The nation’s only course for lawyers who aspire
to become judges
The Judicial Academy helps lawyers who are interested in becoming judges learn about the profession and improve their chances of appointment or election to the bench.
As of fall 2023, 24 alumni of the first three Judicial Academy classes had already made it to the bench. See below for the full list.
“I absolutely loved the Judicial Academy, and I highly recommend that anyone aspiring to a judicial career invest in this course,” said Presiding Judge Lorrie Sinclair Taylor of the 20th Judicial District Court in Loudoun County, Virginia. She became the first African-American judge in the history of Loudoun County.
Participants in the weeklong course learn from veteran judges about a judge’s responsibilities, including:
Interpreting the law
Controlling hearings and trials
Sentencing criminal defendants
Terminating parental rights
The instructors also include professionals in charge of judicial selection and experts on judicial election campaigns.
One of the goals for the Academy is to increase diversity in the judiciary, so applicants from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Judicial Academy alumni on the bench
Judge Olga Álvarez ’19, Superior Court of San Diego County, California
Chief Judge Natasha K. Anderson ’22, Nez Perce Tribal Court, Idaho
Commissioner Latrice A.G. Byrdsong ’22, Los Angeles Superior Court, California
Judge José Scher Castillo ’19, Superior Court of San Diego County, California
Amyra Cobb-Hampton ’21, Solano County Superior Court, California
Judge Tsering D. Cornell ’21, Clark County Superior Court, Washington
Judge Travis Fliehman ’22, Darke County Court of Common Pleas, Ohio
Commissioner Christine J. Gonong ’21, Los Angeles Superior Court, California
Judge Jaime Hawk ’19, King County (Washington) Superior Court
Judge Robert Lara ’22, 3rd Judicial District Court of New Mexico, Division 2
Judge Andrew Luxen ’21, 2nd Judicial District Court, Denver, Colorado
Judge Marie Avery Moses ’19, 2nd Judicial District Court, Denver, Colorado
Judge Danna W. Nicholas ’22, San Diego County Superior Court
Judge Patrice “Patti” W. Oppenheim ’19, 22nd Judicial District Court for St. Tammany and Washington Parishes, Louisiana
Judge Josh Patrick ’21, U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
Associate Judge Jeffrey L. Phillips ’19, Nez Perce Tribe, Nez Perce County, Idaho
Judge Rania Rampersad ’19, East Division District Court, King County, Washington
Judge Chris Sease ’21, District Court, Rowan County, North Carolina
Special Justice Kiah D. Spinks ’23, 31st District Court of Virginia
Judge Sherry Thompson-Taylor ’21, Superior Court of San Diego County, California
Judge Catherine Taylor ’21, Los Alamos County Magistrate Court, New Mexico
Judge Lorrie Sinclair Taylor ’19, General District Court, Loudoun County, Virginia
Judge Thanh H. Tran ’19, Clackamas County Circuit Court, Oregon
Judicial Academy Scholarships Applicants to the NJC’s annual Judicial Academy may apply for a small number of scholarships.
You may express interest in being considered for a scholarship during the online registration process.
Scholarship recipients will be selected by the NJC scholarship committee.
The College encourages diverse participants (age, race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and national or ethnic origin). However, scholarships are not limited to minority applicants.