Osgoode Mentor Program helps guide law students

Second-year Osgoode Juris Doctor (JD) student John Cintosun was not in the Osgoode Hall Law School’s Mentor Program last year, but he wishes he had been.

”I think it would have been really helpful,” said Cintosun, who signed up this year to be an upper-year mentor to a first-year student. “I could have benefited from it.”

Cintosun met his mentee, entering student Andrew Boyd, for the first time in person on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at the 2010 Osgoode Mentor Program Kick-Off held at The Underground Restaurant in the Student Centre on York’s Keele campus. Prior to that first meeting, the two had exchanged e-mail messages.

Above: From left, Andrew Boyd, John Cintosun, Harkiran Bains and Sanja Sopic

”It’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off about how to handle the academic demands of first year and know where to invest your time in extracurricular [activities],” said Boyd, who earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Waterloo before coming to Osgoode. He was seated next to Cintosun at a round table at the kick-off event, which was hosted by Osgoode Dean Lorne Sossin and included a warm welcome from alumni mentor Antonio Di Domenico (JD ’05) and a fun-filled trivia game.

A total of 166 first-year students have been matched with 144 upper-year students in the 2010 mentor program, which is run out of the law school’s advancement office by Jessie Gill, mentor program coordinator and JD student. In addition, a large number of upper-year students are teamed up with alumni mentors – 95 in all – who are providing advice and guidance on legal education and practice.

”We are grateful to the upper-year mentors as well as the alumni mentors for their time and efforts,” said Advancement Director Anita Herrmann. “The Mentor Program continues to be an outstanding example of how members of the Osgoode community come together to help one another.”

Second-year JD student Harkiran Bains, who was mentored last year and is a mentor herself this year for first-year student Sanja Sopic, agrees that the Mentor Program is an invaluable source of support. “It helps to talk to someone who has gone through it,” Bains said.

The Mentor Program was founded more than a dozen years ago by Andrew Evangelista (JD ’92) of Evangelista Barristers & Solicitors, who served as the program’s chair for eight years. Evangelista was also an active member of the Osgoode Alumni Association Board for 14 years and served as board president from 2008 to 2009.

Every year, the law school presents a Mentor of the Year award to a grad who has helped guide a student and made an impact on the student’s life. This year’s Mentor of the Year award was presented to Rui Alves (JD ’94), an associate with Wilson Christen LLP Barristers.