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Recruitment #20-JD3-02


*Effective July 11, 2020, positions in this job classification will be furloughed by 7.5%


THE JOB: The County of Santa Cruz is seeking an attorney to join a collegial team of attorneys and staff committed to providing excellent public service.  In this role, the Assistant County Counsel Juvenile Dependency attorney will serve as legal counsel to the Human Services Department's Family and Children's Services (FCS) Division in the area of child welfare law and represent FCS in all stages of the juvenile dependency court process. The main duties of this attorney will be to appear at regular court calendars, represent the agency in contested hearings, and provide ongoing legal advice to social workers. Legal knowledge and experience working with children and families in social services, health care services, or the justice system will increase a candidate’s opportunities for success in this position. Previous legal experience representing a public agency is desired, but not required.   


The Ideal Candidate will possess:
Substantial knowledge of child welfare and juvenile dependency law
Exceptional courtroom demeanor and calendar management skills
Experience preparing for contested hearings and a passion for trial advocacy
Experience providing daily legal advice to social workers and preparing witnesses for trials
Strong legal research and written communication skills
The ability to effectively work independently and collaboratively as part of a team, both within the office and with external system partners

The successful candidate will regularly:
Appear in court several days a week for regular hearing calendars 
Serve as a trial attorney for contested hearings
Participate in settlement conferences
Draft and/or review legal documents, including Judicial Council Forms and Findings and Orders
Work collaboratively with social workers and other juvenile dependency system partners
Study and apply new statutory law, legislative changes, and case law
Attend trainings, and in turn, may train other attorneys, social workers, and system partners on  juvenile dependency topics

If time permits, this attorney may also assist and provide related legal work to support other divisions within the Human Services Department. 

Employment Standards

THE REQUIREMENTS: Any combination of training and experience that would provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain these would be:

One year of experience* as an attorney practicing civil law for a public agency or two years of experience* practicing general civil law.

*Qualifying experience must be gained after admission to a State Bar.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENT: Membership in the California State Bar.

Knowledge: Thorough knowledge of the principles of civil, constitutional and administrative law, judicial procedures and the rules of evidence, and the principles, methods, and materials and practices of legal research. Working knowledge of statutes and codes applicable to civil procedures, County ordinances and rules, and precedent decisions impacting County operations. 

Ability to: Research, analyze and apply legal principles, facts, evidence and precedents to legal problems; analyze and appraise a variety of legal documents and instruments; draft legal documents; present statements of fact, law and argument clearly and logically in written and oral form; and establish and maintain effective working relationships with County and governmental officials and the general public.


VACATION - 16 days 1st year, increasing to 31 days per year after 15 years of service. Available after 1 year of service.
ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE - One week advanced upon appointment; two weeks accrued each year; can be taken in cash or time off.
HOLIDAYS - 13 paid holidays per year.
SICK LEAVE - Six days per year.
BEREAVEMENT LEAVE - 3 days paid in California, 5 days paid out-of-state.
MEDICAL PLAN - The County contracts with CalPERS for a variety of medical plans.  For most plans, County contributions pay a majority of the premiums for employees and eligible dependents. 
DENTAL PLAN - County pays for employee and eligible dependent coverage.
VISION PLAN - The County pays for employee coverage. Employee may purchase eligible dependent coverage.
RETIREMENT AND SOCIAL SECURITY - Pension formula 2% at age 60 or 2% at age 62 as determined based on provisions of the CA Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013(PEPRA). Pension benefit determined by final average compensation of three years.  County participates in Social Security.  
LIFE INSURANCE - County paid $50,000 term policy.  Employee may purchase additional life insurance.
LONG TERM DISABILITY PLAN - Plan pays 66 2/3% of the first $13,500, up to $9,000 per month maximum.
DEPENDANT-CARE PLAN - Employees who pay for qualifying child or dependent care expenses may elect this pre-tax program.
H-CARE PLAN - Employees who pay a County medical premium may elect this pre-tax program.
HEALTH CARE FLEXIBLE SPENDING ALLOWANCE (HCFSA) - Employees may elect this pre-tax program to cover qualifying health care expenses.
DEFERRED COMPENSATION - A deferred compensation plan is available to employees.

Selection Plan

THE EXAMINATION: Your application and supplemental questionnaire will be reviewed to determine if you have met the education, experience, training and/or licensing requirements as stated on the job announcement. If you meet these criteria and are one of the best qualified, you may be required to compete in any combination of written, oral and/or performance examinations or a competitive evaluation of training and experience as described on your application and supplemental questionnaire. You must pass all components of the examination to be placed on the eligible list. The examination may be eliminated if there are ten or fewer qualified applicants. If the eligible list is established without the administration of the announced examination, the life of the eligible list will be six months and your overall score will be based upon an evaluation of your application and supplemental questionnaire. If during those six months it is necessary to administer another examination for this job class, you will be invited to take the examination to remain on the eligible list.

HOW TO APPLY: Apply Online Now!  Click on the link below; or print out an application and supplemental questionnaire and mail/bring them to: Santa Cruz County Personnel Department, 701 Ocean Street, Room 510, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060.  For information, call (831) 454-2600.  Hearing Impaired TDD/TTY: 711.  Applications will meet the final filing date if received in one of the following ways:  1) in the Personnel Department by 5:00 p.m. on the final filing date, 2) submitted online before midnight of the final filing date. 

Women, minorities and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.  If you have a disability that requires test accommodation, please call (831) 454-2600.

To comply with the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, Santa Cruz County verifies that all new employees are either U.S. citizens or persons authorized to work in the U.S.

Some positions may require Fingerprinting and/or Background Investigation.

Note: Provisions of this bulletin do not constitute an expressed or implied contract. 

An Equal Opportunity Employer