Seasoned lawyers and recent law school graduates gathered at a reception June 2 that marked the start of the Bar Buddies Mentoring Program.
Developed by attorneys Ade Galloway and Amber Racine of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, the program matches practitioners with law-school graduates who are preparing to take bar exams.
Volunteer mentors help the recent graduates cope with the pressures of preparing for the arduous exam said Galloway, an associate with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney and association treasurer.
“Family members mean well, but they don’t have a clue about what it’s like to go through the process,” Galloway said, praising the law school for aggressively promoting the program.
Nancy Kraybill, the law school’s director of academic skills and associate teaching professor, said she was eager to join forces with the association as soon as she learned of the program.
“I believe that our graduates taking the bar need to forge relationships with practicing attorneys who also went through the often stressful and overwhelming experience of studying for and taking the exam,” Kraybill said.
The reception, also attended by recent graduates from Temple and Villanova’s law schools, was organized by Kraybill, who compiled a guidebook for the mentors and gave a presentation on the bar exam and recent changes to the tests in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Shamika Creech, who graduated from the law school in May, said she is thrilled to have someone to offer advice on mastering the “vast amount of material” the bar exam covers.
Attorney Kevin Mincey credited Barbri and a carefully structured study regimen for his success with the exam in 2002, but said that having someone to lean on would have helped.
Still-fresh memories of intense stress prompted Class of 2010 alumna Shabrei Parker to volunteer as a mentor.
Parker, who passed the Pennsylvania and New Jersey exams last July and is now clerking for Judge Sandy Byrd of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, said exam takers should not reach out to their mentors on a good day.
“Everyone can handle the ups,” Parker said. “I want to prepare them for the valleys. This is not going to come easy.”