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The Criminal Law Section of the Huntsville-Madison County Bar Association has set out nine (9) objectives for the mentoring program. These objectives are intended to be a guide for the development of the relationship between the mentor and the mentee and should be addressed on an ongoing basis over the course of the mentorship year.

The relationship between the mentor and mentee is not merely a checklist of items to be covered. It is intended to be the beginning of a long-term professional relationship that enables the new lawyer to create a network of more experienced colleagues who will serve as informal mentors. The goal of the program is to provide new lawyers with the tools that will enable them to continually improve, enhance their habits, practice skills, knowledge, and professionalism throughout their legal career.

New lawyers (less than five (5) years of active practice) are required by the Indigent Defense Committee to complete mandatory mentoring hours during their first five (5) years of practice in order to receive court appointed cases the following calendar year.  First year lawyers are required to complete twenty-four (24) hours; and, lawyers with two (2) to five (5) years of experience must complete twelve (12) hours of mandatory mentoring. The hours required must be certified by the Mentor and may include any combination of trial preparation, trial observation, one-on-one conferences between the mentor and mentee, and monthly meetings conducted by the Criminal Law Section. Of the required hours, first year lawyers must attend a minimum of four (4) monthly group meetings; and, lawyers with two (2) to four (4) years of experience are required to attend a minimum of (2) monthly group meetings.

There will be a “nuts and bolts” seminar offered at least twice a year. The seminar will address all aspects of a criminal case, from arrest to appeal. Attorneys who accept court appointed cases will be required to attend one of the seminars. The completed seminar hours will count toward the new lawyers required mandatory mentoring hours.    

The monthly group meetings will be held at the Huntsville-Madison county Bar Association Office located at 228 Holmes Avenue, on the 8th floor of the building, which may be approved for continuing legal education credit.     

The regularly scheduled Coffee Call is every second Wednesday of the month. Meetings begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Jury Venire Room on the 6th floor of the Madison County Courthouse. Speakers are routinely present to discuss newly implemented procedures and/or to explain alternative courts/programs. 

"Lessons Learned" are addressed every third Thursday of the month. Meetings begin at 4:00 p.m. at Below the Radar. Lawyers who have conducted jury trials and/or motion hearings during the past month share lessons they have learned.

Current Criminal Law Co-Chairs: Ron Smith and Robin Wolfe

Committee Members: John Allen, Erin Atkins, Kourtney Ballew, Patrick Hill, Joe Lampley, Larry Marsili, Ron Smith, Trey Woodfin and Robin Wolfe

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