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This series specification describes seven Attorney classifications used to perform a broad range of legal work such as but not limited to preparing and litigating civil, administrative and/or criminal cases before boards, commissions and the courts. Incumbents in the Attorney series serve the public, various departments, the Governor, and represent clients and others entitled to public representation before state and federal courts and administrative bodies. Incumbents 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.
Under close supervision of attorneys, assist in legal research, and in the preliminary work involved in preparing other legal matters; other related work.
This class is primarily designed to afford law school graduates, not yet certified by The State Bar of California, an introduction to legal practice in the State service. It enables State departments to utilize the services of law school graduates who are awaiting the results of the California State Bar examination for subprofessional legal work and facilitates recruitment of recent graduates for legal careers in State service.
Typically, an incumbent analyzes legal problems; does routine legal research; prepares drafts of legal documents, briefs, reports, resolutions and legislative measures; ascertains the last amended form of the statutory law on a given subject; compiles, annotates, and indexes provisions of law and of legislative measures; serves legal papers; assists in answering court calendars; secures information regarding court decisions; assists in the work of a law library; keeps records and indexes of legal cases; prepares and dictates correspondence.
Incumbents who hold and maintain a provisional license to practice law issued by the State Bar of California's Provisional Licensure Program under Rule 9.49 of the California Rules of Court, perform a broad array of legal services for clients, including appearing before a court, or administrative body drafting legal documents, contracts or transactional documents, and pleadings, engaging in negotiations and settlement discussions, and providing other legal advice, provided that the work is performed under the supervision of a qualifying supervising attorney as defined by Rule 9.49.
This is the entry level for persons qualified to practice law in the State of California. Incumbents are assigned legal work relative to their appointing authority's responsibilities. Under direction, incumbents may review, analyze, interpret, and apply laws, court decisions, and other legal authorities in the preparation of cases, opinions, and briefs; prepare legal documents, memoranda, digests, summaries, and reports; assist in the presentation of cases before courts and administrative bodies and independently present the less difficult cases; assemble and evaluate evidence; secure and interview witnesses; assist in and hold hearings; conduct special investigations involved in the enforcement of state laws and departmental rules and regulations; assist with the drafting of legislative measures and departmental rules and regulations; conduct legal research; and advise staff members regarding the legal effect of rules and regulations, proposed legislative measures, statutory law, court decisions, and administrative actions. Incumbents may also assist attorneys in higher classifications or ranges with more complex legal work.
Attorneys assigned to Range A perform the least difficult legal work for their department. Attorneys assigned to Range B independently perform professional legal work of average difficulty.
Under general direction, at the full journey level, incumbents serve as experienced attorneys performing complex and sensitive legal work with broad discretion and minimal supervision. In addition to work performed at the Attorney level, the Attorney III may independently conduct complex and difficult hearings and trials. This level is distinguished from the Attorney classification by the difficulty of assignments, level of independence, and expertise required.
Under general direction, at the advanced journey level, incumbents independently perform work involving novel theories, emerging areas of law, legal specialization, and precedential significance. Incumbents may be assigned sensitive and difficult litigation and handle cases that may be appealed to the highest courts. Assignments typically consist of negotiations, legislative liaison, hearings, legal research, and opinion/brief drafting; rendering legal advice and opinions to departmental management; responding to challenging legal correspondence; developing strategy and tactics in complex disputes or litigation; and may include acting in a lead capacity over other attorneys and staff.
Under general direction, incumbents serve as exclusive experts in a complex and difficult areas of law independently perform the most difficult and complex legal work and litigation which requires the highest levels of expertise; represent and act as counsel for state departments, boards and commissions whose legal work is exceptionally difficult, and advise district attorneys, county counsels, grand juries, and other public agencies staffed primarily by attorneys, assigned litigation of the greatest difficulty; handle cases that may be appealed to the highest courts; and act in a lead capacity over the work of other attorneys and staff.
Attorneys at this level are recognized as having an exceptional level of expertise that distinguishes them in a special field of knowledge and may serve as the department's top expert in an exclusive area of law. 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 gubernatorial appointees, constitutional officers, or their designee, and/or the general public.
