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California Judicial Mentor Program

The purpose of the California Judicial Mentor Program is to assist in the recruitment and development of a pool of qualified, inclusive, and diverse judicial applicants for the courts of California. This program was designed by judges in collaboration with the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom to advance the executive and judicial branches shared goal and commitment of having an inclusive judiciary reflective of California's rich diversity.

The program matches an attorney interested in applying to become a judge with a mentor judge who can help to demystify the application process. The program seeks to improve transparency and accessibility for all members of the legal community who are interested in serving on the superior court.

Press release about the San Mateo Superior Court Judicial Mentor Program


The program consists of two parts: outreach and mentoring.


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. Goals of this outreach effort include informing members of the legal community of the program and disseminating consistent information regarding the Governor's judicial criteria. The Outreach Committee will coordinate with bar organizations that already have judicial recruitment programs and work to complement their efforts.


Many judges have devoted the time to the important work of mentoring persons interested in applying to the bench. This program will encourage judges to continue and expand their efforts. Mentor judges will be available to those seeking guidance in applying to the bench. The role of mentor judges is not to select or recommend candidates, but to demystify the application and vetting process. Mentors are available to those who meet the formal requirements of appointment and have not yet submitted an application. For those uncertain about whether to apply, a judicial mentor can help the individual consider how best to prepare for a future application. Each mentor and mentee will be formally matched for a maximum period of 12 months and will be expected to meet quarterly.

Participation in the mentor program is not a prerequisite to, nor a guarantee of, appointment. Mentors will not serve as references in the appointment process, and participation in the program will be confidential.

Applicant Requirements

An applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Have practiced law in the State of California for at least 10 years;
  • Be licensed to practice law in California and be in good standing with the State Bar;
  • Be committed to public service; and
  • Be able to commit to meeting with assigned mentor at least four times in the mentorship year.

If you are interested in being matched with a judicial mentor, click here for an application. Completed applications should be emailed to Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

This program is open to all and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, geography, or otherwise.

More Information

If you have other questions about the Judicial Mentor Program, see our Frequently Asked Questions or contact us at

Additional Resources

Selection process for superior court judges
Application for appointment to the superior court
Governor Newsom's Judicial Selection Advisory Committee (JSAC)
State Bar's Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE)

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