Retirement Legal Counsel (#EL2202)
$88.49-$107.56 Hourly / $15,337.92-$18,643.34 Monthly / $184,055.04-$223,720.12 Yearly


Under policy direction of the Retirement Board and administrative direction of the Retirement Administrator, coordinates and performs the full scope of legal support activities on behalf of the San Joaquin County Employees’ Retirement Association (SJCERA); serves as legal advisor to the Retirement Board and staff; and does related or other work as required.


Retirement Legal Counsel is a single incumbent, exempt class. The incumbent is responsible for providing legal advice, guidance, and representation to a public retirement system. This position involves a wide range of legal responsibilities related to pension and retirement plans, including compliance with applicable laws and regulations, contract negotiations, litigation management, and policy development. The Legal Counsel collaborates closely with senior management, trustees, and other stakeholders to ensure the retirement system operates within legal parameters and protects the interests of its members and beneficiaries.


Legal Advisory Services:
  • Provide legal advice and guidance to the retirement system Board and staff on matters related to retirement plans, including plan design, administration, investment activities, governance, fiduciary duties, conflicts of interest, and compliance with state and federal laws. 
  • Attend, and provide legal guidance during, meetings of the Board of Retirement and its committees. 
  • Conduct legal research, analyze complex legal issues, and provide written and oral opinions to management, trustees, and other stakeholders. 
  • Analyze and stay current on changes in pension law, regulations, and court decisions to ensure compliance make recommendations for action regarding proposed legislation; oversee and guide the implementation of changes; draft legislation sponsored by the plan. 
Contract Negotiations and Drafting: 
  • Review, negotiate, and/or draft contracts, agreements, and other legal documents related to the retirement system's operations, including investment management agreements, service provider contracts, and vendor agreements. 
  • Ensure contracts comply with legal requirements, protect the interests of the retirement system, and minimize potential risks. 
Litigation and Hearing Management: 
  • Manage and oversee litigation involving the retirement system, including coordinating with external legal counsel, preparing legal strategies, and representing the system's interests in court or alternative dispute resolution proceedings. 
  • Prepare for litigation including all related legal documents, conducting legal research, gathering evidence, preparing legal briefs, and presenting arguments to protect the system's rights and interests. 
  • Ensure SJCERA’s interests are fully and properly represented in any litigation, hearing or other legal matter. Assumes responsibility for providing legal representation as appropriate. 
Compliance and Regulatory Matters: 
  • Monitor, report on, ensure compliance of operations, communications, and other processes with applicable laws, regulations, policies, and other requirements governing SJCERA. 
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures to maintain legal compliance and mitigate potential risks. 
  • Coordinate with internal departments and auditors to ensure adherence to legal and regulatory standards. 
Policy Development and Review: 
  • Participate in the development and review of policies, procedures, and similar documents related to pension and retirement plans. 
  • Identify legal implications and provide recommendations to improve policies, ensuring they are in line with legal requirements, industry best practices, and the interests of the retirement system's members. 
Stakeholder Engagement: 
  • Collaborate with senior management, trustees, and other stakeholders to address legal issues, provide legal advice, and support decision-making processes. 
  • Represent the retirement system in meetings, negotiations, and interactions with external parties, including government agencies, legal representatives, and industry associations. 
  • Select, coordinate, oversee and continually evaluate the work of outside counsel and hearing officers; monitor, verify, and control fees paid. 
  • May provide technical direction to subordinate staff and advise on personnel matters.


Education: A Juris Doctorate degree from a fully accredited school of law. 

Experience: Six years of progressively responsible experience in a comparable legal environment that demonstrates the ability to perform the essential functions of the classification. 

License: Current, active State Bar of California membership. A valid California Driver license or the ability to arrange necessary and timely transportation for field travel.


California public retirement system law, particularly with respect to benefits, investment contracting, actuarial practices, general retirement system administration and management, disability adjudication, the County Employees Retirement Law (CERL), the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) of 2013, open meeting law, conflict of interest law, civil and administrative law proceedings in diverse practice areas, public records act, and the Internal Revenue Code, probate, and family law as they pertain to administering benefits is desirable.


Independently plan, organize, and manage all legal functions of SJCERA; perform legal research; analyze legal issues and develop appropriate courses of action related to the operation and administration of SJCERA; present oral and written legal conclusions in a logical and persuasive manner; prepare clear and well organized reports and correspondence; exercise sound judgment; establish and maintain a positive working relationship in a team environment with members of the Retirement Board and SJCERA staff, elected officials and other representatives San Joaquin County, plan participants, outside professionals such as attorneys and investment consultants and managers, and all others dealt with in the course of employment.


Mobility – frequent use of a computer and sitting for long periods; occasional walking, standing, pushing/pulling, bending. Lifting – frequently 5 lbs or less; occasionally 5 to 30 lbs. Visual – constant use of overall vision and reading/close-up work; moderate use of hand/eye coordination, and field of vision. Dexterity – frequent holding, reaching, grasping, repetitive motion, and writing. Hearing/Talking – frequent hearing of normal speech, hearing/talking on the telephone, talking in person. Emotional/Physiological Factors – frequent decision making, concentration, and working alone; speaking in public; occasional public contact. Special Requirements –may require working weekends/ nights; occasional travel. Environmental Conditions – constant work in an indoor office environment; occasional exposure to varied weather conditions.

San Joaquin County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and, upon request, will consider reasonable accommodations to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions.

CLASS: EL2202; EST: 10/24/2023;