1st Edition

Raising the Bar The Mentor Guidebook for New Lawyers

By Jack W. Burtch, Jr. Copyright 2025
    138 Pages
    by Informa Law from Routledge

    138 Pages
    by Informa Law from Routledge

    The effective mentoring of new associates used to be a natural part of the process for law firms, but nowadays economic pressures are inhibiting the practice; personal mentoring is being eliminated by the fiscal restraints of higher starting salaries and client insistence on fewer lawyers, and hands-on experience is hard to come by. Raising the Bar: The Mentor Guidebook for New Lawyers directly addresses this problem by creating one compact guide to relay the information necessary for success as a lawyer.

    This practical guidebook offers information, examples and anecdotal stories similar to the mentoring experience young lawyers used to enjoy in person. With its useful “takeaway tips” at the end of every chapter, Raising the Bar will help law students and new lawyers face the hidden challenges of practicing law. Beginning with career planning and the transition out of law school, the book’s 13 chapters cover topics ranging from mastering basic skills and dealing with clients to establishing trust and staying sane. It tackles delicate issues like fixing mistakes and surviving office politics. Finally, it closes with a discussion of other paths for those who decide to apply their legal education outside law practice.

    Written for new lawyers, law students, law firms and law schools, Raising the Bar offers, in a single book, what hours of close contact with experienced colleagues would provide a new lawyer when making the difficult transition from school to office.

    Introduction I. Building Your Career II. Transitioning into Practice III. Advancing Your Career IV. Mastering Basic Skills V. Conducting Legal Research VI. Practicing in a Firm VII. Handling a Case VIII. Representing Clients IX. Establishing Trust X. Fixing Mistakes XI. Surviving Office Politics XII. Staying Sane and Solvent XIII. Exploring Other Paths Conclusion


    JB Burtch is a lawyer who has practiced labor and employment law in large, medium-sized and small law firms since 1973. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law, teaching Negotiations and Client Counseling since 1994. He has personally mentored scores of law students and new lawyers throughout his career. In 2023 he was elected to the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.

    "As a fledgling lawyer struggles for traction, practical wisdom about the nuts and bolts of success is vital, but often missing. Reading and heeding the good counsel in Raising the Bar will make a significant difference for the better."

    W. Taylor Reveley III, Former President, The College of William & Mary and former Dean of the Law School; Former Managing Partner, Hunton & Williams, USA

    "JB Burtch has devoted his distinguished 50-year career to modeling the heartful wisdom contained in this essential book…a must-read for any new lawyer. 

    Raising the Bar successfully brings to the printed page JB’s master-level, hands-on mentorship, which helped this lawyer get his professional footing and launch a successful start-up."

    Daniel Seaman, Founder, Optimus, USA

    "Raising the Bar should be standard reading for new lawyers, no matter the setting in which they practice.  Allowing lawyers to find their version of success is JB’s gift – and now his wisdom and guidance are available to everyone launching a legal career."

    Henry D. W. Burt, Chief Administrative Officer, Troutman Pepper, USA