A Model Mentoring Program for Court Staff in California's Superior Courts - Solano and Contra Costa Superior Court

Administration icon Project Name: A Model Mentoring Program for Court Staff in California's Superior Courts
Court: Solano and Contra Costa Superior Courts
   Links: Judicial Council Report

Overview/Program Description:

Effective January 2014, the Judicial Council approved and adopted the statewide voluntary mentoring program for trial court staff based on the results of a pilot program in the Superior Courts of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Solano counties. This voluntary mentorship program was designed to enhance the ability of all individuals serving in their courts to achieve high standards of professionalism, ethics, and performance and to promote diversity in all levels of the courts. Specifically, the program aims to facilitate communication of the goals of the judicial branch and the courts through one-to-one (mentor-to-mentee) relationships, while supporting professional development and enhancing leadership competencies.

Mentoring is a partnership between an experienced court professional (the mentor) and a less experienced court professional (the mentee) who desires additional professional knowledge, expertise, or guidance. The partnership is based on trust, respect, confidentiality, and ethical conduct. Through mentoring, the mentor will guide, support, answer questions, provide networking opportunities, and share experiences with the mentee. Mentoring might also include conversations to help resolve specific issues and challenges. The relationship is designed to result in long-term benefits to the mentee and the mentor courts. The mentor can contribute to the future of court management, review and renew his or her own strengths, and assist with the development of viable succession planning, while the mentee can learn about the organization of the court, develop career objectives and receive feedback on progress, and improve core competencies.

Program Benefits/Savings:

The court benefits by increased employee satisfaction and retention; more effective succession planning and knowledge management; the transfer of technical, organizational, and historic knowledge about the court; and overall improved morale.

Feedback from the pilot courts was very positive. Three courts reported that of the 13 mentees/mentors, 6 mentees and 1 mentor received promotions during the course of the program. The pilot courts also noted improved morale facilitated by one-on-one meetings between mentor and mentee. Mentees reported positive outcomes from an increase in their network of resources, improved preparation and perspectives on career growth, and the nurturing of relationships that could be extended beyond the pilot project. The pilot courts developed a toolkit for use by other courts in developing their own mentoring program.

Other Courts Using Similar Programs:

  • Alameda Superior Court
  • Contra Costa Superior Court
  • San Francisco Superior Court
  • Solano Superior Court