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Mind the Gap: Practical Skills Pro Bono Initiative

Mind the Gap Resources

Mind the Gap is a tongue in cheek reference to the constant reminders given to riders of the London underground subway warning them not to fall into the crack between the trains and the platform. But it’s a useful phrase that speaks here to the situation where Bay Area young lawyers are stuck in a gap between their law degree and finding employment in the toughest legal economy in more than a generation. And The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is here to help!

Through our Mind the Gap (MTG) program, BASF will provide you with training, experience, mentoring, connections and debt reduction.



Check out the calendar to see upcoming events.

Debt Reduction

Task Force Backs Changes in Legal Education System

Faced with rising student debt and declining applications to law schools, a task force of the American Bar Association is calling for sweeping changes in legal education, including training people without law degrees to provide limited legal services and opening the bar to those who have not completed four years of college and three years of law school. Read the New York Times article.

Free Student Debt Webinars from Equal Justice Works

There’s a lot to know about student debt relief. Loan repayment assistance and relief programs like Income-Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness can help ease the burden of student debt.

Learn more.

Understanding the Various Types of Student Loans, via Bank of America

All student loans are not the same. Knowing how different loans work can help you choose what's right for you. Check out this brief overview of each loan type.

More Debt Reduction Resources
Check out the links below for student debt resources:


BASF’s Justice & Diversity Center Serves Thousands in Need of Legal Help

Visit the JDC Legal calendar to learn about upcoming trainings and get started on your path to pro bono. JDC volunteers gain experience and give back to the community — it’s a win-win!


A key component of MTG is to provide participants with access to mentoring, guidance and advice from experienced Bay Area attorneys. Here are some resources and opportunities:

New Lawyers Need Mentors: Three Ways to Find One

Good mentors are invaluable as you can bounce ideas off them and they can give you tips on how to overcome some common pitfalls a young attorney is sure to face. But if you’re just starting out, you may be wondering just how you’re supposed to find a legal mentor. After all, legal mentors do not grow on trees. Here are three tips to find a mentor, as suggested by Attorney at Work.


Insider Tips for Young, Female Attorneys

Having a mentor is essential to the success of any young attorney. However, it is even more so for young, female attorneys, because the practice of law continues to be male-dominated in many environments, especially at the highest levels of management. Having a mentor will give you a resource to consult about many difficult issues which may arise in your first years of practice and for which law school may not have prepared you. Read the article.


Mentoring Helps Attorneys at All Levels Advance Their Careers

At nearly every stop along the way in attorneys’ careers, opportunities abound for them to engage a wide variety of mentors. And mentoring isn’t just for novice lawyers—even the most experienced attorneys have relationships with peers and even subordinates through which they continue to learn new ideas and improve their practices. Read more.


How to Find Your Mentor

There is a great deal of value to be found in finding a successful mentor- someone who is looking out for you and advocating for your success. The right mentor can change everything. Read these six guidelines.


Mentorship Listserv

The Mind the Gap listserv has launched and has already proven to be extremely popular — close to 200 participants and over 40 mentors have signed up. Participants or “mentees” are invited to post questions and seek advice and information from mentors regarding items such as substantive law issues, navigating the courts, networking, and opening your own practice. Mentors can respond with answers and/or advice as they deem appropriate. To sign up, send an email to


Pro Bono Case Handling Through the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC)

Volunteer to work on Pro Bono matters through our Justice & Diversity Center and you will receive instruction and supervision in cases in which you volunteer. Register with MTG and you will be contacted about volunteering for pro bono cases.


Attorney-to-Attorney Advice

BASF’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) began an Attorney-to-Attorney Advice Program in 1975 and is pleased to offer this program to MTG participants. This free service puts newer attorneys in touch with experienced practitioners who can advise them.  With one phone call get answers to all kinds of questions, including information about a specific area of law, criminal or civil procedure, or state and federal court rules.

If you need a referral through Attorney-to-Attorney Advice, please call the LRIS attorney line at 415-477-2374 and ask for a referral. Our knowledgeable staff will provide you with the names and telephone numbers of up to three attorneys with the appropriate experience to advise you. All arrangements for advice are then made directly between you and the advising attorneys.


“Mentoring Women Lawyers — Focus on the Unwritten Rules” Webcast of a Standing-Room Only Event

Learn how to build “effective” mentorships. This program will address issues of particular interest to women and the managing and supervising lawyers involved in their career development. In order to develop a successful mentoring strategy, you have to understand the rules of the game.

Panelists include Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California; Justice Maria Rivera Associate Justice, First District Court of Appeal; Clothilde Hewlett, Partner, Nossaman; and Isabelle Salgado Associate General Counsel, AT&T.

Use MINDTHEGAP for a discount for this MCLE program. Read a recap of the program.



Join the discussion on LinkedIn. BASF has a group page and a Mind the Gap subgroup that you are welcome to join. We will post news, resources and relevant information for MTG members.


Mind the Gap participants can attend some programs for free. Mingle with colleagues, learn valuable information and get MCLE credit, when applicable!

Check out the most recent enewsletter below to get a list of those free seminars.


Want to attend? Email if you are interested in attending this program. Include your name, the event code, and your state bar #. Note: Not all programs will be free for MTG participants. Note: Free applies to in-person only, not webcasts.