MOSAIC stands for Mentoring Opportunities Amongst In-house Counsel and is the global mentoring programme for in-house legal professionals. People frequently ask us how MOSAIC came into being and where it’s going in the future, and why it’s set up as a not-for-profit company. We are always happy to talk about the philosophy behind MOSAIC’s creation as it’s very much part of the strategy for the future.
Having been in-house lawyers ourselves for several years, we understand the benefits and the challenges that working in-house can bring. Thankfully, the tired old cliché of a nice, comfortable 9-5 sleepy job has passed, and in-house lawyers are able to give our private practice confreres a run for their money.
Often at the cutting edge of technology and business created by internal clients, in-housers are turned to for advice and solutions that law firms often have not yet been able to say are tried and tested. The urgency and speed for turning this work around has put enormous pressure on in-house counsel to perform in new ways, taking their legal experience and expertise to another level. This can result in both huge pressure but also exciting and challenging new work.
Accessing advice and new perspectives
Navigating new, sometimes choppy waters is always easier when you have someone to bounce ideas around with, and sometimes a guiding hand is needed not on what you’re doing but on how you’re doing it. Mentoring is not only a solution for when times are tough but also when things are going well and you want to ride that momentum by investing in yourself and your personal development.
MOSAIC was born out of a desire for in-house lawyers to have access to advice and different perspectives from their in-house peers. It started in London in 2015 among a small number of companies and grew organically. Applicants were asked to complete online forms and were then held in a pool until there was a sufficient number of mentors and mentees to allow matching (usually two or three times a year).
The programme was initially open to solicitors, trade mark and patent attorneys working in-house. Matching was a truly manual process with us sitting on Claire’s living room floor with her daughters’ felt pens colour coding and matching profiles in our spare time. By 2017 MOSAIC had reached 100 mentoring pairs and continuing with the manual process was no longer sustainable.
Investing in technology to move MOSAIC forward
We wanted to take the programme to the next level and avoid being limited by the fact that there were only the two of us, so we talked about getting investment and looked at how software may help us. We decided to partner with a US software firm, Chronus, who provide a mentoring software platform that uses their technology to match people. We worked closely with Chronus to design the algorithm that suggests mentor-to-mentee matches based on the criteria users select when they complete their profiles. Once a mentor accepts a request, the system allows the mentoring pair to:
- Schedule appointments.
- Set goals.
- Receive emails.
- Push notifications.
There are also iOS and android app versions of MOSAIC that can be downloaded once people are registered on the platform.
A new model to support investment
Purchasing the software to support MOSAIC resulted in a new challenge for two in-house lawyers trying to do a good thing in their spare time. The software required an income stream to pay for the licences and our investment only took us so far, so we therefore decided to start charging mentees (not mentors – they give their time) a small fee (less than an Amazon Prime subscription) to join the programme. Although we really struggled with the idea of charging people to join, we felt that it would be wrong to shut the programme to everyone due to lack of funds for the software.
We also didn’t want to make it an exclusive club of hand-picked people as that runs contrary to our values and what we are trying to achieve at MOSAIC, and which is why we set the company up as a not-for-profit. Money that goes into the programme is used to fund the software and support some of our exciting projects to give back to the in-house legal community.
The next step: expanding MOSAIC globally
There is nothing like MOSAIC elsewhere in the profession, so we have no tried and tested formula or roadmap to follow. We simply use our experiences and the feedback we receive from our members to develop the programme. We are now focusing on our core objective to expand the MOSAIC programme across the world. Although it is a global programme, each jurisdiction has its own nuances attached to working in-house.
We already offer networking opportunity and events, learning and development and coaching, and we have lots of exciting ideas for the future, including the launch of MOSAIC Campus (details to be released soon). Bringing the in-house legal community together under the MOSAIC umbrella has the potential to improve our community for the better, which is what truly motivates us. But we need the support of everyone in the legal community: to join the conversation, the movement, and to help make a difference. We cannot do this alone.
Becoming a member of MOSAIC
To become a member of MOSAIC you must work in-house and not in a law firm. In-house means the legal departments of private and publicly held companies, as well as government and regulatory agencies. You can be a qualified solicitor, barrister or attorney, a patent or trade mark attorney, work in legal operations, compliance, the company secretariat or be a former lawyer who now runs your own business. Trainees or apprentices doing their training contracts in-house are also eligible to join.
We charge a small annual membership fee (free to mentors) to cover costs and develop and expand the programme. We don’t hog your inbox with a mailing list, instead follow MOSAIC on LinkedIn for announcements and our latest news. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website.