2023 Incubator Program

The Academy of Court-Appointed Neutrals (ACAN) aims to be the voice of the profession of court-appointed neutrals (CANs). ACAN is working to broaden both the array of professionals who serve as CANs and the opportunities that those professionals have to serve the administration of justice. The term “neutral” includes a broad array of adjuncts who assist the administration of justice through any of numerous titles including “special master,” “referee,” “monitor,” and “claims administrator,” among many others.

One of ACAN’s goals is to facilitate systems in which appointments can be made from broad, diverse pools, based on merit and suitability for the case and to create new pathways for talented professionals to become neutrals. ACAN believes that these systems and pathways will serve the interests of justice.

To further to this goal, ACAN is launching an Incubator program. The program will offer both training and mentorship for up to 12 aspiring CAN participants. The program will kick-off with a one-day session in Washington, D.C. in January 2023 and continue with four virtual meetings throughout 2023. The January one-day session will be a deep dive into basic CAN skills and issues with a faculty made up of very experienced Judges and CANs. Each of the four quarterly virtual sessions will focus on special topics that cohort members identify as important to them in their work.

The Incubator program will build on ACAN’s basic training on substantive content and will provide a “learning laboratory” in which participants engage in mock exercises to illuminate how neutrals can become more effective members of their legal community. U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman (D.D.C.), U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel (Ret. N.D. Cal.), Ken Feinberg, ACAN Board Member Amy Gernon, ACAN Treasurer Deborah Greenspan, Michael Lewis, Ellen Reisman, and ACAN President-Elect Randi Ilyse Roth have signed on to teach. 

One key feature of the Incubator program is mentorship. The mentorship component is designed to facilitate meaningful relationships between participants and well-respected CANs. ACAN Fellows who have already agreed to serve as mentors include Karl Bayer, Judge Keegan Federal (Ret., Ga. Sup. Ct.), Ellen Reisman, ACAN President David Tenner, and Mark Zauderer. We will secure additional mentors after the cohort is selected.

ACAN is launching the Incubator program with intention and realism. ACAN acknowledges that securing work as a CAN is difficult. It does not and cannot guarantee that participation in the Incubator program will result in a court-appointment.


  • Participants must be ACAN members. More information on membership and the application can be found here. Applicants who are not yet ACAN members and who are selected for the cohort must join ACAN in order to participate in the Incubator Program.
  • Applicants must complete an online application no later than December 5, 2022. Decisions will be announced by December 16, 2022. Please email Amy Gernon if you would like a PDF of the application form.
  • $3,000 Program Fee. This fee covers the program year. ACAN intends that there be no financial barriers to participation in the Incubator Program. We have scholarship assistance available to help defray the costs involved for those accepted into the cohort. If you are accepted into the Incubator Program and need assistance, we will be happy to speaker with you about meeting your scholarship needs.


In-person Incubator Training
January 23, 2023
Washington, DC

Four additional virtual training dates TBA

    For more information, please contact ACAN Fellows and Incubator Program designers Amy Gernon and Randi Ilyse Roth.


    Applications are now closed. Participants will be announced by December 16th.