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Mentor Committee

Santa Cruz County Superior Court offers interested judicial candidates three different mentor opportunities. Many judges over the years have devoted time to the important work of mentoring persons interested in applying to the bench and these mentor opportunities will encourage them to continue and expand their efforts. The role of the mentor judges is not to select or recommend candidates; but rather to demystify the application and vetting process. Participation in the mentor program is not a guarantee of appointment.

Informal Information Gathering Opportunity:

Each judge in Santa Cruz County Superior Court is available to speak with an attorney on an informal basis regarding the judicial application process, the job of the judicial officer and to demystify the application process. This informal opportunity to speak with sitting judges is available to any interested attorney.

Formal Mentor Program

A potential judicial applicant will submit an application for a formal Judicial Mentor. The Presiding Judge will appoint a formal mentor judge who will be available to anyone seeking guidance in applying to the bench. The role of the mentor judges is not to select or recommend candidates; but rather to demystify the application (or election) and vetting process.

Interested individuals should contact the Court by submitting a form to the Court to receive information on next steps. The completed form should be emailed to

Participants will be paired with a mentor judge who will discuss the prospective applicant’s career objectives, answer questions regarding the application/election and vetting processes, and be available to assist in providing input as the candidate completes the application.

Some notes on the mentor program:

  1. Mentees are expected to commit to a minimum of four meeting per year with their assigned mentors and to be reasonably available by phone/e-mail. Mentees and mentors can agree to a mutually acceptable schedule of fewer or more meetings.
  2. Assignments depend on the number of judges who volunteer to mentor. When mentors and mentees are matched, the Court will take into consideration a number of factors, including shared backgrounds and experiences and the desire not to cause conflicts/recusals (The Presiding Judge will not match a public defender or deputy district attorney with a judge assigned to a criminal court assignment. The Presiding Judge will not match a civil attorney with a judge assigned to civil calendar assignment.).
  3. Prospective mentees must have eight or more years of legal experience to be part of this program.
  4. The Court especially encourages participation by diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds; attorneys with disabilities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) attorneys; and attorneys who regularly serve these communities.
  5. A Judge who acts as a Judicial Mentor shall not write a letter of recommendation for or be a reference for their Judicial Mentee.
  6. A Judge who acts a Judicial Mentor through the formal Mentor Program shall be disqualified from hearing matters in which their mentee attorney appear.
  7. The Court will not disclose publicly a mentee’s participation in the program without the mentee’s consent.

If you need additional information on the Formal Judicial Mentor Program, please contact:

Other County Formal Judicial Mentor Program:

A potential judicial applicant who wishes to work with a Formal Judicial Mentor but who for reasons of their area of practice, the location of practice or need to avoid a conflict due to the structure of the Santa Cruz County Superior Court Mentor Program may apply to the Santa Clara County Superior Court Judicial Mentor Program. The Santa Clara County Superior Court encourages attorneys from smaller counties near Santa Clara, including Santa Cruz to apply for a mentor through that program.  

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