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Legal Assistant (1820)

Legal Assistant

California State Personnel Board Specification

  • Schematic Code: JY66
  • Class Code: 1820
  • Established: 03/13/1975
  • Revised: 03/21/2006
  • Title Changed: --


Under the immediate direction, control, and responsibility of an attorney, to perform a wide variety of paralegal duties; and to do other related work.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The class of Legal Assistant is a paraprofessional class established to provide full-time employment in a legal program in State service. Incumbents work as an assistant to an attorney. The class is designed for permanent employment where incumbents can properly be delegated the more routine paralegal duties by an attorney. It is distinguished from legal clerical classes in that more difficult technical duties and responsibilities are assigned.

Typical Tasks

Under the immediate direction and control of an attorney who shall accept full responsibility for the tasks performed, assists in reviewing legal documents and appeals to determine whether they comply with specific requirements set forth in applicable legal codes; assists in reviewing for completeness information furnished by program staff in matters referred for legal proceedings; performs preliminary analyses of legislative bills; summarizes, organizes, and indexes prior opinions, testimony, depositions, documentary material from interrogatories, and abstracts; organizes trial documents and exhibits; researches legislative histories; gathers factual information and performs routine legal research to assist an attorney in determining appropriate action; assists in the preparation of roughs of complaints and pleadings; prepares legislative calendar; prepares fact sheets; prepares papers and arranges for service of process; assists in preparing drafts of documents such as motions to substitute parties, petitions, inventories, judgments, affidavits, certificates of readiness, requests for trial setting, reassignment of claims, decisions, orders of extension, notices of hearings, abstracts of judgment, returns of writs, certified copies, writs of execution, and satisfaction of judgments; prepares documents for opening and closing files for internal administrative purposes; prepares correspondence and reports; assists in preparing drafts of answers to inquiries regarding legal requirements and procedures relative to the appropriate legal code and answers to inquiries regarding status of cases and departmental procedures by attorneys, parties, and the public; and maintains liaison and exchanges legal and factual information with other legal units in the department and other State agencies.

Minimum Qualifications


Successful completion of six semester units of paralegal or undergraduate legal courses, with at least three units of which must be in legal research. (Candidates who have completed three semester units of paralegal course work necessary to fulfill the education requirement will be admitted to the examination, but they must submit evidence of completion of the required six units before they can be considered for appointment.) AND


Either I

Experience: Two years of experience in the California state service as a Senior Legal Typist, Range B; Legal Secretary, or other classification with law-related duties, involving the review, preparation, or interpretation of legal documents or involving the conduct of investigations or studies leading to legal actions.



Experience: Three years of responsible experience as a law clerk or legal secretary in a law firm, corporate law office, governmental or public law office, non-profit organization, educational institution, court, or other entity under the direction and supervision of a licensed attorney or judicial officer. Academic education above the twelfth grade may be substituted for one year of the required experience on the basis of either (a) one year of general education being equivalent to three months of experience, or (b) two years of education in a recognized attorney assistant program in probate, tax law, labor law, corporate law, litigation, or other law-related areas being equivalent to one year of experience.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: Basic legal concepts, terminology, principles, and procedures; use of legal reference material; and legal office management principles.


Ability to: Reason logically; analyze situations accurately and recommend an effective course of action; write effectively; prepare reports and summary sheets set forth a statement of the facts, applications of the relevant law, and conclusions; read and understand statutes, court decisions, legal documents, and similar material; work cooperatively with attorneys, clerical staff, technical staff, and the general public; and explain the provision of law, procedures, and problems to persons contacted in the work.

Additional Desirable Qualification

Evidence of continuing education, such as additional paralegal or legal coursework.

  Updated: 9/5/2017
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