Qualities of a Good Judicial Family Mentor

Remember the day your spouse, partner, parent, or relative was sworn in as a judge? Was there someone there to say to you: “Welcome to Public Family Life!?” Later was there someone to provide encouragement and information? What qualities did you see in them or would you hope for in mentors of families of new judges? Please help the Judicial Family Institute add to the following tentative list by sending your ideas.

  • Good mentors truly enjoy living in the family of a judge and are able to share thoughts about what has been helpful to them.
  • Good mentors consider the "bigger picture" as to the value of public service to the rule of law in a free society. They are able to set aside any differences in political affiliation, economic level, or positions on controversial issues.
  • Good mentors have a list they share of available resources to point new judges’ families to the appropriate jurisdiction’s judicial ethics code, security experts, and other authoritative information.
  • Good mentors provide encouragement and affirm the abilities and competencies of those being mentored. They build up the strengths of the person being mentored.
  • Good mentors have a positive yet realistic attitude, not negative. They bring a non-anxious presence to others.
  • Good mentors avoid diagnosis and prescription. They do not overwork the problems of those being mentored.
  • Good mentors have humility and know that what is helpful for one family on any given topic is not necessarily helpful to another. They also appreciate the differences in roles spouses and partners take vis-a-vis the judge in their life rather than thinking their way is the only way.
  • Good mentors are often located in another county or state rather than in the judges’ jurisdiction.
  • Good mentors are seasoned in judicial family life. Some newcomers prefer an older mentor, others like someone the same age or younger, but all like for the mentor to be experienced. Mentors are of the same sex as the one being mentored, but may have different occupations or roles.
  • Good mentors are available for phone calls, e-mail, or an occasional get-together. They contact the one being mentored early and then occasionally.