COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL NOMINEES EVALUATION

Active members of the State Bar, former members of the judiciary and members of the public who are interested in volunteering to serve on the 2015 Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE) may apply for an appointment. The application deadline for the 2015 commission is June 2, 2014.

Members of the JNE Commission:

  • are volunteer lawyers in active practice, retired judges and public members (non-lawyers).
  • evaluate all candidates who are under consideration for judicial appointment by the governor.
  • serve terms of approximately one year (beginning February 1) and may serve up to three consecutive terms.
  • receive no compensation for services.

Qualifications

  • Applications are sought from California lawyers, former judges and members of the public who have the skills and experience to assess candidates for judicial appointment in a thorough, objective and professional manner, and to provide timely and well-written reports, while maintaining a strict code of confidentiality.
  • Lawyer commissioners must be active members in good standing with the State Bar of California, for preferably ten or more years.
  • Consideration will be given those practitioners who have substantial litigation, trial and/or appellate experience.
  • Former juidges with appellate backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
  • Public member applicants must never have been admitted to the practice of law. 

Workload and Time Commitment

  • Required to attend a two-day orientation to be held Jan. 30-31, 2015 (Friday-Saturday) at the State Bar office in San Francisco.
  • In addition, there are 12-14 meeting days a year, and commissioners should be able to commit about 40 hours each month.
  • Meetings last two days and take place every second month (generally Friday and Saturday) and alternate between the San Francisco and Los Angeles State Bar offices.
  • Commission members usually work in teams of two to four. Typically, each team will have two to four assignments.
  • Commissioners may travel outside their county and geographic area to conduct interviews. Interviews may last between two and three hours, and are conducted at one of the State Bar offices. 
  • Commissioners are reimbursed for approved travel in accordance with State Bar policy and the commission's authorized budget.

Conditions of Appointment and Service

  • Availability to attend the mandatory two-day orientation meeting to be held Jan 30-31, 2015.
  • Each commission member takes an oath of office and is sworn in at the annual orientation meeting.
  • As a condition of appointment, each commission member agrees that during his or her service, he or she will abstain from endorsing or participating in any judicial candidate's campaign for office, and will refrain from appearing before or voting on any other committee or commission involved in the judicial selection process.
  • Each commissioner is also subject to a criminal history clearance by the California Department of Justice and the FBI.
  • Because a portion of the commission's work is conducted electronically, commissioners must have access to a computer and an e-mail address that can be published on the State Bar's website.
  • Commissioners may not apply for or accept a State of California judicial appointment nor permit his or her name to be submitted for evaluation as a candidate for such an appointment while a member of the commission or until such time thereafter that a majority of the commission consists of members with whom the commission member did not serve (i.e., two to three years after completing service on the commission).
  • Commissioners are appointed by and serve at the will of the Board of Trustees and may be removed with or without good cause.
  • A commissioner may be removed for breach of confidentiality, failure to perform assigned duties, and failure to attend meetings.

Criteria for Appointment

In making appointments to the JNE Commission, the board considers: the duties and functions of the commission; the applicant's qualifications and ability to make the time commitment; the criteria mandated by Government Code Section 12011.5(b); and the board policies on diversity and criteria for membership on State Bar committees.

The board policies on diversity and criteria for committee membership consist of a multitude of factors, including but not limited to:

  • length of time in the practice of law or, if the appointment is of a public member (i.e., not a lawyer), the length of time in a given profession or vocation;
  • accomplishments of note;
  • proven commitment to volunteer work or strong indication of capacity and desire for making the expected time commitment;
  • personal recommendations for the appointment;
  • educational background;
  • geographic location of residence and work;
  • size of law firm or of practice;
  • types of employment and types of specific interests represented by law practice or employment (e.g., house counsel, public, private, etc.; personal injury, litigation, plaintiff or defense, etc.);
  • gender, age, race, ethnicity and other factors of minority status including religious creed, disability, or sexual orientation contributing to diversity and broad representation;
  • prior experience in national, state or local bar association work, or similar experience if a public-member appointment; and
  • prior experience in the subject area of the entity (e.g. writing and interviewing skills, knowledge of judiciary, appellate background, etc.).

Review and Board Appointment

  • The board's Nominations and Appointments Committee (NAC) will review the applications and make recommendation to the full board for consideration at the board's July 2014 meeting. 
  • The board committee, at it discretion, may select applicants to interview.
  • If the board committee determines that the pool of applicants is inadequate with regards to mandated and/or board requirements, additional applications may be solicited.

Application (Word fill-in, Adobe PDF): 

  • Application statements should describe any experience with interviewing professional applicants.
  • If a lawyer, the application statement should include a brief description of any courtroom or appellate experience in the past five years.
  • Non-lawyer (public member) applicants should explain how their professional experience qualifies them to be a JNE commissioner. Applicants should also list any professional experience with the judicial system. and any experience (other than personal) with the judicial system.
  • Applicants may submit a maximum of three letters of recommendation. A recommendation from an employer is helpful. All letters of recommendation must be submitted to the Appointments Office. If more than three recommendations are received, only the first three received will be included in the application review. 

Application deadline: June 2, 2014

Expected 2015 vacancies:  15

Staff contact:  Heidi Schwab-Wilhelmi 415-538-2274

Applications forms are also available from the State Bar's Appointments Office: 415-538-2370; fax: 415-538-2305

For additional information about the JNE Commission, go to the commission's home page.