San Diego Superior Court Judicial Mentor Program (JMP)

Program Purpose:

The purpose of the Judicial Mentor Program (JMP) is to assist in the recruitment and development of a qualified, inclusive and diverse judicial applicant pool for the San Diego Superior Court. This program was designed by judges in collaboration with the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. This program is designed to identify, encourage and provide mentors for individuals considering a judicial career. One of the chief goals of the program is to communicate to all sectors of the legal community Governor Newsom’s judicial criteria for appointing judges who are representative of California’s rich diversity. 

Apply to the Judicial Mentor Program:

Attorneys who are current active members in good standing with the State Bar of California, have been admitted to practice law in CA for at least 8 years, and are interested in being appointed to a vacant judicial officer position are invited to apply to JMP. Please note: This program is designed for attorneys who have not yet submitted an application for judicial appointment.

Applications are available for download and can be submitted between September 1 - October 31 for consideration for the next calendar year. The number of accepted JMP participants may be limited based on the availability of judicial mentors.

Prospective judicial applicants who are admitted into JMP will be paired with a mentor judge who will discuss career objectives, provide advice, and answer questions regarding the application and vetting process. Additionally, the mentor judge will be available to assist in providing input as the candidate completes the judicial application and progresses through the judicial appointment process. Participation in the mentor program is not a guarantee of appointment.

Collaboration with Bar Groups:

The San Diego Superior Court Judicial Mentor Program Committee will collaborate with local bar associations that already have judicial recruitment programs. The program is not intended to replace existing bar programs, but to complement efforts by providing bar associations with current insight into the Governor’s judicial qualifications and priorities.

Next Steps:

Prospective JMP applicants should download an application  and submit it between September 1 - October 31 for consideration for the next calendar year.

JMP applicants may also want to familiarize themselves with the information and instructions on how to complete a Judicial Appointment Application provided by the State of California.


San Diego Superior Court Judicial Mentor Program Frequently Asked Questions

The Governor’s Office wants to expand the pool of qualified judicial applicants from diverse legal backgrounds and diverse communities. It believes that this program may help encourage prospective applicants to complete the application process, particularly those who may self-select out of the application process. 

The Court will pair admitted mentees with a mentor judge. The mentor judge will help demystify the judicial appointment process, answer questions about the judicial application and vetting process, and suggest new skills and experiences to improve the mentee's suitability for appointment. 

You must apply. If you meet the qualifications below, please download an application

Yes, the application must be received between September 1 - October 31 to be considered for the next year's Judicial Mentor Program. The mentorship period will begin on January 1 and last for one calendar year or until submission of a judicial application, whichever occurs sooner. 

Judicial Mentor Program mentees must possess the following qualifications: 

  1. The program will accept applicants with a minimum of 8 years of experience as an attorney in California; however, priority will be given to attorneys with 10 or more years of experience.
  2. Licensed in California for at least 8 years
  3. Good standing with the State Bar of California and the community
  4. Commitment to public service

Those from legal backgrounds and communities underrepresented in the judiciary are particularly encouraged to apply. 

Pairings will be based on common areas of legal practice, affinity bar memberships, and other factors. There is no guarantee that mentees will be assigned a particular mentor judge whose interests closely align with theirs. 

Not necessarily. Mentees will be evaluated for their suitability for the program and assigned based on the availability of judicial mentors. 

No. This program is designed for attorneys who have not yet submitted an application for judicial appointment. 

The program is not intended to replace any existing program or previous relationship. Judicial Mentor Program participation should complement those efforts. 

You will receive an email from the Judicial Mentor Program Committee. 

No. The program is designed to help you in your career development and in preparing an application for judicial appointment. It is not designed to give certain applicants an inside track. Applicants who do not participate in this program are not disadvantaged. 

Yes. Members of the Governor’s Judicial Selection Advisory Committee (JSAC) will not serve as mentors. 

Send questions via email to [email protected]