Under direction, provides paralegal services in one of the County’s legal departments; performs related duties as required.
This class is characterized by the responsibility to perform legal research and support attorneys in assignments requiring a paraprofessional understanding of the law and legal procedures. Since incumbents are not attorneys, they do not give legal advice or represent clients in court. This class is distinguished from that of Paralegal, Senior in that the latter either acts in a lead capacity and/or has technical expertise in and the responsibility for a specific area of the law.
Examples of Duties
Depending on assignment, duties may include, but are not limited to the following:
1) Researches and analyzes statutes, recorded judicial decisions, legal articles, treaties, legislation, constitutions, ordinances and other such documents; prepares legal documents such as briefs, pleadings, appeals, motions, contracts, deeds and drafts of legal opinions for review, approval and use of attorneys.
2) Investigates facts and researches laws to determine causes of action and prepares cases accordingly; files pleadings and other documents with court clerks; prepares affidavits of documents and maintains document files; investigates status of cases and witnesses or interested parties.
3) Assists in scheduling witnesses for trials and/or hearings; obtains and verifies information from defendants; arranges appearances of and prepares witnesses for legal procedures; prepares files for court; assists attorney in court with documents and information.
4) Arranges support services for clients and/or their families; assists in resolving problems or gathering information; analyzes, computes, and calculates financial information and statistics utilizing established policies and procedures of the assigned unit; prepares requests to accounting department to calculate current payments, arrears, and reimbursement; determines applicable court orders which substantiate monies due and owing.
5) Drafts pleadings, orders, discoveries, interrogatories, correspondence, and subpoenas for filing with the court and opposing parties; drafts policies; reviews and recommends procedure manuals; may draft, the procedures on real property forfeitures records and title searches executed.
6) Communicates extensively with clients, opposing attorneys, court staff, insurance claim adjusters, employers and court staff; negotiates, under direction of attorneys, settlements of claims of assigned unit.
7) Assists in evaluating cases to determine which cases warrant the filing of liens; explains computation of liens to clients, attorneys, judges; prepares and files liens electronically for claims; monitors and amends liens for unpaid claims.
8) Identifies cases which warrant contempt actions; performs initial screening of cases referred for contempt action; forwards referrals to attorney for further review and final decision regarding criminal action.
9) Monitors compliance of parties placed on probation; assesses absent parent’s ability to work during cited period via automated office system; compiles data needed to support complaint requests.
10) May act as financial investigation/asset forfeiture expert for division; oversees the liquidation of the forfeited assets for division; acts as a liaison between other counties, courts, county administration and the public; receives and reviews vehicle forfeiture submissions; rejects or accepts forfeiture submissions; negotiates settlements in cases; prepares cases for hearings, when necessary; distributes forfeited assets to appropriate agencies.
11) Maintains a current reference index log of all claims, defendants and victims to field inquiries; ascertains status of prosecution or the eligibility of claim or benefits paid on the claim.
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
Working knowledge of legal research techniques; legal terminology, processes and procedures; common legal documents; legal concepts and the role of the law in society; litigation processes; administrative, civil and/or criminal law so applicable to assignment.
Ability to conduct legal research; prepare legal briefs, opinions and other such documents; communicate effectively both orally and in writing; follow written and verbal instructions; develop and maintain effective working relationships with attorneys, support staff and clients; coordinate document processing, witness preparation and other such activities; arrange for support services for clients and/or attorneys; identify and resolve problems.
Education and Experience
Six (6) months of full-time work experience in preparing and processing legal documents that demonstrates possession of and competency in the requisite knowledge and abilities. And one of the following:
1) A certificate of completion of a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association. OR
2) A certificate of completion of a paralegal program at, or a degree from, a postsecondary institution that requires the successful completion of a minimum of 24 semester, or equivalent, units in law-related courses and that has been accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization or approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education. OR
3) A baccalaureate degree or an advanced degree in any subject and a minimum of one year of law-related experience under the supervision of an attorney who has been an active member of the State Bar of California for at least the preceding three years or who has practiced in the federal courts of this state for at least the preceding three years, and a written declaration from this attorney stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks.
Possession of, or ability to obtain, a valid Class C California driver’s license may be required.
Independent travel will be required.
Some positions in this class may require bilingual skills.
Physical Ability: Tasks involve the ability to exert light physical effort in sedentary to light work, but which may involve some lifting, carrying, pushing and/or pulling of objects and materials of light weight (5-10 pounds). Tasks may involve extended periods of time at a keyboard or workstation. Sensory Requirements: Some tasks require visual perception and discrimination. Some tasks require oral communications ability. Environmental Factors: Tasks are regularly performed without exposure to adverse environmental conditions, such as dirt, dust, pollen, odors, wetness, humidity, rain, fumes, temperature and noise extremes, machinery, vibrations, electric currents, traffic hazards, toxic agents, violence, disease, or pathogenic substances.