The Ventura County Superior Court announces the formation of a joint Judicial Mentor Program with the San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County Superior Courts, in collaboration with the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. The purpose of this program is to assist in the recruitment and development of a qualified, inclusive and diverse judicial applicant pool. The program is designed to identify, encourage, and provide mentors for all attorneys considering a judicial career. One of the chief goals is to communicate to all sectors of the legal community the uniform message of Governor Newsom’s judicial criteria and commitment to appointing a capable bench reflective of California’s rich diversity.

Launch Date: The Tri-Counties Judicial Mentor Program will officially open with a virtual conference to be held on September 21, 2021, at 12:15 p.m. The conference will be hosted by the Chairs of the Judicial Mentor Program for the Tri-Counties: the Honorable Manuel Covarrubias (Ventura); the Honorable Gustavo Lavayen (Santa Barbara); and the Honorable Rita Federman (San Luis Obispo); and will be joined by Judicial Appointments Secretary Luis Céspedes. Information for joining the program will be posted on the Court’s website at

The Judicial Mentor Program is a two-part program consisting of a one-on-one mentor committee and a community outreach committee.

Mentor Committee

Many judges have devoted time to the important work of mentoring persons interested in applying to the bench and this program will encourage them to continue and expand their efforts. The Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo County Superior Courts have identified a panel of mentor judges who will be available to assist attorneys seeking guidance in applying to the bench.

The role of the mentor judges is not to select or recommend candidates; rather their role is to provide information and feedback and to demystify the application and vetting process. Participation in the mentor program is not a guarantee of appointment.

Following the program launch on September 21, 2021, interested individuals may apply on the Court’s website by submitting a Judicial Mentor Program Request Form. Participants 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 input as the candidate completes the application.

Outreach Committee

The Outreach Committee will work with all sectors of the legal community, including bar associations, public interest organizations, government attorneys, private law firms and solo practitioners. The goals of this outreach effort are to:

  • Inform members of the legal community of the program;
  • Disseminate consistent information regarding the Governor’s judicial criteria; and
  • Identify and encourage individuals in a position to assist in recruiting possible candidates for the bench.

If you need additional information, please contact the Court’s Community Relations Office at After September 21, 2021, you may apply for the program by visiting the Court’s website at