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Inland Counties Judicial Mentorship Program

Purpose

This program was developed to assist all attorneys applying, or interested in applying, for a Superior Court judicial position. The program will assist in the development of a qualified and more diverse judicial applicant pool. This program is designed to identify, encourage, and provide mentors for all individuals considering a judicial career. One primary goal of the program is to convey to the legal community the uniform message of Governor Newsom’s commitment to appointing a highly capable bench reflective of the rich diversity of our state.

Program

The Riverside County Presiding Judge will appoint a standing committee comprised of a diverse group of mentor judges. While JSAC members are prohibited from serving as mentors, they may participate in the committee’s outreach efforts as appropriate. Interested attorneys who contact the court 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 provide general guidance in drafting the application. A court staff member will be assigned to coordinate the activities of the committee and keep track of mentor assignments and outcomes. The program will be promoted by the Presiding Judge and members of the committee at local bar association meetings, on the court’s website, and by a press release.

The mentor component will work in coordination with local bar and affinity bar organizations. The new court program is not intended to supplant existing bar judicial recruitment programs; but, to complement the needs of particular organizations by providing mentors with current insight into the governor’s judicial appointment priorities and processes.

Prospective mentees (judicial applicants) should be in good standing with the state bar. Priority will be given to those mentees who have applied, or are eligible to apply and intend to do so within the next 12 months. Attorneys who do not meet these criteria can still apply for a mentor who can provide general guidance for the future judicial applicant. To the extent practicable, pairings will be based on common areas of legal practice, affinity bar memberships, and other factors. There is no guarantee that a particular mentee will be assigned a mentor judge whose interests align closely with theirs.

The mentorship will end once the mentee has completed the JNE process or one (1) year after the judicial application has been submitted, whichever is sooner. The mentee can reach back out to the mentor program if there is activity on their application after this time period.

Outreach

The goals of this outreach effort are to:

  1. Inform members of the legal community of the new court program,
  2. Share consistent information regarding this governor’s judicial appointment criteria as articulated by Judicial Appointments Secretary Luis Céspedes,
  3. Identify and encourage others in the greater legal community for assistance in recruiting a diverse pool of qualified judicial candidates.

The program will work with local bar associations, nonprofit legal organizations, government lawyers, law firms, and solo practitioners to identify and encourage promising judicial candidates to apply for appointment. The goal will be to mentor them in their development, thus creating a pipeline of highly qualified applicants eligible for appointment.

Program Policies

JSAC members will not serve on the mentor panel as their evaluative work is cordoned off from direct individual contact with judicial applicants. It will be made clear to participants in the mentor program that participation in the program will not serve as an inside track to appointment, nor are mentors advocates for a participant’s candidacy. Mentors will be prohibited from endorsing or formally supporting their mentee’s candidacy, unless that support was forged from a pre-existing relationship. Mentors will not provide confidential information regarding any of the state’s internal evaluative processes. Participation in the mentor program is not a guarantee of a judicial appointment.

To apply to the program, fill out the Judicial Mentor Online Application.

For additional information, contact the court at:

 JudicialMentor@riverside.courts.ca.gov (email)