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 might utilize 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 90 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.
II. The Open Positions
The Office of the County Counsel has added several new attorney positions over the last several 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 $194,871 to $242,542.
Public Safety and Justice Section
The Public Safety and Justice Section provides legal advice to the departments and agencies that make up the County criminal justice and emergency response systems. 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. Our attorneys contribute to significant reform efforts in these areas, research and analyze many areas of law, craft policies, draft and negotiate contracts, comment on legislation, and assist the departments they advise in addressing significant and challenging issues.
General Government Section
The General Government Section 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. General Government attorneys research and analyze many areas of law, craft ordinances and policies, negotiate contracts, comment on legislation, and, most of all, solve problems for the County departments and officials they advise. Attorneys in the General Government Section also participate in highly significant litigation related to property taxation and election-related matters, and are on the front lines of providing advice on programs of significant importance to the County’s Board of Supervisors and the broader community. The Section’s practice is grounded in various areas of public law, including the Brown Act, the Public Records Act, and the Political Reform Act. The Section’s attorneys also practice in specialized areas including public works and construction, 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). We are particularly interested in candidates with experience in land use and planning, contracting, complex transactions, and/or capital projects.
Labor and Employment Section
The Labor and Employment Section advises and trains County departments and managers regarding a wide array of labor and employment matters, including hiring, training, compensating, and disciplining employees; reasonably accommodating employees and complying with employee-leave laws and policies; negotiating and finalizing labor contracts; drafting personnel policies; and complying with the County’s Merit System Rules and state and federal labor, employment, and equal opportunity laws. Section attorneys also represent the County and its departments in cases before the County’s Personnel Board, labor arbitrators, the Public Employment Relations Board, the EEOC, the DFEH, and other state and federal administrative agencies. The goal of the Section is to support the County’s commitment to being an employer of excellence that values and supports all of its employees. We are particularly interested in candidates with experience in labor relations and employee benefits, including retirement plans, health and welfare plans, and benefits-related policies and contracts.
Social Justice and Impact Litigation Section
The Social Justice and Impact Litigation Section initiates litigation and develops local ordinances, policies, and programs to advance the County’s goal of securing social and economic justice for all its residents. The Impact Section’s current cases include lawsuits challenging the Trump Administration’s policies withholding federal funding from “sanctuary jurisdictions” and rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program; defending the landmark judgment in our longstanding lawsuit against former lead paint manufacturers; litigation against five 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. We also regularly participate in litigation addressing key issues such as marriage equality, immigrants’ rights, and critical health and social services. The Impact Section supports an array of policy initiatives related to immigrants’ rights, public health, pay equity, bail reform, criminal record expungement, civil rights, and homelessness.
Civil and Code Enforcement Section
The Civil and Code Enforcement Section partners with other County departments to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of County residents by enforcing the County Ordinance Code, and state law where a County department serves as the local enforcement agency for the State of California. Attorneys in the Section advise County departments regarding potential enforcement actions, coordinate investigations, review administrative complaints, and civilly prosecute responsible parties through trial and appeal. Issues on which the attorneys in the Section work include substandard housing, environmental contamination and clean up, and enforcement of County wage and labor laws.
Child Dependency Section
The Child Dependency Section represents the County Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) in legal proceedings involving allegations of child abuse and neglect. The attorneys in this section have a direct role in protecting children and advancing family well-being, appearing in statutorily-required hearings, special interim reviews, mediations, settlement conferences, and specialty court hearings. They also handle dependency trials in the Juvenile Court and civil court. In addition, the attorneys in the Child Dependency Section provide legal support to DFCS’s Court Services Bureau and Dependency Investigation Unit, for which they review cases for legal sufficiency, and review and approve juvenile dependency petitions. Child Dependency attorneys also analyze legislation affecting DFCS, advising the department on implementation of new rules and programs related to foster children, child abuse and neglect, family reunification, and related topics.
Workers' Compensation Section
The Workers’ Compensation Section provides legal advice and representation to the Workers’ Compensation Department, which operates the County’s self-administered workers’ compensation program. Attorneys in the Section represent the County in proceedings related to workers’ compensation claims. They also appear before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and litigate Industrial Disability Retirement appeals and third-party subrogation claims.
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 $194,871 to $242,542
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 email@example.com. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Initial application review will begin on August 21, 2018.