Students enter the dining room at the Barrister Club, scanning the room for familiar faces. Their smiles break wide open as they extend a hand to the lawyers seated at their table.
The dining room gets louder with the chatter and chuckles that result from such friendly reunions during the monthly luncheons for Mentoring and More @ Moritz. While professionals and students connect over a meal and topics relevant to the legal community today, they also are forming important relationships that last beyond a student’s law school years.
Thanks to a five-year gift from Baker Hostetler totaling $500,000, such exchanges and relationships will occur for scores of students to come.
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law received the gift in September creating the Baker Hostetler Endowment for Professional Development, which is being used to support the mentoring program, that brings together law students and practicing attorneys on a monthly basis. During the programs, speakers address pressing issues or trends facing attorneys today, which are then discussed by small groups of mentors and students in more detail.
“Mentoring and More @ Moritz is about investing in tomorrow’s lawyers, and we are pleased that Baker Hostetler is helping lead that effort,” said Daniel Gunsett, managing partner of the firm’s Columbus office. “Many former and current Baker Hostetler attorneys are Moritz law graduates and appreciate the importance of mentoring for all law school students.”
More than 175 Moritz students and 65 lawyer-mentors from around Central Ohio participate in the program, which began in 2005. Each mentoring group consists of three to five students and at least two mentors. The mentoring groups meet formally each month and are encouraged to gather outside of the formal program.
“Mentoring and More is designed to serve as a bridge between the theory and practice of law,” said Alan C. Michaels, dean and Edwin M. Cooperman Professor of Law at Moritz. “The goal is for our students to see how what they learned and discussed in the classroom plays out in real practice. Mentoring and More is one of our most popular programs, and this extremely generous gift from Baker Hostetler will ensure this program thrives in the future.”
Mentoring & More @ Moritz events often take place at the Barrister Club, an event facility originally envisioned by the late John Deaver Drinko ’44, a former managing partner at Baker Hostetler. Drinko wanted to create a casual setting for students and alumni to gather regularly and was the lead donor to the club. He also inspired several of the firm’s partners to invest and participate in the project, including current Baker Hostetler partner, Alec Wightman ’75, who helped lead fundraising efforts to establish the club. Recognizing this close relationship, when Drinko passed away in 2008, Baker Hostetler made an initial gift of $50,000 to the Mentoring & More @ Moritz program in his honor. The firm’s most recent gift reaffirms its commitment to the Mentoring & More @ Moritz program and strong interaction between alumni and students in general.
“Baker Hostetler is proud of its leadership role with the Moritz College of Law,” said the firm’s Executive Partner Steven Kestner ’79. “The firm’s support will help train the law leaders of the future and enable students to experience firsthand our commitment to education, the legal profession, and to community – cornerstones of the Baker Hostetler culture.”
Mentoring & More @ Moritz and the Barrister Club are not the only legacies left by Drinko and Baker Hostetler at Moritz. The building that houses the College is named John Deaver Drinko Hall, and the College itself is named after the late Michael E. Moritz ’61, a former Baker Hostetler partner. The firm also supports the Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law and the Baker & Hostetler Leadership Scholarship, which allow Moritz to recruit both top faculty and top students.
“It has been almost 40 years since Baker Hostetler and the College of Law embarked on a mutually beneficial relationship,” Michaels said. “It is a privilege to celebrate the strength of that relationship today.”Tags: Alan Michaels, Alec Wightman, John Deaver Drinko, Michael Moritz, Steven Kestner