The Social Capital Benefits of Peer-Mentoring Relationships in Law School

29 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2012 Last revised: 19 Dec 2013

See all articles by Meera E. Deo

Meera E. Deo

Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE)

Kimberly Griffin

Penn State University, College of Education, Department of Education Policy

Date Written: March 13, 2012

Abstract

Scholars have addressed the rigors of law school and suggest mentorship may help students better navigate their educational environments. However, literature largely addresses the role of faculty mentors, less often considering peer mentors in the law school context. This study explores first-year law students' motivations in forming peer mentoring relationships and the roles peer mentors play in students' lives. Analyses of survey and focus group data collected from 203 first-year law students at eleven institutions reveal that the majority rely on peer support, forming formal, informal, and "organizational" peer-mentoring relationships. Relationship formation is motivated by students' acknowledged need for help transitioning into law school, a lack of formal academic advising, and the discomfort associated with seeking faculty assistance. Mentoring relationships also represent an important form of social capital for new students, introducing them to the academic rigors of law school while also offering individualized social support.

Keywords: legal education, mentoring, peer mentoring, academic assistance

JEL Classification: K19, K39

Suggested Citation

Deo, Meera E. and Griffin, Kimberly, The Social Capital Benefits of Peer-Mentoring Relationships in Law School (March 13, 2012). Ohio Northern University Law Review, Vol. 38, No. 1, p. 305, 2011; Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 2019119. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2019119

Meera E. Deo (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

701 B Street
Suite 110
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
619-961-4227 (Phone)

Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) ( email )

1900 E. Tenth Street Eigenmann Hall
Suite 419
Bloomington, IN 47406-7512
United States

Kimberly Griffin

Penn State University, College of Education, Department of Education Policy ( email )

Harrisburg, PA
United States

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