Are you thinking about throwing your hat in to become a judge? It’s a long daunting application, but we’ve culled a few tips from Judges and former Judicial Nomination Evaluation Committee (JNE) members at the recent Judicial Application Workshop held at the ACBA to help.
- Do NOT have any typos in your application. Governor Brown has been quoted as saying that he is proud to have never appointed a judge whose application contained a typo. Make sure you have several people carefully edit your application.
- Consider applying in more than one county.
- A few good letters of recommendation are helpful – but watch out for “form” recommendations, they can tell JNE Commissioners a lot with what they don’t say.
- If you haven’t heard anything about your application, it is okay to send a letter with an update if you’re doing something that makes you more qualified. Don’t get discouraged!
- It is never too soon to start making your list of names. The application requires five references. In addition to the references provided, you may ask others to write letters of recommendation on your behalf—though it is recommended that you limit letters of recommendation to 2-6. If your application makes it to the JNE Commission, you will be asked to provide 75 additional names. Be thoughtful about who you include on your list—you should list those who know you well and can speak to your ability to be a judicial officer. Everyone on your list will receive a JNE questionnaire.
- Consider carefully your five references. They don’t need to directly have the ear of the Governor, but make sure at least one has a connection to help “push out” your application. This should go without saying, but also let them know they are your references!