Series established April 24, 2012
This series specification describes four attorney classifications used to perform a broad range of staff legal work. Incumbents in these classes serve the public by performing the following tasks which include, but are not limited to: study, interpret, and apply laws, regulations, court decisions, and other legal authorities; perform a wide variety of legal research; provide advice or opinions to departmental management or members of the public on legal issues arising out of the programs of the department in which the incumbent is employed and of the legal effect of rules, regulations, proposed legislation, statutory law, court decisions, and administrative actions; respond to legal correspondence; conduct special investigations involved in the enforcement of state laws and departmental rules and regulations; develop proposed legislation; testify before legislative committees; prepare or assist in preparing cases, opinions, briefs, and other legal documents such as memoranda, digests, summaries, and reports; assist in the preparation of or have responsibility for preparing cases which may result in litigation before boards, commissions, hearing officers, administrative law judges, or trial or appellate courts; develop strategies and tactics in disputes or litigation; assemble and evaluate evidence; secure and interview witnesses; conduct negotiations; represent departments in hearings and litigation; may act in a lead capacity over lower level attorney staff; and perform other related legal work.
Incumbents can move into a supervisor/management career path through the Supervising Attorney, Assistant Chief Counsel, or Chief Counsel classifications.
This is a recruitment and developmental classification for persons qualified to practice law in the State of California. Attorneys assigned to Range A perform the least difficult professional legal work of their department. Based upon the appropriate Alternate Range Criteria, attorneys advance to Ranges B, C, and D and are assigned progressively more difficult professional legal work as their competence increases. Attorneys assigned to Range D independently perform professional legal work of average difficulty.
This classification is distinguished from the lower level Attorney classification by the level of difficulty of assignments given to attorneys and the expertise which the attorney brings to these assignments. Attorney III's work with broad discretion and independence with minimum supervision and are expected to be experts in the more complex area of the law within a departmental legal program.
An Attorney III does not supervise lower level attorney staff, but may act in a lead capacity.
Incumbents in this classification independently perform the more complex and sensitive legal services with broad discretion. Assignments involve novel theories and/or practice involving rapid evolution of law, legal area specialization, legal expert, precedential value and involve opposing counsel or representatives who have a high level of experience and specialization.
An Attorney IV does not supervise lower level attorney staff, but may act in a lead capacity over the work of other attorneys and staff.
Reporting to the Constitutional Officer, exempt appointee of the Governor, or the department’s Chief Counsel, or their designee, incumbents work as the department’s top experts in a complex and difficult legal field. Working independently, incumbents at this level are involved in the most difficult and most complex litigation, which includes innovative theories, practices of law, specialization in law and the highest levels of expertise.
An Attorney V does not supervise lower level attorney staff, but may act in a lead capacity over the work of other attorneys and staff.
All classifications require active membership in The California State Bar. (Applicants who are not members of The California State Bar but who are eligible to take the California State Bar examination or are in their final year of law school will be admitted to the examination but will not be considered eligible for appointment until they are admitted to The State Bar.)
Membership in The California State Bar. (Applicants must have active membership in The California State Bar before they will be eligible for appointment.)
Six years of legal experience in the practice of law*. (Applicants will be admitted to the examination upon completion of five and one-half years of legal experience, but must complete six years of such experience before they will be eligible for appointment.)
Ten years of legal experience in the practice of law*, four years of which must have been at a level of responsibility equivalent to an Attorney III. (Applicants who have completed nine years and six months of the required total legal experience including three years and six months of the required legal experience comparable to the Attorney III class will be admitted into the examination but must complete the required ten years' total legal experience.)
Thirteen years of legal experience in the practice of law*, three years of which must have been at a level of responsibility equivalent to an Attorney IV. (Applicants who have completed twelve years and six months of the required total legal experience including two years and six months of the required legal experience comparable to the Attorney IV class will be admitted into the examination but must complete the required thirteen years' total legal experience.)
* Experience in the practice of law or performing legal duties is defined as: (1) only that legal experience acquired after admission to any State Bar, or (2) experience as a judicial clerk for a federal court, California's state courts, or any other state's courts, to constitute experience in the practice of law. For an individual's judicial clerkship to qualify as experience in the practice of law or performing legal duties, the experience must have been gained after receipt of a Juris Doctor or equivalent degree.
There are distinct increases in the complexity of knowledge and abilities, and the scope of work and effect on programs and services provided and performed as incumbents proceed through this classification series. Incumbents are expected to use the increasing knowledge, abilities, and experiences to perform increasingly difficult and complex legal duties effectively.
Knowledge of: Legal research methods and performing research; legal principles and their application; scope and character of California statutory law and of the provisions of the California Constitution; principles of administrative and constitutional law; trial and hearing procedure; and rules of evidence; court procedures; administrative law and the conduct of proceedings before administrative bodies; legal terms and forms in common use; statutory and case law literature and authorities; and provisions of laws and Government Code sections administered or enforced.
Ability to: Research; analyze, appraise, and apply legal principles, facts, and precedents to legal problems; analyze situations accurately and adopt an effective course of action; prepare and present statements of fact, law, and argument clearly and logically in written and oral form; prepare correspondence involving the explanation of legal matters; draft opinions, pleadings, rulings, regulations, and legislation; negotiate effectively and conduct crucial litigation; work cooperatively with a variety of individuals, organizations and maintain the confidence and respect of others; and work effectively under pressure.
In addition to the above knowledge and abilities, Attorneys at this level are recognized as having an exceptional level of expertise that distinguishes herself/himself in a special field of knowledge and who will serve as the department's top expert in that field. Work at this level involves innovative theories, practices of law, specialization in an area of law overseen by or involving the department, and requiring contact with the legislature, high level governor appointees, constitutional officers, or their designee, and/or the general public.