Judicial Academy

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 summer 2022, 13 alumni of the first two Judicial Academy classes had already made it to the bench with a 14th running unopposed for election in fall 2022.  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
  • Assessing evidence
  • Controlling hearings and trials
  • Deciding impartially
  • 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, Superior Court of San Diego County, California
  • Judge José Scher Castillo, Superior Court of San Diego County, California
  • Judge Patrice “Patti” W. Oppenheim, 22nd Judicial District Court for St. Tammany and Washington Parishes, Louisiana
  • Judge Lorrie Sinclair Taylor, General District Court, Loudoun County, Virginia
  • Judge Rania Rampersad, East Division District Court, King County, Washington.
  • Judge Marie A. Moses, 2nd Judicial District Court, Denver, Colorado
  • Judge Sherry Thompson-Taylor, Superior Court of San Diego County, California
  • Judge Christine J. Gonong, Commissioner of the Los Angeles Superior Court
  • Judge Tsering D. Cornell, Clark County (Washington) Superior Court
  • Judge Jeffrey Phillips, Nez Perce Tribe, Nez Perce County, Idaho
  • Judge Jaime Hawk, King County (Washington) Superior Court
  • Judge Josh Patrick, U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
  • Judge Chris Sease, running unopposed for Rowan County (North Carolina) District Court in November 2022


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.

2022 Judicial Academy

– 14Reno, NV
Tuition: $1,359
Conference Fee: $329

Register now
Scales of Justice
Judge Olga Álvarez
2019 Judicial Academy alumna and new California Superior Court Judge Olga Álvarez at her investiture
2019 Judicial Academy alumna and new California Superior Court Judge Olga Álvarez at her investiture