LEGAL EDUCATION, BYU Law partner up for student-alumni mentor program

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Do people think you have traditional values, and what are your hobbies? These are some questions asked by a pilot program to build mentoring relationships between first-year law students and alumni at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School.

It runs on an algorithm developed by Match Group, which owns the online dating sites and The offering marks the first time that Match has used its algorithms to help pair students with mentors, says Jared Sine,’s general counsel, who is also a BYU Law alum.

Questions for participants include whether they think it’s important to follow rules, how much they value established standards for proper conduct and whether they want to know friends’ deepest needs and feelings.

“We tried mentoring programs in the past that had done some good, but they never really developed into sustainable programs, and we wanted to try a different approach that would help build longer-lasting relationships,” says Gayla Sorenson, the law school’s assistant dean of external relations. “Just because you are a law student and someone else is a lawyer, that doesn’t mean you will click.”

Also, earlier mentoring efforts centered on practice areas and geography.

Gayla Sorenson. Photo from BYU.

“We decided we wanted to get away from that all together because that’s not the basis for relationships. We didn’t want this to be something that was designed to help students get jobs; we wanted to help them develop professional competence,” says Sorenson, who was vice president and senior legal advisor with Motorola before she joined the law school.

This year, 90 BYU law students signed up for the mentoring program. Sorenson says they had more volunteer mentors than spots available, adding that the university, which is associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has a strong alumni group.

“The service culture we emphasis at our law school that is part of our religious heritage really creates an alumni base that wants to give back to the students,” she says.

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