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Judicial Mentor Program

Program Purpose

The purpose of this program is to assist in the recruitment and development of a qualified, inclusive and diverse judicial applicant pool. This much-needed program was designed by judges in collaboration with the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom.
The program is designed to identify, encourage and provide mentors for all individuals considering a judicial career. One of the chief goals is to communicate to all sectors of the legal community the uniform message of Governor Newsom's judicial criteria and commitment to appointing a capable bench reflective of California's rich diversity.

How Does It Work?

This two-part program consists of a one-on-one mentor committee and a community outreach/recruitment committee.

Mentor Committee

Many judges have devoted time to the important work of mentoring persons interested in applying to the bench and this program will encourage them to continue and expand their efforts. The Presiding Judge has appointed a formal panel of mentor judges who will be available to anyone seeking guidance in applying to the bench. The role of the mentor judges is not to select or recommend candidates; but rather to demystify the application and vetting process.

Attorneys who are current active members in good standing with the State Bar or California, and who have been admitted to practice law in California for at least 10 years are invited to apply. Participation in the mentor program is not a guarantee of appointment nor will it result in any preference for appointment.

Interested individuals may apply by submitting an application. Participants will be paired with a mentor judge who will discuss the prospective applicant's career objectives, answer questions regarding the application and vetting process, and be available to assist in providing input as the candidate completes the application. The number of participants is limited on the availability of judicial mentors. Please note that attorneys who have submitted an application for judicial appointment are not eligible for the program.

Outreach Committee

The Outreach Committee will work with all sectors of the legal community, including bar associations, public interest organizations, government attorneys, private law firms and solo practitioners. The goals of this outreach effort are to:

  • Inform members of the legal community of the program;
  • Disseminate consistent information regarding the Governor's judicial criteria; and
  • Identify and encourage individuals in a position to assist in recruiting possible candidates for the bench.

Collaboration With Bar Groups

The Mentor Committee will coordinate with bar organizations that already have judicial recruitment programs. Affinity bar leaders have uniformly indicated their desire to work with the Court to make the mentor panel the endpoint of bar recruitment pipelines. The committee will work with bar organizations to formalize a mentoring process that results in one-on-one mentoring with judges.

The Outreach Committee will work with local bar groups, including affinity bar associations, to formalize a recruitment process that results in one-on-one mentoring with judges.

The program is not intended to supplant existing bar programs but to complement these efforts by providing bar associations with current insight into the Governor's judicial qualifications and priorities.

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