Assists an Attorney, Assistant Chief Counsel in planning, organizing, directing, and coordinating the work of a legal staff; acts for the Attorney, Assistant Chief Counsel as needed; confers with management on matters of policy and procedure; Incumbents supervise a group of subordinate attorneys who perform a wide variety of legal work, with varying levels of complexity, and independently handle complex and sensitive legal cases.
Under general direction of a Career Executive Assignment, Constitutional Officer, exempt appointee of the Governor, or the department's designee, incumbents manage the work of a major legal section; plan, organize, direct, coordinate and review staff work; provide legal advice to the department head; assist the department's highest legal designee in the preparation of pleadings and briefs in connection with legal matters before state boards and agencies; represent their department before boards and agencies; appear before legislative committees to present departmental views on proposed legislation; appear before trial and appellate courts; advise and assist the Attorney General and other state agencies; relieve the department's highest legal designee of administrative and management activities as necessary; and may serve as backup to the department's highest legal designee.
Current eligibility to take the California State Bar examination under the Business and Professions Code sections 6060 and 6061. Persons in their last year of law school may compete in the examination but may not be appointed until they have eligibility to take the California State Bar examination.
Incumbents must secure a valid license issued by the California State Bar Association within 24 months of an appointment or the employment may be terminated.
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.).
Applicants who are six months from meeting the required legal experience will be admitted to the examination, but must meet the total required years of experience prior to appointment.
Membership in The California State Bar.
Five years of legal experience in the practice of law*.
Six years of legal experience in the practice of law*, one year of which must have been at a level equivalent to an Attorney III or higher.
Eight years of legal experience in the practice of law*, two years of which must have been at a level equivalent to an Attorney IV or higher.
Eight years of legal experience in the practice of law*; two years of which must have been at a level equivalent to an Attorney IV or Supervising Attorney or three years of which must have been at a level equivalent to an Attorney III.
Nine years of legal experience in the practice of law*; one year of which must have been at a level equivalent to an Attorney V or Attorney Supervisor, or three years at a level equivalent to Attorney IV, or four years at a level equivalent to Attorney III.
* “Legal experience in the "practice of law" 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, or (3) legal experience acquired while practicing under a provisional license to practice law issued by the State Bar of California's Provisional Licensure Program, to constitute experience in the practice of law. For an individual's judicial clerkship to qualify as “legal experience in the practice of law, the experience must have been gained after receipt of a Juris Doctor or equivalent degree.
Knowledge of: Legal principles and their application, the use of legal reference works, and legal terms.
Ability to: Reason logically; analyze situations accurately and adopt an effective course of action.
There are distinct increases in the complexity of knowledge and abilities, the scope of work and effect on programs and services provided and performed as incumbents advance 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; federal and state statutes and rules; rules of professional conduct; principles of administrative trial and hearing procedure and rules of evidence; court procedures; legal terms and forms in common use; statutory and case law literature and authorities; professional and ethical rules as they relate to the practice of law; appellate proceedings; rules of evidence and conduct of proceedings in trial and appellate courts of California and the United States and before administrative bodies; 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 and memoranda 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; independently present difficult and complex cases before Administrative Law Judges; prepare, present, and handle legal cases; direct the work of clerical and professional assistants; edit written documents written by oneself, as well as those produced by others, for accuracy and effectiveness; analyze situations accurately and adopt an effective course of action; reason logically; exercise good judgment; effectively plan and engage in discovery, including depositions and interrogatories, and to compel production or attendance of/at same; independently prepare and present difficult and complex cases before boards, commissions, trial courts, and appellate courts; independently present difficult and complex cases before administrative bodies.
A greater degree of these "Knowledge and Abilities" is required at each higher level.
Knowledge of: a manager's/supervisor's responsibility for promoting equal opportunity in hiring and employee development and promotion, and for maintaining a work environment that is free of discrimination and harassment.
Ability to: All of the above
Knowledge of: All of the above, and principles of public administration, personnel management and supervision.
All employees shall have general qualifications as described by California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 172.