Mentor Spotlight: Doug Brown
Doug Brown (Northwestern Law School, JD’70), retired chief attorney for the Colorado state legislature and member of the Mentor Advisory Board, has been volunteering his time to the Professional Mentoring Program since its inception. PMP Director Mike Massey first recruited Brown to teach in Denver Law’s Lawyering Process Program, and when the mentor program began in 2005, he jumped at the chance to be involved.
“Everyone agrees there’s a crying need for young lawyers, and it’s one of those programs that everyone knows is truly needed,” Brown said. He started with the program and stayed with it as it evolved into something much larger because of professional responsibility: both his and his mentees’.
“I really believe in the program, and I really believe in the professional responsibility of helping them out. I aim to help build a foundation of what professional responsibility is all about, what legal ethics are, what the proper behavior is when you are practicing law. It’s critical to any lawyer’s practice and provides a grounding to help them grow in their profession.”
In addition, Brown believes mentoring is about providing practical knowledge through experience, but most of all, creating relationships in the legal community.
“It’s really just practical help for the law student who, in most cases, doesn’t know what they are getting into,” said Brown. “I always felt that having someone who had experience and had been in the law business, giving a young person a chance to have a relationship, exchange thoughts and just get to know each other, would be a tremendous benefit,” said Brown.
He related that he finds himself providing guidance in everything from navigating the stress of that first year of law school to networking and career advice for his graduating students. And in between, it’s always about being there for his mentees, often outside of anything law-related, and helping them balance law school and life.
“Telling your personal story allows mentees to relate to you as a person, not necessarily just a lawyer or as a resource. The connection outside of law, going to baseball games and football games, really creates a relationship. It’s those incidental things that you say that often turn out to be the most value to students.”
And while Brown is helping to form the next generation of the legal profession, he is also quick to mention that the benefits don’t stop with the students.
“Mentoring, particularly at Denver Law, has been one of the most rewarding experiences of retirement. It gives you connection with young people, and it’s a growth experience,” Brown said.