Life as a Judicial Fellow: In their own words

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Judicial Fellows at the Los Angeles County Superior Court

“The fellowship has allowed me to witness firsthand the impact that trial courts have on the lives of ordinary people, and think critically about both the strengths and limitations of using the courts as an avenue through which to achieve fairness and equality. I had the opportunity of analyzing the effectiveness of court programs to increase access to justice, which reignited my passion to work with indigent litigants in resource-deprived communities. Best of all, being a Judicial Fellow allowed me to meet nine passionate and talented individuals who quickly became close friends.”



Judicial Fellows outside the Federal Courthouse in downtown Sacramento

“If I were describing this experience in one word, it would be fellowship. I have learned so much from the other fellows in the program, our professor and our director, and all the wonderful people I’ve met at my placement. I now appreciate how much impact every person at the court has in serving the public, and how much opportunity there is to be part of that impact through this program.”




Judicial Fellows with Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye

“Coming into the fellowship no one knows exactly what to expect, but this is precisely the beauty of the opportunity to be a fellow. The variety of projects and exposure we get are just as meaningful as learning about everyone else’s experience. No one can relate to you like another fellow, and the journey of your fellowship year will bring you together as you experience a year of growth, change, and fulfillment. San Francisco has never been a dull place and the same goes for professional life in the city. The opportunity to see the behind the scenes of justice partners, city politics, and daily life in the court is all challenging, exciting, and truly helps you grow as a professional. Sharing your experiences, learning from your cohort, and navigating all the challenges of the justice system is such a dynamic unique experience only the fellowship can provide.”



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Judicial Fellows enjoy a weekend in the Sierra snow

“The Judicial Fellowship has exposed me to invaluable parts of the California court system that I never knew existed. As a Fellow, I do a variety of projects including intensive data analysis, software script writing, and workflow developments. I have also been granted the opportunity to interact with several judicial officers and court staff, as well as observe courtroom proceedings in all litigation areas. Traveling to different courts throughout California and learning about the experiences of the other Fellows has given me a very unique perspective of the Judicial Branch and I hope to continue exploring this field as I grow in my professional career.”



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Judicial Fellows at the Kennedy Library and Learning Center

“My fellowship year has provided me with an opportunity to build my analytical skills and understanding of my placement court in the wider landscape of California’s criminal justice system and government. The cohort of Fellows is a great community of engaged and dedicated people; now great friends that continue to inspire me. In my experience, Fellows are uniquely positioned to gain a deep understanding of why and how policy decisions are made in the courts and judicial branch and are encouraged to continue asking questions.”



Visit for more information about the Judicial Fellowship Program.




Life as a Judicial Fellow: Community

Judicial Fellows have the exciting opportunity to serve in a variety of court office locations all over California during the fellowship year.  This year Fellows are placed in the Sacramento area, Bay Area, Central Valley, Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

While they may not work in the same office or run into one another at the water cooler on Mondays, the Judicial Fellows establish and maintain close professional connections and build a real sense of community with each other and the branch.  Click through the slideshow below for a glimpse into the spring semester activities of the class of 2017-18.

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It’s not too late to apply for the opportunity to become a part of the Judicial Fellowship class of 2018-19.  Apply Now!

Application Deadline: February 12th at 5:00 pm (PST). 

Life as a Judicial Fellow: Fall Photos

Fall semester is always an exciting time for the Fellows; bringing with the change of season new beginnings, friendships, challenges, and professional growth.  The current class of Fellows are settled in their placement offices and have marked one major academic milestone – selecting their Capstone project topics!  There is incredible variety in this year’s Capstone Project topics.  Examples of current project topics include an evaluation of a court Self Help Center, research on the impacts of the state court funding model,  Law Day event coordination and planning, and the evaluation of a courts language access programs.

Applications for the Judicial Fellowship Program are open!  Apply by February 12, 2018, for a chance to be a part of this exciting, life-changing program.



Judicial Fellows with Martin Hoshino, Administrative Director, Judicial Council of California (September 2017)


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The Los Angeles Superior Court Management Research Unit enjoy some time on the ice and team bonding during the holiday season (December 2017)
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Los Angeles Fellows, Belen and Luana, embrace the holiday spirit at a staff luncheon (December 2017)
Judicial and Executive Fellows at the California Museum
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State Librarian, Greg Lucas addresses the Fellows during a luncheon at the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento

Life as a Judicial Fellow: Day ONE, ONE Word

The class of 2017-18 began their fellowship year last week with Orientation at Sacramento State.  Anxious to jump right in, Fellows reported to work yesterday at courts and offices across California and were asked to describe their first day on the job in just ONE word.  Given the breadth and depth of the first day, this was a challenge!

Cynthia Guerra, Orange County Superior Court  



Alejandra Ruiz, San Francisco County Superior Court



Alexandra Gonzalez, Merced County Superior Court



Belen Flores, Los Angeles Superior Court, Office of Community Relations



Laila Waheed, Placer County Superior Court



Luana Mello, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case Management System



Maggie Lemons, San Bernardino Superior Court



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Paola Dela Cruz, Alameda County Superior Court (pictured with Mentor, Adam Byer)



Tayryn Edwards, Judicial Council, Office of Governmental Affairs


Congratulations to the class of 2017-18!


A warm welcome to the incoming Judicial Fellows, class of 2017-18.  Looking forward to kicking off the fellowship year with you in September!

Luana De Mello, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Paola Dela Cruz, UC Santa Barbara

Tayryn Edwards, The University of Chicago

Belen Flores, American University

Alexandra Gonzalez, UC Berkeley

Jacob Gorham, UC Santa Barbara

Cynthia Guerra, Tufts University

Magdalene Lemons, Pomona

Alejandra Ruiz, University of San Francisco

Laila Waheed, Santa Clara University

Life as a Judicial Fellow: Final seminar of 2016-17

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Judicial Fellows leave the Merced Superior Court, May 2017

Often I am asked what qualities make a successful fellow and/or a fellowship experience. This is a tough question because there are so many right answers to it.  Fellows find success in many different ways, through a variety of experiences during the fellowship year.  Sometimes success is measured in a series of small victories and sometimes it’s measured on a larger scale.  As the class of 2016-17 nears the end of the fellowship year I think all of them have been successful.  Each has demonstrated characteristics such as flexibility, perseverance, tenacity, a desire to learn and grow, and an ability to reach beyond themselves and SERVE the people of California and the judicial branch.

This past week marked the final field and academic seminars for the class of 2016-17.  Our final field seminar took us to Merced Superior Court in the Central Valley.  Fellows had the opportunity to explore a smaller court and hear from a multitude of professionals work in and around the courts about their professional experiences and career tracks.  Additionally, the Fellows were treated to a special tour of the court by Judge Brian McCabe.  After the field seminar, we returned to Sacramento State for the academic seminar where each fellow presented to the class about their Capstone Project.

It is never too early to start thinking about applying for the Judicial Fellowship.  Applications for 2018-19 open in October – stay tuned!