Three Los Angeles County judges, an Orange County jurist and a presiding justice from the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeal are involved in a new California Judicial Mentor Program aimed at fostering the development of a qualified and diverse pool of applicants who want a career on the bench, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paul A. Bacigalupo and Presiding Justice Lee Smalley Edmon of California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal are part of the program’s executive committee, which will use working groups of justices and judges to communicate across sectors of the legal community to support and encourage lawyers and judges considering service on the appellate and trial courts.

Los Angeles Presiding Judge Eric Taylor and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Helen Zukin and Orange County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Macias are among the members of the program’s working groups.

“This program will foster transparency and accessibility to all members of the legal community in our great state who wish to serve as judicial officers,” Bacigalupo said. “In making justices and judges accessible to prospective judicial applicants, we hope to demystify the application process and recruit a wide array of qualified candidates to serve our courts and administer justice fairly, equitably and honorably.”

The program is aimed at working to identify and provide judicial mentors for people interested in prospective judicial careers, along with deploying informational resources and toolkits about the judicial appointment process, officials said.

“Our state’s remarkable diversity is a point of pride and strength that I am committed to advancing at every level of state government,” Newsom said in a statement announcing the program. “This mentor program supports our efforts to identify the best and brightest judicial candidates from throughout the state, contributing to a stronger, more inclusive bench to better serve all Californians.”

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