion of the type of support and guidance the mentee is seeking, including a review of the mentee’s enrollment information and a clarification of the mentor’s role, if necessary.
- The mentee may request assistance/guidance with specific subject matter topics. However, the program is one aspect of support for new practitioners and is not intended to supplant other resources or active pursuit of CLE. Furthermore, the mentor should not be working on a specific case with the mentee as would a supervisor or co-counsel.
- The mentee may present career-related questions on general matters only, which are not job- or firm-specific questions.
- If the mentor and mentee become co-counsel on a claim/case or work together for compensation or potential future compensation in any manner, the mentorship program must be notified, and the mentor/mentee assignment will be terminated.
Evaluations, Forms, and Surveys
Program participants are expected to complete necessary forms, which may include enrollment forms and evaluations, as requested by the Mentorship Committee.