Collaborative Judicial Bootcamp Curriculum
These four hour programs developed in deep collaboration with affinity bar organizations in Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota: include tracks for people at difference stages of their legal career; recognize the important role of recruitment in changing the perceptions of who is qualified to sit on the bench and use personal outreach to potential participants and decision-makers; encourage individuals and organizations to think carefully and “outside the box” about future judicial talent; and involve judicial decision-makers as session leaders to give them direct experience with a deeper, more robust candidate pool. Through the bootcamp format under-represented individuals receive coaching and mentoring from individuals that influence selection processes directly or indirectly. After years of feeling left out of the process, a reality affirmed by many of the judges of color who served as facilitators, participants felt like they were finally getting the same kind of information that white men have always been privy to through association with the types of “power brokers” leading the workshops. One participant said “it is all so democratic!”
The Infinity Project Collaborative Bootcamp model covers a half day and includes three tracks: (1) lawyers with less than ten years of experience that may serve on the bench sometime in the future; (2) lawyers with more than 10 years of experience that may be interested in service on the state district court bench; and (3) sitting judges and others with significant experience that may be considering state appellate or federal courts. For sample agendas, please contact Debra Fitzpatrick.
Personal invitations to potential participants and decision-maker facilitators are a key part of the Collaborative Bootcamp model. Affinity bar partners can use this exercise to think deeply about the talent in their community and a personal invitation has the potential to change the perceptions of under-represented lawyers about their qualifications to serve. Involvement of key judicial decision-makers as session leaders gives them an opportunity to see first hand the talent pool from under-represented communities and question processes that do not include that talent. Example invitations are available upon request.
Path to the Bench Plan
We have developed a My Journey to the Bench planning tool that potential applicants can use to plot short and long term strategies in a variety of categories, such as Information Gathering, Relationship Building, Building a Resume, Developing a Story/Brand, and Keeping Track of Information you will need to apply in the future. Request a copy of the plan.
Guides, Reports and Toolboxes
Diversifying the Bench Guidebook: How to Become a Judicial Officer The Washington State Minority and Justice Commission, 2011
Improving Judicial Diversity Brennan Center for Justice, 2010
Improving Diversity on State Courts: A Report from the Bench. George Mason University study conducted for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Justice at Stake, 2009
Statistics & Data
Gavel Gap: gavelgap.org
Path to the Eighth Circuit (2012 Table)
Sally Kenney: Making the Case for Women Judges (YouTube: Powerpoint)
Gender and Justice: Why Women in the Judiciary Really Matter: A new book by Infinity Founder Sally Kenney
For Aspiring Judges
If you are interested in being a mentor to a woman seeking a judicial appointment or are a woman considering a judicial appointment that would like to be connected with a mentor, please contact Debra Fitzpatrick at 612-625-7176 or email@example.com or the Honorable Mary Vasaly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connect with Senators
Staff working on Judicial Appointments (last updated February 2013)
Senate Judiciary Committee
- Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Jennifer Puhl Questionnaire and Hearing Video
- Northern District of Iowa Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger Questionnaire
- Western District of Missouri Roseann Ketchmark Questionnaire and Questions for the Record
- District of Minnesota Wilhelmina Wright Questionnaire and Hearing Video
- Southern District of Iowa Stephanie Rose Questionnaire and Questions for the Record
- Eastern District of Arkansas Kristine Baker Questionnaire and Questions for the Record
- Western District of Missouri Mary Phillips Questionnaire and Questions for the Record
- District of Minnesota Susan Richard Nelson Hearing Transpript
- Eastern District of Missouri Audrey Fleissig Hearing Transcript