SALT LAKE CITY — Utah high school students can earn a chance to watch a judge up close in court.

The Utah state courts are planning the ninth annual Judge for a Day program in recognition of Law Day, which is observed on May 1.

Students are selected to participate in the program based on an essay, civic involvement resume or teacher nomination letter. The topic for students who choose to write an essay is American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters.

Students selected to participate in the program will be paired with a judge in one of the state's eight judicial districts for a day in either April or May. The students will get a behind-the-scenes look at court operations, observe court proceedings and watch a judge at work.

Students must submit an application form by March 7. Application forms and additional information are available online at