Professional Mentoring Program Named After the Late Michael G. Massey
Professor Michael Gill Massey was larger than life. Charismatic, innovative, and brilliant, he recognized in 2005 that students in his Lawyering Process classes needed guidance from the best in the field – his own peers – to understand what it means to be a lawyer. Always resourceful, he turned to his own network and asked colleagues to mentor his students.
Soon, other Denver Law professors saw his success, and Massey helped their classes connect with mentors. By 2007, all first-year students entering the Sturm College of Law had the opportunity to partner with a professional mentor; by 2016, all graduate program students at Denver Law had that same opportunity. The Professional Mentoring Program (the Program) had grown to be the largest of its kind in the United States, with 450 mentors and 600 student mentees.
Alumnus Andrew Frohardt, MS’11, JD’11, has been the Professional Mentoring Program’s senior program coordinator since 2010. He also serves as assistant city attorney for the City of Boulder. Frohardt was one of the first students matched with a mentor at the beginning of the Program.
“He [Massey] exemplified the importance of personal relationships in law practice,” Frohardt said. “Intelligence is very important in law practice, skills are very important in law practice, but at the end of the day, it’s a relationship business. Your relationships make or break your legal career. Mike understood that, and he put that at the forefront of the law school experience.”
Frohardt says that one of his most vivid moments from Denver Law was meeting with his mentor, the two of them going to a Rockies game, and talking for hours.
“I didn’t have a lawyer in my family, and I didn’t know one,” he said. “So, this relationship was very important.”
Frohardt, along with Program Manager John Farrell, estimates that at least 10,000 students have benefitted from Massey’s original idea. Not only that, but mentees have turned around to mentor, and the Program is now at the point where it is awarding recognitions for long-term mentors – some of whom have served the Program for more than a decade.
The Michael G. Massey Professional Mentoring Program
Massey passed away in January 2022, leaving a legacy that will grow for years to come. To honor his titanic contributions to the Professional Mentoring Program, his daughter and her husband, Michele and Tim Alexander, have created a permanent endowment, consisting of a lead gift from the Massey family, to ensure that the Program will continue to impact Denver Law, its community, and the field of law in an ever-lasting capacity. In recognition of this gift, and of Massey’s many contributions, the Professional Mentoring Program will now be named the Michael G. Massey Professional Mentoring Program, ensuring that his dedication will never be forgotten.
“Something that Mike did was share what we learned with other universities,” Farrell said. “His impact was not only in the Denver community, but across the legal community. Mike is known for the mentoring aspect, it’s ‘Mike Massey, Professional Mentoring’ and they are one and the same.”
“Since I have been with the Program, Denver Law has helped other law schools across the country launch and grow their own legal mentoring programs,” Frohardt said, “and that was because Mike was willing to help, willing to share, and saw the value mentoring provides to the entire legal profession.”
Opportunity to Contribute
“Law school can teach you how to think like a lawyer,” Frohardt said. “But this program makes you a lawyer.”
With that in mind, over the coming months and years, Denver Law seeks to supplement the original naming commitment with additional contributions from mentors, mentees, and classmates. Augmented by additional investment from the Sturm College of Law, the funds collectively would support a director, two additional staff members, and funding for trainings and convenings designed to support the Program and further advance its national stature and impact.
The Michael G. Massey Professional Mentoring Program is here to stay and will continue to expand and set the bar for the legal community. If you would like to learn more about how to make a financial contribution to the Program, contact Executive Director of Development Kelly Hall (email@example.com) or visit the Michael G. Massey Mentorship Giving Page to make a gift online.