California Judicial Mentor Program (Appellate)



On July 10, 2021, Governor Newsom announced the formation of the California Judicial Mentorship Program, a statewide undertaking between the executive and judicial branches to advance the shared goal of an inclusive judiciary that reflects California’s diversity.

The California Judicial Mentor Program (Appellate) seeks to assist in recruiting and developing a qualified and diverse applicant pool for service on the state’s courts of appeal. We seek to demystify the application process and improve transparency and accessibility for all members of the legal community who are interested in serving on the appellate court.


Outreach efforts are directed at all superior court judges and attorneys eligible for judicial office in California. In visits to counties around the state, court of appeal justices talk to interested individuals about the work of the court of appeal and the process of applying to join it. If you would like to help organize a visit to your county or to a regional or statewide bar group (including video outreach sessions while pandemic conditions make travel inadvisable), please contact us at

As part of our outreach efforts, the Judicial Mentor Program (Appellate) will send interested persons an email announcement of an impending vacancy when a current member of the court of appeal makes public a plan to retire, or a vacancy is otherwise anticipated. If you would like to receive such an email, please send a request to, specifying which district’s vacancies interest you.

Mentoring is available for individuals interested to learn more about the appellate court and the process for applying for an appointment. Mentors are active and retired appellate justices, often chosen from outside the district in which a superior court judge sits (or an attorney is most active) in order to minimize the need for judicial recusals. (See CJEO Expedited Opinion No. 2022-045, posted Jan. 4, 2022.) Mentors do not promote or recommend candidates to the Governor but do discuss with the candidate and demystify the work of the court and the process for applying to join it.

Mentors are available for those who meet the formal requirements of appointment and have not yet submitted to Governor Newsom’s office an application for appointment to the court of appeal. For those uncertain about whether to apply for appointment, a judicial mentor can help the individual consider how best to prepare for a future application. To the extent demand for mentoring exceeds the number of mentors available, group mentoring sessions will be available for those not yet matched with a one-on-one mentor.

Note that participation in the mentor program is neither 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. 

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 considered 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 Appellate Court Mentor Program, see our answers to Frequently Asked Questions, or contact us at  
Additional Resources”
Selection process for appellate justices
Application for appointment to the court of appeal
Governor Newsom’s Judicial Selection Advisory Committee (JSAC)
State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE)