JOB OPPORTUNITIES IN
THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY COUNSEL
I. The Office of the County Counsel
The Office of the County Counsel is the general counsel for the County of Santa Clara, including the Board of Supervisors and all County agencies and departments, as well as certain school districts and special districts within the county. Just as a large company utilizes its in-house counsel, our clients rely on our office for the full range of legal services, covering a broad spectrum of practice areas. The Office's 105 attorneys handle nearly all of the County's civil litigation, including employment, personal injury, child welfare, breach of contract, civil rights, taxation, probate/conservatorship, environmental law, workers' compensation, and social justice and impact litigation. We also provide all of the day-to-day legal services expected from any in-house attorney, including advice and counsel regarding how to navigate emerging areas of law, and negotiation and drafting of contracts and other legal agreements. As public law attorneys, our work covers a wide array of policy matters that significantly affect the health, safety, and well-being of the County's 1.9 million residents. The Office is committed to providing the highest quality legal service, to advancing the County's mission to support and protect all County residents, and to being a national leader in public-sector law practice, as demonstrated by the Office's 2019 receipt of the American Bar Association's Hodson Award.
II. The Open Positions
The Office of the County Counsel has added several new attorney positions over the last few months. We are seeking talented, highly-motivated attorneys to fill open positions on the following teams. Prior public-sector experience is desirable, but not required for any of the open positions. Salaries vary based on experience and qualifications. For attorneys with five or more years of experience, the annual salary range is $200,715 to $249,818.
Health and Hospitals Team
The Health and Hospitals Team provides legal advice to the County's health care delivery system. This team of attorneys provides in-house legal counsel to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC), a 731-bed acute care hospital and Level 1 trauma center and 50-bed psychiatric hospital; O'Connor Hospital, a 358-bed acute care hospital; and Saint Louise Regional Hospital, a 95-bed acute care hospital serving the southern portion of the County; as well as a network of eight health centers and four urgent care clinics. The County runs one of the nation's largest public health and hospital systems. Attorneys in the Health and Hospitals Team also serve as in-house legal counsel to the Behavioral Health Services Department; Public Health Department; Custody Health Services Department; and Valley Health Plan, the only locally based commercial health plan in Santa Clara County. The attorneys on this team have broad experience providing advice on a wide array of cutting-edge issues to healthcare providers and administrators on matters of importance in the healthcare industry, including Affordable Care Act implementation, regulatory compliance, contracting, quality improvement and risk management, certification and licensing, pharmacy services, policies and procedures, health information privacy and data security, medical ethics, health care finance, and health care IT. We are particularly interested in candidates with experience with health plans and managed care.
Public Safety and Justice Team
The Public Safety and Justice Team provides legal advice to the departments and agencies that make up the County's criminal justice and emergency response systems including the Probation Department, Office of Pretrial Services, Office of Reentry Services, County Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management, Sheriff's Office, District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, and Department of Correction. Public Safety and Justice attorneys assist these agencies in addressing a wide array of legal issues related to law enforcement, criminal adjudication, juvenile justice, jail operations, probation, reentry services, 911 services, fire protection, disaster preparedness and response, and related services. In advising the County's public safety departments and agencies, our attorneys research and analyze many areas of law, craft policies, draft and negotiate contracts, facilitate the release of records to the public, comment on legislation, contribute to significant reform efforts, and assist the departments they advise in addressing significant and challenging issues.
Finance, Government Operations, and Environment Team
The Finance, Government Operations, and Environment (FGOE) Team provides legal advice to the Board of Supervisors, the County Executive, and various County departments and agencies to fulfill the public service mission of the County. FGOE attorneys research and analyze many areas of law, craft ordinances and policies, negotiate contracts, comment on legislation, and help solve challenging problems for the County departments and officials they advise. Attorneys on the FGOE Team also participate in highly significant litigation related to property taxation and election-related matters, and provide advice on programs of significant importance to the County's Board of Supervisors and the broader community. The Team's practice is grounded in various areas of public law, including the Brown Act, the Public Records Act, and the Political Reform Act. Attorneys also practice in specialized areas including land use, sustainability, public contracting, finance, property taxation, transportation (including roads and airports), affordable housing, ethics and conflicts of interest, real property, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Social Justice and Impact Litigation Team
The Social Justice and Impact Litigation team initiates high-impact cases, drafts innovative local ordinances, and develops new policies and programs to advance the County’s goal of achieving social and economic justice for all its residents and to promote local, state, and national public policy reform. The Team also defends the County in select cases with the potential to significantly affect the County’s ability to provide critical safety net services to vulnerable residents. The Team is part of a growing movement to use the power and unique perspective of local government to better serve the community and to drive long-lasting change. The Team’s recent cases include litigation challenging the Trump Administration’s rulemaking relating to "public charge"; litigation against drug manufacturers that deceived doctors and patients for decades about the risks and benefits of opioid painkillers; and several other cases that aim to safeguard environmental and public health, prevent and deter elder abuse, preserve local resources used to provide indigent health care, and address corporate misconduct. The Social Justice and Impact Litigation Team supports an array of policy initiatives related to immigrants’ rights, public health, pay equity, bail reform, criminal record expungement, civil rights, and homelessness.
III. General Qualifications
- Must be a member in good standing with the State Bar of California;
- Must have a demonstrated history of hard work, dedication, and academic excellence;
- Must have the ability to prioritize and manage several simultaneous projects under deadlines;
- As some of the work done in the Office of the County Counsel will undoubtedly be new to any applicant, the ideal candidate will be flexible and show an eagerness to learn;
- Must be self-motivated and willing to take ownership of any matter;
- Must be a team player. Our Office is a collegial and supportive environment in which employees willingly pitch-in to help one another;
- Must have exceptional legal research and writing skills;
- Must have strong communication skills. Our attorneys must be able to explain complex legal issues to judges, arbitrators, elected officials, a diverse range of clients, and, occasionally, members of the public;
- Must be able to establish and maintain excellent working relationships with other County staff; and
- Our attorneys are expected to practice the highest level of ethics and professional responsibility.
IV. Salary and Benefits
Salaries vary based on experience and qualifications. For attorneys with five or more years of experience, the annual salary range is $200,715 to $249,818.
The County offers comprehensive medical, dental, and vision plans for all attorneys and their dependents. Attorneys also receive substantial pension benefits, long-term disability insurance, life insurance, and related coverage.
Other Benefits Include:
- Significant paid vacation and sick time
- 12 paid County holidays
- 457 Deferred Compensation Plan
- Employee Assistance Program
- Dependent Care Assistance Plan
- Employee Wellness Program
- Tuition Reimbursement Program
- Payment of State Bar Dues
Additional information regarding benefits is available here
V. How to Apply
Applicants interested in any of the above positions should send a résumé, list of five references, and brief cover letter to Chief Assistant County Counsel Greta Hansen via firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and interested applicants are encouraged to apply promptly.