With over 70 people in attendance, the, "Diverse Pathways to the Bench: An Inspiring Dialogue Between Judges and Students" event brought together law students, undergraduate students, attorneys, and judges – who tuned in on Zoom from across the United States. The panel included Judge Kevin Brazile, the first African American presiding judge in Los Angeles County, as well as Judge Holly Fujie, Judge Lucy Armendariz, and Judge Sergio Tapia. The judges spoke about their unique pathways to the bench, highlighting that there are numerous ways to become a judge, but that the common factor for all four judges was the importance of mentorship. The panelists encouraged students and current attorneys to seek out mentors and to feel bold in asking for guidance.
In addition, Judge Brazile and Judge Tapia gave a sneak preview of an upcoming program that will provide judicial mentorship for students through Los Angeles County. Following the 45-minute panel, participants were given the option to join a break-out room with the judge of their choice. During these more intimate sessions the participants were able to introduce themselves, ask direct questions to the judge, and network with others in the room. We are hopeful this can become a reoccurring event and that it will continue to inspire students to keep an eye towards the bench!