KCBA’s Young Lawyers Division held its annual Winter Soirée on February 11 at which the YLD presented its Mentor of the Year awards.
The YLD had a difficult task in selecting this year’s honorees. Chosen from a highly qualified slate of finalists, this year’s awardees, Felix Gavi Luna of Peterson Wampold Rosato Luna Knopp, and Liz Hoffman of McKinley Irvin, are distinguished by the broad scope of their mentorship efforts, which include young attorneys at their firms, but extend beyond.
In his remarks, Luna said he’s “just paying it forward.” As a young lawyer, Luna recalled, he was taken under the wings of other lawyers who provided invaluable guidance, and his goal is to continue the investment to the next generation. He serves as a mock trial coach at the University of Washington School of Law, committing substantial time to develop future trial lawyers. To his mentees, Luna is known for upholding the highest standards of integrity and professionalism, and beyond ideals, he provides practical job advice, helpful contacts and words of encouragement.
Hoffman felt “stunned” when receiving the Mentor of the Year Award, because she had “spent the whole day minimizing expectations” that she would not be one of the recipients. Perhaps she should not have been surprised, because according to her colleagues and mentees, mentoring comes to her naturally.
“Almost” a teacher by profession, Hoffman has found teaching opportunities in her law practice, especially through volunteering in the KCBA Family Mentorship Program. To her mentees, Hoffman is known for being available and approachable. In other words, as a colleague summarized, “she’s always down to grab a beer,” empathizing with challenges and celebrating successes.
While the Winter Soirée recognized the mentorship efforts of this year’s recipients, Luna encouraged everyone in attendance that their efforts should continue. “Let’s keep doing this, by helping the next generation of lawyers,” he said, “then they’ll help the next, and they’ll help the next.”
The vision has been cast; the future remains to be seen.