First-Year Mentoring Program

Through the First-Year Mentoring Program, every entering first-year J.D. and LL.M. student is assigned a Faculty Mentor and a Peer Mentor.

The goals of the First-Year Mentoring Program are to:

  • Orient first year law students to the expectations of the law school academic environment.
  • Provide students with a College of Law faculty member and an upper-class student they can turn to with questions and concerns.
  • Provide a source of guidance and support for students in their course completion and selection, and to offer referrals to appropriate resources.
  • Provide information about various Syracuse Law offices and how they assist students.
  • Begin process of socialization into the profession.
  • Boost student engagement and build community within the class and across the law school.


Faculty Mentors are full time faculty who have eagerly volunteered to meet with the incoming students on a regular basis throughout their first year, and potentially throughout their time at the College of Law.

Peer mentors are selected by the Office of Student Experience for their interest in building community among their peers as well as their varied life and academic experiences. Their role is to share the “student perspective” on a range of issues, from how to structure class preparation time and study for exams, to course selection, to their favorite coffee shop.

Peer mentors begin their work before the start of their classes during Orientation and work with a Faculty Mentor to serve as an additional point of contact for first-year students.

Faculty and peer mentors are paired with a cohort of no more than 10 student “mentees.” The small size of mentoring groups aims to foster personal connections and ongoing relationships.

An initial group meeting is held early in the first semester to welcome the students to the College of Law, help students orient to their law school experience, and to start building community.

Following the initial meeting, the Faculty Mentor and Peer Mentor continue to meet with their mentees, either individually or as a group, throughout the semester.

The program is structured to encourage meetings at pivotal times, such before mid-terms and final exams.

Guided by the Student Mentoring Committee, mentors are equipped with information about College and University resources, including those from the offices of Student Experience, Career Services, Registrar, Financial Aid, plus academic support and University health and wellness programs. Mentors are also provided with suggested topics for discussion and reminders about current “happenings” in the students’ academic lives.