The Social Capital Benefits of Peer-Mentoring Relationships in Law School
29 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2012 Last revised: 19 Dec 2013
Date Written: March 13, 2012
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: Suggested Citation