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Volunteers, Interns & Externs

Temporary Judge ProgramTemporary Judge Program


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Temporary Judge Program
How do I become a Temporary Judge?
The information regarding requirements and application to become a Temporary Judge are available online. If you have questions after reading these sections, you can go to the contact us section for the contact information.

Do I need to be a member of the California State Bar?
Yes, you need to be a member in good standing for ten (10) years.

Do I need to attend training, and if so, what is the training?
Yes, you need training. Two courses are mandatory for every Temporary Judge – Ethics, and Bench Conduct and Demeanor. Ethics can be taken online. Applicants must attend Bench Conduct and Demeanor in person. In addition, an additional class from one or more of the following areas must be completed before an attorney can be certified and assigned:
  • Small Claims (On-line training available only)
  • Traffic (On-line training available only)
  • Unlawful detainers (On-line training available only)
  • Civil non-jury trials which includes civil harassment injunctions (available on DVD or in-person training)
  • Family Law (In-person training only)
Temporary Judges can sit only in courtrooms which handle matters on which they have been trained.

Am I required to take any assignments?
No, you are not required to take any assignments. The application form asks you to state your preference for subject matter and location. However, if you decline several assignments without giving us a good reason (like a scheduling conflict), we will probably just stop calling you and place you on the inactive list.

How frequent are Temporary Judge assignments?
Depends on what the court’s needs are. In the application form, you are asked to state your preference for subject matter and location. In addition you can tell us how often you are available to sit on assignment. Once you are certified to sit as a Temporary Judge, we will try to assign you (and not assign you) according to your preferences. If you believe you are being assigned too often or not enough, you can go to the contact us section for the contact information then call to discuss the matter. You are performing a valuable service to the Superior Court and we will, of course, try to accommodate your schedule.

Can I sit more frequently?
Maybe. You can go to the contact us section for the contact information. Call the Program Office and let us know that you are available. There are a number of reasons why you may not be called as often as you would like. It could be that the location you have specified as your preference does not use Temporary Judges as much as other locations. You may have to expand your list of preferred locations. We also try to spread the assignments among all of the certified Temporary Judges, so that everyone who has been certified gets an opportunity to sit.

If I practice in a specialized area only, will I be disqualified from certain assignments as a Temporary Judge?
If you are a criminal prosecutor or criminal defense attorney, you will not be assigned to a traffic courtroom. If your practice is unlawful detainers and 90% of it is representing landlords or tenants exclusively, you will not be assigned to an unlawful detainer courtroom. You are otherwise eligible to serve in other subject matter areas after you have completed the required training.

Do I need to resubmit a new application every three years?
Yes. At the end of your three year “term,” you will receive a thank you letter from the Presiding Judge for your volunteer service to the court. If you want to reapply so there is no gap in your service, you might want to keep track of that date independently, because we won’t notify you apart from the letter you receive from the Presiding Judge.

Can I get MCLE credit for training?

Is the performance of Temporary Judges reviewed by the court?
As part of the application and reapplication process, your name is sent to every bench officer of the Superior Court for comment on your suitability as a Temporary Judge.

In addition we occasionally get complaints from litigants or judicial assistants about Temporary Judges. The Temporary Judge Committee (made up of judges and commissioners of the court) investigates every complaint and responds to every complainant. You will be notified if a complaint has been lodged against you and your input will be requested during the investigation. Every court proceeding handled by Temporary Judges is electronically recorded and the recording is held for 60 days. The committee member assigned to the complaint will, of course, listen to the recording, if it is still available, as part of the investigation.

Can I advertise that I have been certified as a Temporary Judge of the Superior Court?
Attorneys participating in the Temporary Judge Program may never use the title "judge"," judge pro tem" or "temporary judge" in any advertising, nor on a business card, stationery or ballot designation. In addition, attorneys participating in the program may neither take nor disseminate for any reason photographs of themselves in judicial robes. This policy is not intended to preclude attorneys serving as Temporary Judges from describing their service to the court in resumes, applications or other similar documents. Nevertheless, it is intended to protect the public from believing that you are a judicial officer of the Los Angeles Superior Court. The Superior Court takes this policy and any infraction of it very seriously. For further information, see California Code of Judicial Ethics, Canon 6D.(9)(a)+(b).

The entire Court appreciates your volunteer hours, which assist us in serving the public, but your service does not create an employment relationship with the Superior Court or the public we all strive to serve. It is important to remember that you perform this valuable service at the discretion of the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court.