Evaluation for Judicial Endorsements
The mission of the Judicial Endorsement Committee (JEC) is to examine the qualifications and temperament of candidates to the judiciary who seek PALSD’s endorsement. PALSD encourages qualified Asian and non-Asian judicial candidates to seek election or gubernatorial appointment to the bench. Endorsed candidates should reflect the diversity of the State of California, support the interests and goals of PALSD, and demonstrate ability to contribute to a California judiciary of quality.
Jason Ohta, Latham & Watkins
Jon Tangonan, CA Attorney General's Office
Members at Large
Arlene Yang, Brown Law Group
Robert W. Brownlie, DLA Piper
Warren Den (PALSD President), Office of the Primary Public Defender*
*PALSD President is a non-voting member
The Evaluation Process
The JEC considers each candidate’s request for judicial endorsement on a case-by-case basis. The JEC reviews the cover letter and application materials, interviews the candidate in person (if candidate passes a paper screening), and conducts a reference check. The JEC considers, among other factors, qualifications and professional work experience; past and present nexus to the Asian American community, to other diversity communities and to PALSD; involvement in community activities and local bar associations; commitment to diversity; integrity, character, and temperament; intelligence and communication skills. Upon concluding the evaluation, the JEC’s recommendation about the candidate, along with any materials deemed relevant by the JEC, is presented to PALSD's Board of Directors, who may accept or reject the recommendation.
Upon the request of a candidate or PALSD's Board of Directors, a candidate may present, in person or by phone, a statement at a PALSD Board meeting and respond to questions of the Board. This in person or phone meeting usually occurs after the JEC has conducted its due diligence of a candidate and submitted its recommendation to the Board.
PALSD's Board of Directors will generally endorse only one candidate in a contested judicial election, unless extenuating circumstances exist. PALSD has no limitation on the number of judicial endorsements for the same position based on appointment. PALSD will not contact or endorse any candidates who have not specifically requested judicial endorsement from PALSD.
A candidate's request for PALSD’s judicial endorsement, any PALSD letter of endorsement, and any PALSD endorsement are considered confidential, unless and until the candidate decides to publicly disclose the same. Documents in support of a candidate’s request for endorsement shall be confidential and disclosure shall be limited to the JEC and PALSD's Board of Directors. Submitted documents are the property of PALSD and will not be returned to the candidate.
The JEC consists of the Chair, members at large, and the current president of PALSD (who serves in a nonvoting capacity). Those seeking judicial endorsement should contact the Chair with all of the following:
1) Cover letter, not to exceed two (2) pages, with the following information:
a. title of judicial position and jurisdiction, if relevant
b. external and internal deadlines of candidate’s application;
c. name, title, address of person whom endorsement letter should be sent (and whether candidate would like to receive a copy or blind copy of said letter if addressee is not candidate);
d. candidate’s reasons for seeking PALSD’s endorsement;
e. candidate’s involvement with PALSD, Asian American community, and other diverse groups; and
f. candidate’s qualifications for position sought.
2) Resume or curriculum vitae.
3) Name, title, phone number, email address, and relationship for four (4) professional references, two (2) of whom must have personally worked with candidate in a professional capacity as a colleague, subordinate, supervisor, opposing counsel, or judge and who is able to assess the candidate's legal experience and qualifications.
4) Any other relevant materials the candidate would like the JEC to consider (i.e., copy of judicial application, description of judicial position and requirements, letters of reference, other endorsements, articles, etc.).
The JEC may refuse to consider a request for judicial endorsement that does not have the complete information and documentation listed above. So that that the JEC may properly conduct its due diligence in evaluating a request for judicial endorsement, a candidate should give the JEC ample time for consideration, with a minimum of 30 days' notice. The JEC reserves the right to decline judicial endorsement requests based on insufficient time for its evaluation and reserves the right to decline to review any request for endorsement in its discretion.
A judicial endorsement from PALSD applies only to the particular candidate and to the particular election/gubernatorial appointment and office that the candidate seeks. Candidates who received prior endorsements from PALSD should re-submit updated materials if they are seeking a new endorsement.
Please direct questions regarding the endorsement process or the Committee to